There is no down payment or private mortgage insurance (PMI) needed for a VA loan, which is a military benefit. However, whether a lender is willing to extend you a loan with no down payment could still depend on your credit rating and credit history.
For more information on the types of loans that are offered and the Veterans Affairs (VA) service requirements, see our VA loan guide.
We also outline the top VA loan servicers for 2022. We’ve selected mortgage lenders that can accommodate the needs of the majority of borrowers, whether you’re looking for low rates, a fully online mortgage experience, or options that can work with lower credit scores.
Our Top Picks for Best VA Loan Lenders
Navy Federal Credit Union is our top VA loan lender overall thanks to a combination of low fees, numerous loan assistance programs, and a wide selection of mortgage loans.
Financial institution Navy Federal Credit Union provides military families with low rates and financial incentives.
Navy Federal’s low interest rates, which range from 0 to 12.99%, are its distinguishing feature. 3% to 1% less than the following best option on our list For those who might not be eligible for a VA loan, its mortgage loan offering is notable for having “zero down payment” loans.
Navy Federal also offers up to $9,000 cashback for using its network of real estate agents, and it permits the seller to pay up to 4% of the price of the home toward your closing costs. While looking for a home, you can lock in a lower rate up to twice with Navy Federal’s rate lock feature. HIGHLIGHTS.
Rocket Mortgage is our choice for the best online VA loan lender because of its entirely online application and closing processes, as well as its numerous tools for monitoring your ongoing and existing loans.
An online lender called Rocket Mortgage stands out for its comparatively simple online mortgage application process. Rocket Mortgage’s website and mobile app allow you to submit all of your paperwork digitally and track every step of your loan’s processing, though the experience may vary depending on each borrower’s circumstances.
While speaking with a live agent is an option, you can also get in touch with Rocket Mortgage using online or mobile messaging.
Rocket Mortgage accepts credit scores as low as 580 and debt-to-income ratios as high as 60% even though it doesn’t have the widest loan selection. It also works with all the major VA loans (purchase, refinance, and IRRRL). HIGHLIGHTS.
Why we selected it: Veterans United is our pick for the best VA loan provider for VA loan variety because it provides more veteran-focused mortgage options than the typical purchase, refinance, and streamline products.
Veterans United stands out among lenders who specialize in VA loans because it provides more VA loan types than competing lenders and has fair rates and credit score requirements. Jumbo VA loans and VA energy-efficient mortgages are two additional Veterans United home loans in addition to the standard purchase, refinance, and IRRRL (streamline) VA loans.
Veterans who no longer qualify for their full VA entitlement may find that jumbo VA loans are a good option because, unlike veterans who qualify for their full entitlement, their VA loans are subject to a cap on the total amount borrowed.
Anyone looking to add energy-efficient improvements to their new home (but not appliances) has a good option because energy-efficient mortgages are not frequently offered by VA loans. Sadly, consumers seeking home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) must turn to other lenders for these kinds of loans. HIGHLIGHTS.
PenFed is our choice for the best VA loan lender for competitive rates because it offers the second-lowest mortgage rates (less than 1% higher than our top pick) for borrowers with credit scores as low as 620.
PenFed Credit Union stands out for providing some of the lowest rates available for VA loans and mortgages. PenFed offers a wide range of loans, including conventional, FHA, VA, jumbo, and adjustable-rate mortgages, in addition to a sizable loan selection.
The initial one is a $500 bonus for 60 straight on-time payments. It may not seem like much overall, but it’s a nice reward for making your mortgage payments on time. The second perk is the potential for $2,500 in lender credits to be offered toward your loan closing costs, which can help you pay for your loan with less out-of-pocket money.
Sadly, when reviewing loan applications, PenFed does not take “alternative” or non-traditional credit and income information into account. Contracting PenFed’s services necessitates membership, and you can only join if you’re a veteran, active duty service member, or a close relative of an active duty service member. HIGHLIGHTS.
Although North American Savings Bank focuses on serving clients in the Kansas City, Missouri region, it offers mortgage services to people across the U S. The fact that NASB offers borrowers with credit scores as low as 600 VA loan rates slightly above 0 is noteworthy. 1% higher than PenFeds.
Customers can calculate scenarios using the NASB mortgage rate calculator with credit scores as low as 600, which is lower than what other lenders permit for VA loans. The fact that NASB doesn’t charge origination fees for its VA loans is crucial because it can result in significant savings for borrowers.
North American Savings Bank offers the broadest selection of mortgage options for people who are unable to provide “traditional” credit and income data, such as the self-employed, in addition to standard VA loan products (purchase, IRRRL, and cash-out refinance).
