Best VA Lenders
VA loans are primary residence mortgages that are available to those who are currently serving in the military, veterans and their spouses. VA loans are offered by traditional lenders, are backed by the government, and require no down payment.
The VA loan requirements are less restrictive than conventional or FHA loans. However, not all VA lenders are the same in that they can impose their own guidelines that could make it more difficult for veterans to qualify for the mortgage they need.
The best VA lenders will not only offer competitive interest rates, but will also allow for credit scores as low as 500, a higher DTI, larger loan amounts, no reserves, and even recent bankruptcies. Therefore, the best VA lender may be different for each person.
The Best VA Lenders
The best VA lenders are those who are able to help with your specific needs regardless of your credit or financial situation while also maintaining competitive rates and fees.
While it is a good idea to do your homework, it can get confusing to compare all of the lenders and figure out which one is best. One of the benefits we offer is to match you with the lender that best fits your needs based upon your unique situation.
The lenders below are the most popular or well-known lenders in the industry who offer VA loans.
- Veterans United – Veterans United is a popular online lender who many people confuse with the VA itself. They are not affiliated with or endorsed by the VA and offer more than just VA loans. What you will find is they prefer to work with only the best qualified applicants. You will need a credit score of at least 660 to get a VA loan from Veterans United. See our full review of Veterans United.
- USAA – USAA is a lender that began many years ago as an insurance company. They now offer mortgages but market mostly to Veterans. They have a credit score minimum of 620 and may also require a down payment if the purchase price is too high.
- Quicken Loans – Quicken is an online lender that offers many mortgage products. They specialize in conventional loans but also offer FHA and VA mortgages too. Their credit score minimum for a VA loan is 620 and they allow for a DTI over 50%.
- Veterans First Mortgage – This online lender primarily offers government backed mortgages such as VA, FHA and USDA. They are not the lender to call for conventional mortgages. At some point, they offered VA loans with credit scores as low as 620, but now they indicate that your credit score needs to be in “the mid 600’s”. We will take that to mean 660.
- Navy Federal Credit Union – Navy Federal is a credit union that offers mortgages including VA loans. They have no published credit score minimum which means they will look at your credit history and all other compensating factors to determine whether you are eligible for a mortgage.
- Wells Fargo – Wells Fargo is a large bank that offer many consumer financial products and they also offer mortgages. They can help you with your VA loan but you need to have excellent credit. Their minimum credit score requirement is 680. Most large banks have tighter lending guidelines.
- LendingTree – LendingTree is a lender match service and not a lender who offers mortgages. While that is fine, what we see too often is they refer customers to lenders who may not be the best fit for them. In some instances, the lenders cannot help the borrowers at all. See our full review of LendingTree.
If you are searching for a VA lender who offers competitive rates, excellent service and will allow for lower credit scores or other special circumstances, then let us help you. Complete this request quote form and you can speak to someone without having your credit pulled.
VA Loan Pre-Approval
If you plan to start shopping for a home, you will need a VA loan pre-approval letter. Most realtors will not spend the weekend driving you to view homes unless they are sure that you can afford the home.
To help with your VA loan pre-approval, begin to assemble your recent pay stubs, last two months bank statements, and your last two years tax returns and W2s. To determine how much you qualify for, the lender will need to pull your credit and look at these documents.
The pre-approval letter is good for a while or up until your realtor feels it is time to ask the lender to check once more. If your pre-approval letter is more than 6 months old, you may be asked to provide a new one.
VA Loan with a Fast Closing
Too often we receive requests from veterans who are in a panic about getting their VA loan with a fast closing. Usually it is a situation where they were in contract and the lender they were working with could not come through in the end. If you follow the steps below, there is a chance you can close in less than 30 days.
If you need to close quickly on your VA loan, start by completing the loan scenario form. Then, begin getting the documents together that we mentioned above for the pre-approval. One of our lenders will call you to get this started for you.
