Best Mortgage Lenders for Veterans

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 5, 2023

Current service members and veterans deserve the very best. VA loans offer significant benefits for veterans, but it’s essential to work with the right lender. Here’s Benzinga’s guide to the best mortgage lenders for veterans. 

The Best VA Mortgage Loan Lenders

How do you find the best VA mortgage lenders? Here are Benzinga’s picks:

1. Best for First-Time Home Buyers: Veterans United

Veterans United is an excellent choice for a first-time home buyer because of its commitment to veterans. In addition to being a top VA purchase lender, its Lighthouse Program helps veterans and service members improve their credit so they can take advantage of VA benefits. 

Veterans United is also a great choice because it offers more than just VA loans. It also offers conventional, FHA and USDA loans so you can choose what works best for you. Its customer service representatives are available 24/7, so no matter what your schedule is or where you’re stationed, you can always get the assistance you need. 


  • Competitive interest rates and loan options
  • Personalized customer service and guidance throughout the loan process
  • Simplified application process


  • Limited physical branch locations (primarily based online)

2. Best for Bundling: USAA

Multiple products with 1 provider can simplify your financial life. USAA is a financial services organization that exclusively serves current service members, veterans and their spouses and children. It offers VA mortgages, auto loans, banking, insurance, financial advice and investing.

USAA offers outstanding customer service and educational materials to ensure you understand every step of the mortgage and home-buying process. It also offers discounts on car rentals, travel, home security and more.


  • Competitive rates and discounts for members
  • Wide range of financial products and services
  • Easy and convenient online banking and mobile app


  • Limited branch network, primarily operates online and through phone

3. Best Credit Union: Navy Federal Credit Union

Credit unions are nonprofit organizations owned by their members. That means they often have competitive rates and a high level of service. Navy Federal Credit Union offers membership to all branches of the armed forces, veterans, Department of Defense employees and their families. 

Navy Federal Credit Union offers VA and conventional loans. Its HomeSquad app allows you to track your loan status, upload documents and follow a personalized checklist. You’ll know exactly what to do at every step along the way. 


  • Lower fees and competitive interest rates
  • A variety of digital banking options
  • Exclusive benefits and discounts for military personnel and their families


  • Limited number of physical branch locations

4. Best for Online: Quicken Loans®

Quicken Loans offers a seamless online mortgage experience through its Rocket Mortgage® by Quicken Loans® platform. Its platform is backed by award-winning customer service. You can talk with a loan expert via chat or phone if you have any questions. 

Quicken Loans also offers educational materials and mortgage calculators so you can make sure you choose a loan that fits your budget. Quicken Loans offers a range of home loans, including VA, FHA and conventional.


  • Convenient online application process
  • Faster approval and closing times
  • User-friendly online platform for managing mortgage accounts


  • Limited in-person interaction and customer support

5. Best for Refinancing: Freedom Mortgage

Refinancing may lower your interest rate, improve your mortgage terms or even allow you to take cash out some of your home equity. Freedom Mortgage offers purchase loans but its specialty is refinancing. Even if you don’t currently have a VA home loan, you may be able to refinance with a VA loan. 

Freedom Mortgage offers VA Interest Rate Reduction Loans (IRRRLs), which allow you to refinance a current VA loan with minimal paperwork. Freedom Mortgage also offers VA cash-out refinances, which you can use to refinance a VA or non-VA home loan. It also offers conventional, FHA and USDA purchase loans and refinance loans. 


  • Online mortgage application
  • Competitive interest rates and terms
  • Wide range of mortgage products and options


  • Limited physical branch locations

6. Best for Low Credit Scores: Carrington Mortgage

Carrington Mortgage works with borrowers who have credit scores as low as 500. This sets it apart from many other lenders that only work with borrowers with scores of 620 or more. Carrington Mortgage is experienced with VA loans as well as conventional, FHA and USDA mortgages. 

Carrington Mortgage offers real-time updates so you know exactly what’s happening with your mortgage. Once you have a loan with Carrington Mortgage, it also offers a convenient mobile app that you can use to make payments and view your loan details. 


  • Wide range of mortgage products and options
  • Online mortgage application and management tools for convenience
  • Personalized customer service and support throughout the mortgage process


  • Limited physical branch locations

What Is a VA Mortgage Loan?

A VA mortgage loan is a home loan that’s insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s offered through approved private lenders. 

Qualified service members, veterans and surviving spouses can use a VA loan to buy or refinance a home. The home has to meet minimum safety and sanitation requirements. If you ever have difficulties paying your loan, VA loan technicians can provide assistance and advice. 

