Guide to VA Home Loans in Florida | Best VA Mortgage Lenders in Florida [2022]

If you’re enlisted in the armed forces of the United States and are coming back after a few years of active-duty service, then you’d understandably want to be able to have a place that you can call home. 

Here’s where VA Loans come in. If you’re eligible for a VA Home Loan, you shouldn’t have to worry about the typical snags that might come with a regular homeownership loan. With backing by our government, the rates for VA Loans are typically lower than other conventional loans

Basking in the warmth of the Sunshine State is made simple with the handy Florida VA Home Loan.

What are VA Loans? 

The VA Loan is a mortgage option that requires zero down payment. Active service, select military spouses, and veterans are some of the people who are eligible for this kind of loan. With backing by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Loans are issued by a mortgage company or a bank, which is a private lender. 

Created in 1944 by the United States government, the VA Loan was one of the initiatives which were intended towards the assistance of returning service members in the business of buying a home for themselves without depending on a down payment or good credit. 

To date, this game-changing loan program has resulted in more than 25 million houses for active-duty service members, veterans, and their families.

The VA Loan is more important than ever in today’s day and age. In the wake of the Great Recession, many prospective military and Veteran homeowners found it significantly difficult to get decent home financing. 

And again, after the 2020 pandemic, many lenders tightened up their guidelines to the point where getting a home loan simply became untenable. 

Granted, VA Home Loans are a bit specialized–but they’re not any more difficult to understand or to close than other types of home loans.

Florida VA Loan Requirements 

A common misconception is that the VA Loan is put together by the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, the beauty of a VA Loan is that they are put together by private lenders, and then guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

This means that you’ll need to find a qualified lender in your state to put together a VA Loan for you. For example, The Home Loan Expert offers VA Loans for states all across the country–including Florida! 

As one of the Florida VA Loan requirements, keep in mind that In Florida, there is no VA Loan limit. This means that you are free to borrow as much as your prospective lender is willing to lend you, all without needing to resort to a down payment.

Property taxes are another important consideration for VA homebuyers in Florida. For some buyers, though, there are exceptions. In terms of assistance, you just might be eligible for a tax exemption with regards to a VA Home Loan in Florida if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You might be eligible for a $5,000 property tax exemption if you are a 10% or more disabled veteran as a result of active service.
  • You might be eligible for a full property tax exemption if you are 100% disabled as a result of active service.
  • If you are a 65-year-old veteran or older, your surviving spouse and you might be eligible for a homestead exemption.

Benefits to VA Home Loans:

  • No down payment necessary
  • No private mortgage insurance (PMI) or mortgage insurance premiums
  • Average interest rates are lower
  • Absence of prepayment penalty
  • Lower closing costs
  • Large selection of purchase and refinancing options
  • For veterans who have entitlement remaining, VA Loans are reusable

Limitations to VA Home Loans:

  • The VA Loan funding fee might be higher in each subsequent use
  • Only viable for people associated with the armed forces of the country
  • VA Loans are not offered by all mortgage lenders

Steps to Choose the Best VA Loan & Mortgage Lender in Florida 

  1. Run the numbers and decide on the budget that you want to target. 
  2. Get your documentation ready to go for your mortgage company, like tax documents, pay stubs, bank records, and more. 
  3. Compare lenders and what each respective lender is offering.
  4. Choose the lender that suits your needs! 

At The Home Loan Expert, we wanted to provide all military members and veterans and their families with the best options–so we created the Hero Loan. As a direct-endorsed VA Lender, Hero Loan can close VA Loans in as little as 14 days–compared to most lenders that take up to 60 days. And you can get started with their 5-Minute Loan Approval* application right now! 

Best VA Mortgage Lenders in Florida

With lots of great mortgage company options for veterans to choose from in Florida, we decided to curate a list of the best mortgage lender options for veterans and military families. 

Hero Loan

Hero Loan–one of the fastest growing lending platforms in the country–serves active- duty military, veterans, and their families. Their mission is to provide fast, personalized service while supporting Veteran-Owned businesses and events. 

As a direct-endorsed VA Lender, Hero Loan can close VA Loans in as little as 14 days–compared to most lenders that take up to 60 days. They underwrite all VA Loans in house, meaning lower mortgage rates and no upfront or out of pocket costs—that includes the appraisal. 

How It Works: 

Hero Loan has an enticing roster of loans and services that they offer. Apart from the standard VA Loan, some of these also include: 

  • VA Streamline Refinancing
  • Conventional Loan Refinancing
  • VA Cash-Out Refinancing 
  • FHA Loans

After you’ve made your choice, you can use their website to fill out a few preliminary details and apply for the loan or service that you have chosen. From there, a loan officer will be assigned to you who will take you through the minutiae and explain the details of the loan that you are about to borrow.

In addition, they will also help you get the all-important VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility and fill out all the VA paperwork for you. After you’ve sorted out the necessary details, all that remains for you to do is wait till the loan is closed. But don’t worry–with Hero Loan that takes as little as 14 days (compared to the standard two months)!

Pros: 

  • Complete all VA paperwork for clients 
  • Underwrite all VA Loans in-house
  • Can close VA Loans in as little as 14 days
  • No appraisal fees or out-of-pocket fees

Cons: 

  • Services are for active-duty military, veterans, and their families only

The Home Loan Expert 

If you’re looking to get a VA Home Loan in Florida, then you can’t go wrong with The Home Loan Expert. The Home Loan Expert keeps everything as hassle-free as possible, featuring a seamless online experience and a plethora of options for mortgages and home loans, The Home Loan Expert is an ever-reliable portal for your home-ownership journey.

The best part is: they understand that the process of getting your first mortgage can feel like a lot. That’s why they work to ensure that the process of getting a VA home loan in Florida is as straightforward and approachable as possible. 

