VA loans come with some serious benefits. Backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, this handy mortgage program has no credit score minimum, requires zero down payment, and offers 100% financing. It's really one of the best loan options out there -- at least for homebuyers.
But what about a real estate investor? Can you use a VA loan for investment property or multi-unit homes? Let's dig in and see.
Yes, you can use a VA loan for investment property -- but…
At its heart, the VA loan program is designed to help veterans and military members afford a home they intend to use as their primary residence. As such, you can't use the program to buy an outright investment property, meaning one you plan to fix and flip right away or one you intend to rent out wholly.
That doesn't bar you from earning money from a VA-financed property entirely, though. To use a VA loan for an investment property, you'll need to meet the following three requirements:
1. You'll need to have military service
To even consider a VA loan, property investors need to be sure they meet the program's military service requirements. That means you (or your spouse if you're co-buying) must be an active military member or veteran.
You also have to have clocked a certain number of days in the military, depending on when you served. The requirements are pretty specific based on whether your service was during wartime or peacetime, so check the charts at VA.gov to make sure you're eligible before going further.
If you ultimately end up applying for a VA home loan, you'll need a Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
2. You have to live on the property
Ever heard of a strategy called house hacking? That's what you'll need to do in order to use a VA loan for an investment property.
One of the more important requirements of a VA loan is that the borrower uses the home as their primary residence. That means if you plan to use the program to purchase a multifamily property, you'll need to live in one of the units. You'll also have to move into it within 60 days of closing on your loan.