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Best VA mortgage lenders in 2022

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If you’re a member of the military, a veteran or an eligible spouse, the government has made it easy for you to obtain a low-cost mortgage in the form of a VA loan. There are many mortgage lenders that offer VA loans, which come with some key advantages, including no down payment and no mortgage insurance requirement. Bankrate has evaluated dozens of mortgage lenders to determine the best lenders for VA loans. Here is our guide to the best VA mortgage lenders in 2022.


Methodology

To determine the best VA mortgage lenders, Bankrate evaluated lenders based on several criteria, including availability; borrower experience; cost (competitive VA loan rates and low or no fees); and scope of VA loan offerings.


Best VA mortgage lenders

Veterans United Home Loans

Veterans United Home Loans mortgage review

Loan products Purchase and refinance; VA, conventional, jumbo, FHA, USDA
Credit requirements 620 for conventional loans and VA loans
Pros 
  • Top VA loan originator
  • Accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating
  • Caters to military families and veterans
  • Available to borrowers in all 50 states
  • Live phone support available 24/7
Cons
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans not currently offered
  • Limited information about non-VA loans online
  • Branches network limited to only some states
Highlight Veterans United Home Loans offers free credit consulting through its Lighthouse Program to servicemembers with past credit challenges.

Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage review

Loan products Purchase and refinance; VA, conventional, jumbo, FHA, investment property, flex-term
Credit requirements 620 for conventional loans; 680 for jumbo loans; 580 for FHA loans and VA loans
Pros 
  • Streamlined application that syncs with your financial institution(s) to verify assets and income in real-time
  • Loan estimates in minutes
  • Online chat and phone support available seven days a week
  • Rated A+ by the BBB
Cons
  • No HELOCs, home equity loans or USDA loans
  • Fee structure not available online
  • No branch locations
Highlight Rocket Mortgage was rated highest in customer satisfaction for mortgage origination by J.D. Power from 2014 to 2020.

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union mortgage review

Loan products Purchase and refinance; VA, Military Choice, Homebuyers Choice, conventional, jumbo, investment property
Credit requirements 620 for conventional loans and VA loans
Pros 
  • Available in all 50 states (with 350 branches worldwide)
  • Competitive interest rates, with $1,000 rate-match guarantee
  • “Freedom Lock” allows two rate locks
  • HomeSquad dashboard offers quick preapproval and document upload and loan tracking capabilities
Cons
  • Mortgages only available to credit union members
  • Some government loans not available
Highlight Homebuyers can get up to $9,000 cash back when working with a real estate agent in the Navy Federal RealtyPlus network.

New American Funding

New American Funding mortgage review

Loan products  Purchase and refinance; VA, conventional, jumbo, FHA, USDA, investment property, flex-term, non-QM, reverse mortgages
Credit requirements 620 for conventional loans
Pros
  • Manage application process through online dashboard
  • I CAN Mortgage with customizable loan term of eight to 30 years
  • Branches available in many states
  • Accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating
Cons
  • Fees not disclosed on lender’s website
  • Loans not available to borrowers in Hawaii
Highlight New American Funding offers a large suite of loan products, including options for credit-challenged and self-employed borrowers.

Lower

Lower mortgage review

Loan products Purchase and refinance; VA, conventional, jumbo, FHA, USDA, HELOC, home equity loan, investment property
Credit requirements 620 for conventional loans; 580 for FHA loans and VA loans
Pros
  • No hard credit check to get prequalified
  • Simple online application process
  • Lower minimum credit score requirement for VA loans
  • $995 flat-rate lender fee ($1,695 fee for refinances that is waived for current customers)
  • Exceptional Trustpilot rating of 4.9 stars
Cons
  • Not available in every state
Highlight Borrowers can earn a $500 match to go towards a home purchase using Lower’s mobile app.

VA loan FAQ

Who is eligible for a VA loan?

VA loans are available only to borrowers who meet these criteria:

  • Be an active duty servicemember or veteran who was honorably discharged and meets minimum service requirements;
  • Have served 90 consecutive active days, at minimum, during wartime or at least 181 consecutive active days during peacetime, or served for six years or longer in the National Guard or Selected Reserve; or
  • Be a surviving spouse

To qualify for a VA loan, you must also:

  • Secure a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
  • Meet your lender’s minimum credit score requirement, generally 620
  • Meet your lender’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio requirement, generally no more than 41 percent (unless there are “compensating factors” that the lender can use to qualify you)
  • Demonstrate proof of income

The following requirements also apply:

  • You’ll be charged an upfront VA funding fee, which you can roll into your loan or ask the home seller to pay for. This fee ranges from 1.4 percent to 3.6 percent of the amount of the loan.
  • You must move into the home within 60 days of closing the loan, although there’s some flexibility with that time frame.
  • The loan must be for your primary residence only (no investment properties, second homes or vacation homes).

Is a VA loan better than a conventional loan?

There at least two significant advantages of opting for a VA loan over a conventional loan, even if you qualify for both:

  1. Unlike a conventional loan, you are not required to put money down with a VA loan.
  2. You won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance. With a conventional loan, you’ll have to pay for this coverage if you put less than 20 percent down.

Together, these perks can fast-track your dreams of purchasing a home and save you thousands over the life of your loan.

There is also another benefit to a VA loan over a conventional loan: It could be easier to refinance down the line. That’s because of a program called the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), or VA streamline refinance, which allows you to refinance without a credit check, and usually without an appraisal.

In addition, there are generally no loan limits with VA loans.

However, if you have 20 percent for a down payment, it could be more sensible to get a conventional loan instead of a VA loan. You won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance on the conventional loan, and you’ll avoid the VA funding fee.

What are VA loan interest rates?

For a home purchase, the average APR for a 30-year fixed VA loan is currently 4.950%, according to Bankrate’s survey of the country’s largest lenders. On a 30-year VA refinance, the average APR is currently 4.890%.

How to choose the best VA mortgage lender

Every borrower’s needs and circumstances are different, so explore different VA mortgage lenders. Be mindful of each lender’s credit score requirements, fees, application processing times and quality of customer service.

Note that some VA mortgage lenders have been caught engaging in less-than-reputable practices, particularly making misleading claims about low rates and closing costs. Be sure to do thorough research and review testimonials and ratings from the Better Business Bureau or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before committing to a lender or loan offer.

Here are more tips to help you find the best VA mortgage lender.

How to apply for a VA loan

You can apply for a VA loan through a VA mortgage lender, often online or by phone. If your lender has branch locations, you might be able to apply in-person. Keep in mind that not every bank or lending institution offers VA loans, but many of them do. If you need help, you can contact a VA Regional Loan Center for guidance.

Here are more tips to help you apply for a VA loan.

Summary: Best VA mortgage lenders

With additional reporting by Allison Martin

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Written by
Erik J. Martin
Contributing writer
Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer/editor whose articles have been featured in AARP The Magazine, Reader's Digest, The Costco Connection, The Motley Fool and other publications. He often writes on topics related to real estate, business, technology, health care, insurance and entertainment.
Edited by
Mortgage editor