How to Buy a Condo in Orange County with a VA Loan

Are you looking to buy a Condo in Orange County, CA with a VA loan? There are things you need to know before starting the condo search that will help speed up the search process and relieve the potential frustration of finding out the condo you fell in love with is not eligible for a VA loan. The most important thing to know right out of the gate is that if you are using VA financing to purchase a condo, the condo project needs to be VA approved. And while it is possible to get a condo project VA approved after you have identified the condo you want to buy, it will be far easier to just limit your property search to only those condos that are in a VA approved condo project. But how do you do that?

Two Ways to Search for VA approved Condos

There are two common methods used by Veterans and their real estate agents in searching for a VA approved condo. The most common method is to just look at ALL condos for sale and narrow down the search to the condos the Veteran is most interested in buying. Typically the search will be based on price range, bedrooms, bathrooms, size, location, etc. After filtering through 100’s of properties, anywhere from 3 to 30 properties may be identified as potential condos to buy. Then comes the frustrating part. Looking up each condo to see if it is eligible for VA financing. Since most condos in Orange County, CA are not VA approved, finding out that most of the homes are not even eligible for a VA loan is not only frustrating but a huge waste of time.

The far easier method is to only look at condos that are located within VA approved condo projects. And this is where it makes sense to work with real estate professionals who are familiar with the VA loan program and understand how to limit the search to only those properties eligible for a VA loan. The real estate agent can search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) based on a narrowed down search of legal “Tract” numbers. The resulting properties are then forwarded to the Veteran, saving a ton of time (and frustration).

Another option for Veterans who want to do some searching on their own is to use a local VA Condo search website specific to Orange County. has done most of the legwork for you. There is a link for each city within Orange County. Simply click on the link and Bam, it’s done.  For example, let’s say you are looking for VA approved condos in Irvine. By clicking on the Irvine link, a list of VA approved condos in Irvine will appear. As of today (Nov 19, 2020), there are 49 VA approved condos for sale with prices as low as $305,000 and as high as $1,030,000. A quick search for VA approved condos in Huntington Beach shows there are currently 20 properties for sale with prices ranging from $279,000 up to $800,000.

It is important to have an experienced Orange County VA loan specialist double-check the VA website to make sure the condo project is verified as approved because sometimes a condo project can run into financial issues or a lawsuit that can jeopardize their approval.

Buy VA Condo with $0 Down with No Limit in 2020

In 2020 VA will do away with loan limits for 100% financing. In the past, a Veteran would buy a home with ZERO down payment but only up to the county limit. In Orange County in 2019 the 100% financing loan limit was (is) $726,525. It was possible to buy a property and get a VA loan above that limit, but only with a down payment. Now, as a result of the “Blue Water Navy Veterans Act”, loan limits have been eliminated. This means that those high priced condos in Irvine and Huntington Beach, along with other upper-end areas of Orange County, a Veteran can buy with No Down payment.

First Step in the Home Buying Process –VA Loan PreApproval

The first step in every home buying process should always be PreApproval. The last thing you want is to spend time finding the right property and then not be ready to make an offer. Most sellers will not accept an offer from a potential buyer who hasn’t talked to a lender yet and have a PreApproval letter in hand. With VA, it is important to work with a lender who specializes in VA. It is a unique program and working with a local Orange County Loan Officer who specializes in the VA loan program will help to make the overall process seamless. The VA Loan Officer will be able to pull the VA Certificate of Eligibility (you always want to make sure eligibility is clear before an offer is accepted), along with providing a Side by Side VA Total Cost Analysis (VA TCA). The VA TCA will give the Orange County Veteran a thorough breakdown of the numbers, making it easy to compare different options and price ranges.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA Loan Officer specializing in VA Loans. MLO 223456. – Please contact my office at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. My direct line is 714-478-3049. I will prepare custom VA loan scenarios that will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short-term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process

VA Approved Condo for Sale in San Clemente, CA

va approved condo for saleFinding VA approved condo’s for a Veteran using VA financing can be time consuming. Understanding how to properly use the VA Approved Condo search on the Veterans Administration website is important. But also important is understanding that now all attached, “condo like” homes are actually condo’s. In San Clemente, CA there several projects that look like condo’s, and more importantly are priced like condo’s. But they will not be on the VA Condo Approval site since they are actually not condos.In many cases they are “townhomes”.

The Difference Between a Condo and a Townhouse in California

Definitions for condo’s and townhomes vary from state to state.  California does not actually have a legal term “townhouse”. However, it is a commonly used term to describe a style of home. Typically “townhomes” are built in a row and will share one or two walls with adjacent units. A townhouse will typically start on the ground floor. A condo owner owns only the interior walls of the condo. They do not own the land under the condo, especially since in many case there may be another condo unit below them. In other terms, a condo is a legal description that defines the common ownership of the land, buildings, and common areas.  A townhouse is a physical description of the property. It’s important to note that in areas of California, especially in Orange County, it can get confusing. There are Detached condos and Attached Single Family Homes that may look just like a condo or townhome.

To know for sure if you’re looking at a condo or not, the most accurate method is to review the Legal Description of the property. Also, in Orange County, if the Assessors Parcel Number (APN) begins with a “9”, then it is a condo. If it does not start with a “9” then it is not a condo and for VA financing purposes there is no need to see if the property is “VA Approved”. Condo’s are the only type of property that need to be “VA Approved” for a VA loan.

218 Avenida Adobe, San Clemente, CA 92672

VA approved home for sale in San ClementeA great example of a currently for sale Attached Single Family home is 218 Avenida Adobe, San Clemente, CA. Priced at $439,999,  this home is is within the Presidential Heights community of San Clemente. It is a nice and spacious 2 bedroom and 1.5 bathroom home.  There is a large open living and dining area with tile in the kitchen and dining room. There is a huge patio that is only steps from the community pool. The bedrooms are both on the second level, with a balcony off the guest bedroom. Both bedrooms have “peek a boo” ocean views. The home has approximately 1,060 square feet and the Home Owners Dues are $250 per month.

Presidential Heights is a community that sits above the San Clemente Municipal Golf Course and is known as a community perfect for first time buyers because of the affordable prices and location near golf and beaches. This community is also perfect for Orange County Veterans using the a VA home loan who want to live near Camp Pendleton.

The listing agent for this property is Stevie Koller with Realty One Group. The MLS Id is OC14052018. To learn more about the property you can call for pre-recorded information at (800) 349-3898 x 122.

Website with VA Approved Condo’s in San Clemente

To see a current list of VA approved condo’s for sale in San Clemente, go The site keeps the list updated by using an IDX feed directly from the MLS.

VA Home Loan Program for Orange County Veterans

The most important step in the home buying process is the initial consultation with a loan officer. Veterans looking to use the VA loan program to buy a home in Orange County should discuss their options with an experienced VA loan office. The loan officer should be able to prepare custom VA loan scenarios detailing on the purchase price, loan amount, payment, closing costs, and amount needed to close. Knowing these numbers before making an offer will put the Veteran in a better position to achieve a VA No No, where the Veteran buys the home with no down payment and no money out of pocket for closing costs.

Authored by Tim Storm, a California Mortgage Loan Officer MLO 223456 – Please contact my office at the Home Point Financial. Direct line at 949-640-3102.