U.S. veterans and service members facing homeownership barriers may find new hope with a VA home loan.
The VA loan program has even been shown to reduce inequalities in the housing market by offering service members an alternative path to homeownership where they might otherwise be shut out. In 2019, the spread between homeownership rates of Black and White veterans was 19.6 percentage points, according to a study by the mortgage lender Veterans United Home Loans. In the non-military population, that gap was nearly 30 percentage points.
The first step: choosing a lender that offers a VA loan. Outside of that, it’s important to find a lender with transparent pricing, online conveniences, accessibility to most borrowers, and a reputable history with customer satisfaction.
NextAdvisor reviewed 49 different mortgage lenders and scored each one on categories including transparency, accessibility, online convenience, loan product variety, and customer satisfaction. We then eliminated any lender that does not offer VA loans.
Here is our list of the nine best VA home loan lenders of 2022:
Table of Contents
- 9 Best VA Mortgage Lenders of February 2022
As with all of our mortgage lender reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships. For more information about our scoring methodology, click here.
1. Guaranteed Rate
Guaranteed Rate is a Chicago-headquartered firm with a strong online presence and 400 branch locations spread across the country. We ranked the company a top choice lender because of its top-of-the-line digital experience, helpful consumer tools, solid customer service, variety of loan products, including all three government loans, and large nationwide footprint.
Guaranteed Rate received fewer consumer complaints compared to most other lenders we reviewed. Per 1,000 loans originated, the company logged less than one complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the agency responsible for collecting, monitoring, and responding to U.S. consumer complaints about financial services and products.
From start to finish, borrowers can complete the mortgage application, upload documents, and even sign closing paperwork online where e-closings are allowed. Guaranteed Rate says it can provide a preapproval letter in around 15 minutes and the company’s goal is to be clear to close within 10 days.
2. Navy Federal Credit Union
Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, Navy Federal Credit Union serves all 50 states and has 344 branches worldwide. Navy Federal Credit Union was a high-scoring lender by NextAdvisor because of its nationwide availability, price transparency, streamlined online application process, and loan product variety. It has a slightly above average complaint ratio of 2.8 complaints per 1,000 loans with the CFPB. But this lender offers no down payment and flexible credit requirements on most mortgage products to qualified military service members and their families.
Navy Federal Credit Union offers a unique relock rate option: You can lock in your interest rate and relock it twice if rates improve before closing.
3. Rocket Mortgage
Rocket mortgage is the online lender for Quicken Loans and is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the U.S. We ranked the Detroit-based company as one of the best mortgage lenders because of its simple online application process, large nationwide footprint, low level of consumer complaints, the transparency and accessibility of its rates and fees, and the company’s wide offering of mortgage loan products.
Rocket Mortgage stands out for the company’s high level of customer satisfaction. Rocket Mortgage originated more than one million loans in 2020, making it the largest lender we reviewed by total volume. Despite its magnitude, the company has lower-than-average consumer complaints registered on the CFPB consumer complaint database. We found 0.48 complaints per 1,000 loans — or less than half a complaint per 1,000 loans. This figure is very low compared to the average ratio of two complaints per 1,000 loans among other lenders we reviewed.
4. Veterans United Home Loans
Veterans United Home Loans, headquartered in Missouri, is a mortgage lender that specializes in VA home loans in all 50 states. Veterans United is incredibly active in the VA loan space. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lists Veterans United in the top three among VA loan lenders by volume for five consecutive years. While the company focuses heavily on VA loans, they also offer conventional, jumbo, FHA, and USDA loans.
Veterans United has a fully digitized and easy online application process. Compared to other lenders we’ve reviewed, the company had one of the lowest complaint ratios logged with the CFPB: Less than half of one complaint per 1,000 loans originated.
Veterans United provides a wealth of information on its website regarding the loan process. This information covers topics on the eligibility requirements and benefits of a VA loan, such as 0% down payment, no private mortgage insurance (PMI), and competitive interest rates despite credit blemishes. The webpage also has articles detailing what to expect through the loan process, closing, how to prepare for homeownership, home loan basics, credit, and underwriting.
5. North American Savings Bank
Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, North American Savings Bank (NASB) is a full-service bank that lends in all 50 states. North American Savings Bank has an extensive mortgage menu than most, including options for veterans, first-time homebuyers, self-employed people, and borrowers with less-than-perfect credit histories. That’s because the bank offers VA loans, FHA loans, and mortgages for people who don’t fit conforming loan standards. NASB also has a streamlined online application process with transparent pricing for browsing borrowers.
