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Find the Best VA Loan Lenders

A VA home loan is a mortgage loan guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs. If you’re a veteran, read our guide to research the best VA loan provider for you. Requirements vary by lender, but generally, no down payment is required to obtain a VA home loan. We explain how to apply for a VA loan and what to consider as you compare lenders.

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Our 3 favorite VA Loan Lenders

To choose our picks, we started with VA mortgage lenders that are on the VA-approved lender list. This means the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved them to originate and fund loans backed by the VA office. From there, we compared the VA loan application process, VA loan rates, maximum debt-to-income ratio accepted, refinancing options, services offered and assistance programs.

Our favorite VA lender overall:
NewDay USA

Company nameContact
NewDay USA
Accredited Partner
  • 500 minimum credit score
  • 0% minimum down payment
  • 43% maximum debt-to-income ratio

NewDay USA is a lender focused exclusively on VA loans for veterans, billing themselves as “for veterans, by veterans.” NewDay offers both VA-guaranteed home loans and refinancing options. Online, you’ll find a plethora of educational articles and other resources to guide you through the loan application process.

It’s easy to get started with NewDay with free home appraisals and help from personal loan officers. Start your application process online, or reach out to one of NewDay’s dedicated loan officers. Later on, in-house loan processors and underwriters speed the process along. 70 percent of NewDay loans close in 30 days or less after the issue of the appraisal receipt.

NewDay has loans for every budget. The NewDay 100 VA loan option allows borrowers to refinance 100 percent of a home's value. NewDay is also involved philanthropically with organizations dedicated to assisting veterans and children of veterans, making them a great choice for veterans wanting to “pass it on.”

Great VA refinance loan:
Mr. Cooper

Company nameContact
Mr. Cooper
Accredited Partner
  • 620 minimum credit score
  • 0% minimum down payment
  • 43% maximum debt-to-income ratio

Mr. Cooper, formerly known as Nationstar, offers VA loans, VA loan cashout and VA IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan). Like all VA loans, there is no required down payment, other than a potential finding fee, which varies based on factors like loan terms. Additional services include repayment plans, loan modifications, short sales and deeds-in-lieu. Customer service is available until late in the evening Monday through Friday and on Saturday morning.

Mr. Cooper has a wealth of online resources to answer any questions homebuyers might have about VA loans and their associated options. Use their online calculators to investigate refinancing, monthly mortgage payments, early payoff, renting vs. buying, potential loan amounts and optimal price range in a house. Homeowners who refinance with Mr. Cooper save on average $200 a month on their mortgage payment.

Great online VA lender:

Company nameContact
Accredited Partner
  • 580 minimum credit score
  • 0% minimum down payment
  • 50% maximum debt-to-income ratio

Caliber’s VA loan options include fixed and adjustable rates and high-balance mortgages. One notable feature of Caliber is their high maximum debt-to-income ratio requirement: 50 percent. This high maximum from Caliber means you can have relatively large amounts of debt in comparison to your income and still qualify for certain loans. A minimum credit score of 580 is required to get approved for a VA loan from Caliber. If you have a credit score of 580 to 618, you will be eligible for a fixed-rate loan. A credit score of 620 or higher will leave you eligible for an adjustable-rate loan.

Property types approved for VA loan recipients include single-family homes, condos (if VA approved), manufactured homes, multi-unit properties, as well as homes in Planned Unit Developments (PUDs). Financing may also be available for second homes and investment properties.

Homebuyers can apply online or speak with a loan consultant to begin the application process. Caliber’s Centralized Loan Consultant program is available in every state but New York and Utah. If you are applying online, you can verify your identity and necessary documents electronically. Caliber services approximately 94 percent of their closed loans. The company’s online process is user-friendly and simple, whether you are an experienced or first-time homebuyer.

How to apply for a VA loan

  1. Verify your VA loan eligibility
    Before you apply for a VA loan, you must first be eligible and meet the requirements. VA loan requirements include being a veteran or an active member of the military for a certain number of days. Spouses of military members who died while on active duty and who haven’t gotten remarried can also qualify.
  2. Find a VA loan lender and get pre-approved
    Get quotes from a few vs mortgage lenders since they set their own interest rates and impose their own minimum credit score requirements. You can see how much you’re pre-qualified for through an informal application.

    Once you’re more serious, you can get pre-approved for a loan by submitting documentation like W2s and pay stubs. Having a pre-approval letter can make sellers more interested in you since it demonstrates that you can afford the house you’re looking at.

