Can I Use a VA Loan to Buy a Mobile Home? How About a Tiny Home?
As a veteran, a VA loan is one of the best benefits you have. The loan allows you to buy a home with a mortgage backed by the US government. Once you qualify for the loan, you may be able to get more favorable rates than you would with a conventional loan, and you may be able to put less money down on your new house.
The VA loan does have some additional requirements, and you may be wondering if non-traditional homes—like mobile homes or tiny homes—are eligible. They are, but there are some things to consider.
Does your house have wheels?
Your mobile or tiny home must be classified as real property, not as a vehicle or personal property. In practical terms, that means you need to take the wheels off and the home must be attached to a specific property. Since the government is guaranteeing your loan, they want to make sure you can't up and disappear in the middle of the night, taking your home with you.
Do you own the property where your home is?
A VA loan won’t cover a mortgage for a mobile home if you plan to live in a mobile home park or on rented land. You can use a VA loan to purchase land and construct or move a home onto that land, but it'll need to be fairly immediate.
Is it big enough?
You don't need a mobile mansion, but you do have to meet some minimum requirements. Single wide trailer homes have to be at least 400 square feet to qualify for a VA loan, and double-wides have to be at least 700 square feet.
Does it have the things most people expect to find in a house?
Let’s play Family Feud. The category is “Things you expect to find in a house where people live.” And…top 100 people surveyed said? Places to cook, eat, sleep, and enjoy indoor plumbing. If your tiny home or mobile home has those things, you may be able to qualify for a VA loan.
Will the home pass VA loan appraisal requirements?
VA appraisers start by looking for comparable homes in the area. It can be hard to find at least three homes that are similar to a tiny home. They should be comparable in terms of condition and size. Unless tiny homes are the rule in the area where you plan to live, establishing an appraised value can be hard. The appraisal also needs to show that the home in safe, structurally sound, and free of any major defects. While it’s not impossible for a tiny or mobile home to meet the requirements, they can pose unique problems.
Does your VA lender offer mortgages for mobile or tiny homes?
Some of them do, some don't. Make sure to ask before you start the process so you don't waste time filling out paperwork that won't get you a loan.
A VA loan might require a few more steps than a conventional loan and you may have to meet a few more requirements. But the process is worth it when you end up with a loan and a home that works for you!