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Mortgages

Buy a house with no money down with the best VA loan and USDA mortgage lenders

USDA loans and VA loans are two types of mortgages that allow borrowers to make no down payment.

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There are many upfront costs when it comes to buying a home, including the down payment. A down payment of 20% has been a long-held rule of thumb for conventional mortgages, but if you go with a VA loan or a USDA loan, you won't be required to make a down payment at all.

VA loans are loans provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and are meant for veterans and service members and their families. USDA loans are offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are meant for those purchasing a home in a qualifying rural area. Both allow borrowers to make a down payment as low as 0%.

A low (or no) down payment can help bring you closer to homeownership even if you don't have as much money saved up for the purchase as you'd like. Here are some of the best lenders that offer VA loans and USDA loans with zero down. Select evaluated lenders based on the types of loans offered, customer support and minimum down payment amount, among other factors (see our methodology below.)

Best VA loan lenders

Best USDA loan lenders

FAQs

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Best lenders that offer a VA loan

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, VA loans, Military Choice loans, Homebuyers Choice loans, adjustable-rate mortgage

  • Terms

    10 – 30 years

  • Credit needed

    Not disclosed but lender is flexible

  • Minimum down payment

    0%; 5% for conventional loan option

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 0% downpayment for most loan options
  • flexible repayment terms ranging from 10 years to 30 years
  • Offers refinancing, second-home financing and loans for investment properties
  • No PMI required
  • Fast pre-approval
  • RealtyPlus program allows applicants to receive up to $9,000 cash back

Cons

  • Must be a Navy Federal Credit Union member to apply

Who's this for? Navy Federal Credit Union provides the most benefits to current or retired members of the Armed Forces who have signed up for a Navy Federal Credit Union membership as well as their immediate family members. And while lenders typically only offer the VA loan, Navy Federal Credit Union provides more than one option for military members, allowing for a little more flexibility.

This lender offers VA loans with the option to pay zero down and contribute up to 4% of the home's value toward closing costs. And with this loan, borrowers won't need to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) despite their down payment being less than 20%. Another option, the Military Choice mortgage, has similar guidelines to the VA loan — a 0% minimum down payment with no PMI attached, among other features — but allows sellers to contribute up to 6% of the home's value toward closing costs.

Homebuyers can also use the RealtyPlus program to buy a home and receive up to $9,000 in cash back. 

Chase Bank

Chase Bank

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, DreaMaker℠ loans and Jumbo loans

  • Terms

    10 – 30 years

  • Credit needed

    620

  • Minimum down payment

    3% if moving forward with a DreaMaker℠ loan

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Chase DreaMaker℠ loan allows for a slightly smaller down payment at 3%
  • Discounts for existing customers
  • Online support available
  • A number of resources available for first-time homebuyers including mortgage calculators, affordability calculator, education courses and Home Advisors

Cons

  • Doesn't offer USDA loans or HELOCs
  • Existing customers discounts apply to those who have large balances in their Chase deposit and investment accounts

Who's this for? Chase Bank provides a VA loan for members of the military and their spouses with a few small but appealing perks. The VA loan comes with no minimum down payment requirement, which is standard for this kind of loan. Veterans and service members buying a house in a qualifying area may also be able to receive a grant ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 through the Chase Homebuyer Grant℠ program.

The money received from this grant may be used to lower the interest rate on the loan or used toward closing costs. Keep in mind that this grant will only apply to primary residences.

The VA loan is also eligible to be part of the Chase Closing Guarantee — if you don't close on your home on or before the contract closing date, you may receive up to $5,000 in compensation after you close if you qualify.

PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union Mortgage

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loan, VA loan, FHA loan, Jumbo loan and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)

  • Terms

    Not disclosed

  • Credit needed

    620

  • Minimum down payment

    3.5% if moving forward with an FHA loan

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • The Power Buyer program lets you lock in an interest rate while you shop for a home
  • Offers options for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
  • PenFed members can receive up to $2,500 in lender credit applied to closing costs
  • Doesn't charge lender fees
  • Online support available

Cons

  • Doesn't offer USDA loans

Who's this for? PenFed Credit Union offers a VA loan option with no lender fees. Lender fees are a typical part of applying for a mortgage, but they can add up fast and add on to the amount of money you'll have to cough up upfront. So being able to take on a mortgage and avoid lender fees makes PenFed an attractive option for a VA loan (just keep in mind that other types of fees may apply).

With the VA loan, borrowers can make a 0% down payment (or any other amount less than 20%) without being charged PMI. There's also no prepayment penalty if you pay off your mortgage early.

And, PenFed members who apply for the VA loan can also potentially take advantage of lender credits, depending on how much of a loan they borrow. Those borrowing up to $199,999 can qualify for a $500 credit; while those borrowing between $200,000 and $699,999 can qualify for a $1,000 credit and those needing to borrow $700,000 can qualify for a $2,500 credit. The credits would then be received during the closing process.

Best lenders that offer a USDA loan

PNC Bank

PNC Bank

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans, jumbo loans, HELOCs, Community Loan and Medical Professional Loan

  • Terms

    10 – 30 years

  • Credit needed

    620

  • Minimum down payment

    0% if moving forward with a USDA loan

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loans to suit an array of customer needs
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Online and in-person service available
  • Pre-approval in as little as 30 minutes

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home renovation loans

Who's this for? It's sometimes tough to find lenders that offer USDA loans in addition to other standard mortgage options, but PNC Bank includes USDA loans in its lineup.

With the USDA loan, you can make a down payment as low as 0% — just make sure that the home is located in a qualifying rural area, as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You must also plan to use the home as your primary residence.

