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Renovation Loan Program

VA Alterations & Repairs Loans

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What are VA Alterations & Repairs Loans?

VA Alterations and Repairs Loans allow eligible active military and Veteran home buyers to purchase properties and include costs for home improvement. They also allow eligible active military and Veteran homeowners to refinance existing properties and include costs for home improvement, debt consolidation, and/or cash out (i.e., cash-out refinance). There is no minimum dollar amount for renovations. The maximum home improvement costs that may be financed is $50,000 in hard costs (i.e., labor and materials).

What properties are eligible for VA Alterations & Repairs Loans?

Eligible properties include:

  • 1-4 units, owner-occupied
  • Condominiums (conditions apply)
  • Historical Properties (require approval for repairs from governing historical
  • society)
  • Modular/prefabricated homes
  • Manufactured housing
  • Planned Unit Developments (“PUD”)
  • Townhome
  • Newly constructed homes (completed in less than one year and never occupied; construction must be 95% complete)
First Time Home Buyer
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What improvements are allowed with VA Alterations & Repairs Loans?

Alterations and repairs (i.e. hard costs) may not exceed $50,000 and must meet or exceed local building codes.  You can choose which repairs you would like to finance, but it is important to note that all appraiser-noted deficiencies and repairs must be addressed.

Eligible Improvements

There are no required improvements, nor is there a minimum dollar amount for renovations. Eligible alterations and repairs must be those ordinarily found on similar properties of comparable value in the community and must be non-structural.

Types of eligible improvements include, but are not limited to:

  • Improving function and/or modernization of home (e.g. kitchen/bath remodel)
  • Eliminating health and/or safety hazards that violate VA’s MPRs (e.g. lead-based paint, mold, etc.)
  • Connecting to water public water and sewage systems
  • Repairing/replacing/upgrading plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems
  • Repairing/replacing/installing roofing, siding, gutters, downspouts, flooring, appliances, windows, and doors
  • Eliminating obsolescence
  • Installing handicap accessibility features (e.g. wheelchair access ramps, widening doorways, expanding showers, and lowering countertops)
  • Repairing existing swimming pool
  • Repairing/replacing well/septic systems
  • Installing/replacing/repairing exterior features such as fences, decks, patios and porches

Ineligible Improvements

  • Structural work which requires any new building or construction and/or requires an engineers report or architectural plans and specs.

What are the VA Alterations & Repairs Loan Appraisal Requirements?

  • As-Is Appraisal: As-is appraisals are never required for VA Alterations and Repairs loans.
  • After-Improved Appraisal: An after-improved appraisal is required for every VA Alterations and Repairs loan. An NOV (“Notice of Value”) must be issued.
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Mortgage Military VA Loan

What are the VA Alterations & Repairs Loan Financeable Renovation Costs?

  • A contingency reserve will be funded to cover unforeseen repairs that are discovered during renovation. The amount of contingency will vary between 10%-15% of the bid amount. Contingency reserves are required and typically financed in the loan amount (i.e., Financed Contingency). Alternatively, you may bring funds to closing to fund the contingency reserves; however, any assets required to fund the contingency reserves must be documented and verified above the amount required for down payment and reserves (i.e., Borrower-Funded Contingency)
  • Hard costs (i.e., labor and materials from the contractor’s bid)
  • Draw inspection fees
  • Title update fees
  • Permit costs

Other Highlights of VA Alterations & Repairs Loans

 

