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Understanding the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements

The VA has a form of home requirements, known as the Minimum Property Requirements, to ensure the property is a safe and sound investment for the homebuyer.

A common question we receive is, “Do VA loans have home requirements?”

The Department of Veterans Affairs utilizes a series of Minimum Property Requirements, or MPRs, that a home must meet to qualify for a VA loan. These VA property requirements help ensure that Veterans and military families have a safe, structurally sound and sanitary place to call home.

VA Loan Home Requirements

VA loan property requirements are assessed during the VA appraisal process.

MPRs cover basic issues that can affect the property's value or safety. These are generally defined as significant problems that present immediate or near-immediate impact for Veterans and their families.

Learn more about property requirements for a VA loan from one of our home loan specialists.

VA Minimum Property Requirements

  • Working electric, heating and cooling systems
  • Adequate roofing that will last the foreseeable future
  • Sufficient in size for basic living necessities
  • Clean, continuous water supply with sanitary facilities
  • Free of lead-based paint
  • Free of wood destroying insects, fungus and dry rot
  • Safe and sanitary sewage disposal
  • Accessible from an all-weather public or private street
  • Attics and crawl spaces must be accessible and properly vented

Some heating systems, like solar or wood, must meet certain standards and have more traditional backup systems. These are items that protect not only the marketability of the property but also the safety and comfort of the buyer.

In some climates, a heating system may not be needed, but that determination is left completely in the hands of the VA. Neither the seller nor the lender can make that call.

Other items such as roofs, termites and ventilation fall under the MPRs. Specific requirements can vary based on the lender, local housing codes, VA guidelines and more.

When it comes to a VA loan, keep in mind appraisers are looking for potentially major issues that revolve around the three S’s: safety, sanitation and structural integrity ; and this process is in place to protect the buyer against unexpected, and usually expensive, surprises.

Failing the MPRs

The VA's intention with MPRs is to help get Veterans into move-in-ready homes.

So what happens if a property doesn't meet the VA's Minimum Property Requirements? Generally, problems with the property must be corrected before a loan closes, although Veterans can secure exemptions for some MPRs. In truth, these exemptions are more like extensions, as the problems will ultimately have to be corrected.

Borrowers whose prospective property fails to meet MPRs will be hard-pressed to secure VA financing

Read more: How Tough is the VA Appraisal?

Home Inspections and VA Loans

It’s also important to remember that the VA appraisal and MPRs do not replace the need for an independent home inspection.

Generally, VA loan home inspections provide a more in-depth look at the property and offer another layer of protection to help minimize surprises. Home inspections are typically a few hundred dollars but vary by location, home size and features.

Home inspections aren't required for VA loans, but they're of significant value for homebuyers. A VA loan home inspection will assess key elements of the property, including the roof, HVAC system, foundation and more.