By Linda Cameron
As a veteran, or the surviving spouse of a current or former military service member, you’ve probably seen enticing ads about easy VA home loan financing. Buying or refinancing a home is complex, even if you are or have been a homeowner. But it’s easy to get sidelined into a VA home mortgage program that seems too good to be true. Choosing a legitimate mortgage lender requires research. But research is an important step before making a life changing decision. Here are a few tips about where to apply for a VA home loan, along with a list of resources.
Mortgage Providers and Referral Services:
- National or local bank. This can be a major national bank or the savings and loan tucked away in your hometown. If already a customer, your chances of qualifying for a home loan improve. Be sure your bank has a VA loan program.
- Mortgage finance and servicing company. Some are national brand names with branch offices in your neighborhood. You might also want to look up a few through a phone app or go directly online. The state, city or county where you live might also have private mortgage lenders with VA home buying and refinance programs.
- Prime Choice Funding. This mortgage brokerage firm helps homeowners “finance their dreams,” and can assist veterans with accessing the best financing terms possible. Their VA home loan specialists know the ins and outs of the program, and can walk veterans through the different loan options available.
- Credit union. If turned down for a VA home loan through a bank or mortgage lender, your credit union can help. Borrowers with lower credit ratings often turn to a credit union. (Be sure yours is a VA home loan participant.)
- Navy Federal Credit Union. This credit union has nationwide membership for present and former service members. Veterans and eligible surviving spouses can apply for loans to buy a home or refinance. Certain restrictions apply.
- Realtors. Local and national realtors and realty services cannot directly provide VA mortgages. But they can assist with matching or referring you to licensed mortgage companies and financial service institutions who participate in the VA home loan program. Companies such as Zillow, a national real estate and rental marketplace, can connect veterans and their surviving spouses to VA lenders. Zillow also has a step-by-step process for getting a VA loan and linking you to VA lenders.
- VA Home Loan Centers. This center is a VA approved home mortgage originator but not a government agency. It has home buying and seller assistance and is also a resource for veterans and military service personnel.
- Veterans United Home Loans. A VA approved lender, Veterans United Home Loans is also a resource for veterans, military personnel and their surviving spouses. Veterans United has a network of branch offices across the U.S. Although not a government agency, this company is staffed with veterans with experience in VA home loan financing and who are knowledgeable about the housing needs of veterans.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/VA Home Loans. This department is a resource for regional loan centers that administer the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program.