When you’re buying a car, a couch, or some other pricy item, you probably shop around a bit and compare prices to make sure that you’re getting the best deal. You might even try your hand at haggling with the seller to see if they’ll sweeten the offer. Though you may not think of it this way, a home loan is also a product. While you might not be able to drive it or lounge on it while you watch television, you can certainly do a bit of comparison shopping before signing on the dotted line. In fact, doing so can result in substantial savings. What if you’ve decided to use a loan from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ home loan program? Then, you’ll want to learn how to compare VA mortgage lenders.
How to Compare VA Mortgage Lenders
VA loans come in all shapes and sizes, and VA lenders work in different ways. When you’re trying to figure out how to compare VA mortgage lenders, those differences can make things challenging, but it’s worth the work. The right lender will be able to help you feel confident about your choices as you move forward on the path toward homeownership.
Focus on One Type of VA Loan
VA loans aren’t one-size-fits-all financial products. For example, borrowers can choose between 15-year and 30-year loans. Likewise, both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate VA loans are available. That variety can make comparisons complicated. Military.com suggests that you keep things simple by choosing one type of VA loan to focus on and requesting quotes for only that kind of loan. Don’t just ask about a VA loan. Instead, reach out to lenders about specific details on their best offer on a 30-year, fixed-rate VA purchase loan, or whichever type of VA loan you’ve decided fits your situation. Then, you’ll be able to compare the offers from various lenders more easily.
Think Beyond the Interest Rates
Interest rates get a lot of attention, and they do have a lot of impact on the cost of borrowing money. However, they aren’t the only thing that affects your experience as a borrower. My Mortgage Insider encourages borrowers to have a list of questions ready to ask prospective lenders so that they can get a sense of how well they would like working with the lender:
- How do you communicate with clients? How quickly do you respond to their calls?
- How long is your average turnaround for preapproval?
- How long is your average turnaround for loan approval?
- How long is your average turnaround for closing?
- Does buying discount points to lower my interest rate make sense in my situation?
- Should I consider making a down payment?
- Am I responsible for any lender fees at closing? Can any of these fees be waived or rolled into the loan?
Specific Questions Regarding VA Loans
Much of the information you’ve read so far would be useful no matter what type of loan you were interested in using. That’s because VA loans might be backed by the VA using guidelines that the agency sets, but they’re made by private lenders. However, the program does have its quirks, so choosing a lender who knows the program well can be to your advantage. In fact, not all lenders will offer all types of VA loans, so if you’re hunting for a specific type of VA loan, you’ll want to make sure that the lender offers the loan that you’re interested in. If you’ve found a lender that you’re interested in working with, MilitaryBenefits.Info suggests asking them questions like the following to get a feel for their familiarity with the VA loan program:
- How many VA mortgages do you process each year?
- What types of VA mortgages do you offer?
- What terms and conditions apply to my VA loan?
- Is there another VA loan that might fit my needs?
- I qualify for 100-percent financing. Are there any incentives to encourage me to make a down payment?
- If I don’t qualify for 100-percent financing, what can I do to reduce my out-of-pocket costs?
At PrimeLending: Manhattan, Kansas, we’re committed to offering top-notch service to everyone, especially those who serve our country. If you have questions about VA loans, we’ll provide helpful answers. Contact us today to get started.