If you are in a time crunch, then follow the lender’s instructions completely and quickly. If you receive an online link to complete the application, then do it right away. If you are asked for documentation, then get it all to the lender immediately. If you delay at all then your closing will be delayed. Your lender cannot submit your application for review by an underwriter until ALL of your documentation has been
VA Lenders for Special Circumstances
Many veterans have special circumstances which make it difficult for them to get approved for a VA loan with some of the popular VA lenders. If one of the circumstances or situations below applies to you, then can find the best VA lender to help.
VA Loan Without a 2 Year Work history
Virtually every mortgage program requires borrowers to have a stable two-year work history. In fact, most VA lenders including those listed above may require you to have a 2 year work history as well.
If you do not have a 2-year work history, there are VA lenders who will make exceptions. If you were serving in active duty, that would not be held against you. If you are a veteran and have other reasons for a gap in your employment history, then it still may be possible to qualify for a mortgage.
VA Loan with Bad credit
VA mortgage guidelines do not specify a minimum credit score to be approved for a VA loan. However, most VA lenders require credit scores in the low to mid 600’s.
There are a handful of lenders who will allow for credit scores as low as 500. Read our full article on qualifying for a VA loan with bad credit.
VA Loan with Low income
When applying for a VA loan, lenders will look at your income and will calculate your DTI. If your income is low, your DTI may be too high. While there are no specific income or DTI requirements published for a VA loan, most lenders have imposed their own limits and requirements.
There are lenders who will allow for a high DTI with other compensating factors such as high credit and a few months of reserves.
VA Loan for Self Employed Veterans
If you are a self-employed veteran, a 1099 wage earner or an independent contractor, you may still qualify even if you write off a lot of expenses from your taxes. Most VA lenders are going to look at the net income on your tax returns after your business write offs.
Most self-employed individuals cannot qualify using the income on their tax returns so it will require a special lender who will allow for compensating factors in lieu of the income reported on the tax returns.
Large VA Loan Amount
There are no true loan limits for VA loans but many lenders have a self-imposed maximum loan amount. One of the factors that will play into this is your entitlement.
If you need a large loan amount or a jumbo VA loan, then there are lenders who will work with you. We recently helped a veteran to purchase a home worth well over $1 million with no money down.
VA Loan after a bankruptcy
You may be able to qualify for a VA loan if you have a bankruptcy discharge that is less than 4 years old. VA guidelines require a 2 year wait after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a 1 year wait after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Each lender will have a different bankruptcy seasoning requirement and some could follow their own set of guidelines that lengthen the wait time after a bankruptcy. Read our article on qualifying for a mortgage after a bankruptcy to learn more.
VA Loan After Being Incarcerated
If you were recently incarcerated then you can qualify for a mortgage if you are currently employed, and if you were employed prior to being incarcerated. There are some lenders who will pause the 2 year work history requirement and will look at the time period before and after your incarceration.
Please keep in mind that lenders guidelines are fluid and they change often. Therefore, our ability to help you will likely change too. Your first step is to contact us and describe your situation.
Best VA Loan Rates Today
When researching the best VA loan rates online, you need to be aware that you are not always viewing rates that are current. Rates also can change multiple times per day if there are market factors that are moving rates quickly.
Some lenders publish teaser rates or rates that come with discount points while others do not. It is important to compare apples to apples or to understand exactly what the lender is offering. What looks to be a lower rate may not actually be the best deal. This is why you should focus on the APR (Annual Percentage Rate). The APR takes the interest rate plus the fees into consideration and combines them to determine the APR.
You can see there is no easy way to determine who is the best VA lender because that answer will be different for each of you. Having the ability to offer flexible guidelines for all scenarios and situations while maintaining low rates and fees would make our list as being the best VA lender.
VA vs Conventional Loans – If you had a down payment, then this article will provide you with the pros and cons of both VA and conventional loans so you can make an educated decision on which is best for you.
VA Loan with Bad Credit – There is still hope for you if you would like to get a VA loan but have bad credit.
Benefits of a VA Loan – Bill Gassett discusses the many benefits associated with financing your new home with a VA loan.
VA Loan Guidelines – Here you can learn everything you need to know about how to qualify for a VA loan.
The Best Loan Program on the Planet – This article explains why VA loans may be the best loan program on the planet.
We are able to help you to find the best VA lenders in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.