How to Calculate Maintenance & Utilities on a VA Loan

Honorably discharged vets may qualify for a VA home loan.

Honorably discharged vets may qualify for a VA home loan.

If you’ve served the U.S. military on active duty or reserve and were honorably discharged, you may be eligible for a Veteran’s Administration (VA) loan. VA loans can be used to purchase or remodel a home, or to refinance an existing mortgage. The VA doesn’t fund your loan, but it does guarantee the loan. Lenders can approve your mortgage without risking the investment if you default. Maintenance and utility costs are part of the loan analysis process the VA requires before your loan can close. These costs, combined with your monthly mortgage, tax and insurance payments, make up your total monthly shelter cost.

Gather documents that list the square footage of the home, such as recent appraisals, property tax assessments or sales documents.

Verify the square footage listed includes both heated and non-heated areas of the home. Heated areas include rooms you might traditionally think of as living space, like bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen and dining room. Unheated areas include the garage, mudrooms, the attic and unfinished basements. If you’re looking at a property tax assessment, the square footage listed may not include basement areas or additions made to the home after its original construction, so you’ll need to include these areas in your calculation. The total heated and unheated square footage of the house equals the living area the VA uses to calculate maintenance and utility costs for your loan.

Multiply the total square footage by 0.14. The result is your monthly maintenance and utility expense for VA loan purposes.


  • Depending on when you enlisted in the military and whether you were on active duty, you may be required to serve 18 months to six years to be eligible for the VA loan. Surviving spouses who have not remarried may also be eligible. Contact your local VA office for details and eligibility certificates.

About the Author

With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

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