You’ve given a great deal to your country during your, or your loved one’s, time in uniform, and now you’re looking to buy a house. Veterans Affairs home loans are one way the United States gives back—through government-subsidized, no down payment loans that can help veterans get that much closer to their own house.
If you are a current or former member of the armed forces or a qualifying family member, you can finance 100% of the cost of your house without being required to pay mortgage insurance. That said, your credit score can still affect your interest rate.
Current members of the military and National Guard
Veterans who served in the military or National Guard for 90 consecutive days during wartime
Veterans who served in the military or National Guard for 181 consecutive days during peacetime
Veterans who were discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability
Spouses of personnel who died in the line of duty
There are other qualifying borrowers in special circumstances, so if you believe you may qualify, it’s best to speak with a VA loan specialist or lender for more details. You will still need to have satisfactory credit and show proof that you have enough income to keep up with the monthly payments. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the loan is provided by a private lender—not the VA—though the VA does guarantee a portion of the loan, allowing veterans to receive loans with no money down and without having to pay mortgage insurance.
Fees and interest rates aren’t the only factors to take into consideration. Here are some more things to look at when comparing lenders:
Loan size: Being that there’s no down payment, with a VA loan you will finance the entire mortgage. Make sure that the lender you go with can approve a loan up to and including the entire cost of the house.
APR: The Annual Percentage Rate, or APR, is the interest rate plus processing fees and points, which gives you an overview of the combined yearly cost of the mortgage. This is the figure to look at when trying to determine the total annual cost of your investment. With VA loans, the recipients are typically required to pay a one-time funding fee. The amount varies, depending on factors including if a down payment was made and the type of veteran. These fees can range from 2.15 percent to 3.3 percent.
Credit: VA loans don’t require a specific minimum credit score, but for the most part lenders are going to want you to have at least a credit score of around 620. While the VA loan does help you get a house with no money down, it can’t keep you from getting a high interest rate if your credit score is low. If this is the case, look for lenders who will still finance, and will also provide interest rates that are reasonable.
Loan terms: Take a long hard look at the type of loan terms that you think are best for your budget, and negotiate accordingly. The shorter the mortgage the higher the monthly payment, though you will pay less interest, and therefore less in total than you would with a longer mortgage term.
Customer service: Becoming a homeowner can be a dream come true—and a headache at times. While maneuvering the mortgage process, you’re better off with a lender who can provide you reliable customer service.
No down payment
This really can’t be overstated. Often the biggest obstacle for first-time homeowners is getting the money together for a down payment. For a $300,000 house, a relatively small down payment of 10 percent is still $30,000, which can be hard to come up with, especially with all the other fees that come with buying a home.
Many people have the monthly income necessary to pay for a mortgage, but without the money for a down payment, they can’t get out of the starting gate. VA loans take care of this hurdle, and help servicemen and women get a place of their own.
No mortgage insurance
Because the loan is guaranteed by the government, you won’t have to put down mortgage insurance. This can save you a significant amount of money as mortgage insurance can easily be into the hundreds of dollars per month.
They’ve got your back
If you have trouble making your mortgage loans, the VA can work on your behalf with the lender in order to help you negotiate new payment plans or charges to your loan. With a VA loan, you aren’t on your own.
We're honored to help you find the VA mortgage loan for you. Consider the rates and customers service available in order to compare lenders and find the one for you and your family.
No origination fees for some loans
Fast application and low fees
USAA Bank is a major lender that has put a big emphasis on VA loans. With USAA you can take advantage of a quick and easy application process with low APRs. The application is carried out online or by phone, and the company states that online prequalification only takes a few minutes. It also has a 1% origination fee, which is lower than most competitors.
No fee for connecting you to lenders
See lowest rates by city
LendingTree has become an industry leader through its easy-to-use online marketplace that connects you with multiple lenders in moments. The current VA loan rates advertised on their site have some of the best APR rates out there—2.875% on a 30-year fixed loan. The site is chock full of calculators and tips and a knowledge base that should be able to answer any of your questions and help you navigate what can be a fairly confusing process.
Variety of educational resources
Submit application online—or go in-person at one of 14 branches nationwide
Solid customer service
J.G. Wentworth has spent more than 2 decades in the lending business, offering a wide variety of loans, including VA mortgages. The application process is simple and straightforward and largely automated. The company provides 15-, 20-, and 30-year VA loans, and if you have average credit you can get an APR of 4.027% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. Also, if you run into any difficulties, you can access customer service by email, phone, or live chat (in some states).
Refinance an existing VA loan up to 120% of your home’s value
Assistance in collecting the necessary paperwork for a VA loan
High-quality customer service
Quicken Loans is a highly-versatile lender that can provide 5- or 7-year adjustable-rate mortgages as well as 15- or 30-year loans. The APR rates (as of today) are 4.148% on a 30-year fixed-rate VA loan. Quicken doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement and the loan approval process is known for being quick and easy. The company has also received high marks for its customer service.
Fully-digital process that is quick and simple
Extensive customer service
Quotes within minutes
Rocket Mortgage is a fully online lending house that is tailor-made for digital natives. The company facilitates VA loans and mortgages for people with less than ideal credit. The application is very simple and straightforward, and you should be able to receive a quote within minutes of starting the process. That said, unlike many other companies, you have to fill out a fairly extensive questionnaire in order to get just an initial idea of the company’s rates.
You served your country with dedication, and a VA loan is one of the ways this country has for paying you back. Freed from the burden of scraping together a down payment, you should be able to finally experience the security and satisfaction of being a homeowner.
Before you sign on the dotted line though, take a close look at what different lending houses can offer you in the way of APR, fees, and other requirements, to make sure you find the best one for you. In addition, a solid customer service should be a priority when taking this process head on.
The bottom line, as a servicemember or family of a servicemember, you’ve never been in a better position to become a homeowner.