Can You Use a VA Loan for Investment Property?

VA loans aren’t intended for investment properties, however, there are ways around this rule.

VA loans include some major benefits. Backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, this helpful mortgage program has no credit score minimum, requires zero down payment, and offers 100% financing. It’s really one of the best loan choices available– 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– however …

At its heart, the VA loan program is designed to help veterans and military members afford a home they plan to use as their main residence. Therefore, you can not 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 entirely.

That does not bar you from making money from a VA-financed property completely, though. To use a VA loan for an investment property, you’ll have to meet the following three requirements:

1. You’ll have to have military service

To even consider a VA loan, property investors have to make sure they meet the program’s military service requirements. That means you (or your spouse if you’re co-buying) have to be an active military member or veteran.

You also need 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 be 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 need 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 main residence. That means if you plan to use the program to purchase a multifamily property, you’ll need to reside in one of the units. You’ll also have to move into it within 60 days of closing on your loan.

3. Your property can not have more than four single-family units to it

VA loans can only be used on properties with up to four units. If you exceed this, your rental property will not qualify for financing. That means duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes are all fair game. But large apartment complexes? Absolutely not.

Using Rental Income to Qualify for a VA Home Loan

If you and your property meet these requirements and you do plan to rent out some units for extra income, you may be able to use those rents to help you qualify for the loan.

To do this, you’ll need to have cash reserves to cover at least six months of mortgage payments and documented experience as a landlord. Meet both those qualifications, and you can collect 75% of rents previously collected on the property or 75% of the rent appraiser projects you can ask for each unit.

The Bottom Line

The VA home loan benefit isn’t intended for investment real estate, but if you meet the military service requirements, there are ways to use these mortgages to finance up to three rental units in your primary residence.

If it turns out you’re ineligible for a VA loan, there are a lot of other investment property loan options to take into consideration. You could use a conventional mortgage loan, hard money loan, portfolio loan, or an FHA loan if you’re willing to live on the property.

With Mission First Capital, you can start your investment journey alongside other military members and veterans! If you have questions or would like to talk about potential partnerships or investment opportunities, don’t hesitate to reach out. Give us a call at +1 (844) 632-3863 or visit our website MissionFirstCapital.com to learn more and let’s invest today!