Veterans First mortgage review
It’s experienced in working with military borrowers, but offers questionable closing times.
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.
|Loan types||VA, FHA, USDA, Refinance|
|Other minimum credits||620|
|Available States||Available in all states|
- Several options for government-backed loans
- Experience working with military borrowers
- Strong customer service
- No online preapproval
- No online application
- No conventional, home equity or jumbo loans
What types of loans does Veterans First offer?
- VA. A portion of each loan is guaranteed by the VA. There are $0 down payment options and no monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) for qualified service members.
- FHA. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are insured by the government with a down payment as low as 3.5%.
- USDA. Low-income borrowers in qualified areas may be eligible for a USDA loan. Some loan options don’t have any down payment requirements.
Other loans offered by Veterans First
- Refinance. VA, FHA and USDA loans all offer streamlined refinancing for owner-occupied homes.
Veterans First fees
Veterans First Mortgage does not list its fees on its website. Some common fees include:
- Origination fee, up to 1% for VA loans
- Funding fee for a VA loan, which varies depending on your military status, your down payment and if it’s your first VA loan
- Credit report fee
- Appraisal fee
- Other closing costs, such as title reports and recording fees
The average down payment for a VA loan is 2%. In other words, VA loans offer a loan-to-value ratio of about 98%. Lenders generally want to see a credit score of around 620 with a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 41%.
While your loan is being processed, you’ll need to submit a few financial documents, such as:
- Tax returns
- Proof of income for the past two years
- Employment history
- Bank statements
- Divorce decree, if applicable
- Certificate of Eligibility (COE) if applying for a VA loan
How to get a home loan with Veterans First
Veterans First doesn’t offer an online loan application. Instead, the first step to start your loan is to contact a loan officer to explore your options. To get started:
- Go to Veterans First’s website.
- Click Start a loan.
- Choose whether you’re looking to purchase a new home or refinance your current home.
- Fill in your contact information, such as name, phone number, zip code and email address.
- Click Start now. A loan officer should contact you soon.
Pros and cons of Veterans First
- Several options for government-backed loans. Veterans First offers VA, FHA and USDA purchase and refinance loans.
- Experience working with military borrowers. The founder of Veterans First has been issuing VA loans since 1985. Veterans First, 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 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. Veterans First doesn’t offer instant rate quotes or online preapprovals.
- No online application. 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.
What is Veterans First?
Veterans First has operated under a few different names over the years. 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 became part of Wintrust Mortgage, a division of Barrington Bank & Trust Company.
Frequently asked questions
Kimberly Ellis is a writer at Finder. She hails from New York City with a BA from Queens College and a New York State teaching certificate. After teaching in both public and private schools, Kimberly decided to take the world by storm and dive into the media industry — where she covers everything from home loans and investing to K–12 education and shopping. She’s also an aspiring polyglot, always in a book and forever on the hunt for the perfect classic red lipstick.
Veterans First is a solid option for current and former military personnel. In addition to VA loans, it also offers other government-backed loan programs with low down payment options for first-time homebuyers. But keep an eye on your closing date and communicate with your loan officer to avoid any potential hiccups and delays.