Veterans First Mortgage Review for 2021

Veterans First specializes in VA loans for veterans and active-duty service members. But FHA and USDA financing is also available.

Lending flexibility 3.0
Customer service 5.0
Ease of application 2.5
Online experience 4.0
Minimum down payment 0%
Minimum credit score 620
Loan Products Offered

Fixed-rate mortgage
VA mortgage
FHA mortgage
USDA mortgage

Best Features

  • VA lender specializing in zero down home loans for military families
  • Offers other government-backed loans like FHA and USDA 
  • Licensed in 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Drawbacks

  • Doesn’t offer conventional home loans, home equity loans, or HELOC
  • No initial online application or instant rate quotes

Overview

Veterans First Mortgage has provided military borrowers with affordable home loan solutions for more than three decades.

This lender specializes in VA loans — those backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs — which offer zero-down financing and low interest rates.

Along with VA home loans, Veterans First offers FHA and USDA home loans.

Mortgage interest rates vary by customer, but Veterans First is generally competitive. Check with the company to find out what rate you qualify for.

 


Veterans First mortgage rates 

In 2019, the average Veterans First mortgage interest rate for a 30-year VA loan was 3.98%.

This rate was slightly higher than average rates offered by major lenders like Wells Fargo, Quicken Loans, and USAA — yet still competitive. 

Its average loan origination fee for 2019 was also on par with major competitors, but Veterans First mortgage borrowers paid less in total loan costs.

Average 30-year VA mortgage rates at major lenders

 
Veterans First*
Wells Fargo
Quicken Loans
USAA
Average 30-Year VA Rate, 2019
3.98% 3.68% 3.88% 3.85%
Monthly P&I Payment**
$1,461 $1,174 $1,203 $1,199
Median VA Loan Costs, 20191
$3,920 $5,293 $6,251 $5,613
Median Origination Charge, 20191
$1,280 $1,199 $2,805 $949

Average rate and fee data were sourced from public rate and fee records required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

*Rates and fees for Veterans First come from 2019 loan data submitted by Barrington Bank & Trust Co., which owns Veterans First. Data may reflect loans not originated under the Veterans First trade name.

**Monthly principal and interest payment based on a $250,000 home price, with 0% down, at each company’s average 30-year VA interest rate for 2019. Your own rate and monthly payment will vary.

Check your rates from Veterans First today, April 19, 2021

Veterans First mortgage review for 2021

Even though Veterans First specializes in zero down VA loans, this mortgage lender also offers low-down-payment alternatives, including government-backed FHA loans and USDA loans.

VA loans are attractive because they don’t require a down payment or annual mortgage insurance.

Borrowers using a low-down-payment conventional loan pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). And borrowers using an FHA loan pay mortgage insurance premium (MIP).

But VA loan borrowers only pay a one-time funding fee, which can be rolled into the loan amount.

VA loans also tend to have the lowest mortgage rates of any loan type.

Veterans First’s focus on VA loans means it has extensive experience helping VA home buyers and refinancers. This could make it an attractive option for borrowers looking for hands-on service.

Those who prefer an all-digital experience might be disappointed by the fact that you have to contact a loan officer to get your application started.

But after that, the company does offer online resources throughout the mortgage application process.

Check your rates from Veterans First today, April 19, 2021

Working with Veterans First

The process of getting a loan with Veterans First Mortgage is slightly different from how some mortgage lenders operate.

This lender doesn’t provide instant rate quotes online, nor does the lender have an online application for mortgage pre-approval. 

To get started, visit the Veterans First website and click “Start a Loan.” Here you’ll indicate whether you’re interested in purchasing a home or refinancing your existing mortgage loan. 

Next, enter basic information about yourself such as your name, phone number, ZIP Code, and email. 

After you complete the form, a loan officer will contact you to discuss your options.

If you decide to apply for a home loan with Veterans First, you’ll complete a loan application and provide supporting documentation. This includes the following:

  • Tax returns for the past two years
  • Recent paycheck stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Divorce decree, if applicable

If you’re applying for a VA loan, you’ll also need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This is the first step to getting a VA-back home loan, as this certificate confirms that you meet the minimum service requirement for VA loan eligibility.

The lender should be able to retrieve your COE online in a matter of minutes.

Veterans First customer service reviews 

Choosing a lender with an excellent reputation can result in a more positive experience when buying or refinancing a home. 

Although Veterans First Mortgage isn’t included in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, many of its customers have been impressed with the level of service they’ve received from the lender.

Out of 892 reviews on the website Trustpilot, Veterans First Mortgage received a rating of 4.8 out of 5.

Several customers praised the company for employing knowledgeable, competent professionals, and a number of reviewers spoke of low rates, a smooth process, and timely service.

