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Veterans United Mortgage Review 2018

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by Nina Semczuk Updated
Veterans United
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Our Rating: 4.4/5
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Veterans United Mortgage Overview

As evident in the name, the company is focused on serving America’s military community. In fact, this non-bank mortgage lender originated the most VA purchase loans in 2017. Founded in 2002 by two brothers, both former grade school teachers, Veterans United is headquartered in Columbia, Missouri and has branch offices in 17 states. The company has more than 2,000 employees and is privately held.

Veterans United specializes in VA home loans, but also offers conventional, FHA and USDA mortgages as well as several refinancing options. 

Today's Rates

National Average Rates

Product Today Last Week Change
30 year fixed 4.68% 4.69% -0.01
15 year fixed 4.17% 4.19% -0.02
5/1 ARM 4.29% 4.12% +0.17
30 yr fixed mtg refi 4.65% 4.63% +0.02
15 yr fixed mtg refi 4.16% 4.17% -0.01
7/1 ARM refi 4.44% 4.39% +0.05
15 yr jumbo fixed mtg refi 4.35% 4.26% +0.09

National Mortgage Rates

Source: Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, SmartAsset Research

Regions Served by Veterans United

Does Veterans United Operate in My Area?

Veterans United originates loans in all 50 states online or over the phone. If you’re looking for a physical office, Veterans United has branch locations in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington. 

What Kind of Mortgage Can I Get With Veterans United? 

VA loans are the bread and butter of Veterans United. In fact, you have to really dig to find any information about other loan offerings on the company’s website. However, although much less popular among its customer base, Veterans United does offer alternative mortgage options for those who either don’t qualify for a VA loan or who are seeking another option. Below, we discuss each available loan: 

VA loan: First off, you have to meet the standards set forth by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be eligible for this type of loan. Active duty service members and veterans of active service are generally eligible after 90 to 181 days of service. National Guard and Reserve members need six years of service if they haven’t spent the minimum time on active service. Certain spouses may also be eligible. 

As you may have guessed from the name, Veterans United specializes in this type of loan. Your options for this type of mortgage loan are a 15-year fixed rate, 20-year fixed rate, 25-year fixed-rate, 30-year fixed rate or a 5/1 ARM. 

Conventional loan: You won’t find much information regarding the conventional home loans offered by Veterans United. The company really stands strong behind its VA focus, but this type of loan is an option for you if you don’t qualify for a VA loan or other government-backed option, such as a USDA or FHA loan. Choose from 15-year, 20-year, 25-year or 30-year fixed-rate terms or a 5/1 ARM

USDA loan: This is an option if you’re buying a home in a rural or underdeveloped area. The government-backed loan is available to those who meet income requirements and can have down payments as low as 0%. Verify your eligibility on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. Veterans United offers 30-year USDA loans. 

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan: This government-backed mortgage option has more flexible lending requirements than conventional loans. You can apply with lower credit scores and down payment savings as low as 3.5%. Veterans United offers 30-year and 15-year fixed rate FHA loans and 5/1 ARMs. 

Jumbo loan:  For home purchases that exceed $453,100 to $679,650 (depending on county), you have to apply for a jumbo loan. A jumbo loan is required when the loan is above the government-set conventional loan limits. You’ll find VA and conventional jumbo loans offered at Veterans United. 

Refinance: Veterans United offers refinance options, including VA streamline (interest rate reduction loan) and cash-out. 

What Can You Do Online With Veterans United?

Most homebuyers likely won’t be impressed with Veterans United’s initial online experience. While you can find plenty of information, including VA loan overviews, guidelines, articles and videos, you can’t prequalify or apply online. You can’t even get a personalized rate quote as the rate page is static and pushes you to the “Get a Quote” option. 

If you go through the “Get a Quote” pipeline, you’ll end with a screen that says “We’ll be calling you shortly!” To reach that, you have to go through a series of questions including credit score range, home price, military branch, current address, email and phone number. After completing all the questions, you don’t see a preliminary offer, just the promise of a phone call. You also can’t see any live rate charts.While you may see rates for a 30-year fixed-rate VA loan and a 15-year fixed-rate VA loan, you can’t customize the rates to your situation, and you can’t find rates for the other types of loans offered, such as conventional, USDA or FHA.

Once you start an application with the lender after visiting a location or speaking with a loan officer over the phone, you’ll have an online account through the “My Veterans United” portal. The online dashboard allows you to upload and sign documents electronically and to monitor your loan’s progress. 

However, you won’t find Veterans United mobile application. To be fair, the lender is not a division of a bank, such as CitiMortgage is part of Citi or USAA Mortgage is a section of USAA Bank, which means less resources or need to build out a mobile experience. That said, you can sign into “My Veteran’s United,” the online portal that lets you monitor your loan progress on your cell phone. 

Would You Qualify for a Mortgage From Veterans United?

