USAA Review

USAA at a Glance

 Loan TypesHome purchase and refinance 
 Featured LoansVA, jumbo, conventional
 Repayment Terms   10, 15, 20, or 30 years, 5/1 ARM
 Down Payment0-5% minimums
 Credit Score620+
 Best forMilitary and veteran families

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Overview

USAA offers home loans to all membership eligible first-time buyers, repeat buters, and to existing homeowners who want to refinance their home, but its emphasis is firmly on military service members, veterans and their family. USAA provides a full range of home purchase and refinance loans, including IRRRL loans, VA jumbo loans, VA adjustable-rate mortgage and fixed rate VA loans with terms that range from 10 to 30 years. For non-VA eligible members, USAA offers a unique product for first-time homebuyers requiring only 3% down, along with a full range of conventional mortgages for all types of borrowers with terms ranging from 10-30 years. USAA provides top-notch servicing for the life of the loan, so USAA members will continue to recieve the lever of service that they're used to even after the loan closes. 

Helping military families buy their first home
  • APR rates from 3.899%
  • Most homes are eligible for USAA loans
  • No origination fees for some loans
  • Down payment as little as 0%

Best for?

Although USAA also offers conventional loans, its expertise in serving members of the US military makes it ideal for active personel from all branches of the military. Military borrowers can find every type of home purchase and refinance loan including jumbo VA loans, making it easier to buy a new home or refinance an existing one across the country. The focus on lending to military, veterans, and their family members, along with the speed and ease of using an online mortgage platform makes USAA a good choice for every military homeowner and would-be homeowner.

Loan Features  

USAA offers a large range of VA loans, backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs including jumbo VA loans of up to $3 million so that military members can purchase their dream home. VA loans come with no PMI or down payment required while conventional loans have no VA funding fee and can be used to finance up to 97% of the loan amount. For VA refinance (IRRRL) loans, USAA doesn’t charge any title fee, funding fee or appraisal fee and there’s no origination fee either. Currently USAA is offering to waive the origination fee for all VA loans as an added bonus. USAA offers significant expertise to help military homeowners and would-be homeowners find the best deal for them across their unique options. The online direct lending platform speeds up the loan approval process with the initial pre-approval taking just minutes.

Highlights:

  • VA and conventional jumbo loans up to $3 million
  • No down payment or PMI for VA loans
  • First-time homebuyer loan with a minimum of 3% down payment
  • Limited offer of no origination fee for VA loans
  • Fast pre-approval process
  • USAA pays the title, funding fee, and appraisal fee for IRRRL refinance loans

The Application Process

Membership is only for active and discharged US service men and women and their direct dependents. You can open membership and then apply for a loan immediately, or if you are already a member of USAA you can use your existing account information to automatically complete the application.

USAA's online pre-approval takes just a few minutes once you’ve answered some questions about the purpose of your loan, how much you want to borrow, and your service history. Loan applications are completed over the phone with one dedicated loan officer and borrowers can upload documents online and use e-sign to sign the loan documents. For refinances, USAA offers a mobile closing service in most states where a notary can meet you at your home, office, or other place of your chosing, even outside of business hours. 

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Jumbo, new homeowner, refinanceNo HELOC or home equity
VA loan expertNo FHA or USDA
One contact person throughoutMembers Only
Low feesPoor FAQ
Fast applicationOffices in 4 states

The biggest pro to taking out a home loan through USAA is that the company is fully focused on supporting US military, veterans and their families. VA-backed loans make up 65% of its loans and come with very competitive rates and features like no PMI and no down payment. USAA charges only 1% origination fees (waived for some loan types), and no extra fees like underwriting or documentation fees. USAA’s IRRRL refinance loan comes with no fees at all. Added to this is the huge range of loans that members can access, including jumbo loans and ARMs. The fast phone or online streamlined pre-approval process is another pro, making it quicker to get approval and easier to submit and sign documents.

On the flip side, USAA’s loans aren’t open to anyone who isn’t a USAA member. While USAA does offer many home loans, there is no HELOC or home equity loan available and no FHA or USDA loans. The website has a very thin FAQ section, making it hard to find answers to specific questions without getting in touch with a person. Most people who want to have a face-to-face consultation will be disappointed, since USAA only takes applications over the phone or online. 

Military service men and women purchasing homes

Loan Terms- The Bare Basics

USAA offers VA-backed home loans, jumbo home loans of up to $3 million, and adjustable-rate home loans. A VA loan doesn’t require any down payment or PMI. USAA also offers conventional jumbo and first-time homeowner loans. Its Conventional 97 home purchase loan requires only a 3% down payment and doesn’t require any VA funding fee. USAA’s refinance loans are highly popular, especially the VA-backed IRRRL loan which is available without any fees at all.

To borrow through USAA you need to be a USAA member, have a minimum credit score of 620 for most loan types, and borrow at least $50,000.

  • Minimum credit score of 620 for most loan types
  • Borrow between $50,000 and $3 million
  • Buying or refinancing a residential, owner-occupied home or 2nd/investor home

Repayment Terms 

USAA’s VA-backed, fixed-rate home purchase loans are available for terms of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years, with APR rates beginning at 4.265%. You can also get a 5/1 variable ARM mortgage with APR rates currently beginning at 3.899%. VA-backed fixed-rate refinance loans begin at 4.532% APR with terms of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years, while VA-backed 5/1 variable-rate ARM refinance loans begin at 3.899% APR.

USAA members who choose a conventional loan product can get rates from 3.691% on 10, 15, 20, and 30 year terms for home purchase or refinance loans from 3.908% APR and the same 10, 15, 20, or 30 year terms. There’s no down payment for a VA home purchase loan and only a 3% down payment required for a first-time homebuyer loan, while the popular VA IRRRL refinance loan comes with no closing fees at all.

Help & Support

USAA’s online FAQ section isn’t very extensive or helpful and there is no live chat. However, USAA customer representatives are available by phone and email and it's easy to find the right customer support number for your issue.
All of USAA’s customer service numbers can be found online, or you can call its main helpline at 800-231-9944.

So, Should you Borrow with USAA? 

Overall, USAA is a formidable lender for active and former US servicemen and women. The range of VA-backed loans on offer is impressive, even though there is no HELOC or home equity option, and the low fees make the loans very attractive. The online and telephone application process is far faster than in-person alternatives. USAA is somewhat let down by patchy customer support and a poor FAQ section, but the good loan options still make it a great choice for military homeowners.

Physical Address

9800 Fredericksburg Road

San Antonio, TX 78288

Visit USAA

 
Accounts are introduced and brokerage services provided by USAA Financial Advisors, Inc. (FAI), and USAA Investment Management Company (IMCO), both registered broker-dealers, Members Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Clearing and custody provided by National Financial Services, LLC (NFS), Member NYSE, SIPC. 
Health solutions provided by USAA Life Insurance Company and USAA Life General Agency, Inc. (LGA) (known in CA and NY as USAA Health and Life Insurance Agency), which acts as an agent for select insurance companies providing products to USAA members. LGA representatives are salaried and receive no commissions. LGA receives compensation from those companies, which may be based on the total quantity and quality of insurance coverage purchased through LGA. Plans not available in all states. Each company has sole financial responsibility for its products. 
Use of the term “member” or “membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change. To join USAA, separated military personnel must have received a discharge type of “Honorable.” Eligible former dependents of USAA members may join USAA.
Investments and insurance are not FDIC Insured; not bank issued, guaranteed or underwritten. May lose value.
Bank products provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC.

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