Can You Buy a Condo With a VA Loan?

A VA loan can help service members and their spouses obtain a condo. Learn about the eligibility criteria to see if your family qualifies.

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Most of us associate a VA loan with buying a first house, a home that provides more space for a family indoors and a place to use a barbecue grill outdoors.

But for some, a condominium is a better fit than a house. It accommodates a smaller family and often comes with a handful of amenities, such as a pool, clubhouse, tennis and pickle ball courts, covered parking, paid security and organized social events.

And, yes, you can buy a condo with a VA loan. Just like buying a house with VA loan financing, similar condo loans are less cumbersome than getting a traditional mortgage. You can apply for a VA loan through any bank or customary lender, but be sure to check the qualification requirements.

Plus, unlike traditional home loans, VA loans don’t require a buyer to have private mortgage insurance. This saves homebuyers more money beyond having a long-term loan at lower-than-market interest rates.

The VA also ensures that surviving spouses of military partners don’t get locked out of the home-buying process.

What Are the Benefits of Using VA Loans for Condos?

Veteran-specific loans bring several benefits for people wanting to buy a condo.

The biggest benefits of VA loans are:

  • No down payment
  • Low interest rate
  • No mortgage insurance
  • Low closing costs

No Down Payment

When many people buy a home, they often run into such road blocks as securing money for a large down payment and paying private mortgage insurance. Many service personnel are in the home-buying market when they are younger and starting families. Just because of their age, they rarely have much money saved up.

VA loans don’t require a borrower to make any down payment. Traditional loans usually need a 5 or 10 percent down payment. The total amount is based on the cost of the home. This is a significant up-front savings.

Low Interest Rate

VA loans historically offer the lowest mortgage rates. Why? Because all VA loans have the financial backing of the U.S. government. For lenders, it doesn’t get better.

Veterans reap the benefits. Lenders — credit unions, brick-and-mortar banks, online banks and mortgage brokers — almost always come to the table with the lowest available interest rate, regardless of how hot or cold the market is.

The VA is not involved in setting the interest rates on VA loans. Individual lenders set their rates.

No Mortgage Insurance

Also, the VA doesn’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI), which saves homebuyers from having to pay extra costs each month. Having a low monthly mortgage payment is a boon for anyone. For military members, not having PMI allows them to save money for other important things in the home-buying process or future bills.

Low Closing Costs

Closing costs for VA loans are lower than they are with traditional mortgages. Closing costs are the add-on prices for efforts that are required to get the home loan processed. They include the price of a title search and a survey, plus processing and paperwork costs.

Other Advantages of VA Loans

There are more advantages to VA loans. First, they are often quite flexible. Borrowers can also wrap the price of a home remodel into a loan. This means you won’t need to secure a separate loan to pay for renovations or a makeover.

Other advantages of VA loans include:

  • Flexible credit requirements: With many lenders, VA loans have more relaxed credit rules than traditional mortgages. Lenders still look at your credit rating, but poor credit histories won’t always disqualify you from getting a loan.
  • Help for borrowers in financial difficulty: If a veteran can’t afford a monthly mortgage payment, the VA provides financial support. It also provides guidance about managing personal finances, with the goal of preventing a foreclosure and building a financially successful life.
  • Flexible repayment options: VA loans permit borrowers to choose their payment plan. Veterans can pick a mortgage they prefer — one with a fixed rate or one with a variable rate. Their options are based on how much money they have, their credit history and what works best for them.
  • Streamlined refinance options: VA loans provide refinancing choices like the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL). This program lets veterans change the basics of their loan. It can mean a lower interest rate or a longer loan term. The program also doesn’t require an abundance of paperwork.

Benefits of VA Loans for Military Personnel

It’s important to know that VA loans benefits are not just for people who serve directly in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Other people who support the military also qualify. That includes spouses and surviving spouses.

Among the groups of people eligible for VA loans are certain members and former members of the National Guard and certain reservists.

One plus: all eligibility is the same. Lenders don’t approve loan amounts based on service type, duration, rank or contribution. However, the better a person’s financial health, the greater the potential value a VA loan has. Better credit can translate to better loan terms, such as a lower interest rate.

VA loans also have no early payoff fees. This can carry a lot of weight because active-duty personnel are often required to move, sometimes overseas. With a VA loan, you can pay off your mortgage with no loan-related cost repercussions.

Another benefit of VA loans is that people can use their eligibility more than once. If you sell a house and pay off your loan, you can secure another VA loan for a new home.

VA Condo Approval Process

There are certain rules to follow to get VA approval for a condo. First, the condo project must meet basic VA property requirements. This involves things like no health and safety risks, good living conditions, as well as insurance protection. Also, the homeownership association must have proof that it’s under control of the property.

If you’re a veteran or active military member and want to buy or refinance a condo, first check the VA’s approved list of condos. The building must be on this list for you to get approval from the VA home loan program.

Prospective homeowners should follow these steps for using the VA-approved condo list:

  • Verify eligibility: People looking to buy a home can search for specific condo projects or surf through the list to find options.
  • Check ongoing updates: The list of eligible condos gets updated periodically. Projects get added and removed based on their ability to meet VA standards.
  • Select properties: Once you find a condo approved by the VA, choose the right one for you.
  • Seek financing: When the VA approves a condo for financing, securing a VA loan becomes easier and faster.

The VA-approved condo list helps make it easier for active-duty members and veterans to buy a home by helping speed up the process of getting a loan.