Why we picked it: USAA is perhaps best known for being an insurance provider that caters to military personnel, their spouses, and children. The financial institution does, nonetheless, provide a full range of financial products, including mortgages. USAA is our top choice for the best all-in-one home services when you consider the many benefits it offers homeowners.
At USAA, you can choose from both VA and conventional loan programs, with some of the lowest interest rates available. There are many educational resources available for first-time homebuyers, as well as mortgage calculators to help determine how much house they can afford. Both a mortgage preapproval letter and the loan itself can be applied for online.
USAA permits borrowers to make no down payment on their home purchase loans, just like many of the best VA mortgage lenders. More importantly, USAA makes it a great option for homeowners looking to refinance their current VA mortgage because it pays the appraisal, title, and VA funding fee on VA IRRRL loans. HIGHLIGHTS.
Why we selected it: LendingTree is our choice for the best online marketplace for comparing VA loan rates because it enables you to compare rates on a variety of products, including mortgages, personal loans, and even credit cards.
Due to its more than 1,500 partnered mortgage lenders, simple mobile app, and competitive advantage, LendingTree stands out from its rivals.
Borrowers can request up to three quotes at once, each of which includes projected interest rates and closing costs. Additionally, it is cost-free and has no effect on your credit score.
The only significant drawback to LendingTree’s services is that it is neither a loan servicer nor an originator, so most problems that may arise during your loan process will not be handled by its customer support. HIGHLIGHTS.
Why we selected it: Freedom Mortgage is our choice for the Best VA Loan Lender for Low Credit Scores due to its 550 minimum credit score requirement for VA Loans.
The standard mortgage products offered by Freedom Mortgage, a fully online lender, include conventional purchase and refinance loans as well as FHA, VA, and USDA loans. It stands out because it has the lowest credit score requirement of any lender on our list for VA loans, 550.
Its VA IRRRL loans are notable in that they don’t require an income verification or home appraisal, which isn’t always the case with these loans. For those who are not familiar with the mortgage process and its costs, Freedom Mortgage also offers a number of calculators and educational resources.
It’s important to note that since 2019, Freedom Mortgage has filed more than 2,000 complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the majority of which were regarding conventional mortgages. Although borrowers with low credit scores looking for VA loans shouldn’t be overly concerned by this, it is crucial information to keep in mind. HIGHLIGHTS.
Our second choice for VA loans with low credit score requirements is New American Funding. Although it is not the only lender on the list with a minimum credit score requirement of 580, it offers one of the most varied selections of mortgage loans in comparison to other lenders.
It is noteworthy that it provides what NAF refers to as an “I CAN” loan, which enables you to select a fixed loan term that is customized between 8 and 30 years. For VA loans, it also provides a “buydown mortgage” option that enables borrowers to lower the frequency of their mortgage payments for the first three to five years of their loan.
The presence of Fairway Independent Mortgage in 48 of the 50 U S. It is our top choice for in-person mortgage loan servicing in States.
Fairway Independent Mortgage is distinguished by its numerous locations in all but two U S. It is the perfect option for people who prefer in-person service because it is available in two U.S. states (Alaska and West Virginia).
For those who cannot get a VA loan, Fairway also provides a wide range of mortgage products that may be useful. Specialized physician loans for doctors who are still paying off their student loans are one of these loan options.
Even though it is not the lowest of our top picks, the VA’s minimum credit score of 600 for loans is a benefit as it is lower than the recommended 620. However, some borrowers may find it inconvenient due to its limited customer service hours and lack of online rate information. HIGHLIGHTS.
Other VA loan lenders we considered
Although there are many mortgage lenders with excellent products and features, they may not have all the qualities that would allow us to recommend them as one of our top picks.
Although the following lenders meet some of our requirements for “top VA loan lenders” (low rates, experience with VA loans, and good customer service), they ultimately didn’t pass muster.
Veterans First is a great option for service members stationed abroad because of its entirely online mortgage application process. Due to its emphasis on VA loans, the business is also better equipped to cater to the unique needs of service members and veterans during the mortgage process.
However, because Veterans First only provides VA loans and does not offer any other types of loans, it is not the best option for those who do not meet the requirements for these products. Another aspect that prevented it from making our top list was the requirement for a credit score higher than average. Pros.
Due to its general lack of comprehensive educational resources and up-front information, Paramount Bank is excluded from our ranking of the best lenders. However, it does not impose prepayment penalties on VA loans and waives origination fees, so it is a choice to take into account. Pros.
Due to the variety of mortgage loans it offers and the partnerships it has with various unique mortgage programs, including down payment assistance and home loan grants, Flagstar Bank is a well-known mortgage lender.
Despite its advantages, Flagstar doesn’t have any branches in nearly half of the United S. It didn’t make our top list due to its website’s lack of rate and fee information. Pros.
