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Houseboat and RV that are ineligible for VA loan

Are VA Loans Available for Boats or RVs?

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VA loans are designed to be flexible. When the program was created by the Department of Veterans Affairs, it was understood that there are all types of homes; some in the city, some in the country. Some are condos, some are ranch houses and others are mobile homes or high-rises.

Your VA home loan benefits allow you flexibility to consider purchasing a condo, mixed-use property, multi-family units or manufactured or modular homes. There are plenty of options. Borrowers should know that some lenders offer loans on some of these properties and exclude others, but VA loan rules permit them when a lender chooses to offer the loan.

What about houseboats, recreational vehicles and similar types of purchases? Does the VA allow home loans for these as well? Some borrowers ask, "If a VA loan is possible for a mobile home, why not a houseboat or RV?

Any property without a fixed, permanent foundation, including boats and recreational vehicles, cannot be approved for a VA guaranteed home loan because lack of a permanent foundation means a vehicle cannot be considered "real property" or real estate. There's a precedent with regard to the "real property" requirement in Chapter 10 of the VA Lender’s Handbook:

"To be eligible for a VA loan term of 30 years, a manufactured home must be:

  • classified and taxed as real property
  • properly affixed to a permanent foundation
  • substantially conform with VA MPRs, and
  • conform with applicable building code and zoning requirements for real estate."

The same consideration would also apply in cases where the borrower wants to purchase a recreational vehicle or RV with a VA mortgage loan.

Since there is no permanent foundation possible with a motor vehicle, it cannot be considered real estate and would not be eligible for a VA appraisal as real estate. Some believe an RV is nearly the same as a mobile home, especially when the intent is to purchase an RV to live aboard permanently, but VA rules are clear:

"The manufactured home unit must be properly attached to a permanent foundation system which is constructed to withstand both supporting loads and wind-overturning loads, and is acceptable to the building authority having jurisdiction." In short, any dwelling, lacking a permanent foundation would not be approved for a VA mortgage loan.