If you are using VA financing to purchase a condo in California then you need to make sure the condo project is approved through VA. All too often an offer to purchase a condo is made and then accepted, only to find out later that the condo project is not on the VA approved condo list. And getting a condo project approved does not happen overnight. It can easily take 90 days to get project approval, if the project is even approve-able. So how does a buyer (or their real estate agent) make sure that they are making offers on condos that are VA approved?
The VA Approved Condo List
VA has a website that lists condos that are approved for financing. While not every condo project in California is on the list, there are definitely more approved VA condo projects than FHA approved condo projects. To go to the VA Approved Condo search, click here. Of course once at the VA site it is still not easy to search. But there are a few tips that will help. First, if you already have found a condo and you want to see if its on the list then knowing the project name may not be enough. And searching by condo name will likely not get the result you are looking for either. This is because much of the VA list is mentioned only by “Tract Number”. So it’s important to find out not only the project name but also the Tract Number for the project. Your real estate agent should have easy access to the tract number in MLS. Quite often the Tract Number can also be found by doing an online search of the property address, and then click on the results.
Example of Approved Condo Search
For example, let’s say a Veteran has found a condo in Orange, CA. The address is 5722 E Stillwater Ave, Orange, CA. The Veteran knows that the name of the project is Canyon Glen. But after doing a search that is specific to the name “Canyon Glen”, gets no results. This is where knowing the Tract Number is important. By doing a search of the address, several results come up for that project address. Clicking on the Redfin.com result and then scrolling down to the Property Details section, and then under the “Utilities, Location Details & Listing Information” you will find the “Legal Tract” number to be #10507. Figure 1 is a screenshot of the Property Details for this condo. Now, with the Tract Number in hand, it’s time to go back to the VA site for the search. In most cases, the best way to search for a condo in a particular city it to just search for all approved condos in the city. Do not try to limit the search. Follow these steps:
- Click on “summary” button. You do not need the Details at this point.
- Leave the “Retrieve only approved Condo’s” button unchecked. It’s better to at least find the project, even if it’s not approved, than to not find it at all and wonder if you searched correctly.
- Do not enter anything in the “Enter the Condo name or ID” fields. Unless you know exactly how it is spelled on the VA site, then you will not get a result. Remember, we are not trying to limit our search at this point.
- Choose the closest “Regional Office” in the drop down. In the case of this condo in Orange, the closest Regional VA Office is Los Angeles.
- For Condo location, type in Orange in the “City” field (since the condo is in the city of Orange). In the State drop down, choose California. Leave the “County” field blank.
- Click “Submit”.
As of the this update on May 4, 2017 there are 64 results. Of those 64 results only 18 are listed by project name, which is why knowing the Tract Number is so important. Scrolling down through the results we find the Tract 10507 listed as an Approved Condo, which means you should be clear for buying a condo in that project with VA financing. Figure 2 shows a screenshot of the the results, which Tract 10507 highlighted.
The Best Way to Find VA Approved Condos
Most Veterans or their real estate agents will search for condos and then try to figure out if the condo is VA approved. This is backwards and a waste of time. The best way is to do a search in MLS ( the real estate agent will need to do this) of projects that are approved. By limiting the search to projects that are on the VA list, time is not wasted looking at condo’s that are not approved. In many cases, a California VA loan officer experienced with VA loans on condos can help with providing the list of Tract Numbers.
Website for Finding Orange County VA Approved Condos
For those Veterans who are searching for a condo in Orange County there is a great website which keeps a current list of VA Approved Orange County condo’s. The website, which links directly to the MLS using an “IDX” feed, makes is very easy for Orange County Veterans to finds VA approved homes for sale.
Authored by Tim Storm, a California VA Loan Officer specializing in VA Loans. MLO 223456. – Please contact my office at the Home Point Financial. My direct line is 949-640-3102. I will prepare custom VA loan scenarios which will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of the your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process.