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Buying a VA Foreclosure: How To and Cautionary Signs

Buying A VA Foreclosure

Considering purchasing a foreclosure from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as an affordable entry into homeownership or to expand your investment portfolio? You’re not alone; numerous homebuyers and investors contemplate this option annually.

Acquiring a foreclosed VA property often allows buyers to secure real estate at significantly lower prices compared to new market listings. However, these properties are sold as-is, which could pose challenges for buyers, potentially necessitating additional maintenance or renovations compared to other real estate options.

This guide will equip you with the necessary knowledge to navigate the process of purchasing a VA foreclosure, including critical considerations before making a purchase and insights on maintaining or renovating the property.

What is a VA Foreclosure? 

Properties financed with VA home loans, known for their more accessible credit score and down payment requirements to assist borrowers, can still face foreclosure if the homeowner fails to meet mortgage obligations.

These foreclosed properties are commonly known as VA REO homes, short for Veterans Affairs Real Estate Owned homes. Essentially, if a mortgage loan defaults and the property isn’t sold through an auction or short sale, it’s repossessed by the VA.

Who is Eligible to Purchase VA Foreclosures? 

Properties that the VA takes possession of following foreclosures on VA loans are accessible to all interested buyers via real estate professionals. This means that anyone looking to expand their property holdings can purchase these homes, whether or not they have served in the military or are veterans.

This presents a prime opportunity for those looking to acquire properties at significantly reduced prices, including real estate investors who are also eligible to buy VA foreclosures.

To capitalize on these discounted property opportunities, ensure you’re pre-approved so you can make an offer immediately upon finding the ideal home.

How to Purchase a VA Foreclosure 

Interested in acquiring a VA foreclosure for renovation, residence, or as a potential addition to your investment portfolio? The process involves several steps, akin to purchasing any foreclosed property not specifically classified as VA REO.

  1. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent Navigating the property market and identifying valuable deals is best done with a knowledgeable local REALTOR®. A reliable real estate agent will assist in pinpointing properties for purchase and keep you informed about local market trends. They can leverage the multiple listing service (MLS) to locate VA foreclosures for you. 
  2. Search for Veterans Affairs REO Properties Looking for a bargain foreclosure? VA REO homes, aside from auction or short sale options, can typically be found through an agent or broker. Remember, VA REO properties are sold as-is, meaning the current state of the property is what you’ll acquire, for better or worse.
  3. Secure Mortgage Preapproval Securing preapproval for a mortgage is a critical step in the home-buying process, enhancing your position as a serious buyer in the eyes of the VA and ensuring you have the financing needed for the purchase. Preapproval also allows you to act swiftly when you find a suitable property, with offers often being accepted on the day they are made, depending on market conditions. 
  4. Conduct an Appraisal and Inspection Just like with any potential real estate acquisition, it’s important to carry out due diligence. This might involve getting an appraisal as required by your lender, and opting for an inspection to better understand the condition of the property, given that it’s sold as-is.
  5. Finalize the Purchase The concluding step is closing on the property. This involves settling any closing costs, completing all necessary paperwork and research to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership and title. The closing takes place at a scheduled date and time, where any outstanding balances are paid, and loan terms are met, with assistance from various real estate professionals.

Is It Possible to Purchase a VA Foreclosure with a VA Loan? Yes, if you’re an eligible service member, veteran, or surviving spouse, you have the option to purchase a VA REO home using a VA loan. This route offers several advantages, such as:

  • Zero down payment required for the home purchase.
  • Exemption from private mortgage insurance (PMI), with a funding fee that can often be incorporated into the loan.
  • The opportunity to refinance to a lower interest rate through the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL).
  • Potential for the seller to cover some or all closing costs.
  • VA loans are assumable by other eligible buyers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying VA Foreclosed Homes Purchasing a VA foreclosure, like any real estate investment, comes with its set of pros and cons. Here are some key points to consider:


  • Open to veterans, service members, and non-military civilians alike.
  • Lower purchase prices compared to other local homes.
  • Great opportunities for those looking to remodel or renovate.


  • Properties are sold as-is, possibly requiring substantial maintenance.
  • Risk of having to deal with squatters in foreclosed homes.
  • Potential for unforeseen costs and expenses during renovations.

Common Questions About VA Foreclosures

Is Foreclosing on a VA Loan More Difficult? VA loan holders often have access to additional support, including free mortgage counseling. These counselors can negotiate directly with lenders to adjust repayment plans, arrange for forbearance, or even modify the loan terms.

Where to Find VA Foreclosures for Sale? The VA employs a property management service to oversee the marketing and sale of these homes, which are listed on the MLS by local agents. Working with a real estate agent can help you find these listings.

How Long Does Closing on a VA Foreclosure Take? The closing process for a VA foreclosure is typically no longer than that for other real estate transactions. However, it’s wise to conduct an inspection and your lender will likely require an appraisal, even for as-is properties.

Conclusion: Considering VA Foreclosures 

A VA foreclosure or VA REO presents a unique opportunity for real estate buyers and investors to secure properties at significantly reduced costs. Remember, these homes are sold as-is and may require various degrees of renovation.

When exploring the world of foreclosed properties, having a knowledgeable team of real estate professionals by your side can be invaluable. Before making an offer, thoroughly research properties, neighborhoods, and the local market.

Ready to dive into purchasing VA foreclosures? Start your journey today by applying for a mortgage with Elevation Mortgage.

Picture of Reed Letson

Reed Letson

Reed offers two decades of expertise as a mortgage broker, focusing on veterans and first-time home buyers. With a strong grasp of real estate and mortgage markets, he empowers clients with practical insights. Reed's passion is guiding clients to build wealth through real estate investments and financing solutions.

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