In addition to VA Loans in Florida, the Home Loan Expert also offers Adjustable-Rate Mortgages, Bank Statement Mortgages, Cash-Out Refinances, Conventional Loans, Debt Consolidation, FHA Loans, a First Responder Program, and a lot more. You can see them all here. 

How It Works:

The Home Loan Expert is well-equipped to tackle the needs of veteran and active-duty servicemember homeowners. To qualify for VA Loan benefits, certain things are considered to check if you fulfill the Florida VA Loan eligibility requirements or not. 

These include:

  • Duty status
  • Length of service
  • Character of service

For service members and veterans who are on active duty, their history of active-duty service should look like this:

  • At least 2 years if you are a regular service member
  • At least 6 years if you are a member of the National Guard or a Reservist
  • During times of war, at least 90 days of active-duty service
  • During times of peace, at least 181 days of active-duty service

Something that might affect the final decision is a service-related disability. Furthermore, interested veterans will need to apply or qualify for:

  1. Certificate of Eligibility (CEO): This document allows a lender to know that you satisfy either the military service or the surviving spouse requirements to be approved for the VA home loan that you’re looking for.
  2. Lending Requirements: While the qualifying guidelines vary from individual lender to individual lender, generally a credit score of around 620 is satisfactory, along with a debt to income (DTI) ratio of around 41% or lower. If you have more than enough residual income, exceptions to the DTI rule apply.

Pros: 

VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans and Cash-Out Refinancing options available

  • A robust Native American Direct Loan program at your disposal, if you need it
  • In case you need to accommodate a disability, house grants can be adapted
  • Includes a nifty VA Home Loan calculator, among others

Cons: 

  • You might be tempted to consider other types of loans from their varied roster, instead of the VA Home Loan that you wanted in the first place

Ready to learn more? To find out what rates you could qualify for, start 5-Minute Loan Approval* application right now!

Veterans United Home Loans

Veterans United Home Loans is a prime direct mortgage lender which specializes in VA mortgages, but also offers FHA, USDA, conforming, and jumbo mortgages.

How It Works:

Suppose you want to refinance a VA Mortgage Home Loan in Florida. In that case, you can choose between a:

  • VA IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan), which is used to convert an ARM to an FRM, or to reduce the interest of the borrower
  • Cash-Out Refinance

Unlike many other lenders, Veterans United Home Loans allows you to apply for mortgage credit data, which is not your primary credit data. For instance, you could potentially show proof that you usually take care of your bills on time. This makes this particular lender a good option if you have a lower than optimum credit score.

Pros: 

  • Convenient application online or at a brick and mortar location
  • Has other loan options apart from VA Home Loans 
  • Can use alternative forms of credit (like utility bills) because you have a low or no credit score

Cons: 

  • No common loan types like the home equity loan, home equity line of credit loan, or construction loan
  • Customized rates are not available online

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union is a well-established institution that has around 200 branches throughout the US, as well as nine in overseas locations and on U.S. military bases. 

At Navy Federal, even if you have used up all of your VA Loan benefits, you might qualify for a Military Choice Loan. This is a 30-year mortgage with no minimum down payment.

How It Works:

Apart from the usual Florida VA Loan requirements, you will also be eligible for a VA Home Loan if you live with a Navy Federal member. You can qualify for Navy Federal membership even if you don’t fulfill the eligibility requirements for a VA Loan.

You might also qualify for a Homeowners’ Choice Loan, which is very similar to Military Choice. However, it’s made for people who are not eligible for VA Loans.

You will also be able to refinance your:

  • VA Loan
  • Conventional Loan
  • Military Choice Mortgage
  • Homeowners Choice Mortgage

Navy Federal’s website has an easy-to-understand interface with facilities for online pre-approval applications.

Pros: 

  • You can opt for a no-down-payment mortgage
  • You can choose to apply with alternative credit data
  • A smooth and simple online application process
  • More competitive rates than the others

Cons: 

  • Certain loans like the USDA, FHA, home equity, construction loans, home equity line of credit, and reverse mortgages are not available 
  • Membership is not easily available
  • Does not include a VA Home Loan calculator
  • You won’t be able to see the personalized rates before applying for the pre-approval process

USAA 

Founded in 1922 by enterprising military officers who were interested in getting their cars insured, USAA has now evolved outside of insurance. They now provide a slew of financial services for more than 13 million members nationwide.

Given its particular interest in military membership, USAA specializes in VA Loans. But this finance corporation has other options like:

  • A first-time homebuyer program
  • Vacation financing
  • Investment property financing

How It Works:

The VA mortgage of USAA Bank does not require any down payment for most of their borrowers. But you might need to set aside some cash towards the closing costs for a VA purchase loan.

Additionally, if you get a VA Loan from USAA Bank, you will not be charged an origination fee.

Pros: 

  • Your mortgage application can be submitted online

Cons: 

  • Does not offer USDA or FHA loans, or second mortgages
  • None of the mortgage rates can be customized

Conclusion: Best Lender for VA Home Loans in Florida in 2022 

While you have your choice of VA Home Loan lenders across the state, none of them compare to the friendliness and service offered by Hero Loan. This company is arguably the best option for getting a VA Home Loan in Florida, thanks to their VA Loan options that offer:

  • Incredible rates
  • Unmatched customer service
  • Extremely fast closing times (with VA Loans closing in as little as 14 days)
  • Years of experience in the industry
  • User-friendly website (full of amazing resources)

With super-fast approval times and low closing costs–as well a wide variety of home loan options apart from their VA Loans–Hero Loan should be your first destination for getting a VA Home Loan in Florida.
To get started now, you can begin the Hero Loan 5-Minute Loan Approval* application today and learn your custom rate options.