Guide to VA Home Loans in Jacksonville, FL | Best VA Mortgage Lenders in Jacksonville [2022]

As reported from the Jacksonville Business Journal, Jacksonville, FL is one of the most popular in-migration markets in Florida. And with the city lying along the banks of the St. Johns River in the First Coast region of Florida, with beach communities along the Atlantic Ocean just a few minutes away–it’s really no surprise the real estate market is booming. 

So if you’re a veteran looking for a VA Home Loan from a VA Mortgage Lender in Jacksonville, you’re making the right choice. VA Home Loans–a loan option for active service, select military spouses, and veterans–enable veterans to purchase homes without requiring down payments or excellent credit scores.

And in Jacksonville, where real estate is becoming an increasingly better investment, a VA Home Loan in Florida is a great option for veterans or active-duty service members looking for a home in this beautiful Florida city. 

What are VA Loans? 

The VA Loan is a mortgage option that requires zero down payment. With backing by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Loans are issued by a mortgage company or a bank (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. 

There are 5 different types of VA Loans:

  1. Home Loan: A home purchase VA Loan can be used to purchase a home or condo in a VA-approved development. It can also be used to build a new home.
  2. Cash-out Refinance: This refinance replaces our mortgage with a new loan so that you can pay off debts or make home improvements. This can also be used to replace a non-VA home loan with a VA home loan.
  3. Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan: This loan is also used to refinance and can be used to replace an existing VA loan with a lower interest rate or move from an adjustable rate loan to a fixed interest rate.
  4. Native American Direct Loan Program: The specific VA loan helps qualified Native American veterans to buy, build, improve, or refinance a home on federal trust land.
  5. Adapted Housing Grants: This loan is specific to veterans with service-related disabilities. This loan can help them purchase, build, or modify a home to better fit their needs

Having been in existence for more than 73-years to date, the VA Loan programs has guaranteed more than 22 million VA Loans to active-duty service members, as well as their families. While a Conventional Loan could still be considered, VA Loans have unique benefits and advantages that make it a better option for those who have served our country.

A common misconception is that the VA Loan is put together by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but VA Loans are actually 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 all across the country–including Jacksonville, Florida. 

VA Home Loans in Jacksonville, FL

VA Loan Limits in Florida: How much can you borrow with a VA Loan in Florida? 

In 2022, the standard VA loan limit is $647,200 for most counties in the United States, including the counties in Jacksonville, FL. A loan limit is the total amount you can borrow for your home from a VA mortgage lender. 

IMAGE: https://www.veteransunited.com/education/tools/va-loan-limit-calculator/  

However, if you have full entitlement for your VA Loan, VA loan limits don’t impact you: you can borrow as much as a lender is willing to lend without needing any down payment. You’ll most likely have full entitlement if this is your first VA loan, or your previous VA loan was already paid off in full. 

With full entitlement, the VA guarantees up to 25% of the loan amount, even if it is more than the loan limit in your county (usually $647,200). But, you can still only borrow as much as your VA mortgage lender will lend, which can depend on a variety of factors. At Hero Loan, we work hard and are dedicated to the goal of being the best in class VA Loan provider. We hire the best loan experts, partner with the top realtors, and make sure that we provide fast, personalized service while supporting Veteran-Owned businesses and events.

What does your credit score need to be to buy a house through the VA?

There’s no minimum credit score needed to get a VA Loan–that’s actually one of its benefits. Of course, a great credit score doesn’t hurt, and most vendors would like to see a credit score of at least 620. 

Plus, a VA Loan doesn’t mean you’re buying a house through the VA. The VA doesn’t loan money, enforce credit score minimums, require down payments, or charge interest. Private mortgage lenders, like Hero Loan, handle all of these loan elements.  

Benefits to VA Home Loans in Jacksonville: 

  • No down payment necessary, unless required by a mortgage lender. The best mortgage lenders will not require a down payment for VA Loan. 
  • 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 in Jacksonville: 

  • 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

Jacksonville, FL VA Loan Requirements 

As of January 2020, VA borrowers in Florida with their full VA Loan entitlement are not restricted by VA loan limits. 

However, veterans without their full VA loan entitlement are still bound to Florida’s VA loan limits, which were $647,200 as of January 2020. 

VA Home Loan eligibility requirements include: 

  • Current duty status
  • Length of service
  • Manner of discharge

For those who are still active-duty members, their service history should include:

  • At least a 2-year enlistment term for regular members
  • At least a 6-year enlistment term if you are a National Guard or Reserve member
  • 90 days of active duty during wartime
  • 181 days of active duty during peacetime

Other considerations are whether you have a service-related disability, as it may affect the final decision on your VA Loan. Additionally, you must have or meet the following:

  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE): Proof that you meet the VA’s requirements for a loan based on your service record. Surviving spouses must still apply for one should they be looking to secure a loan on their own. This should show your basic entitlement amount, and then you’ll be able to determine your bonus entitlement based on where the home you’re purchasing is. Mortgage lender experts, like Hero Loan, can help you determine both entitlement amounts. 
  • Lending Requirements: While it will vary per individual and lender, a good credit score would be 620 and above. Additionally, aim to have a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of around 41% to have the best odds.

Steps to Choosing the Best VA Loan & Mortgage Lender in Jacksonville, FL

  1. Check your eligibility. Not all veterans and service members are eligible for a VA home loan. You must have served in the military for a certain amount of time and meet other requirements. You’ll be required to produce a Certificate of Eligibility which is dependent on total time of service and which branch you are in. At Hero Loan, we work with you every step of the way to obtain this paperwork and apply for your COE. But if you’ve already got it, that’s great!
  2. Get your documentation ready to go for your mortgage company, like tax documents, pay stubs, W2s, bank records, and more. Check out our handy guide on How to Acquire a VA Loan here.
  3. Compare lenders and what each respective lender is offering. 
  4. Choose the VA mortgage lender that suits your needs. 

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 Jacksonville, FL

Hero Loan

Hero Loan–one of the fastest growing lending platforms in the country–serves active- duty military, veterans, and their families. Our 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. We 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 our 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, we’ll 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 in Jacksonville. 

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 many more. You can see them all here. 

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

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. 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.

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

NBKC Bank

Formerly National Bank of Kansas City, NBKC is a bank tailor-made for small businesses and individuals. Over the years, it has pushed online banking over physical banking and as a result has only four physical branches in the United States. 

In addition to VA Loans, NBKC offers Conventional Loans, FHA Loans, Adjustable-Rate Mortgages, Jumbo Loans, and New Construction Loans. Through its website, you have access to some useful tools like a detailed and layered mortgage calculator and a refinancing savings calculator. 

Pros: 

  • Easy and modern online experience
  • Good customer service

Cons: 

  • No USDA or mobile home loans
  • Only four physical branches in Kansas City.

Minimum down payment: 

Ranging from 3% down to 0% (for VA members)

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

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 Jacksonville, FL in 2022?

While there are many great mortgage lending options in Jacksonville, Hero Loan was created specifically to make the sometimes stressful VA Loan process easy. That’s why we complete your VA paperwork for you, help with your COE, pay your appraisal fees…and then close in as little as 14 days. 

And even though we’re one of the fastest growing lending platforms in the country, our loan officers all live within the communities they serve—meaning you’ll get the resources of a big-time lender with the service you’d expect from a local. 
You can get started with your 5-Minute Loan Approval* application at Hero Loan right now!