  • No down payment is required on purchases, assuming Veteran has enough Entitlement on their VA benefits
  • Maximum LTV (“loan-to-value”) on (cash-out) refinances is 90%
  • Unless exempt, a VA Funding Fee will be financed into your loan
  • Your contractor’s credentials will be vetted. Any contractor hired will have to provide proof of licensing (if required), a Certificate of Liability Insurance, Worker’s Compensation (if required), any specialty certifications required (e.g., lead-based paint, mold, radon, asbestos), and a signed IRS W-9 Form. The contractor must also be registered with the VA and provide proof of [a valid VA Builder Identification Number prior to the VA Notice of Value (“NOV”) being issued
  • Your contractor’s bid has to meet certain requirements such as being on contractor letterhead, naming you as the client, identifying the property where the work will take place, a full description and the location of all work being performed, a labor and materials breakdown per line item, permits and their associated costs, accurate tally of all sub-totals and the grand total, start and completion dates, and number of draws needed (not to exceed four (4)). The bid should also specifically state the repairs being made are non-structural
  • Do-It-Yourself (“DIY”) or self-help improvements are not allowed
  • Eligible DPA (“Down Payment Assistance”) programs are allowed in combination with VA Alterations and Repairs loans on purchases
  • Gifts are allowed
  • On cash-out refinances, any unused contingency reserves – whether financed or self-funded by the Veteran at closing – may either be applied as a principal reduction once the renovation work has been completed or may be disbursed to the Veteran at the Veteran’s discretion
  • All permits should be pulled immediately after loan closing, work should commence within thirty (30) days’ of loan closing, work should not cease for any thirty (30) day period, and must be completed within 120 days of loan closing

Draw Process of VA Alterations & Repairs Loans

Initial deposits and materials draws are not allowed.

Allowable Disbursements at Loan Closing

Items that may be disbursed at the closing table include:

  • Permit costs (permits must be obtained before work commences)

Remaining Draws Process

All other financeable improvement costs and fees will be deposited in the renovation escrow account and disbursed as described below:

  • Up to four (4) draws are allowed
  • Inspections must occur before draws are disbursed to ensure work is being completed in accordance with the contractor’s bid and local building codes
  • Funds are released to you and General Contractor only when any given renovation work has been completed
  • General Contractor to identify number of draws needed, payable upon completion of work
  • A ten percent (10%) holdback will apply to all progress, or interim, draws
  • Final draw will be paid-in-full and will include all previously withheld ten percent (10%) holdbacks, along with any outstanding contingency requests or change orders
  • Property will be inspected to identify the percentage of work complete to date for each draw request. VA Appraiser must complete final inspection
  • Checks will be made payable to you and contractor (i.e., dual-party checks)

There are many different types of renovation loans: conventional renovation loans through Fannie Mae® (“FNMA”) and Freddie Mac® (“FHLMC”), FHA renovation loans, USDA renovation loans, a VA renovation loan option, and portfolio renovation loans.

Below is a high-level overview of the renovation loans Diamond Residential Mortgage Corporation offers. For more information, explore FAQs and Blog.

Keys To Success:

  • Inquire early! If you attempt to place an offer on a property that is listed for sale without a pre-qualification letter, your offer may be rejected and you may miss a window of opportunity. It is best to secure financing before you are too far into the buying process.
  • Make sure your contractor is on board with the contractor qualifications, bid requirements, and draw process required for your loan type.
  • If a Consultant is involved, meet together at the property with the contractor, so all parties can finalize the scope of work together.
  • Provide requested paperwork quickly to meet contract deadlines. Time lost on the front end of a deal oftentimes cannot be made up on the back end of the deal to hit closing deadlines.
  • Be decisive!  Decide on the details of your renovation project early and resist the temptation to make changes throughout the loan process. Wavering during the process can cause delays with your closing. Feel confident in pushing forward with the decisions you make at the onset of the transaction. That’s not to say you can’t make changes along the way, but making those changes mid-stream will likely cause delays.

HomeStyle® Renovation Loans

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HomeStyle® Energy Loans

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FHA 203(k) Loans

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USDA Rehabilitation & Repair Loans

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VA Alterations & Repairs Loans

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RenoRefresh Second Mortgage

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How the renovation mortgage process works

1

Get pre-approved

2

Go under contract for the purchase of a home

3

Find contractor

4

Get bid

5

Work with Consultant (if/when applicable)

6

Appraisal is ordered

7

Loan is submitted to underwriting

8

Close loan

9

Begin renovations