Posted on: October 1, 2018
You can buy a condo with a VA home loan. And, it’s pretty much like buying any other home. There are just a few differences to know, but you may be surprised at how easy it is.
To be approved by the VA, a condominium project must meet these requirements:
1. At least 50% of the units must be occupied by the owners. In other words, less than 50% of the units are rented out.
2. Less than 15% of the unit owners are behind on their HOA dues.
3. For newly constructed condos or projects recently converted from apartments, at least 75% of the units must be sold.
If the condo complex meets these requirements, there’s a good chance it’s VA approved. However, the condo must be on the VA approved condo list as well.
It’s very easy to look up whether a condo is approved on VA’s approved condo list. Just go to VA’s website and type in the name of the condo.
It’s best to use just part of the condo name with an asterisk (*). Otherwise the website will only show exact results.
As an example, let’s say you saw a condo in a complex called Somerset Village East in San Diego, California:
1. Type in as little of the name as possible followed by a * (no space).
2. Type in the city and select the state (county is typically not needed).
3. Hit Submit
4. You’ll get all the condos in San Diego that start with “Som”. In this case, only one.
5. The last and most important step is to make sure the status is “Accepted Without Conditions” or “HUD Accepted.”
Here are the different types of condo approval status and what they mean.
These condo projects have undergone review by the VA and are eligible for VA financing.
Prior to December 2009, VA accepted any condo project that was approved for FHA financing (FHA is administered by HUD). When that changed, VA had a group of condos that had not been reviewed, but were previously approved by HUD. These condos were not required to go through specific VA review, but were “grandfathered” in as VA approved projects.
Chances are that “HUD Accepted” condos are VA approved, but you should ask your lender to check with the regional VA office before you plan to buy in that condo complex.
Units within these condo communities are not eligible for VA financing. They have never gone through the VA approval process, were not grandfathered in under previous HUD acceptance, or have gone through review and been denied by the VA.
If the condo isn’t currently approve by VA, it’s best to pass on it and look for another unit in a VA-approved condo project. Approving the condo is not something you should try to get done. That’s the responsibility of the condo’s homeowners association. If the project isn’t approved, there could be serious issues with it and you probably don’t want to live there anyway.
A condo can be a great place to live for the right kind of person. They offer a lower purchase price than a free-standing home, but can appreciate in value just the same.
So is a condo even the right choice for your lifestyle? Ask yourself these questions. See if you answer yes to most of these.
1. Do I enjoy little to no maintenance on my home and landscaping?
2. Do I enjoy living in close proximity to neighbors?
3. Do I want convenient amenities like a pool, playground, clubhouse and gym?
4. Am I single or have a smaller family that will have enough room in a smaller home?
5. Do I mind paying monthly HOA dues that may increase over time? What about occasional larger fees to cover big condo improvement projects that the condo board may 6. approve?
6. Is it OK if I don’t have a garage?
7. Do I like to live closer in to town?
8. Am I ok adhering to community rules about pets, noise, and other activities?
How many questions did you answer yes to?
1-3 yes answers: A condo may not be right for you.
4-6 yes answers: A condo could suit you well, but consider other options too.
7-8 yes answers: A condo is probably the right choice for you.
Condos can be a great way to own a home at a lower cost than you might expect. And your VA benefit means you can buy with no money down.
And because condos appreciate in value, you could use your future equity to move up later on in your homeownership journey.
Speak to a VA condo expert to check VA condo mortgage rates. Get prequalified so you can make an offer on the right condo when you find it.