Standard mortgage products are available from PNC, including conventional, FHA, VA, refinance, and HELOC loans. Despite the fact that its website doesn’t provide much information right away, the rates it displays on our rate calculator are only marginally higher.
PNC only offers a partially online loan application process. You can verify your income and assets digitally, but you must first speak with a loan officer to go over the specifics of your loan. Pros.
Located in the United States, LoanDepot is a mortgage lender that primarily operates online. S. It has digital tools for proving income and assets, which in some cases can greatly speed up the loan approval process.
With only conventional purchase mortgages, FHA, VA, ARM (adjustable-rate), and 203k (FHA home renovation) loans available, LoanDepot’s loan product selection is standard. Pros.
Beyond VA loans, Guild Mortgage provides a range of mortgage options, such as energy-efficient mortgages and bridge loans that can help you sell your current home while looking for a new one.
Due to the fact that Guild has locations in all but seven U.S. states, it is a good option for those who prefer in-person service. S. states. Notably, Guild services its loans, something that not all lenders who originate mortgage loans do. Pros.
Mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate enables customers to complete the entire loan application process online. Individuals can also visit one of its 500+ locations spread across 46 states if they prefer in-person service.
Although it has a standard VA loan selection, its VA loan rates are low. Its mortgage rate calculator came up with a rate of 4. With no down payment and a loan for $300,000, the APR is only 750%, barely 0. 5% higher than our top pick for the lowest rates. Pros.
Online mortgage lender Movement Mortgage states that it can fully close a loan in under two weeks, though specific outcomes will depend on each borrower’s circumstances. Notably, Movement accepts credit scores for VA loan applications as low as 580, well below the VA’s advised 620.
For those looking to buy in high cost-of-living areas, Movement offers a number of down payment assistance and high-balance mortgage options in addition to its VA loan products. Pros.
NBKC Bank is a regional bank with operations in Kansas and Missouri that offers national mortgage services. While it offers conventional, FHA, and VA loans, it also offers specialty home loans for pilots.
Notably, it’s one of the few lenders that permits clients to get mortgage rates with credit scores as low as 500, though you can’t count on getting results below that mark. Furthermore, it has mortgage rates that are significantly higher than average (up to 1 5% higher). Pros.
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Veteran Affairs loans are government-backed mortgage programs, much like USDA loans. Continue reading to discover more about VA loans, their benefits and drawbacks, related expenses, and how to apply.
How do VA loans work?
Mortgage loans known as VA loans are provided by private lenders with backing from the Department of Veteran Affairs of the federal government. As part of the guarantee, if the borrower defaults, the government will repay all or a portion of the loan.
Additionally, VA loans provide several advantages to eligible military service members.
Pros and cons of VA loans
Consider the benefits and drawbacks of this loan type when looking for a VA loan. For instance, VA loans may offer lower interest rates than conventional mortgages, but they may not be the best option for purchasing, constructing, remodeling, or refinancing rental properties.
Read on to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of VA loans. Pros.
Mortgage rates for VA loans are frequently less expensive than those for conventional and even FHA loans. However, private lenders, not the federal government, set interest rates, which are influenced by daily market changes. Each VA loan type (fixed, streamline, cash-out, and jumbo) and term (15-year or 30-year) will have slightly different rates.
The VA loan mortgage rates from some of our featured lenders as of July 2022 range from 4 375% to 5. 525% APR. Many lenders publish their mortgage rates online, but some also let you request a quote online or speak with a representative for more details.
VA loan closing costs
A provision for upfront mortgage insurance, the VA Funding Fee is added to the mortgage amount. The fee can range from 1. 4% to 3. 6% of the loan, but the precise amount will depend on the down payment, the type of loan, and whether this is your first time using a VA-backed loan.
The funding fee is added to the mortgage amount and may be paid in full at closing or financed over the loan’s term. Veterans with a service-related disability or active-duty service members who can provide proof of having received a Purple Heart may be exempt from paying the fee at closing.
Other closing costs associated with VA loans include:
The seller of a property may make “seller’s concessions,” or contribute up to 4% of the total loan amount toward the veteran’s closing costs. The veteran may also receive a gift from a relative to help cover closing costs.
Check out our mortgage calculator to estimate your cost of a new mortgage. If you’re considering refinancing, you can estimate your costs using our mortgage refinance calculator.
Types of VA loans
The U. S. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers four different loan types, each with its own requirements and restrictions: the VA purchase loan, interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRLs), cash-out refinance loan, and Native American direct loan. Before deciding which VA mortgage lender best suits your needs, consider all available loan options.
Purchase loans are used to pay for a primary residence, energy-efficient home improvements, or the purchase of land on which to build a home. Purchase loans can be fixed-rate or adjustable-rate. In contrast to adjustable-rate loans, which have variable interest rates and mortgage payments, fixed-rate loans have consistent monthly payments for the duration of the loan.
