How to Use a VA Loan to Buy a Condo in WA State

May 23, 2024
Last updated:
May 23, 2024
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The VA loan program allows military and veterans in Washington to purchase a home with no down payment or mortgage insurance. Those are two compelling benefits, especially in pricier real estate markets that require a substantial down payment.

This program also allows eligible borrowers to buy a variety of property types, including detached single-family homes, condos, and townhouses.

But there are some specific requirements when it comes to buying a condo with a VA loan. For one thing, the condominium development must have been previously approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

This guide explains the steps you need to take when using a VA loan to buy a condo in WA State.

1. Obtain your Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

As you probably already know, the VA home loan program is limited to military members, veterans, and certain surviving spouses. So before you start shopping for a condo, you’ll want to obtain your Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This document confirms your eligibility status, giving the mortgage lender a green light to originate and process your loan. You can request your COE through the website or have your mortgage lender do it for you.

2. Check the condo development’s approval status.

Many condominium developments across the state of Washington have already been approved for VA loan usage. But not all of them. So you’ll want to pull up a list of approved condos in the specific city or county where you plan to buy a home.

As the Department of Veterans Affairs states in their handbook for buyers:

“VA maintains a list of approved condos. If the condo is not on the list, the project must be submitted to VA for review to ensure that it complies with VA requirements.”

Here’s how to identify approved condominium projects in your area:

  • Visit the following URL:
  • Check the box for “retrieve only approved condos”
  • Enter your state (at a minimum) along with the city or county
  • Click the “submit” button to process your request

You’ll probably want to narrow your search as much as possible, by providing a specific city or county. If you only enter the state of Washington, you’ll end up with a list of more than 2,000 approved condo developments.

Note: Unlike the FHA loan program, the VA does not perform “spot” approvals of individual condominium units within a development. In order to be eligible for this program, the entire complex must be approved.

3. Review the condo’s bylaws, dues, and special assessments.

Before diving headfirst into condo life with a VA loan (or any financing), perform a little due diligence. This could save you headaches and money down the road.

Start by reviewing the condo development’s bylaws or rules for occupants. These can affect everything from painting your balcony to hosting gatherings. Knowing these restrictions upfront ensures you’re comfortable with the lifestyle the condo offers.

You’ll also want to review the association’s dues and special assessments. HOA dues cover common area upkeep and amenities, impacting your monthly budget. Special assessments, on the other hand, are one-time fees used to fund major repairs.

4. Get pre-approved by a mortgage lender.

Being pre-approved by a mortgage lender can increase your chance for success.

The condo owner/seller might be more likely to accept your offer, if they know you’ve been financially pre-screened by a lender. It shows you’re a serious buyer who will likely be approved for financing.

Pre-approval can also help you narrow down your condo list based on your financing amount. There’s no point in looking at condominium units that exceed your maximum loan amount, unless you can come up with the difference out of pocket.

5. Make an offer and negotiate the sale price.

Once you’ve identified a condo you wish to purchase (and verified its approval status), you can submit an offer directly to the seller. If you’re working with a real estate agent, he or she will likely review recent sales data to determine a good offer amount.

You can benefit from working with a real estate agent when buying a condo in Washington. Most experienced agents are very familiar with the VA loan process for condos. Your agent can also help you submit a strong offer, increasing the chance that it will be accepted.

6. Wait for the appraisal and underwriting process.

All properties being purchased with a VA loan in Washington State must be appraised to determine their current market value and overall condition. This applies to condos as well.

The mortgage lender will request the appraisal to ensure the condo is worth what you’ve agreed to pay for it. As a buyer, there’s not much for you to do during this process, other than wait for its completion.

The mortgage underwriter will review the appraisal report and all other documentation to ensure compliance with VA loan guidelines. They might also request additional information from you, so keep an eye out for that.

7. Attend closing, sign paperwork, and get your keys!

When the underwriter is satisfied that the loan meets all applicable VA condo loan requirements, you’ll be ready to move on to the closing stage. This is where you sign all of the finalized documents and pay your closing costs. Lastly, you will receive the keys to your new condo!

So there you have it. These are the steps required when using a VA loan to buy a condo in WA State. With the right real estate and mortgage team in place, getting and using a VA loan to buy a condo should be a relatively seamless process.

Have questions? At Sammamish Mortgage, we specialize in the VA home loan program and serve borrowers all across the state of Washington. We can help you get the loan process started and improve your chances of getting VA loan condo approval. Please contact us if you would like to use a VA loan to buy a condo, or if you have questions about the process.

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