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Minimum House / Property Requirements for a California VA Loan

This article is part of an ongoing series that explains the ins and outs of California VA home loans. In previous blog posts, we’ve covered many aspects of the program including the basic requirements for borrowers. Today, we will talk about the minimum property requirements when using a VA loan in California.

Property Requirements for a California VA Loan

VA loans are incredibly popular among California military members and veterans. It’s easy to understand why. This program allows you to finance a home purchase without a down payment, and while avoiding mortgage insurance at the same time. Those are two major benefits.

But there are some minimum property requirements for homes purchased with a California VA loan. These requirements are established by US Department of Veterans Affairs.

We won’t get into all of the property requirements for a California VA loan in this article. That would be a lengthy article. Instead, we will focus on some of the most important property standards that appraisers look for.

Here are some of the minimum property requirements for a VA-guaranteed home loan:

  • The electrical, heating and cooling systems within the home must be fully functional.
  • The property must have an adequate roof that will last for the foreseeable future.
  • The home must have a clean and continuous supply of water with sanitary facilities.
  • The house must be free of defective lead-based paint. (This is especially important for homes built prior to 1978, when lead-based paint was commonly used.)
  • The home should be free of wood-destroying insects like termites, mold, fungus, dry rot, leaks, exposed wiring, etc.
  • The home should have some kind of sewage disposal system that is both safe and sanitary.
  • The house should be accessible from an all-weather street, either public or private.
  • All attic and crawl spaces should be accessible and have proper ventilation.

Granted, these aren’t the only property requirements for a California VA loan. But they are some of the major checkpoints during the appraisal and property review process.

Key Focus: Health and Safety of the Occupant

Most of the minimum property requirements for a California VA loan have to do with health and safety aspects of the house. Resale value is also important. The VA-approved home appraiser will evaluate the property to make sure it meets the minimum requirements required by the government.

As you can see, these are pretty basic items. Any house that a person plans to live in should have a functioning electrical system, running water, street access, etc. So it’s not like the VA loan property requirements are overly strict. They are designed to make sure that you (the buyer) are purchasing a habitable property without any major issues.

Home Appraisal Versus Inspection

You don’t have to have a home inspection when using a California VA loan. But the property does need to go through an appraisal process, which has a basic inspection built into it.

The home appraiser is concerned with two things:

  1. First, he or she will determine the current market value of the property based on recent sales and other factors.
  2. The appraiser will also review the home’s interior and exterior to ensure it meets the minimum property requirements for a California VA loan.

So the appraiser “wears two hats” in that regard.

But this process is not the same as a full-on home inspection. A home inspector is hired by the buyer and essentially works for the buyer — at least during the inspection process. An inspector will examine the property and provide you with a written report of his or her findings.

The appraiser, on the other hand, is mostly concerned with the market value and the minimum property requirements for a VA loan. While they are similar, these are two different processes. The appraisal is required; the inspection is not.

Ready to Apply for the VA Loan Program?

Are you planning to use a VA loan to buy a house in California? Do you have questions about the minimum property requirements or other aspects of this program? Our knowledgeable staff is here to help!

Bridgepoint Funding specializes in VA loans. Our company is located in the Bay Area but serves the entire state of California. We can answer any questions you have about the program, determine how much you might be able to borrow, and even pre-approve you for a loan.┬áPlease contact us if you’d like to move forward in the process.

Disclaimer: This article provides a basic overview of the minimum property requirements when using a California VA home loan. The list provided above is not all-inclusive, but does include some of the most important checkpoints.

Mike Trejo

Mike Trejo is a Bay Area mortgage broker with 20+ years of knowledge and experience.

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