6. Truist Bank
Truist Bank, now merged with Suntrust and BB&T under its name, has an extensive footprint across the U.S. through its thousands of brick-and-mortar branches and online presence. Along with the company’s solid menu of mortgage products, easy-to-use online application process, transparency of rate and fee information, and average number of complaints compared to other reviewed lenders, the brand’s website is easy to navigate with several useful resources to help with the borrowing process, such as calculators, videos, and sample mortgages.
Truist offers a comprehensive menu of online or in-person banking accounts such as checking, savings, money market, and CDs. If you are in the market for a bank, looking to switch banks, or already have a Truist account, there is an allure of convenience to also have your mortgage through the same institution. Some lending institutions also give incentives or discounts to existing account holders.
7. Sebonic Financial
Sebonic Financial is the mortgage lender division of North Carolina-headquartered Cardinal Financial. Sebonic Financial scored well with NextAdvisor because of the company’s high-end digital borrowing experience, full mortgage product lineup, which is available in all 50 states, and the lender’s history of below-average customer complaints with the CFPB. Based on 2020 data, Sebonic has less than one complaint per 1,000 loans originated in the same year.
Although Sebonic’s mortgage rates and fees are not listed on the company website, Sebonic’s proprietary borrowing platform, Octane, is a standout feature. With Octane, borrowers can get a fast rate quote, start an application, upload documents, and sign closing documents, with real-time updates along the way.
8. Pennymac Loan Services
Pennymac Loan Services isn’t a well-known name. But the California-based mortgage lender stands out for its convenient online application process, ability to get a rate quote without a credit check, transparency of rates and fees, and low frequency of consumer complaints with the CFPB. In 2020, the CFPB reported less than 0.3 complaints per 1,000 loans. Pennymac offers most major mortgage products and all three government loans in 49 states, with 16 brick-and-mortar branch locations.
9. Watermark Home Loans
Watermark Home Loans is based out of Irvine, California, and currently licensed in 38 states. The company is named one of NextAdvisor’s best mortgage lenders of February 2022 because of its streamlined online application process, transparency and accessibility of pricing, lower-than-average consumer complaints, and solid loan product lineup.
Borrowers can receive a customized rate quote by filling out a form online with basic information such as your income, address, and estimated home value. You will get an email with a few different quote options to review with options for discount points, lender credits, or closing costs options. Watermark Home Loans advertises national daily rate averages along with data indicators of how much each loan type’s rate has moved up or down in the last 30 days.
Watermark has a lower-than-average number of consumer complaints: Less than one complaint per 1,000 originated loans in 2020, according to the CFPB’s consumer complaint database.
Honorable Mention: Costco Mortgage Program
The Costco mortgage program does not originate mortgages, so it was not included in the list of best mortgage lenders. However, the useful marketplace is worth an honorable mention. Costco members have access to a network of participating mortgage lenders offering discounts and incentives for borrowing through this channel. Through the Costco mortgage marketplace website, you can fill out a universal application, compare loan offers, and cash-in on discounts or lender fees if you choose a lender through this program. The marketplace platform is easy to navigate with transparent pricing and terms. You can get a rate quote online in minutes and will only be contacted by the lender with your expressed permission.
VA Loans Vs. Conventional Loans
A VA loan has some distinct advantages and disadvantages when compared to a conventional mortgage. Here is how they compare side-by-side:
|VA Loans||Conventional Loan|
|Credit Requirements||Less strict credit requirements||Typical minimum credit score starts at 620|
|Loan Limits||No loan Limits||$647,200 to $970,800*|
|Down Payment||No down payment requirements||Typically minimum of 3%|
|Other Costs||Upfront funding fee of 1.4% to 3.6% of loan||PMI is required with down payment of less than 20%|
As a benefit to military veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees VA home loans for eligible veterans. VA loan is typically easier to qualify for than a conventional loan, assuming you meet the military service requirements. A borrower with credit blemishes may have a better chance of qualifying for a VA loan or getting a better mortgage rate than with a conventional loan. Conventional loans typically have stricter borrowing standards because they are not backed by a government agency, like the Department of Veterans Affairs.