PNC Bank offers online and in-person mortgage application processes, which can be a plus for homebuyers who don't live near a PNC Bank location but still want to apply for a loan. Overall, this lender is appealing to those who may want to apply for a mortgage with a household name in banking that they're already familiar with, or with those who prefer in-person attention.

Flagstar Bank

Flagstar® Bank

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans, jumbo loans, adjustable-rate mortgages, construction loans, professional loans and Community Loans

  • Terms

    8 – 30 years

  • Credit needed

    620

  • Minimum down payment

    0% if moving forward with a USDA loan

See our methodology, terms apply. Flagstar® Bank is a Member FDIC.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loans to suit an array of customer needs
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages available
  • Borrowers who qualify for a jumbo loan can apply for up to $3 million
  • Has an online process but also in-person branches

Cons

  • Home equity loans are only available in limited geographic areas

Who's this for? Flagstar Bank offers a very wide array of home loans to suit a multitude of needs — including for those looking for a USDA loan. Again, USDA loans come at no required minimum down payment but the home does need to be located in an eligible rural area.

USDA loans through this lender are available only as fixed-rate mortgages; if an adjustable-rate mortgage would better suit your needs, consider looking into their other home loans, like the conventional loan, FHA loan, or VA loan. These other mortgage types do come with an adjustable-rate option.

Another draw is that this lender won't hit you with a prepayment penalty for paying off your loan sooner than the agreed-upon term.

FAQs

How do mortgages work?

A mortgage is a type of loan that you can use to purchase a home. It's also an agreement between you and the lender that essentially says that you can purchase a home without paying for it in-full upfront — you'll just put some of the money down upfront (usually between 3% and 20% of the home price) and pay smaller, fixed equal monthly payments for a certain number of years plus interest.

For example, you probably can't pay $400,000 for a home upfront, however, maybe you can afford to pay $30,000 upfront; a mortgage would allow you to make that $30,000 payment while a lender gives you a loan for $370,000 (the remaining amount) and you agree to repay that amount plus interest to the lender over the course of 15 or 30 years.

Keep in mind that if you choose to put down less than 20%, you'll be subject to private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments in addition to your monthly mortgage payments. However, you can usually have the PMI waived after you've made enough payments to build 20% equity in your home.

What is a VA loan?

A VA mortgage loan is provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and is meant for service members, veterans and their spouses. They require zero down payment and no mortgage insurance.

Is it possible to buy a home with no money down?

Certain types of loans, like the USDA loan and the VA loan, provide options for borrowers to take on a home loan with zero minimum down payment. Just keep in mind that making a low or no down payment means that you'll need to borrow more money to purchase your desired home — and the less equity you'll have built up upon purchase. Because of this, you could potentially have higher monthly mortgage payments. Just make sure your monthly payments fit your budget.

How do I know if a zero money down loan is right for me?

The right loan option will depend on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, how much you have saved up and what your ideal monthly mortgage payment looks like. For personalized advice on what options are available to you, speak to a home loan officer.

What are my options if I don't qualify for a low money down loan?

If you don't qualify for home loans with 0% down, consider an FHA loan, which has a down payment minimum of 3.5%, or look into specialty loans offered by your desired mortgage lender.

Our methodology

To determine which mortgage lenders are the best, Select analyzed dozens of U.S. mortgages offered by both online and brick-and-mortar banks, including large credit unions, that come with fixed-rate APRs and flexible loan amounts and terms to suit an array of financing needs.

When narrowing down and ranking the best mortgages, we focused on the following features:

  • Fixed-rate APR: Variable rates can go up and down over the lifetime of your loan. With a fixed rate APR, you'll lock in an interest rate for the duration of the loan's term, which means your monthly payment won't vary, making your budget easier to plan.
  • Types of loans offered: The most common kinds of mortgage loans include conventional loans, FHA loans and VA loans. Lenders may also offer USDA loans and jumbo loans. Having more options available means the lender can to cater to a wider range of applicants. We've also considered loans that would suit the needs of borrowers who plan to purchase their second home or a rental property. 
  • Closing timeline: The lenders on our list are able to offer closing timelines that vary from as promptly as two weeks after the home purchase agreement has been signed to as many as 45 days after the agreement has been signed. Specific closing timelines have been noted for each lender.
  • Fees: Common fees associated with mortgage applications include origination fees, application fees, underwriting fees, processing fees and administrative fees. We evaluate these fees in addition to other features when determining the overall offer from each lender. Though some lenders on this list do not charge these fees, we have noted any instances where a lender does. 
  • Flexible minimum and maximum loan amounts/terms: Each mortgage lender provides a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and how long you need to pay back your loan.
  • No early payoff penalties: The mortgage lenders on our list do not charge borrowers for paying off the loan early. 
  • Streamlined application process: We considered whether lenders offered a convenient, fast online application process and/or an in-person procedure at local branches. 
  • Customer support: Every mortgage lender on our list provides customer service via telephone, email or secure online messaging. We also opted for lenders with an online resource hub or advice center to help you educate yourself about the personal loan process and your finances.
  • Minimum down payment: Although minimum down payment amounts depend on the type of loan a borrower applies for, we noted lenders that offer additional specialty loans that come with a lower minimum down payment amount. 

After reviewing the above features, we sorted our recommendations by best for overall financing needs, quick closing timeline, lower interest rates and flexible terms.

Note that the rates and fee structures advertised for mortgages are subject to fluctuate in accordance with the Fed rate. However, once you accept your mortgage agreement, a fixed-rate APR will guarantee your interest rate and monthly payment remain consistent throughout the entire term of the loan, unless you choose to refinance your mortgage at a later date for a potentially lower APR. Your APR, monthly payment and loan amount depend on your credit history, creditworthiness, debt-to-income ratio and the desired loan term. To take out a mortgage, lenders will conduct a hard credit inquiry and request a full application, which could require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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