As with any real estate purchase, the process begins with knowing what you can afford. At no charge, one of our loan officers can write up a letter of pre-approval indicating what size VA construction loan you are qualified for. If you do not have a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) we can get one for you and provide a copy along with the letter of pre-approval.
If you already own the land great! We may be able to use equity for down payment on your home. Otherwise, the next step is to find a piece of land to build on. If you've found the right lot but won't be ready to build for several years, VA doesn't have a program for financing vacant land so, be sure to check out our vacant land loan products. Our VA construction loans are for VA eligible customers who already own the land or, want to buy the land and build within 18 months.
You will need to have a set of plans and specifications drawn up for the home. A builder, engineer or, architect that is familiar with VA requirements should be used to prepare the plans and spec's. If you need specially adapted accommodations, make sure the person preparing the plans and specs knows about your needs. Now is also a good time to determine what if any specially adapted housing grants you are eligible for. The VA does not allow non-typical housing (geodesic dome houses, tunnel homes, etc.) or, housing built with new materials that have not been widely adopted by the industry.
You will also need to select a VA approved builder to do the construction. The builder must have a valid VA identification number unless the veteran is building his/her own home. Finding a VA approved builder willing to build your home can be a challenge because unlike a conventional construction, VA construction requires the builder to finance the construction phase and the VA will not guarantee the loan until construction is complete. For this reason builders aren't eager to do VA construction and many eligible veterans opt for our conventional construction-perm financing. A veteran may act as a general contractor in building a home for his/her own occupancy. As an owner-builder, the veteran must agree to pay for any special inspections necessary to ensure that the work meets VA Minimum Property Requirements for existing construction.
The following construction plans and specs are needed:
- • VA Form 26-1852, Description of Materials signed by builder and veteran • Plot plan including location of well/septic systems if applicable • All exterior building elevations (front, rear, sides) • Foundation or basement plan • Plan of all floors • Wall section• Certification signed and dated by a technically qualified and properly identified individual (such as builder, architect, engineer, etc.) VA will accept HUD form 92541, Builder’s Certification of Plans, Specifications and Site, in lieu of this certification.
A heating system is not required in the following Florida counties: Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Dade, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Monroe and Palm Beach.
Now, that you've found a lot, have plans, specs and a builder, you're ready to apply for financing. While construction crews may prefer to work with large blueprints, the VA will not accept plans and specs on paper larger than legal size (8½" x 14") paper. Just mail, email, fax or hand deliver a copy of your plans and specifications to us. We will have a licensed appraiser look at your lot and review the plans and specs. The appraiser will then provide an appraisal of the proposed homes value once completed. If the appraisal comes in at or under your pre-approval figure great we can proceed with financing.