How to Find the Best VA Mortgage Lender for Your Situation
Price, reliability, and transparency are important. But narrowing down your choice comes down to what is best for you and your personal circumstances. Depending on your goals and needs as a borrower, one lender could be a better fit than another. For example, a first-time homebuyer that is down payment-challenged can look into lenders with down payment assistance programs. Another borrower may have a low credit score and may need a lender with a lower credit threshold.
Here is what else to look at as you evaluate your decision:
Types of Mortgages Available
One of the first steps to narrowing down the list of lenders you’re considering is figuring out what type of mortgage you need.
If you have blemishes on your credit report, like a bankruptcy, then an FHA loan is likely to be easier to qualify for than conventional loans. Other loans, such as USDA and VA loans, offer 100% financing with no down payment required. If you want to take advantage of any of these government-backed loan programs, then you’ll need to find a lender that offers these types of loans.
The loan repayment term can also impact the lender you choose. Most lenders offer 15-year or 30-year mortgages, but if you want a 10-year mortgage or a 40-year mortgage, your options will be more limited.
Loan Officer Experience
Talk with a loan officer to ensure that they have experience in the industry and have dealt with individuals in similar situations to your own. If you’re applying for a VA loan, working with a loan officer who’s familiar with VA loans is even more important.
Homebuyer Assistance Programs for Veterans
The best type of loan for first time homebuyers depends on several factors, including their personal goals and which programs they may qualify for. Homebuyer assistance programs can provide you with thousands of dollars to put toward your down payment and closing costs. Although the FHA loan program is the most popular first-time homebuyer loan option, those who qualify for a VA loan or USDA loan programs may be able to get through the front door without a down payment or private mortgage insurance.
If you’re a veteran and you or your spouse are Native American, you can receive a loan to purchase, build, or improve a home on federal trust land through the VA’s Native American Direct Loan. A NADL loan requires no down payment or PMI and reduces closing costs.
Why It’s Important to Shop Mortgage Lenders
It’s important to compare offers from a variety of lenders because each will evaluate your financial situation differently. To secure the best rate, fees, and terms for your situation most financial experts recommend comparing at least two to three different quotes.
Comparing Rates and Fees
A difference of 0.25% to 0.50% doesn’t sound like a lot but can save you thousands of dollars over the loan’s life. But securing the lowest interest rate isn’t the only factor you need to consider when comparing mortgage lenders. Two lenders can advertise the same mortgage rate but charge wildly different funding fees and closing fees. A low rate with high closing costs can eat away at the savings you thought the low rate provided.
Using this Home Loan Comparison Calculator, you can enter in all the variables of each offer and see a side-by-side comparison. When entering a VA loan, make sure to add the VA loan funding fee to the “Upfront Fees” field.
Home loan comparison calculator
Compare your payment options side-by-side to see which is right for you and your financial situation.
Find the mortgage that’s best for you by comparing the cost of multiple loans over time.
How We Chose the Best VA Mortgage Lenders
To find the best VA mortgage lenders of 2022, we first looked at all the mortgage lenders NextAdvisor has reviewed so far. To come up with the best mortgage lenders, we use criteria to develop a framework using a weighted average score between 0 and 5 with more weight awarded to the criteria we determined to be the most important. We then eliminated any lender that currently does not offer VA loans.
Our list doesn’t take into account key financial factors like mortgage rates, APRs, and fees, because those depend on market conditions and your individual creditworthiness. Instead of focusing on those numbers, it’s best to first determine the qualities you want in a lender and how to find the best mortgage rates. Then you’ll be prepared to find the best lender for you.
The factors we used to evaluate the best mortgage lenders:
- Online Convenience: A lender is scored 1 through 5 based on the company’s online application experience. A 5 is awarded if the company’s mortgage application can be completed fully online with a streamlined process, including uploading documents and a customized rate quote. A lower score is awarded if additional phone calls are needed to process an application or for a poor online user experience.
- Transparency: Lenders are scored 0 through 5 based on the accessibility and transparency of mortgage rates, lender fees, and credit check requirements for rates and/or fees. A 5 is awarded if the lender advertises rates and fees on its websites and doesn’t require a hard credit check to get rates and/or fees. Conversely, a lower score is awarded when consumers cannot easily access rate and fee information and/or must go through a hard credit check to access them.
