If you are a veteran looking to refinance your mortgage and make some repairs or changes to your current home, you may be eligible for a VA home improvement loan.
VA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and may be available to active duty and veteran military people, as well as their spouses. In contrast to conventional loans, VA loans can be obtained from a wide variety of creditors without a down payment or mortgage insurance.
However, only a subset of VA-approved creditors offer VA-guaranteed remodeling loans, and some of those may have recently halted doing so.
How Do VA Home Improvement Loans Work?
Loans are not handled by the VA. It works with banks and other creditors to back these loans with guaranteed interest rates and repayment terms. Veterans Affairs (VA) home improvement loans are sometimes referred to as “VA renovation loans” or “VA rehab loans” because their primary purpose is to finance house renovations rather than home purchases.
Renovating your home is typically covered by a VA loan. Debtors can utilize the funds to purchase homes that require repair or updating and turn them into habitable spaces with the help of these loans. Refinancing your mortgage at a lower rate makes it possible to pay for necessary home repairs and renovations with the help of a VA home improvement loan.
A VA rehabilitation loan can be used to finance up to 100% of the home’s after-repair worth. This cost is based on the contractor’s estimates, which will be evaluated by a valuer. The VA requires that the contractor be an approved specialist.
How to Qualify for VA Home Improvement Loans
Let’s break down what it takes to secure a VA home improvement loan.
- Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You should check your VA loan eligibility before applying. Either you or your creditor can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility through the VA’s eBenefits portal.
- Go Out and Get Preapproved by a Lender. Once you’ve located a financial institution that is willing to provide you with a VA renovation loan, you can begin working with them to get preapproved.
- Get Price Estimates From Local VA-Approved Service Providers. Your contractor must register with the VA Regional Center in their area to get a VA builder ID number, but the VA does not authorize contractors. Find local contractors who are registered to work with the VA.
Homebuyers are not allowed by the VA to handle the repairs and enhancements on their own.
- Prepare a VA Appraisal. A VA-approved appraiser will conduct the house evaluation that your creditor will help you plan. In other words, this appraiser will figure out how much the property is worth after all the renovations and fixes have been made.
Considerable emphasis should be placed on this figure. You are only permitted to borrow up to the lesser of the purchase cost or the as-completed value.
- Get Your VA Rehab Loan Paid Off. The closing occurs when all aspects of the loan, including the repairs, meet with the debtor’s approval. Renovations will start immediately following the closing. The contractor’s work on the renovations will be overseen by you. It will be up to your creditor to disperse and manage the money set aside for the repairs.
- Final Examining. An appraiser from the VA will check to see if the work is finished and if the house meets the VA’s basic standards for safety and quality.
What Are the Requirements for VA Home Improvement Loans?
To be qualified for a VA home improvement loan, you must meet the following prerequisites:
- Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Having this certificate on hand will let VA loan providers know that your military experience and/or current status make you eligible to apply for a loan for home enhancements.
- Credit score prerequisite. The Veterans Administration does not demand a specific credit score. Still, many VA loan providers want a score of 620 or above before they’ll consider your application.
- Categories of Remodeling. The work you do on your home must be consistent with the work done on similarly situated homes in your area. The residence also has to be upgraded to meet the VA’s minimum property standards.
- Acceptable Real Estate. You should be living in the house you intend to remodel during the renovation.
VA Home Improvement Loans: Pros and Cons
In a low-supply housing market, broadening your search to include houses in need of major repairs might speed up the process of finding a new place to call home.
When the local real estate market is hot, however, sellers may not be prepared to wait or deal with the trouble of locating a contractor to receive estimates for needed repairs and waiting for appraisals when they could simply sell to a real estate investor who offers cash instead.
- VA loan privileges are yours to enjoy. Neither a down payment nor PMI (private mortgage insurance) is needed to get this loan.
- The VA works with several different financial institutions.
- If you qualify for VA financing, you can avoid paying the funding fee. Disability or death in service is a common cause of this.
- The VA loan is just one of four available alternatives for financing home enhancements. You can choose between a complete restoration or selective maintenance and upkeep.
- In order to qualify for a VA loan, you must meet certain service prerequisites. You may be looking at anywhere from ninety days to six years for this.
- It isn’t always easy to get a loan. Creditors who specialize in loans for renovations and maintenance are uncommon.
- The VA financing cost is standard and must be paid by most debtors. The funding fee can add another 0.50 percent to the overall cost of the loan.
- VA renovation loans can only be used for certain upgrades, and such upgrades must be on par with those found in neighboring homes of a similar price range. Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and conventional cash-out refinancing are exempt from these caps.
Is a VA Home Improvement Loan Right for You?
A VA Home Improvement Loan is a fantastic choice for many service members looking to make necessary repairs or upgrades to their homes. Veterans who have built up equity in their homes can get access to long-term financing at low-interest rates without having to take out a regular loan or utilize their own money.
This form of loan is not just accessible to individuals who already get VA benefits, but it can also be helpful for those who have no other credit alternatives; the loans’ adaptable terms and conditions may make it a good fit for veterans who are eager to make enhancements to their living space or make investments in their homes.
Veterans who are seeking a means to fund home renovations may find the VA Home Improvement Loan to be the best choice, thanks to its low-interest rates and flexible payback terms.
Alternatives to VA Home Improvement Loans
You can utilize other types of financing besides VA Home Improvement Loans. The following are some alternative strategies for acquiring funding for the acquisition of a property requiring repair or for the funding of such renovations in an existing residence.
- Home equity line of credit or HELOC. A home equity loan (HELOC) allows you to draw a portion of the difference between your principal mortgage and the current value of your house.
- FHA 203(k) Loan. You can fund home enhancements with your mortgage when you get an FHA 203(k) loan, whether you’re buying or refinancing.
- Fannie Mae Homestyle Loan. When compared to the FHA 203(k) loan, the Fannie Mae Homestyle loan has more stringent credit score criteria and looser limitations regarding renovation work.