If a condo isn’t on the approval list, you can ask the seller to get it approved. The VA will need updated records pertaining to value and maintenance before it considers approval. If approved, a property becomes eligible for VA financing.

Paperwork needed for VA condo approval include:

  • Home Owners Association articles of incorporation
  • HOA bylaws
  • HOA budget
  • Current financial reports (earnings list & asset sheet)
  • Minutes from the last 2 HOA Meetings.
  • Map and/or survey of the plot
  • Condominium plans

Condo Requirements

If you want to buy a condominium with a VA loan, the VA has several requirements. First, you must have the condo appraised. The VA requires a home inspection to confirm that the planned purchase meets regulations and is safe for living. A VA checkup is not the same as a standard house inspection.

A VA home inspection ensures the residence meets VA standards.

VA condo requirements are:

  • Location: The condo must reside in the United States or a U.S. territory.
  • VA-approved condo development: The condo you’re buying must be in a complex approved by the VA. You can visit the VA’s website and request a condo report. If the VA does not approve of the condo, you can ask the seller or the HOA to seek VA approval.
  • Owner occupancy: To get VA approval for a condo community, at least 50 percent of the occupants must be owners. For a new condo community, at least 75 percent of rooms must already be owned.
  • HOA dues: To get VA financing for the condo, at least 85 percent of those who own a house or apartment in the same area must be HOA-fee compliant.
  • Multi-unit housing: The condo community must have more than one unit.
  • Many owners: No person, investor or business can own more than 10 percent of the units in a condo community.
  • VA appraisal: A VA appraiser must verify the value of the condo.
  • Primary residence: You must plan to use the condo as your primary residence.
  • Additional requirements: You might have to meet more rules from the VA or your banker if you want a VA loan.

Why a Condo May Be Ineligible for VA Loans

There are many reasons the VA may not approve a condo for a VA loan. Not obeying the VA’s occupancy and financial requirements is often tops on the list. For a condo to be eligible for VA financing, it must meet VA requirements for habitability and safety. Non-compliance can lead to ineligibility.

Issues with the condo’s HOA leadership can also affect eligibility. The HOA should show financial viability, manage its property well, and adhere to VA guidelines. If the HOA can’t provide financial records or if it appears to mishandle things, you might not get a VA loan.

If HOA rules let the association decide who you can sell your condo to and when (called right of first refusal), the VA won’t approve your loan.

Also, the VA may not approve the loan if the condo complex has low owner occupancy rates. The VA prefers occupants who have a long-term financial stake in the community’s health. Having too many renters doesn’t provide that assurance.

Legal and Occupancy Concerns

Important legal and occupancy rules can determine if a condo is eligible for VA loans. Disputes in a housing project might concern the VA. These disagreements can involve fights among people who own a unit, lawsuits against the HOA and unresolved issues about property ownership.

Also, a condo can’t be on the VA-approved list if its HOA has the right of first refusal for a unit’s resale. The VA does not back condo projects that have the right of first refusal in their documents.

Low owner occupancy carries significant influence in VA loan approval. The VA often needs a set number of owner-occupied condos in a community. If too many units are empty or filled by renters, it could signal long-term instability issues for the community.

If you want to buy a condo using VA money, make sure there are no legal issues with the HOA, the building or the unit.

Is a VA-Approved Condo Right for You?

To know if a house approved by the VA fits you, think about your desires and needs. Begin by looking at your daily life and what you like. People often like condos because they don’t have to do much work on them. This makes them good places for those who want less fuss about looking after a house or property.

Look at where the condo is in relation to your daily activities and important engagements. Being close to your job, shops, and public places can affect how happy you are with the place you live in. Check if the condo’s features fit your way of life. Gyms, shared areas, and safety features can improve your quality of life.

Financial considerations are also crucial. While VA loans have friendly rates, check the cost of owning and living in a condo, including HOA fees. HOA fees help pay for shared expenses to maintain common areas and facilities such as pools, hot tubs, tennis and pickle ball courts. Make sure the fees match your budget and money aims.

Also, before committing to buying a condo unit, ask about the condition of the HOA. Does it have enough financial reserves to withstand an emergency expense? When is the last time it raised fees on owners? How often is it allowed to raise fees, and are those increases ever capped?

Other Factors to Consider

Other factors to consider about using a VA loan to buy a condominium are amenities and facilities, community environment, future development plans and resale value.

Amenities and Facilities

Look at the services provided by a typical condominium complex. It’s typical to have small gyms, swimming pools, outdoor courts, security, shared areas and help with safety. Think about whether these amenities fit your lifestyle.

Community Environment

Take pulse of residents of the community. Some condo communities promote a tenor of togetherness through events, shared spaces and group activities. If you prefer quiet, choose a condo community that has more retirees as residents.

Future Development Plans

Check or learn about any upcoming projects in the nearby area. Future construction work or big changes happening in the neighborhood could affect your life there. Learning about future changes can help you make a smart choice before you buy.

Resale Value

Investigate the resale value of units in the community, research is often available for free online. Make notes on how often units sell and how much value units gained or lost.

About The Author

Alan Schmadtke

Alan Schmadtke is the founder and president of MacGuffin Publishing, a content marketing firm in Central Florida. Prior to that, Alan was chief people officer at Launch That, for whom he spearheaded employee training and development, including seminars about the importance of retirement savings and adult money management. He also has vast experience as a reporter, editor and leader at the Orlando Sentinel. He lives in Cape Canaveral.


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  3. Lucas, T. (2016, October 12) Ten things most Veterans don’t know about VA home loans. Retrieved from