The Complete Guide to Choosing VA Loan Lenders: Everything to Know

Each year, more than 6.5 million homes are sold in the United States. Roughly 78 percent of these homes are purchased with mortgages. That puts mortgages at the center of the American Dream of homeownership.

Aspiring homeowners can choose from a variety of home loan options available today. American veterans, service members, and their surviving spouses can opt for a special type of mortgage known as VA loans.

VA loans are guaranteed by the US Department of Veteran Affairs and require little to no down payment. Besides, these loans require no private mortgage insurance. Moreover, choosing VA loan lenders gives you access to highly competitive interest rates.

Currently, there are numerous VA loan lenders across the country. Choosing the right one can give you a highly satisfying experience, from the loan application process to the time you finish paying off the loan. In today’s blog, we highlight five easy ways to find the ideal VA loan lender for you.

Let’s delve right in.

Get VA Lender Recommendations

One of the best places to start when considering options for loan lenders is to ask people you know to recommend reliable institutions they’ve worked with in the past. If a family member, friend, or colleague has secured a VA loan in the past, they may be able to point you to their lender if they loved the experience.

Some of the questions you may ask your referrers include how smooth the process was, as well as how well the lender communicated with them. Was the lender eager to answer their questions? Were they genuinely interested in getting their client the best solution for their needs?

You can also consider reading online reviews to get a clearer picture of what to expect from a particular lender. If previous clients seem generally happy with a lender’s services, it’s an indication that you’ll love working with the institution.

Consider VA Loan Experience

Working with a lending institution that has a wealth of experience when it comes to VA loans is a huge plus. Such an institution will usually have a profound understanding of VA loans and can provide the best guidance to borrowers seeking these loans.

Enquire how many years the lender has been licensed. How many VA loans do they issue per year? The longer the lender has been in business and the more the borrowers they deal with per year, the more diverse the scenarios they are likely to have encountered.

Experienced lenders will generally have greater variety when it comes to the solutions they offer. For borrowers with special circumstances, an experienced lender is the best choice as they’ll usually know what to do.

Consider VA Loan Expertise

Some experienced lenders only dedicate a small part of their business to VA loans. Such lenders may not devote enough time to getting familiar with VA programs and the unique needs military borrowers have.

Try to find a lender who specializes in VA loans or who frequently deals with borrowers of these loans. Such a lender will have no problem providing expert guidance on what options are available and how to apply for the best one for you.

A lender with enough VA loan expertise can help make sure you get the most out of your VA loan benefits. They can clearly explain how the VA loan entitlement works, besides taking you through the VA loan appraisal process. In addition, such a lender will help you understand how the VA loan program compares to other mortgage options, so you’re sure you’re making the right decision.

Do Some Comparison-Shopping to Find the Best Rates

Your mortgage is most likely going to be the biggest loan you ever take, and the rates can make a huge difference. Different VA lenders charge different rates and fees. By comparing loan costs and interest rates from multiple lenders, you can lock in the best possible deal.

Pay special attention to the annual percentage rate (APR). A mortgage’s fees and closing costs are usually built into the APR but not the mortgage’s interest rate. If you focus solely on the plain-and-simple interest rate offered by the lender, you’ll not get the complete picture of what you’re going to be paying for the loan through the term.

Suppose a lender offers you a 3.5 percent interest rate while another offers a 4 percent interest rate. It’s easy to immediately assume that the first lender is making the better offer.

However, if the first lender’s mortgage has 5.5 percent APR and the second lender has a 4.75 percent APR, then opting for the first lender means you’ll get charged much more fees. By considering both the interest rate and the APR, it becomes easier to choose a deal that truly favors you.

For mortgage shoppers interested in comparing loan rates, go here for a free loan comparison calculator.

Read the Fine Print

Sure, mortgages can involve a considerable amount of paperwork. The temptation to sign the contract without reading everything can seem irresistible. But it’s always a good idea to set apart time to go through the fine print.

Reading the loan terms and conditions helps ensure that there aren’t any nasty surprises later after you’ve already taken the loan. You get to catch any errors early enough and avoid the much-dreaded buyer’s remorse later. More importantly, you get to make a decision whether you still want to proceed with a specific lender or choose someone else.

Choosing VA Loan Lenders Doesn’t Need to Be a Tough Affair

Mortgage lenders are never equal, so you should never simply opt for the first one you see. By choosing VA loan lenders carefully, you end up with an excellent lending partner and set yourself up for a great experience throughout the loan process.

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