Wannabe Investor - VA Benefits - Illinois - Flip/Buy&Hold

7 Replies

Hello Everyone,

My name is Zach and I am new to the concept of real estate investing. Been following Bigger Pockets for a couple weeks now listening to the podcasts as well as doing some heavy reading. Just did the SMART real estate investing webinar last night, which was awesome! Little back ground of me, I was in the military, did 4 years and then went into school to study business focusing on small business and entrepreneurship.

While in college I always knew that I wanted to work for myself. Real estate, more so flipping and buy and hold, was always in the back of my head. While in college, I invented a product and I just received a patent as of March 12th. Ive been handling all the small business operations since I started and I say this not for promotion but to let you know that I am all about the grind, determination, persistence and resilience that is required to be able to run a business. Im not motivated by the end goal but am in love with the journey of it all. I think flipping and buy and hold is what I would really enjoy doing.


Ive been looking to get into real estate for a couple years now. I went through the VA loan process but never pulled the trigger on it because I felt like it wasnt the "right" time. Frankly I dont think any time will ever be the right time so I just need take a step forward and do it.

IIm interested in house hacking to start, but very interested in flipping and buy and hold properties. What Im not 100% on is if the VA loan would allow me to use it in those ways. Is there anyone who could offer some advice or has had experience dealing with that in the past?

Also, looking to connect with people in the Illinois area, specifically around Kankakee County. Would love to chat about finding deals considering the pretty high property taxes. (or other states with high property taxes) 

I hope I was clear. Wisdom and constructive criticism are welcome :)

Thank you for your time and feedback!


Hello Zachary! I am currently active duty Navy and have been reading up on the VA loan. The VA has strict requirements regarding the home's condition, so buying a home to flip may not be possible. Additionally, the house must be used as a primary residence (for at least a year). That being said, buying a turnkey property (needs little to no work) and/or a multi unit (4 or less doors per the VA) and house hacking is one great option.

Hey Zach 

You could use it to house hack but not to buy a flip or to buy a buy and hold property. The key is it has to be your residency for a year. House hacking seems to be the way to go to start off. I wish I knew about it years ago! 

Not sure about VA loans just the health care. Mine has been great, Semper Fi!

You should look for a 2,3 or 4 unit home to live in. It is harder and frequently more expensive to insure anythin over a four plex. Until you are seasond, hHire a property manager so the other residents don't know you live there. Also it is harder to finance anything over four as an owner occupied property.

If you are near Lombard check out the Chicago Creative Investors Association run by my friend Jane Garvey. They meet on the third Sunday of the month.

@Zachary Mroczkowski congrats on the success and mental state you have so far.

When it comes to your goals of flipping and buy/hold, nothing is impossible. Sometimes it just depends on whether each specific opportunity is worth the effort. Another major thing is who you have helping you out. As others have mentioned, house hacking is very doable using the VA loan. With the right realtor and lender you can find yourself a great property with "little to no money down". There is always certain requirements for each bonus. Using a VA loan, you should intend to live in the property for at least one year.

I am about to close on my first house hack using a VA loan. I found myself a great 2-unit property in the amazing La Grange, IL neighborhood. This will be a long term house hack property for me, but could easily be a great cashflow property if I were to move out after a year or two. This is something that someone with a little more freedom than myself can replicate and use as one way to pile up well setup properties.

With the VA loan there are additional VA inspections that can be annoyingly picky. I had to cough up close to $1k to get some paint scrapped and repainted on trim and fascia around the garage for this 2-unit. The VA inspectors have some kind of fetish with paint. I probably overpaid but I thought I was in a time crunch due to a really close upcoming closing date. Of course, after all was said and done we had to push the closing date due to the VA re-inspection taking longer than it should. It can get tiresome but I really believe it will be worth it.

When it comes to flipping it seems to get a bit more complicated. VA backed loans are meant to help military/veterans get into a home to live in. They are not really designed to help with investment properties. Either way, nothing is impossible, right? I can see you using the VA Renovation loans (some say they have spotted these alongside the unicorns and bigfoot) to get into a single family house that needs work, get the job done right by experienced contractors, live and enjoy the rehabed house for a year, then sell for much higher than you originally invested in. Or you can hold it long term, refinance out of the VA loan into a conventional mortgage, and do it all over again. This plays against some of the rules of flipping that you might see around here. I don't think I have see anyone suggest to hold a flip for a while before selling. Usually they want you to fix it up as fast and efficiently as possible so it's off your hands faster. But there is a niche out there for live-in flips. One person that comes to mind is @Mindy Jensen . I believe she has purposely lived in the flips she does to avoid capital gains taxes and so she can do a lot of the work herself. That goes to show that it can be profitable.

That said, I think it is very possible to do what you want using VA loans. Just get educated on the pros and cons of these types of deals.

I don't know anyone that has used a VA Renovation loan but I have come across a few posts here and there where they mention it being used. Here is a link to a lender promoting that type of product:


You may find VA loans might not be the way to go but either way hope you find a good journey. Feel free to reach out if there is anything I can help with.

Alex Calixto

@Zachary Mroczkowski , first off want to thank you for your service!  Next, welcome to BP and congrats on beginning your real estate journey - it starts with the first step, and you already took it!  

Regarding VA financing, you will absolutely take advantage of it at some point - it's a fantastic benefit to have. As mentioned above, it most likely not something you'd use when flipping a home, but perhaps a multi-unit property you'd want to buy and hold....maybe live there and make some improvements, get the right tenants, then eventually move out and hold that investment for a long time. Same could be the case with a 1unit, although if you find the right 2-4 maybe you get more bang for your buck.

Anyhow, anything investment, rehab, and/or finance related that you want to bounce off me, happy to chat!

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