Company
Mortgage Originations 2019
CFPB Complaints
Complaints per 1,000 Mortgages
2020 JD Power Rating
Veterans First
Not Listed 0 0 Not Rated
Wells Fargo 
1,026,800 342 0.33 840/1,000
Quicken Loans
774,900 187 0.24 883/1,000
USAA
115,206 49 0.43 887/1,000

Mortgage loan products at Veterans First

Veterans First Mortgage loan products include:

  • VA home loans — These loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allow zero down and borrowers don’t pay mortgage insurance. The minimum credit score for a VA loan with Veterans First is 660 (though this may be subject to change over time)
  • FHA home loans — Insured by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans require a minimum down payment of 3.5% and a minimum credit score of 620
  • USDA home loans — These zero down loans backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture require a minimum credit score of 620. Borrowers can use this loan for buying a property in an eligible rural area

Veterans First isn’t only an option when purchasing a home. You can also use the lender for a mortgage refinance.

Refinancing can help lower your interest rate and monthly payment, cash-out your home equity, or pay off your mortgage faster.

Veterans First offers cash-out and streamlined (IRRRL) refinancing on both VA and FHA loans. VA cash-out refinancing allows you to refinance up to 100% of your home’s value.

Unfortunately, Veterans First Mortgage doesn’t offer conventional mortgages, home equity loans, or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

In addition, according to a representative for Veterans First Mortgage, “credit guidelines can change from time to time.”

The company takes several factors into account when approving mortgage loans, so a credit score within these ranges doesn’t guarantee loan approval.

Verify your mortgage eligibility with Veterans First today, April 19, 2021

Veterans First FAQ

Where can I get a loan with Veterans First? 

Veterans First has a nearly 400-person team and loan centers in California and Utah. The mortgage lender is licensed to operate in all 50 states and Washington D.C. Most borrowers apply by entering their information online, then speaking to a loan officer who will reach out to discuss loan options.

Are VA loan rates the same at all banks? 

No, VA loan rates are not the same at all banks. Interest rates can vary a lot from lender to lender, so it’s important to shop around and get quotes. Ideally, you should request free rate quotes from a minimum of three lenders.

What’s the minimum credit score for Veterans First mortgage?

Credit guidelines can change from time to time, according to a Veterans First representative. Currently, the minimum credit score for a VA loan is 660; the minimum for a USDA loan or FHA loan is 620.

Can I get a VA loan with bad credit? 

Most VA lenders allow credit scores starting at 620, though it may be possible to find a lender with credit score requirements starting at 580. Veterans First currently requires a FICO score of at least 660 for a VA loan.

Does Veterans First do VA cash-out refinancing? 

Yes, you can apply for VA cash-out refinancing with Veterans First Mortgage. This involves borrowing cash from your home’s equity. You can use funds for debt consolidation, medical bills, home remodeling, college tuition, etc.

What is the IRRRL program? 

The interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL) is a VA streamlined refinance to reduce the rate and mortgage payment on a current VA loan. You can’t cash-out your equity with a streamlined refinance. However, the process is simpler because you don’t need a new Certificate of Eligibility or a new appraisal. Credit and income verification may not be required, either.

How do I find the best VA loan rate? 

Shopping around can help you get the best deal and find low VA loan rates. Factors that impact your VA loan rate include your credit history, loan-to-value ratio, and loan term.

Is Veterans First the best mortgage lender for you? 

Veterans First Mortgage is an option if you’re a military borrower looking for a no money down mortgage, or if you’re interested in another government-backed loan (FHA or USDA).

The main drawback is that Veterans First has higher credit score requirements than many other lenders. So credit-challenged VA borrowers may do better elsewhere.

Veterans First refinance rates and purchase rates are competitive, and the lender’s loan fees are lower than some major lenders. 

But rates and fees vary by customer. So you’ll want to compare your offer from Veterans First with comparable offers from a few other mortgage lenders before signing on.

Compare to These Lenders

Minimum down payment: 3%
Minimum credit score: 620
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Sources:

  1. Average mortgage rates and fees sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Rates and fees shown reflect the previous year’s data and may not align with today’s mortgage rates
  2. Monthly principal and interest payments calculated using TheMortgageReports.com mortgage calculator. Payments shown are based on a $200,000 loan amount and assume a “very good” credit score. Property taxes and homeowners insurance are not included. Your own monthly payment will vary
  3. Number of mortgage originations for the previous year sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
  4. CFPB Complaints reflect the number of mortgage origination or closing-related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the previous year
  5. Complaints per 1000 mortgages reflect the number of official complaints filed against a lender with the CFPB for the previous year, compared to the lender’s total number of mortgage originations for the previous year
  6. JD Power Rating reflects the company’s customer satisfaction score according to JD Power’s most recent Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Survey respondents score their lenders in four areas: application/approval process, communication, loan closing, and loan offerings