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Finding the best VA loan lender can be a daunting task with all of the available options. As a service member, speed and efficiency are very important when it comes to securing a VA home loan. For this reason, it is always suggested that you use a VA-approved lender. Lenders can vary drastically in their closing times, fees, interest rates, and customer service.
Because choosing the right VA loan lender can make or break your home buying experience, we have analyzed some of the best VA mortgage lenders to bring you our top picks.
The mortgage lenders we've chosen were evaluated on variables such as their competitive interest rates, customer satisfaction, fees, required credit scores, and discounts available.
Our Top Picks For Best VA Loan Lenders
Average Days to Close: 40-50 days
Minimum Credit Score: 620
- Offers multiple VA loan products
- In house network of realtors and insurance companies
- 24/7 availability for customer care
- Accepts power of attorney signing option
- Long closing times
- High interest rates and fees
- Only offers VA loans
- Only 28 branches across the country
Veterans United is ranked the #1 VA mortgage lender for service members. They are a privately held company that offers VA mortgage loans in all 50 states with no down payment.
An eligible service member using Veterans United has access to every loan product available in the VA loan program. They offer competitive mortgage rates and have a team of knowledgeable professionals to help you during every step of your VA loan process.
While its rates and fees are quite average when compared to other lenders, Veterans United will lead you through the entire process and offer a complete guide to the VA home loan process. Your agent, service rep, and loan officer stay in constant contact through phone and email communication, and uploading important documents to your profile is very easy.
Because they only work with service members, Veterans United understands the logistics issues and speed associated with purchasing a home for some. They allow a Power of Attorney to be used in a service member's absence for the entire loan process. They also provide you with an in-house network of realtors that are experienced in VA loans, as well as insurance providers that can get you some great deals.
We like Veterans United because they have an excellent reputation for customer service, 24/7 phone lines, and access to a variety of VA loan products. Read out full Veterans United Review.
Average Days to Close: 30 – 45 days
Minimum Credit Score: 620
- Low funding fees and interest rates
- Highly rated for customer satisfaction
- USAA Homebuying 101 & Home Learning Center
- Available in all 50 states
- Only 4 physical locations
- No options for a cash-out refinance loan
- No way to fully customize the loan online
USAA is a top pick for one of the best VA loan lenders because they have almost no fees. They offer some of the most popular VA loan products such as the Jumbo loan (up to $3M) and home equity loan. USAA offers competitive mortgage rates and has some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings.
They make it easy to prequalify online and upload all of your important documents online. USAA will assign a loan officer to walk you through the entire application and underwriting process to make sure no stone is left unturned and you close on time.
We like USAA because of the lack of fees, customer care, and the online application process.
Navy Federal Credit Union
Average Days to Close: 45 days
Minimum Credit Score: 620
- Accepts power of attorney
- Over 350 branch locations across the US
- Offers interest rate locks
- Easy online application process with HomeSquad
- Must be a member to apply for a loan
- Lengthy underwriting process
Navy Federal Credit Union is a members-only bank that offers a couple of VA loan options. For service members using their VA loan for the first time or with significant entitlement left, there is the Homebuyers Choice Loan. For those that have exhausted their VA loan entitlement, there is the Military Choice Loan. Both offer 100% financing with no down payment or private mortgage insurance.
Navy Federal tends to have higher interest rates than other competitors, but they will offer up to $9K cash back when you use a realtor from its RealtyPlus Network. They will take into account more than just your credit score when applying for a loan, things such as your debt to income ratio, stocks, and cash on hand.
While Navy Federal does have an online application, you can also walk into one of its many branches. One thing to take note of if you decide to use Navy Federal as your VA mortgage lender is that, they do not hold your hand through the process. You have to stay on top of your paperwork and know what you need to close on time. Communication with loan officers can be a bit unpredictable during peak loan season.
We like Navy Federal because of the ability to walk into a physical branch and the fact that they consider more than just your credit score when it comes to applying for a loan.
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans
Average Days to Close: 56-60 days
Minimum Credit Score: 580
- Fully online VA mortgage application
- Ability to customize loan terms
- Lower credit scores for VA loans
- Long underwriting process
- No physical branches
- High fees
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans offers VA loans through its self-service online platform. They will connect you with a loan officer as soon as you are signed up. Because it is self-service nature, you don't have to speak with anyone unless it's absolutely required. After you enter the necessary information, you can be pre-approved in minutes. Quicken Loan's rates can easily be found on its website along with all of the VA loan product offerings.
Quicken Loans offers a wide range of VA loan products from fixed-rate custom term VA mortgages to adjustable-rate and jumbo VA loans. They have an impressive history of being ranked the highest in customer satisfaction in the U.S. by J.D. Power in Primary Mortgage Servicing.
We like Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans because of the autonomy of the fully online VA loan application and the outstanding record of customer satisfaction.
Average Days to Close: 34 days
Minimum Credit Score: 600
- Waives the funding fee for disabled veterans
- Offers cash-out refinancing
- Low-interest rates with no origination fees for VA loans
- Energy-efficient improvement funding
- Application deposit required for the 90-day “lock and shop” product
- Not available in New York
AmeriSave is an online lender known for its mobile-friendly loan application that allows you to get pre-approved from anywhere. They are also known for origination fees that are on the more expensive side compared to other lenders, but this does not apply to those seeking a VA loan. AmeriSave offers competitive mortgage interest rates, but in order to see them, you will have to pre-qualify for a loan which means having a credit check.
