Buying a home can happen in just a few days for some, but for those utilizing the VA Loan process, it can feel like weeks – because it can take that long. A new law, HR 7735, passed in December of 2022 that will help speed up the appraisal process portion of the VA Loan.
The law, HR 775, also called Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Benefit, became public law on December 27th, 2022. The act requires updates by the Department of Veteran Affairs to the regulations, requirements and guidance for the loan process. In Section 2 of the bill, it specifically states that no more than 90 days from the passing of the Act, the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs will submit recommendations for improving the delivery times of appraisals to the Senate and House of Representatives.
Within Section 3 of the bill, it specifies that no longer than 180 days, about 6 months, from the act becoming law, the Department of Veterans Affairs would update regulations and requirements for appraisal. Suggestions on changes to the appraisal included certification requirements of appraisers, minimum property requirements, selection process, quality control processes, assisted appraisal processing program and other waivers were included in the bill.
The bill, in fact, does not change the appraisal process yet for those utilizing VA Loans through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The soonest changes would be potentially seen is about 6 months from the bill date, the end of June 2023.
The process for buying a home with the VA Loan requires several steps. First step is to find a VA-approved lender and then receive a certificate eligibility noting that you are able to use the VA Loan program. Pre-qualifying for a long can be done to determine the maximum budget spent on a home, but it is not advisable to purchase a home with that number. After house hunting and signing a purchase agreement, the loan process begins. A VA appraiser must complete the appraisal within the home to ensure it meets the minimum VA requirements. This process is supposed to be completed within 10 days, barring any extenuating circumstances. If the appraisal matches the value and meets the property requirements, the underwriter for the loan will give approval.
In seller’s markets, some people waive inspections on homes, but part of using the VA Loan means that a VA Loan appraiser has to review the home to ensure it meets the minimum VA property requirements, like having a operable kitchen. Using the VA Loan means you cannot waive the appraiser coming to the home for the inspection/appraisal. This may feel like a burden, but this process is there to protect those buying the home and lending the money.
In buyer’s markets, the VA Loan provides an extra protection with the VA appraiser ensuring that everything is in working order on the property.
There may be VA Loan limits, to learn the up-to-date VA home loan information, check out the housing assistance section on the VA website.