Compare 5 VA Home Loan Lenders in 2020

Sarah Badani
Enjoy Your Own Home With the Best Mortgages for Military Personnel
VA home loans are mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, with down payments as low as 0%. These loans are a benefit offered to those serving in the armed forces, reservists, veterans and qualifying military family members, and are serviced through private lenders with special rates and terms for military personnel.

What is a VA Loan?

VA home loans are mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, with down payments as low as 0%. These loans are a benefit offered to those serving in the armed forces, reservists, veterans and qualifying military family members, and are serviced through only some mortgage lenders with special rates and terms for military personnel.

Top 5 Mortgage Lenders for Getting a VA Loan:

Lender
Loan Type
Credit Score
Get an Offer
FHA, VA, USDA, Conventional
620+
FHA, HARP, VA, USDA, Conventional
620+
3. USAA
VA, jumbo, conventional

620+

4. NBKC
Conventional and FHA purchase and refi, plus VA loans
Not specified
VA, FHA mortgages, HARP refinancing, traditional fixed rate
Depends, but over 620 for some loans

If you think you might qualify for a VA home loan, it is recommended to apply. That’s because VA loans can be more advantageous than regular mortgages. One of the benefits of applying for a VA loan is that most lenders approve applicants with a less than perfect credit report. Typically, veterans, etc. have a lower credit score, a higher debt to income ratio, and short or no credit history. As such, clemencies are granted to these individuals when they apply for their loans. Additionally, VA loans generally come with a lower interest rate than you’ll find with other types of mortgages. 

So, VA loans are easier to be approved for and will cost you less overall than a private mortgage. Whether you are applying for a single family home, condominium unit, or co-op units, the right lender can give you the financial backing you need to purchase your own living quarters with ease.

Compare 5 VA Mortgage Lenders of Today:

1. Lending Tree

Suitable for: Veterans who wouldn't qualify for a conventional loan

Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Typically 41%

Minimum down payment: 0%

  • Loan amounts ranging from $36,000-$721,050
  • No service fees
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Quick and easy online application and comparison tool

LendingTree is not a direct lender. Rather, it is a lender aggregator that gives borrowers access to a larger pool of lenders at one time. The advantage of this system is that you can fill out a single application form and instantly apply to tens or hundreds of lenders at once. It saves you the time and headache of filling out multiple application forms that are asking the same questions. It also helps borrowers get the right rates because you can instantly compare offers from different lenders to find the right one with the lowest interest rates and longest terms. LendingTree is an excellent choice for your VA loan needs for several reasons. In addition to opening you up to several options simultaneously, LendingTree charges no service fees, requires no mortgage insurance, and even has a convenient loan calculator to help you see exactly how much you’ll pay over time with your loan. LendingTree lenders cover the spectrum of VA loans including purchase loans, rate & term refinancing, streamline refinancing, interest rate reduction refinancing loans (IRRRL), cash-out refinancing, cash-in refinancing, and jumbo loans. So, you can find whatever type of loan you are looking for here.

Biggest perk: Wide network of lenders for most competitive terms

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2. Quicken Loans

Suitable for: Online or over-the-phone customer service

Minimum credit score: 650

Maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: 50%

Minimum Down Payment: 0%

  • Personalized customer service based on your communication preferences
  • Rate quotes within 1 minute

Quicken Loans is another option for getting a VA loan. It offers a range of loan types including government-backed loans like FHA, HARP, VA, and USDA loans. You'll find the information you need online for your VA loan, but if you're more comfortable with one-on-one human interaction, Quicken Loans has professionalswaiting for your phone call. Fill in a short form, and they'll contact you with the information you need. There are also Jumbo VA loans available, a unique offer, as well as refinance and cash-out home loans. Quicken Loans has an "Excellent" rating from Trustpilot and calculators to assist you in finding the rates and terms that are right for your VA home loan. Learn more about the approval process at the Quicken Loans website. 

Biggest perk: Refinance up to 120% of your home's value. 

Quicken Loans Quicken Loans View Rates

3. USAA

Suitable for: Exclusive membership benefits

Minimum credit score: Not specified

Maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Not Specified

Minimum Down Payment: 0%

  • A trusted provider of VA loans 
  • Low fees

USAA has built up a reputation in serving members of the US military, and has proven to be a reliable way for veterans of all branches of the military to secure a mortgage or refinance loan. 

You won’t need a down payment or private mortgage insurance with these VA loans and your pre-approval should only take a few minutes. You will need to have a credit score of at least 620 though, and borrow at least $50,000. 

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4.  NBKC

Suitable for: Excellent customer service

Minimum credit score: Not Specified

Maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Not Specified

Minimum Down Payment: 0%

  • Excellent customer service ratings 
  • Wide range of repayment terms, VA and FHA loans 
  • Transparent pricing

A trusted national lender, NBKC can get you approved for a loan within a matter of minutes. 

The company gives you a wide range of repayment terms, and for veterans it can be a painless way to get that VA loan—and the keys to your own house. 

The VA loans don’t include any lender fees or origination fees and include special low rates. And the repayment terms for fixed and variable rate mortgages shouldn’t be hard to keep up with. 

