6 best VA loan lenders of 2024

African American soldier hugging son in airportImage: African American soldier hugging son in airport

In a Nutshell

VA loans are available to eligible service members, veterans and their spouses when purchasing a home. The federal government guarantees these loans, and they are generally easier to qualify for than conventional loans. We've rounded up our picks for the best VA loan lenders, taking into account features such as multiple loan options, loan processing time, credit requirements, available loan terms, rate matching and more.
Editorial Note: Intuit Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Information about financial products not offered on Credit Karma is collected independently. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.

VA loans are government-backed mortgages that are exclusively available to qualifying service members, veterans and their spouses.

In general, VA loans are easier to qualify for and have lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. They don’t usually require a down payment. But VA loans have a one-time funding fee you must pay at closing, and they come with additional restrictions that other types of mortgages may not have.

It’s important to review your options carefully before determining whether this type of home loan is right for you. We’ve rounded up our picks for the best VA loan lenders to help guide your decision.

Best for people with bad credit: Freedom Mortgage

Why Freedom Mortgage stands out: People with credit scores as low as 550 may qualify for a VA loan with Freedom Mortgage. The lender offers VA purchase, VA streamline refinance (also called interest rate reduction refinance, or IRRRL), and VA cash-out refinance loans.

When you sign up for its Eagle Eye Program, you’ll receive texts when interest rates drop to alert you if you may be able to save money by refinancing.

Freedom Mortgage at a glance

Credit requirements550 for VA purchase loan
Notable featureGet help shopping for homeowners’ insurance

Read more about Freedom Mortgage loans.

Best for fast processing: Movement Mortgage

Why Movement Mortgage stands out: According to the lender’s website, Movement Mortgage processes 75% of its loans within seven business days or less once all documents are received. The company offers VA purchase, streamline refinance and cash-out refinance loans, and you can apply online or over the phone with a loan officer.

Movement Mortgage at a glance

Credit requirementsAt least 580 for a loan up to $1 million with a 15- or 30-year loan term; at least 680 for a loan up to $2 million with a 30-year loan term
Notable featureReceive a fully underwritten preapproval upfront —usually within six hours after all documents are received

Read more about Movement Mortgage loans.

Best for rate match: Navy Federal Credit Union

Why Navy Federal stands out: If you qualify for a lower interest rate with another lender after locking your rate with Navy Federal, the lender will match it if you meet certain conditions. If they can’t, they’ll give you $1,000 after your loan closes with a competing lender.

Navy Federal also offers a Special Freedom Lock program that lets you lock in your rate for 60 days. If interest rates fall during that time, you can relock your rate up to two times for a maximum reduction of 0.50%. If rates increase, your rate stays the same.

Navy Federal mortgages at a glance

Credit requirementsNot disclosed
Notable featureGet up to $9,000 in closing cost credits when you work with a real estate agent from the RealtyPlus network

Read more about Navy Federal home loans.

Best for refinancing: USAA

Why USAA stands out: USAA offers VA streamline refinance and VA cash-out refinancing loans. When you get a VA streamline refinance loan with USAA, you won’t pay origination, appraisal, title or VA funding fees.

Through the USAA Perks program, you can also save on home services, such as security systems, storage units, truck rentals, cell phone service and more.

USAA mortgage loans at a glance

Credit requirementsNot disclosed
Notable featureMembership required

Read more about USAA mortgage loans.

Best for multiple VA loan options: Veterans United

Why Veterans United stands out: Veterans United offers VA purchase, jumbo, energy efficient, streamline refinance and cash-out refinance loans. Veterans United provides customer service 24 hours a day, and you can access educational content and mortgage calculators through the company’s website.

If you work with a real estate agent from Veterans United Realty — a network of real estate agents who specialize in working with veterans — you may qualify for a rebate to use toward your closing costs or to reduce your interest rate.

Veterans United at a glance

Credit requirements600 for VA loans
Notable featureFree credit consulting service available for military service members, veterans and military families

Read more about Veterans United mortgages.

Best for home repairs: CrossCountry Mortgage

Why CrossCountry Mortgage stands out: If you’ve got your heart set on a fixer upper, CrossCountry Mortgage offers VA renovation loans you can use to cover projects with a total cost under $35,000 in non-structural repairs.

Plus, the lenders’ temporary rate buydown program can help make your mortgage more affordable for up to the first three years of your loan.

CrossCountry Mortgage at a glance

Credit requirementsNot disclosed
Notable feature21-day loan closing process for most loans if you meet certain targets

Read more about Cross Country Mortgage.

How to apply for a VA home loan

If you’re searching for a new home and think a VA loan might be right for you, here’s what you need to know before applying.

VA loan requirements

You’ll need the following to process your application:

  • Certificate of eligibility. A certificate of eligibility is a document provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that shows lenders you’re eligible for a VA loan.
  • VA appraisal. Appraisals determine the value of a home, so your mortgage can be guaranteed through the VA loan program.
  • Prequalification. The VA recommends getting prequalified before submitting an offer.
  • Documentation. To process your application, the lender needs documents that verify your identity and finances — including obtaining your driver’s license, pay stubs, W-2s and bank statements.

VA loans pros

  • Potential for no down payment. Almost 90% of VA loans are funded without a down payment, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Flexible credit guidelines. There are no minimum credit score requirements for VA loans, though lenders may have minimum requirements.
  • No debt-to-income requirement. Conventional loans typically require applicants to have a debt-to-income, or DTI, ratio of no more than 43%. There’s no DTI limit on VA loans.
  • No mortgage insurance required. No matter how little money you put down, you won’t have to pay for private mortgage insurance.
  • Limited closing costs. The VA caps the amount of closing costs buyers must pay. Sellers may contribute up to 4% of the closing costs at settlement.

VA loans cons

  • VA loan funding fee. You’ll have to pay a one-time VA loan funding fee when you close on your loan. The fee is calculated as a percentage of the loan amount. It varies based on how much money you’re putting down and whether you’ve used your VA loan benefit before.
  • Property restrictions. You may only use your VA loan benefit to purchase a primary residence that meets the VA’s property requirements.
  • Home appraisal required. You can’t waive your right to a home appraisal if you’re using a VA loan to purchase a home.

Does the lender matter for a VA loan?

Yes. Although VA loans are backed by the federal government, individual lenders are responsible for making loan decisions. Each lender sets credit guidelines, income requirements and interest rates, so it’s a good idea to compare offers from multiple lenders before selecting a loan.

What credit score do you need for a VA mortgage?

The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t set minimum credit score requirements for VA loans. However, lenders typically establish credit requirements that applicants must meet to qualify for a VA loan. These requirements vary by lender.

Our methodology: How we picked these home loans

We reviewed more than a dozen VA lenders to come up with our top picks, considering factors such as loan options, closing timelines, application process, fees, loan terms, credit requirements and other features that may be helpful to people buying a home.

About the author: Jennifer Brozic is a freelance financial services writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in communication management from Towson University. She’s committed… Read more.