Veterans First Mortgage review
It’s experienced in working with military borrowers, but it only offers government-backed mortgages.
Veterans First Mortgage specializes in VA loans and dabbles in other government-backed loan programs like FHA and USDA. But you’ll need to talk to a loan officer on the phone to get a rate quote or to start your application, as there’s no online preapproval or application process.
Our take on Veterans First Mortgage
If you’re a current or former military member, a Veterans First Mortgage may be a viable option. As a VA loan specialist, the company has garnered hundreds of positive reviews from customers online — many of whom are military members and veterans.
In addition to VA loans, Veterans First offers other government-backed loan programs with low down payment options for first-time homebuyers. But there isn’t a lot of information about fees and costs on its website. So, be sure to consider fees, especially the VA loan funding fee, in the cost of your mortgage.
While the vast majority of customers had positive things to say about the company, we recommend keeping an eye on your closing date and communicating with your loan officer to avoid any potential hiccups and delays.
Veterans First Mortgage requirements
To secure a home loan with Veterans First Mortgage, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. To be eligible, you must be any of the following:
- A US military veteran
- An active-duty servicemember
- A surviving spouse
- A reservist or national guardsman
- An academy cadet or midshipman
- A NOAA officer
- A USPHS officer
In addition, the VA has numerous eligibility requirements that you must meet to qualify for VA home loan programs.
Regarding specifics, Veterans First Mortgage generally wants to see a credit score in the mid 600s with a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 41%. And while you’re not required to make a down payment for a VA loan, you’ll need to put down at least 3.5% if you go with an FHA loan.
The documents you’ll need to submit alongside your application will vary based on your personal and financial situation. However, some of the most common documents include:
- Full credit application
- Proof of income
- Tax returns
- Employment history
- Bank statements
- Divorce decree, if applicable
- Certificate of Eligibility (COE) if applying for a VA loan
Costs and fees
Veterans First Mortgage charges a flat origination fee of $1,315. In addition, you may be required to pay a VA funding fee, which varies depending on your military status, your down payment and if it’s your first VA loan. Specific eligible veterans can fully waive this fee.
Some other common fees include:
- Credit report fee
- Appraisal fee
- Other closing costs, such as title reports and recording fees
How to apply for a mortgage with Veterans First Mortgage
Veterans First Mortgage doesn’t offer an online loan application. Instead, the first step is to contact a loan officer to explore your options. To get started:
- Go to Veterans First’s website.
- Select Start A Loan.
- Choose either Purchase or Refinance.
- Enter your contact information, including name, phone number, ZIP code and email address.
- Select Start Now. A loan officer should contact you with next steps in the process.
What types of mortgages can I get through Veterans First?
Other mortgage products available at Veterans First Mortgage
Veterans First Mortgage doesn’t offer any other mortgage products other than VA, FHA, USDA and refinance loans.
Veterans First Mortgage reviews and complaints
Veterans First Mortgage doesn’t have a profile or any reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as of September 2021.
On Trustpilot, customer sentiment is mostly very positive. Out of 1,248 total reviews to date, customers have rated Veterans First Mortgage 4.9 out of 5 stars. 94% of users gave Veterans First Mortgage an excellent review.
Most customers said the process was smooth and praised the company for its customer service. Negative reviews cited delays in closing and repeated requests for the same paperwork.
Veterans First Mortgage pros and cons
- Several options for government-backed loans. Veterans First Mortgage offers VA, FHA and USDA purchase and refinance loans.
- Experience working with military borrowers. The founder of Veterans First Mortgage has been issuing VA loans since 1985. Veterans First Mortgage, as an approved VA lender, can also help you get your Certificate of Eligibility through the VA’s information portal.
- Strong customer service. Veterans First Mortgage has a high number of positive reviews on Trustpilot. Users reported that their loan officers were knowledgeable and maintained excellent communication throughout the entire process.
- No online preapproval or application. Veterans First Mortgage doesn’t offer instant rate quotes or online preapprovals. The website only allows you to fill out a form to request a loan officer to contact you.
- No conventional, home equity or jumbo loans. Consider another lender if you’re looking to tap into your home’s equity or want to buy a high-value property.
- Fees can add up quickly. In addition to the VA funding fee of 1.4% to 2.3% of the total loan amount that is often required with VA-backed or VA direct home loans, you’ll also need to pay Veterans First Mortgage’s $1,315 origination fee.
What is Veterans First?
Veterans First Mortgage is a government-backed mortgage lender based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, that specializes in VA, FHA and USDA home loans.
Since its founding in 1985, Veterans First Mortgage has operated under a few different names. Kevin Gates was one of the founding members of Freedom Mortgage Corporation in 1985. In 1996, Gates started another mortgage company called Liberty Home Mortgage. One year later, he sold Freedom Mortgage. Gates then reacquired Freedom Mortgage’s branch office lending operations and renamed Liberty Home Mortgage as New Freedom Mortgage.
In 2006, the company was renamed iFreedom Direct. Finally, in 2016, it was renamed Veterans First Mortgage. In 2017, Veterans First Mortgage became part of Wintrust Mortgage, a division of Barrington Bank & Trust Company.
Alternatives to Veterans First Mortgage
Given its history as a government-backed mortgage lender, Veterans First Mortgage options are limited to VA, FHA and USDA loans. If you’re after a conventional or other type of home loan, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Alternatively, lenders offering a greater selection of mortgage products along with personalized service and high marks from customers are Guaranteed Rate, Draper & Kramer Mortgage and North American Savings Bank.
If you prefer a fully digital lending experience with no origination fees and minimal hand-holding, check out Better or Beeline. Both allow you to apply online 24/7 for a quick preapproval decision on your loan.
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