- Nationwide Availability: Lenders are scored 1 through 5 based on the company’s geographical footprint. A lender can score a 5 if it operates in all 50 U.S. states.
- Loan Product Variety: Lenders are scored 1 through 5 based on their loan product menu and variety of products offered. A high score of 5 is given if most or all mortgage products are available, with a lower score awarded for a limited mortgage menu.
- Customer Satisfaction: To measure customer satisfaction, we reviewed the number of complaints filed against each lender with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2020. We divided the total consumer complaints with the total number of loans originated over the same time period to get a complaint ratio per 1,000 loans originated. We sourced the total loans originated using publicly accessible data provided under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and regulated by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).
What Are Today’s VA Mortgage Rates?
On Wednesday, May 25, 2022 according to Bankrate’s latest survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, the average 30-year VA mortgage rate is 4.470% with an APR of 4.580%. The average 30-year VA mortgage refinance rate is 4.510% with an APR of 4.690%.
Current VA Mortgage Rates
|30-Year Fixed Rate||5.240%||5.260%|
|30-Year FHA Rate||4.440%||5.270%|
|30-Year VA Rate||4.510%||4.690%|
|30-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||5.200%||5.210%|
|20-Year Fixed Rate||5.300%||5.310%|
|15-Year Fixed Rate||4.560%||4.580%|
|15-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||4.540%||4.560%|
|10-Year Fixed Rate||4.490%||4.520%|
|5/1 ARM Rate||3.810%||4.780%|
|5/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||3.720%||4.600%|
|7/1 ARM Rate||4.750%||4.390%|
|7/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||4.790%||4.330%|
|10/1 ARM Rate||4.840%||4.540%|
|30-Year Fixed Rate||5.280%||5.300%|
|30-Year FHA Rate||4.460%||5.270%|
|30-Year VA Rate||4.470%||4.580%|
|30-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||5.220%||5.230%|
|20-Year Fixed Rate||5.340%||5.350%|
|15-Year Fixed Rate||4.600%||4.630%|
|15-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||4.590%||4.610%|
|10-Year Fixed Rate||4.480%||4.510%|
|5/1 ARM Rate||3.910%||4.890%|
|5/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||3.800%||4.910%|
|7/1 ARM Rate||4.640%||4.400%|
|7/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||4.700%||4.310%|
|10/1 ARM Rate||4.760%||4.520%|
Rates as of Wednesday, May 25, 2022
VA Mortgage Lenders: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Am I eligible for a VA Loan?
The main qualification is you must be a current or former member of the military, or a surviving spouse of someone who served.
- Active duty members can qualify for a VA loan after 90 days.
- Conditions for former military personnel depend on the years you were on active duty
- Wartime veterans generally have shorter minimum service requirements.
If you’re unsure whether you qualify, you can refer to the VA home loan eligibility list.
While the VA does not publish official credit score guidelines and leaves these requirements up to each lender, the consensus among experts is that it’s easier to get approved for VA loans compared to a traditional mortgage.
How do I apply for a VA Loan?
- Apply for a VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE): A COE shows your lender that you qualify for the benefit. You can apply online at the official VA home loan website.
- Find a lender: Native American veterans have access to the Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program, where the VA services as your mortgage lender, but others will need to find a separate private lender who’s willing to work with a VA-backed loan such as the top 9 lenders listed above.
- Get preapproved: Before you start homeshopping, get preapproved so you have an idea of how much you can borrow.
- Get a home appraisal: Unlike conventional mortgages, VA loans require a home appraisal. The purpose of the appraisal is to estimate the market value of the house so that lenders can decide what the loan amount should be. Note that an appraisal is different from a home inspection, ensuring there are no issues with the house itself and is a separate cost. Although a home inspection isn’t required for a VA loan, most people choose to get both a home inspection and a home appraisal.
- Officially apply for a VA loan: After you’ve gotten an appraisal for the house you intend to buy, it’s time to officially apply for a loan with the lender you plan to work with. Your lender will look at factors such as your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and income to decide whether to approve your loan application.
What is a VA funding fee?
VA loans don’t require a downpayment or mortgage insurance, but it will have a VA funding fee, which is a one-time upfront payment of 1.4% to 3.6% of the loan amount for most types of VA mortgages for home purchases.
In addition, lenders are allowed, but not required, to add a lender fee of up to 1% of the loan balance. But, under specific circumstances, you may qualify for a VA Funding Fee waiver.