VA Loans vs. Other Loans

What sets VA loans apart from other types of home loans? Let’s take a closer look. 

No Down Payment Requirement

In most cases, you don’t need to make a down payment when you use a VA loan. That means you can use your savings for home repairs, furniture or anything else you might need. USDA loans also don’t require a down payment, but FHA and conventional home loans do. 

No Mortgage Insurance

Many home loans require some form of mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is different from homeowners insurance, which protects you if there’s damage to your home. Mortgage insurance protects the lender if a borrower stops making payments on a home loan. This insurance adds to the already high cost of buying a home, so not having to pay mortgage insurance can save you a bundle. FHA loans require mortgage insurance. Conventional loans with down payments of less than 20% also require mortgage insurance. 

Flexibility with Credit

The VA doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, but some VA lenders do. Some lenders have a 620 minimum credit score, while others will work borrowers who have scores as low as 580. USDA loans also don’t have a minimum credit score. Conventional mortgages typically require a minimum of 620 (higher is better) and FHA loans require 580 or higher if you want to make a 3.5% down payment. You have to make a 10% down payment if you have a score of 500-579. 

VA Loan Requirements

VA loans have 2 sets of requirements: service requirements and financial requirements. 

Service Requirements

Service requirements vary slightly depending on when you served. In general, you may qualify if you:

  • Served 181 days of active service during peacetime
  • Served 90 consecutive days during wartime
  • Served 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves
  • Are the spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or due to a service-related disability

You will need a Certificate of Eligibility to apply for a VA loan. You can obtain a COE through the VA or have your VA lender request one. 

Financial Requirements

To qualify for a home loan, lenders will look at:

  • Your credit: Lenders typically have a minimum credit score requirement. They’ll also look at your overall credit history to get a sense of how you handle credit and debt. 
  • Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Your DTI ratio compares your debt to your income. For example, if your car payments, student loan payments, credit card minimum payments and your potential house payment add up to $1,500 per month and your monthly pretax income is $4,000, you have a 37.5% DTI ratio. There is no maximum DTI ratio for VA loans, but if your DTI ratio is more than 41%, you’ll need to show you have compensating factors, like a significant amount of savings. 
  • Your income: The VA requires lenders to make sure that you can afford the loan. You have to have enough income after your house payment to cover your debts and living expenses. 

5 Tips for Finding the Best VA Loan Lender

What should you look for in a VA lender? Here are few things to look for: 

1. Competitive Rates

Mortgage rates vary from lender to lender. Even a small interest rate difference can save (or cost) you thousands. You don’t want to compromise on service but loan interest rates should be high on your list of qualifications. 

2. Technology

Technology can help speed up the loan process and prevent mistakes. An online mortgage process simplifies and adds transparency. A mobile app keeps you in touch with your lender. Consider how your lender uses technology. 

3. Experience with VA loans

VA loans can be complicated. Lenders have to follow specific requirements. Ask prospective lenders about how often they work with VA loans. It’s best to work with a lender that regularly processes VA loans. 

4. Excellent Service

You deserve excellent customer service. A good lender will value your service, answer your questions promptly and educate you about VA loans and how they work. Don’t settle for anything less. 

5. Other Loan Options and Services

While VA loans are often the best choice, some situations may call for a different type of home loan. Does the lender have other options? Does it offer any other services or products, like insurance or credit counseling if you’re not quite ready to buy? Look for a lender that has the options you need. 

Which Loan is Right for You?

Many qualifying service members and veterans find that a VA loan is the best option. Not having to make a down payment or pay for mortgage insurance is a significant savings. Talking with an experienced lender can help you clarify which loan option is right for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I get multiple VA loans at the same time?


Yes, it is possible to have multiple VA loans simultaneously. However, there are specific eligibility requirements, including sufficient entitlement and meeting income and credit criteria for each loan.


Are there any limitations on the types of properties I can purchase with a VA loan?


Generally, VA loans can be used to buy various types of properties, including single-family homes, condominiums, and multi-unit properties (up to four units). However, the property must meet specific safety, occupancy, and value requirements.


How long does it take to get approved for a VA loan?


The approval process for a VA loan can vary depending on several factors, including the lender’s workload and the complexity of your application. On average, it can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days to get approved.

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About Melinda Sineriz

Melinda specializes in writing about mortgages. student loans, personal loans, insurance, managing credit and debt, and credit cards.