Purchase loans cannot be used to purchase a fixer-upper that requires major repairs, a vacation home, a rental property, or an investment property. Maximum loan amounts are no longer set by the VA, but your VA mortgage lender may still do so. In most U. S. counties, the maximum loan amount for 2021 is $548,250, but in more expensive areas, it can be as high as $822,375.
Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)
A streamlined refinance, intended to refinance an existing VA mortgage, may result in a lower interest rate, a shorter loan term, or a switch from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage.
In order to capitalize on home equity, a VA cash-out refinance replaces an existing VA loan and modifies its terms. Typically, you can borrow up to 90% of the value of your house. A non-VA-backed loan can be converted into a VA-backed loan using the cash-out option.
Read our guide on how to refinance a VA loan for more information.
Native American Direct loan (NADL)
The only VA loan that is directly managed and funded by the government is the NADL. This loan is available to veterans who identify as Native Americans or whose spouses do. On federal trust property, borrowers may use this loan to purchase, construct, or upgrade a home.
Apart from the restrictions imposed by creditworthiness, DTI, and general Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming limits, there is no cap on the amount that can be borrowed with this program as of August 1, 2021 (although borrowers can access higher limits if they choose to make a down payment).
Our list of the top mortgage lenders can be a great place to start if you want to look into additional options or current mortgage rates.
How to qualify for a VA Loan
There are several military beneficiaries of the VA home loan program:
Although the majority of participating VA loan lenders demand a minimum credit score of 620, a VA home loan does not have a minimum credit score requirement. Before applying for a loan, always review your credit report and debt-to-income ratio and, if possible, make improvements.
Read our guide on how to challenge your credit report for more details.
Veterans and active duty military personnel must have served at least 90 days in a combat zone or 181 days in a non-conflict zone. Members of the National Guard must have completed six years of creditable Select Reserve or Guard service or at least 90 days of active duty service during a time of war.
You must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) after being found eligible. Your eligibility for a VA mortgage is demonstrated to the VA mortgage lender by the COE.
How to apply for a VA home loan
Apply by following the steps listed below after determining your eligibility for a VA loan:
Your lender will work with you to choose a title company (or other entity) to close on the house once they accept your application.
If you have any questions that your lender can’t answer, please call your VA regional loan center at 877-827-3702. You can also watch a video on the official U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs’ YouTube page to learn more about VA home loans and how to apply.
We advise taking the following actions when searching for a VA loan provider:
Obtaining multiple quotes can help you choose the VA loan that meets all of your financial objectives because VA loan terms, rates, monthly payments, and closing costs differ significantly between providers.
How to get a VA loan with bad credit
Veterans and active duty military personnel with credit scores as low as 580 may be eligible for a VA loan from some lenders, including Freedom Mortgage and New American Funding. However, the majority of lenders demand a 620 minimum credit score.
Paying your bills on time, eliminating any debt you currently owe, and contacting the credit reporting agency to have any errors fixed are some actions you can take to raise your credit score if it falls below the minimum requirement.
Latest News on VA Loans
If you are a service member, veteran, or military spouse and are unsure of how to proceed with obtaining a VA loan, read our 7 VA loan tips for military spouses. If you’re currently serving outside of the U.S., you can also read our 6 tips for active duty military personnel looking to buy a home while abroad. S.
Private institutions continue to issue the loans just like any other mortgage, despite the fact that the VA loan program offers those who qualify advantageous terms like no down payment and no private mortgage insurance (PMI). We’ve put together an article on the 5 Tips for Getting the Best VA Loan Rate to ensure you save money and make the most of your VA loan benefit.
Considering that the government guarantees the loan, VA loans don’t require a down payment. However, putting down money can ultimately result in cost savings for you. To find out more about the benefits of putting down money on a VA loan, read our article.
Last but not least, many of the top VA loan providers at the moment are banks that focus exclusively on serving military personnel, their families, and even federal employees. Find a one-stop shop for all of your mortgage and banking needs by reading our list of the top military banks and credit unions.
Best VA Loan Lenders FAQ
If everything goes well during the underwriting process, you can finally close your loan. Buyers who are interested in NADLs must start the process by getting in touch with their state’s VA loan regional center.
Are VA loans assumable?chevron-downchevron-upBecause VA loans are backed by the U.S. government, they can be assumed by a new lender even if they are not active military or veterans. In order to assume a VA loan, the new borrower must have a minimum credit score of 580, a DTI of 45% or lower, pay the VA funding fee and ensure the home will be their primary residence. In some cases, a down payment may also be required.
We limited our search criteria to three variables: rates, experience, and customer service because numerous mortgage lenders provide comparable products across the board.
We also mad