  3. Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
    This is how the lender validates that you meet all the eligibility requirements to fill out a VA home loan application. See what forms you need based on your specific situation by checking the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Many lenders will fill this out on your behalf and handle the application process for you.
  4. Complete the VA loan application
    You can usually apply for a VA loan online or over the phone from the lender of your choice. When you apply, you’ll need to include documentation of income and debt. You will also authorize the lender to pull your credit history at this point. Your lender will work with you on your VA home loan application to make sure you have all the necessary information. Plan on it taking 30 days for your VA loan to be approved.
  5. Schedule your VA appraisal
    All VA lenders are required to order VA appraisals to ensure the property is up to VA standards and to determine the home’s value. The appraiser will assign an appraisal value to the home. This is important because VA loans can’t be approved above the home’s appraisal price.

    VA appraisals are generally completed in about ten days, but they can take longer, especially in parts of the country where there is a high demand for VA loans and a low amount of VA appraisers, such as in certain rural areas. You want to get this scheduled as soon as possible in case the appraiser finds anything that needs to be repaired.

  6. Await VA loan underwriting
    Underwriters are responsible for making sure every part of your loan is accurate and that you are highly likely to be able to make your monthly mortgage payments on time. Depending on what they find, underwriters could deny your file, issue a conditional approval of your loan (which means they’ll need additional documents or answers to specific questions) or clear you to move forward with closing.
  7. Close on your property
    The last step in securing a VA loan is to attend the closing on your new home. Closing usually takes a few hours and involves the buyer signing off on all the final required documents to complete the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer.

    You’ll have to pay your VA loan guarantee to the VA office within 15 days of closing. This payment can be made either up front in cash, or it can be rolled into your monthly payment. First time home buyers will pay a 1.75 percent guarantee fee, and all other homebuyers will pay a 2.25 percent guarantee fee.

VA loan lenders FAQ

Can I get a VA loan with a 500 credit score?
The VA has no credit score requirement for loans, so it’s possible to get a VA home loan if you have a credit score of 500. For VA-backed home loans, the VA requires private lenders to review the applicant’s entire loan profile, not just their credit score.
Who accepts VA mortgages?
VA loans act the same as conventional mortgages, so they're accepted by almost every seller. Many, but not all, lenders offer VA loans — in the first quarter of 2020, more than 1,100 lenders made VA-backed purchase loans to homebuyers, according to department data. During all of 2019, more than 1,300 lenders made a total of over 384,000 VA-backed purchase loans.
What is the maximum VA loan amount?
As of January 1, 2020, there is no cap on VA loan amounts. Congress made this change and others to VA home loan benefits as part of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.
What are the benefits of a VA loan?
There are several benefits of VA-backed home loans:
  • You can qualify with a relatively low credit score and high level of debt.
  • They often have better interest rates than those from private banks or mortgage companies.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 loans require no down payment.
  • They don’t require private mortgage insurance or mortgage insurance premiums.
  • They have fewer closing costs.
  • There are no prepayment penalties.

You can use a VA-backed home loan to buy a single-family home, buy a condo, build a new home or make energy efficiency improvements to your home.

What is the lowest interest rate for a VA home loan?
VA home loan rates can change daily. Rates vary slightly from lender to lender, but they are typically lower than conventional mortgage rates. In mid-March 2020, Veterans United Home Loans, the top VA lender in the U.S. in 2019 by volume, was showing rates of 3.875% for a 30-year fixed-rate VA home loan.
How long does it take to get a VA loan?
The average time to close a VA loan is about 50 days, according to a recent report from Ellie Mae, a technology provider in the mortgage industry. This is about two to three days longer than the average time it takes to close a conventional mortgage loan.
Does a VA Certificate of Eligibility expire?
No, a VA Certificate of Eligibility doesn’t expire. However, if you obtained a certificate while on active duty and have since been discharged, you need to get a new one.
Does VA offer construction loans?
Yes, you can use a VA loan to build a new home. But fewer lenders offer VA-backed loans for new home construction, and the process is usually a bit more complicated. Talk to a lender offering VA construction loans to learn about how they work.
Are VA appraisals tougher?
There is no evidence that VA appraisals are tougher than conventional mortgage appraisals. According to the mortgage processing software company Ellie Mae, VA purchase loans (79.7%) in January 2020 closed at nearly the exact same rate as conventional mortgage loans (79.9%).
Are VA loan rates lower than conventional?
VA loan rates are often lower than conventional mortgage rates, but this varies by lender. Check with individual lenders to find out what rates you qualify for.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Compare Top VA Lenders

    ClearPath Lending
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    Nationwide mortgage lender based in California. Offers lending and refinancing services in almost every state. Specializes in fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans and guarantees the best pricing for your loan.

