|Loan Types||VA --home loan and refinance (IRRRL)|
Home loan and refinance
|Loan Features||For US military|
|Repayment Terms||10, 15, 20, or 30 years|
|Best for||Military families|
USAA (United Services Automobile Association) offers home loans to all first-time buyers and to existing homeowners who want to refinance their home, but its emphasis is firmly on military service members. USAA provides a full range of home purchase and refinance loans both through the VA scheme and as conventional home 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.
Although USAA also offers conventional loans, its expertise in serving members of the US military makes it ideal for active and honorably discharged servicemen and women from all branches of the military, including Coast Guard and Marines. 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 and ex-military 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.
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 funding fee and can be used to finance up to 97% of the loan amount. For 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 a lot of expertise to help military homeowners and would-be homeowners to 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-qualification approval taking just minutes.
To apply for a mortgage or refinance loan through USAA you first have to be a member. Membership is only open to 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 only has physical offices in 4 states, so application is online or by phone. Online prequalification 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 approval is completed over the phone with one dedicated loan manager and borrowers can upload documents online and use e-sign to close the loan.
|Jumbo, new homeowner, refinance||No HELOC or home equity|
|VA loan expert||No FHA or USDA|
|One contact person throughout||Members Only|
|Low fees||Poor FAQ|
|Fast application||Offices 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 and former military members. VA-backed loans make up 65% of its loans and come with very competitive APR rates and conditions like no PMI and no down payment. USAA charges only 1% origination fees, and no extra fees like underwriting or documentation fees. USAA’s IRRRL refinance loan come with no fees at all. Added to this is the huge range of loans that service men and women can access, including jumbo loans and IRRRL loans. The fast phone or online streamlined application 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, which means only active and former servicemen and women and their direct dependents are eligible. 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 has physical offices in 4 states.
USAA offers VA-backed home loans, jumbo home loans of up to $3 million, and adjustable-rate variable 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 charge any 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, and borrow at least $50,000.
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 Conventional 97 loan, while the popular VA IRRRL refinance loan comes with no fees at all.
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.
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.
9800 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, TX 78288