The first consideration is your FICO credit score. Veterans United doesn’t stand by absolute credit score requirements, but in general, you need a score of at least 620. In the company’s “compare loan types” example, the minimum for a VA loan is 620, FHA and USDA is 640, and conventional is 660. Those parameters are not exact, but can give you an idea of what loan you might qualify for. In general, the best rates are offered to those with credit scores 740 or above. That’s something to keep in mind as you apply for mortgages. 

If your credit score isn’t high enough to qualify you for a loan, Veterans United offers the Lighthouse Program® to veterans, service members and military families. This free, no-obligation service from Veterans United connects you with a credit consultant who will help you create a plan to improve your credit. This includes identifying and correct problems with your credit report, strengthening your credit profile and developing goals to reduce debt. 

Credit score isn’t the only financial health marker that’s considered when you apply for a loan. Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is important, too. This percentage helps the lender understand whether you have enough income to support your mortgage and other debt payments. In general, the VA looks for a DTI of 41% or less. If you have both low credit and a high DTI, you’re less likely to qualify for a mortgage. To calculate your own DTI, add your prospective monthly mortgage payment plus any monthly debt payments, such as car loans, credit card debt payments, child support or student loans. Take that number and divide by your gross (pre-tax) monthly income. Multiply by 100 to reach your DTI. 

You’ll also need to show that you have enough savings to cover closing costs and a down payment, if applicable. Ideally, you’ll want to have enough savings to cover a few months of you mortgage payments in case of an emergency or unexpected cost. 

What’s the Process for Getting a Mortgage With Veterans United?

The first step is to prequalify. While you can’t do this online, Veterans United promises the process is quick once you speak with a mortgage representative on the phone. When SmartAsset called the main phone number (1-800-884-5560), a knowledgeable representative was reached within five minutes, with minimal hold time. 

Your loan officer will need your desired loan amount, current and previous employment, gross (pre-tax) monthly income, assets (bank accounts, retirement funds, TSP), your monthly liabilities such as car loans, daycare costs, alimony or child support, information about any previous bankruptcies, foreclosures, debt defaults or delinquencies. They’ll also ask for your Social Security number for a credit check. 

If your finances check out, you can move on to preapproval. This is a more detailed process than prequalification. You’ll verify all the information you provided in the prequalification with documents as evidence. Be prepared to provide a government issued ID, DD 214 for veterans, pay stubs, two years’ worth of W-2s, federal tax returns, recent bank statements, VA disability percentage if applicable, retirement account statements and any documents requested by your loan officer. 

You can do all these steps before you start the house hunt. Having a preapproval letter in hand can help make any offer you submit stand a better chance at being accepted by the seller. Preapproval signals to the seller and your realtor that you’re serious about home buying, and are not just looking around. It also speeds up the process when you go to apply for the mortgage itself; your lender already has all your financial information. 

When it’s time for the actual mortgage application, you’ll call your loan officer and send them the purchase contract. From there, you’ll be walked through providing any additional information required by the lender to complete your loan application. A VA loan requires a certificate of eligibility from the Department of Veteran Affairs website, which can be obtained before you apply or prequalify. 

Before you can close on the house, you’ll be required to arrange for a home inspection, including a termite inspection (for VA loans). An appraiser will be scheduled by your lender. VA loans have specific appraisal requirements while conventional loans have slightly different ones. Once the appraisal and inspections are complete, you can move to closing. Before the final day, you’ll need to purchase a homeowners insurance policy. The cost is generally rolled into your escrow account along with property taxes, so that you’ll pay one monthly bill that covers principal, interest, tax and insurance. 

How Veterans United Mortgage Stacks Up

Let’s start with the positives: Veterans United provides comprehensive education for first-time VA loan homebuyers. The site has detailed information for every step of the process, including articles and videos. There are tools for you to use to determine whether your finances would qualify you for the home price you desire, and the search function works well. 

Representatives were easy to reach and the company states that you can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s among the best for reachability, in comparison most lenders we profile stop answering phones at about 8 p.m. 

However, while you can reach Veterans United by phone (or in-person), the company doesn’t offer many digital alternatives. There isn’t an email option, live chat option or mobile app. You also can’t prequalify online. You must call a representative (or arrange to be called by one) to see what rates are available to you. If online capability is important to you, an online-based lender like Rocket Mortgage (part of Quicken Loans) might be a better choice.

That said, the company offers VA, USDA, FHA and conventional loans. For a non-bank mortgage lender, this is an impressive array of offerings. Better Mortgage, a non-bank lending startup, offers no government-backed loan options, the same as Lenda, another startup lender that only offers conventional home loans.

If you’re looking for a VA lender, Veterans United is one of the largest and is geared toward you. That means you might have a better experience getting a loan through this company than a smaller bank or lender with less experience with the VA process. However, if you want to keep all your banking in one spot, you may be better off choosing USAA, Navy Federal or another military banking option. 

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