    AmeriSave Mortgage
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    Offers affordable mortgages through its easy online approval process. Custom quotes include no obligations, no commitments and no hidden fees. Provides a wide variety of loan types, including conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA and USDA.

    NewDay USA
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    Serves American veterans and their families. Helps servicemen and women secure a loan, purchase a home or lower monthly mortgage payments. Prioritizes customer service and relationships with clients.

    Get a Quote Call Now Toll Free (844) 450-1540
    Mr. Cooper
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    Provides new home loans and mortgage refinancing. Offers competitive interest rates. Award-winning mobile app. Online loan tracking. Guarantees closing date or the company will pay your first mortgage payment.

    Caliber Home Loans
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    Offers conventional and government home loans. Refinancing options available. Loan consultants available online and throughout the country. Close on a home in as little as 10 days. Online mortgage calculator offered.

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    Quicken Loans
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    Veterans United
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    Offers VA home loans and VA refinance loans. Available for active and retired military and their spouses. Serves all 50 states.

    Chase Mortgage
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    Offers fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages for purchase and refinance. Provides FHA, VA and jumbo loans. Get prequalified online and connect to a Chase Home Lending Advisor.

    J.G. Wentworth Home Lending
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    Offers conventional, fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, FHA, VA, USDA and HARP loans. No points or hidden fees. Requires a minimum credit score of 580. Direct mortgage lender. Read Author Review

    This mortgage service helps qualified veteran or active military borrowers find VA-approved loans.

    Veterans First Read Author Review

    Formerly iFreedom Direct, this veteran-focused company services VA, FHA and Conventional loans for home buyers who qualify for VA loans.

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    NewDay USA

    NewDay USA is a mortgage team that is mostly comprised of veterans. It is dedicated to providing veterans with maximum benefits, including special mortgage or reverse mortgage terms.

    • Offers VA benefits as well as reverse mortgages: Veterans may qualify for even more funds as a result of having served or continuing to serve with the U.S. military.
    • Quick turnaround: NewDay USA processes reverse mortgages within 30 days of application, so consumers get access to money quickly.
    • Online and phone customer support: Customers can get support online or over the phone 24 hours a day.
    • Focus: Consumers may have a hard time finding information on reverse mortgage products because NewDay USA offers other types of loans as well.
    • Information: NewDay USA doesn’t offer any information online about what reverse mortgages are or how they work.
    Read 866 Reviews
    Veterans United

    This veteran-focused loan company only handles VA home loans. Their website has a lot of information about veterans loans and refinancing options, including calculators to help you estimate your monthly payments. Homefront Academy, available on their website, is a series of courses designed to help first-time home buyers through the process of buying a home.

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    Veterans First

    Formerly iFreedom Direct, this company focuses on VA home loans and VA refinance loans. Obtain your COE online, over the phone or through the mail, depending on your preferences and situation.

    • Veteran-focused: By focusing on VA home loans and VA refinance loans, the experts at Veterans First can give you all the help and information you need for your VA loan. They can also help you decide if a VA loan is a better option for you than an FHA or Conventional loan.
    • Streamline VA refinancing: Most Streamline VA refinance loans are processed within 30 days start to finish.
    • Home loan assistance: If you already have a home loan and you are having trouble making payments, talk to a loan expert at Veterans First. They can talk you through your options and help you stay in your home instead of turning to bankruptcy or foreclosure.

    This Arizona mortgage service helps qualified former or active military borrowers find VA approved loans or home mortgages. The company seeks to match military customers with lenders who can assist with filling out mortgage applications and obtaining a home mortgage.

    • Active or retired military: The company serves customers who are active military members or retired in the VA, so it is a good choice for anyone who formerly served or currently serves in the military.
    • Approved network: This company only works with lenders who are approved by the VA.
    • Customer service: While the primary focus is with online service, the company also offers personalized customer service options through the telephone or a direct email connection.
    • Simple online application: To find a loan, customers have to fill out their information on a straightforward online form, making the company's process simple and easy to initiate.
    • MBA member: The company is certified as a member in good standing of the Mortgage Bankers Association, which means it is a reputable organization with knowledgeable staff and online assistants.
    by Michele Lerner Mortgage & Real Estate Contributing Editor

    Michele Lerner, author of “HOMEBUYING: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time”, has been writing about personal finance and real estate for more than two decades. Michele writes for regional, national and international publications in print and online for a variety of audiences including consumers, real estate investors, business owners and real estate professionals.