Veterans First Mortgage Review 2020

Good for: veterans and active military members interested in a VA, FHA or USDA home loan.

Kate WoodOctober 8, 2020
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Our Take

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Veterans First has expertise in helping service members and offers a fully online application process, but you can’t shop interest rates on its website and conventional loans aren't an option.

Veterans First Mortgage

Veterans First Mortgage: NMLS#449042

Min. Credit Score

660

VA:

660

FHA:

640

USDA:

620

Min. Down Payment

0%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Specializes in VA loans and working with military borrowers.

  • Offers several low-down-payment government loan options.

Cons

  • You can't shop rates online.

  • Doesn't offer conventional home loans or renovation mortgages.

Compare to Other Lenders

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Min. Credit Score

660

VA:

660

Conventional:

660

FHA:

660

USDA:

660

Min. Credit Score

640

Conventional:

640

FHA:

640

VA:

640

USDA:

640

Min. Down Payment

0%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

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Full Review

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, getting a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with high loan demand and staffing issues that may slow down the process. Also, some lenders have increased their fees or temporarily suspended certain loan products. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Veterans First Mortgage at a glance

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Veterans First Mortgage specializes in purchase and refinance VA loans for veterans and active members of the military. Though potential borrowers must contact the lender to get rates, the application process is otherwise entirely online. This is especially convenient for borrowers who may be deployed overseas.

  • Variety of loan types: 4 of 5 stars

  • Variety of loan products: 4 of 5 stars

  • Online convenience: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 1 of 5 stars

Veterans First Mortgage loan types and products

Veterans First Mortgage’s bread and butter has always been purchase and refinance loans offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The lender says 90% of its loan originations are VA loans, which can have complex eligibility requirements and processes.

In addition to VA loans, Veterans First Mortgage also offers Agriculture Department and Federal Housing Administration loans for home purchases and refinancing. That includes rate-and-term refinance options, as well as a streamline refinance option for VA and FHA customers. The lender has fixed-rate terms of 15, 20, 25 and 30 years.

Veterans First recommends that borrowers who are interested in an adjustable-rate mortgage contact a loan officer to see if it’s an option, as its availability is subject to change.

Veterans First Mortgage online convenience

As more mortgage lenders move to all-digital lending platforms, Veterans First Mortgage says it has a different approach.

"Some lenders are using technology to interact less with customers, but since our approach to this business is based on building relationships, we’re more interested in how technology can help us interact more with our clients," said Veteran First founder Kevin Gates, adding that he wants his company to communicate with customers in a way that’s efficient, timely and helpful.

Online loan accessibility is particularly important for many military customers who might be deployed overseas and unable to work directly with a loan officer during business hours. Veterans First Mortgage offers online loan application, tracking and document exchange, as well as the ability for borrowers to sign documents electronically. The lender’s site is also mobile friendly.

Veterans First Mortgage rates and fees

One of the most important considerations when choosing a mortgage lender is understanding what the loan will cost. In order to provide consumers with a general sense of what a lender might charge, NerdWallet scores lenders on two factors regarding fees and mortgage rates:

  • A lender's average origination fee compared with the median of all lenders reporting under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Veterans First earns 3 out of 5 stars on this factor.

  • A lender's offered mortgage rates compared with the best available on comparable loans. Veterans First earns 3 out of 5 stars on this factor.

Borrowers should consider the balance between lender fees and mortgage rates. While it's not always the case, paying upfront fees can lower your mortgage interest rate. Some lenders will charge higher upfront fees to lower their advertised interest rate and make it more attractive. Some lenders just charge higher upfront fees.

You can decide to buy discount points — a fee paid with your closing costs — to reduce your mortgage rate.

Deciding whether to pay higher upfront fees is a matter of considering how long you plan to live in your home and how much cash you have to apply toward closing costs when you sign the loan paperwork.

Veterans First Mortgage rate transparency

Veterans First offers general information about fees for VA loans, including the VA loan funding fee, on its website. However, to get rate information about any of its loans, you'll have to call the lender or fill out a contact form so a Veterans First loan officer can get in touch with you.

More from NerdWallet

NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.