AmeriSave offers the same benefits as other VA loan lenders such as easy accessibility and the ability monitor your loan application process in real time. The majority of the company's business comes from refinancing loans, and they offer VA loan benefit backed home equity loans and interest rate reduction loans. AmeriSave will also let you roll energy efficient home improvements into your mortgage unlike some other VA mortgage lenders.
We like AmeriSave because of its competitive low interest rates and waived origination fee for VA loans.
New American Funding
Average Days to Close: 42 days
Minimum Credit Score: 580
- Low minimum credit score requirement
- Online and physical application options
- Customizable loan terms
- Not available in New York or Hawaii
- Rates and fees are not available online
New American Funding is one of the top VA mortgage lenders for service members with less than perfect credit. They use nontraditional credit or alternative credit data to determine loan eligibility. While many lenders offer VA loans, not many will manually go through data such as on time bill and rent payments or review your savings history. Along with that, New American Funding offers every loan application option. You can call, go in person, handle everything online, or a combination of the three. They also show their rates for VA mortgages online and give you the option to lock them in.
Their claim to fame is the guarantee of a 14 day closing, but this does not apply to VA loans. They do have payment assistance programs that can help with any closing costs associated with your VA loan, and look at alternative credit data. With that being said, New American Funding's fees are higher than other competitors and they do not service New York or Hawaii.
We like New American Funding because of the payment assistance programs and the alternative credit data checks.
Lending Tree: To compare VA loan rates
- Fee Free
- Easy 4-step online process and a mobile app
- Database of 1500 lenders to compare
- Immediate access to multiple quotes from lenders
- Your personal data is shared and sold to different companies
- Can only show rates of companies in the partner network
Lending Tree is a one stop shop to compare VA mortgage lenders, loan products, VA loan interest rates, and closing costs. It is a marketplace that brings over a thousand lenders to your fingertips by searching and comparing them all for you. Lending Tree will ask you to provide some personal information so that they can match you to the best VA loan lenders in their system. By submitting an application, you give your information to their network and the VA mortgage lenders that feel that you are a match will contact you.
The best part about Lending Tree is that it is free to use and you only have to have your credit pulled once for multiple offers. You will get at least three offers to compare without visiting multiple sites. If you are a busy person or just don't feel like researching the many VA mortgage lenders, this is a great option for you.
We like Lending Tree because it's a centralized marketplace to compare the best VA mortgage lenders.
VA Loan Ultimate Guide
I built the VA Loan Ultimate Guide to explain the confusing VA loan process.
- What is a VA loan?
- How to determine if you are eligible for a VA loan?
- How to get a VA loan Certificate of Eligibility?
- What credit score do you need for a VA loan?
- What is the VA loan process, from start to finish?
- Who are the best VA loan lenders?
- What is a VA cash-out refinance loan?
Here's a podcast episode from my Military Money Manual Podcast all about using the VA loan:
What is VA Loan?
A VA loan is a benefit offered to active duty service members, veterans, and some military spouses that doesn't require a down payment or private mortgage insurance (PMI) on a primary home purchase.
The loan is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs which allows lenders to provide qualified applicants with a $0 down payment option. Although there is no down payment required, there is a one-time VA funding fee built into the mortgage and you are still responsible for closing costs. Those can range from 1-5% of the total loan amount depending on location.
A qualified person can apply to use any of the following VA loan types:
- VA purchase loans
- VA jumbo loans
- VA construction loans
- VA renovation loans
- VA refinancing loans.
Similar to FHA loans, a VA loan can only be used to purchase a primary residence. If you plan to purchase a rental property or vacation home you will have to opt for a conventional mortgage instead.
The VA is known for having strict requirements that the borrower and home have to meet before they will approve the use of VA loans. Working with a VA mortgage lender that is experienced in all of the requirements will simplify your home buying process.
How to Find VA Approved Lenders
Not all private mortgage lenders are VA-approved and only a few specialize in the process. There are specific regulations and standards required for VA home loan lenders to follow and uphold to protect the integrity of the VA loan program.
The best place to start your search for a VA-approved lender would be through referrals. Family, friends, coworkers, social media, or anyone you know that has recently purchased a home using a VA loan. Ask about their experiences and if any particular VA lenders come up more often for positive things, that may be a company you should look into.
If that's not an option, you can search for a military-friendly realtor that has extensive experience working with service members. Some realtors will have their favorite lenders so you still have to do some research to find the company that works best for your situation.
Another option is to do your research by sourcing online reviews of VA loan lenders and reading articles like this one to help narrow down your search.
What to look for in a VA Mortgage Lender
When looking for the best VA mortgage lenders, you have to consider your personal financial situation and the goal you are trying to accomplish. Different lenders will provide varying benefits depending on the type of VA loan you are applying for.
When shopping around, major things to look for are experience, lender fees, credit score requirements, interest rates, accessibility, and loan products offered. All lenders will require you to state your debt to income ratio, monthly spending, and pull your credit report. Knowing where you stand financially will save you time and greatly impact your eligibility with different lenders.