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5. Rocket Mortgage

Suitable for: Entirely online process

Minimum debt to income ratio: 45%

Minimum down payment: 0%

  • Plenty of loan options available 
  • Fast advanced platform 
  • Real time rate updates

Rocket Mortgage is an all-online digital loans platform that can get you set up with a VA loan in no time.  The rates are constantly updated and allow you to quickly shop around for loans until you find the right rates for you, even if you can’t put much money down or your credit rating isn’t as high as you’d like it to be.  Creating your account only takes a few seconds and then there’s a quick online questionnaire that deals with your financial and personal information. Within minutes you’ll start receiving quotes for loans and then you can feel free to shop around until you find one that works just right for you.

Rocket Mortgage Rocket Mortgage View Rates

Complete Guide to VA Home Loans

If you are an armed forces veteran and are planning to apply for a mortgage on a new home or refinance an existing loan, you might be eligible to secure favorable terms from your lender.

The letters “VA” in VA Home Loan advertise that this benefit is provided by the Department for Veterans Affairs. The VA Home Loan helps service members, veterans, and surviving spouses secure loans to help recipients’ with homes for their own occupancy.

The VA guarantees part of the loan, helping the borrower obtain a loan from a private lender, bank, or mortgage company at favorable terms without making a down payment. The VA will guarantee up to 25% of a home loan, up to a maximum amount of $113,275, making the maximum loan amount $453,100.

Over 22 million VA loans have been approved since the program’s creation as part of the GI Bill in 1944.

What Are the Benefits of a VA Loan?

  • All qualified veterans are guaranteed equal opportunity to obtain a loan
  • The loan is reusable
  • No down payment, except if required by the lender or if the purchase price is more than the reasonable property value
  • No mortgage insurance required
  • The one-time VA funding fee can be included in the loan
  • Veterans receiving VA disability compensation are exempt from the funding fee
  • The VA places a limit on the closing costs the veteran can pay
  • Veterans can turn to VA staff for assistance if they become delinquent on their loan

How Do You Apply for a VA Loan?

To approve your VA Home Loan, lenders need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).A COE confirms that an applicant served the required time and attests to honorable character of service. There are three ways to apply for a COE: through a VA-approved leading mortgage lender; through the VA’s eBenefits website; or through the mail, with VA Form 26-1880.

There is a two-part appraisal process comprised of a valuation and an assessment of property conditions called the Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). The appraisal process may be requested by any party to the transaction – provided the appraiser is assigned by the VA.

VA loans typically close within 30-45 days.

Who Can Apply for a VA Loan?

The following people meet the requirements for the VA loan program: 

  • Veterans who have met the minimum service period
  • Active service members who have served a minimum period
  • Reservists and members of the National Guard who meet requirements
  • Some surviving spouses of deceased veterans

The minimum service period is usually 90 consecutive days of active service in wartime, 181 days of active service in peacetime, more than six years of service in the National Guard or reserves, or the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.

People meeting any of these descriptions can go to eBenefits or call 1-877-827-3702 to determine their eligibility.

What Are the Risks?

  • Rejection: Some veterans and service members have reported being rejected by sellers who preferred to accept a lower offer from a non-VA bidder. This may be due to a misperception that a lack of a down payment means the buyer is not qualified and is less likely to be able to close a transaction.
  • Under appraisals: If the appraisal value is below the targeted loan amount, a buyer can ask the seller to lower the purchase price and pay the remainder in cash, or request a new appraisal. In some circumstances, the buyer may find they have little choice but to withdraw their purchase offer.
  • Wait time: Appraisals can take around 10 days, but this varies by area and some people can be left waiting for much longer.
  • Repairs: Although the MPR process is designed to ensure a home is safe, sanitary, and structurally sound, it does not protect the buyer against the risk of having to make repairs right after closure.

What Are VA Loan Rates?

The average interest rate of a 30-year fixed-rate VA home loan was 4.05% in December 2017, according to Ellie Mae, the software company that processes almost one-quarter of American mortgage applications. In comparison, the average cost of a conventional mortgage was 4.32%.

The VA does require payment of a one-off funding fee for all VA-approved loans. Most borrowers pay a fee of 2.15% of the amount of the loan, although members of the National Guard or reserves pay 2.4%. The VA will reduce the fee to 1.5% (or 1.75% for National Guard or reserves) for those who pay a 5% down payment on the home, and to 1.25% (or 1.5% for National Guard or reserves) for a 10% down payment. Surviving spouses and disabled service members are exempt from the funding fee.

How Do You Find the Right Lender?

Factors to consider:

  • Customer service
  • Online user experience and tools
  • Efficiency
  • Experience with VA loans
  • Origination, closing and inspection fees
  • Your credit score

Most of the lenders that offer conventional mortgages will also offer VA home loans and many of the considerations you should think about apply to other types of mortgage loans as well. As with any loan, VA loan rates vary between lenders, so it is worth shopping around at the right VA home loan lenders and their rates and terms.

Sarah Badani
Sarah Badani has extensive research and review experience in the finance industry. With a degree in psychology and education, she brings a level of depth and understanding to her writing along with her own flavor to spice up each topic in a unique and inviting way.