Finding a Private Lender specializing in VA-backed mortgages.
First and foremost – almost any private lender should be able to process a VA-backed home loan. That said, some lenders can obtain verification that a veteran or servicemember qualifies for a VA-backed home loan in conjunction with the VA while others will require the borrower to obtain such documentation from the VA themselves. In practical terms – this means that some lenders can complete much of the VA paperwork and navigate the VA bureaucracy on your behalf, while others can’t. Obtaining VA documentation on your own carries the benefit of allowing you to look at other lenders more easily, whereas having the lender obtain VA documentation for you may result in ‘starting from scratch,’ so to speak, if you have to go to a new lender.
When speaking to a potential loan officer – confirm their qualifications (both in your state and with the VA). Request information about the lender’s specific requirements (credit score, down payment, etc.) and information/documentation on the accuracy of their estimates and quotes.
Remember that the loan officer you are working with is, in many senses, acting as a business partner for the purposes of the transaction you are arranging. Expect excellent communication, thorough explanations of all options/decisions you’re making, and an active interest in your satisfaction. You want someone who is dedicated to making sure that they not only sell you a product (their loan), but that you’ll be happy with the product you get. Bad communication, limited feedback/information, and poor customer service should all be treated as red flags.