Veterans First Review

Veterans First Mortgage at a Glance

Loan TypesHome Purchase, Home Refinance
Featured loansVA, FHA
Repayment Terms15-30 years
Minimum down payment0%
Credit score620
Best ForMilitary veterans who want a lender they can trust

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Overview

Veterans First Mortgage was founded in 1985 to provide a specialized mortgage service to veterans and military personnel. It offers VA and FHA loans to eligible borrowers across the United States, with competitive rates, low closing costs, and zero or minimal down payments. All its employees undertake a mandatory course called Operation Vet-Centric which gives them an insight into what it means to serve in the military and how they can best help you.

Best For?

Veterans First does accept civilian customers, though its primary goal is to serve current and former service members and surviving spouses. Around 90% of Veterans First’s loans are for VA Loans, so it’s fair to say it’s one of the nation’s leading experts when it comes to this government-backed mortgage. It also offers free tools and resources to help vets understand VA Loan requirements and benefits.

Types of Loan Products

Veterans First offers government-backed VA, FHA and conventional loans.

It supplies VA home loans to:

  • People who have served 2 years in regular military branches
  • People who have served  6 years in the Reserves or National Guard
  • People who have served  90 days in active duty during wartime
  • People who have served  181 days in active duty during peacetime
  • Spouses of veterans who died in the line of duty or as a consequence of a service-related injury.

Borrowers must have been employed for 2 years, have enough residual income to live on after monthly mortgage payments, and have a debt-to-income ratio of around 41% or less. In most regions, loan limits are $453,000; if you pay more than this for your home, you must pay for the excess cost yourself.

A VA loan from Veterans First includes the following features:

  • No down payment. Applicable if the price paid for the home doesn’t exceed its appraised value.
  • No private mortgage insurance (PMI). With FHA loans, the borrower is required to purchase PMI. But with VA loans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) insures about 25% of the VA loan, meaning there’s no need for the borrower to do so.
  • Low closing costs. The VA limits the amount borrowers can pay in closing costs for a VA loan.
  • VA funding fee. In return for the favorable terms offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, most approved borrowers must pay this fee. The rate is determined by the level of down payment. It ranges from 1.25% to 2.4% for first-time VA borrowers, and 1.25% to 3.3% for repeat VA borrowers. Disabled veterans and surviving spouses are exempt.
  • Flexible credit requirements. As a general rule, the minimum credit score is 620, although it can be lowered in certain cases.

The Application Process

To apply for a VA loan or FHA loan, call Veterans First or click “Start your loan” on the website and fill out your name and phone number to have a loan officer call you.

After you provide basic details about yourself, your income, the home you’re planning to purchase, and you’ve proven your eligibility for a VA loan, the loan officer will offer you a pre-qualified rate and outline which documents you’ll need to provide.

Borrowers may provide documents online. The documentation is fairly similar to that you’d be asked to provide by other lenders for VA, FHA, or conventional loans. It includes:

  • Proof of identity and address
  • Social Security number (so the lender can run a credit check)
  • Proof of income
  • Tax statements

Here are 4 basic guidelines to being approved for a Veterans First VA loan:

  • VA entitlement: A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is necessary to show you’ve met the service requirement and have the VA’s backing for the loan. The COE can be obtained from eBenefits website, by mail, or by filing VA Form 26-1880. Veterans First can also assist with the application.
  • VA certified appraisal: As a condition of taking out a VA loan, your home must pass an appraisal by a Department of Veterans Affairs-certified appraiser.
  • Occupancy: You, your spouse, or a dependent child must live in the home.
  • Income, credit, and assets: In addition to meeting lender requirements, your financials must also meet VA requirements.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Specializes in working with military veteransDoesn’t have particular expertise in conventional loans
Offers a wealth of free educational tools and resourcesDoesn’t offer a wide range of mortgage products
Borrowers can complete application online or by phoneNo online quotes

The biggest advantage to taking out a home loan with Veterans First is simply that it specializes in veteran-friendly mortgage products. Veterans First isn’t the only provider of VA loans out there in the market, but it is one of the few that can truly be considered an expert in this field. It also issues conventional loans, but unless you’re a veteran it doesn’t offer any special advantage over other lenders.

Rates and Fees– The Bare Basics

VA loans are insured by the government, allowing lenders such as Veterans First to offer competitive rates to borrowers. However, interest and APR are dependant on you, the individual borrower, and therefore Veterans First doesn’t publish any rates on its website.

As mentioned above, closing costs are limited by law. The origination fee cannot exceed 1%. Other fees include: VA appraisal fee, credit report fee, prepaid fees for escrow, reasonable interest rate discount points, and certain other closing costs such as title insurance costs and recording fees.

Repayment Terms

All of Veterans First’s mortgages must be repaid over a period of 15, 20, 25, or 30 years.

Help & Support

Veterans First operates offices in Utah, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Missouri. To speak to a loan officer, use one of these channels:

  • Phone:  a toll-free number in operation during extended business hours (Mondays to Fridays, 6am to 6pm PT, 9am to 9pm ET).
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Contact form: Click the question mark symbol on the Veterans First website and fill out your contact details to have a loan professional call you.

Summary

As the name suggests, Veterans First exists to help active and former military personnel purchase a home. It isn’t the only lender to offer VA loans, but it is one of the largest providers of VA loans and one of only a handful that exists solely to serve veterans. Veterans First operates nationwide and offers strong customer service in addition to a wealth of educational resources to help veterans better understand your mortgage options.

Veterans First FAQ

  • How else does Veterans First support the military?

Veterans First is involved in several external initiatives, including the Veterans Family Gift Shop in Salt Lake City, Utah, Fisher House dinners for families of hospitalized veterans, and care packages for U.S. troops abroad.

  • Where does Veterans First rank among VA lenders?

It has been one of the nation’s 10 largest VA lenders by loan origination value since 2010. And in 2009, it appeared on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies.

  • Where else can I read about Veterans First’s activities?

Veterans First has an active social media presence. It has more than 850,000 followers, and also operates Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages.

  • Has the company always been known as Veterans First?

Veterans First Mortgage was founded under the name iFreedom Direct, but changed its name to reflect its commitment to military veterans.

Physical Address

Veterans First Mortgage
124 Charles Lindbergh Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

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