Veterans First Mortgage Review 2022
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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.
Pros & Cons
- Specializes in VA loans and working with military borrowers.
- Offers several low-down-payment government loan options.
- You can't shop rates online.
- Doesn't offer conventional home loans or renovation mortgages.
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Veterans First Mortgage at a glance
Based in Salt Lake City, 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.
Here's a breakdown of Veterans First Mortgage's overall score:
Variety of loan types: 4 of 5 stars
Ease of application: 5 of 5 stars
Rates and fees: 3 of 5 stars
Rate transparency: 1 of 5 stars
Veterans First Mortgage loan types
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 U.S. Department of Agriculture 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 whether that's an option, as its availability is subject to change.
Veterans First Mortgage ease of application
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 Veterans First president and CEO 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, according to the most recently available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data:
Veterans First earns 2 of 5 stars for average origination fee.
Veterans First earns 4 of 5 stars for offered mortgage rates compared with the best available rates on comparable loans.
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 overall ratings for mortgage lenders are evaluated based on four major categories: variety of loan types (purchase, refinance, fixed and adjustable, for example), ease of application, rates and fees and rate transparency. Among the factors we consider when scoring these categories are options to apply for and track loans online, the level of detail about mortgage rates on lender websites and our analysis of the rates and fees lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. These scores generate ratings from 1 star (poor) to 5 stars (excellent).