Empowering Veterans One by One

Talk to a Home Loan Specialist

Do you have questions about buying a home with your VA mortgage benefits? Our team of loan professionals can guide you through each step. From getting prequalified to signing closing papers, our experts are here to help you meet your homebuying goals.

Getting Veterans Into Homes Is What We Do Helping you take advantage of the benefits you've earned – it has driven our people since 1985.

  • What Clients
    Are Saying
  • Community
  • For Real Estate
  • Our Story
  • Meet
    Our Team
  • Contact Us
  • What Clients Are Saying

    Every client's experience matters. Homebuying can – and should – be one of life's memorable highlights. See for yourself what our clients have to say on the Veterans First YouTube channel.

    At Veterans First, we understand that trust is earned. Track records matter. We’re humbled by the trust our clients put in us, and appreciate the way they have honored us with positive ratings and favorable reviews. We welcome the opportunity to earn your trust, too.

  • Community Initiatives

    At Veterans First, our community service efforts support existing charities and nonprofit organizations, as well as our own programs for assisting our country’s Veterans. We’ve found the most powerful initiatives to be those which give us an opportunity to engage personally with active duty servicemembers, Veterans, and their families.

    Additionally, we are committed to providing hands-on support and financial education to aid any servicemember’s transition to civilian life. Giving our time and resources is as rewarding for our employees as it is for those we’re honored to help.

    Service Dogs for Veterans

    Veterans First has been a proud supporter of The Malinois Foundation, which was founded in 2013 to support Veterans with PTSD and/or physical needs with a specialized service animal, a partner in life, and a new best friend. Our relationship with the foundation began years ago with an answer to the need for specialized service dog funding. Events held at our loan centers — puppy kissing booths, dunk tanks, and barbeques — have allowed employees to raise enough money (along with matching corporate funds) to sponsor four service dogs since 2017. Early on, we helped the charity with the sponsorship of a service dog named Cooper the Great. The Belgian Malinois mix serves a disabled Iraq War combat Veteran named Alex, whose traumatic brain injury and PTSD led him down a dark path battling seizures, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Seeing Alex’s life transformed by his PTSD/Medical Alert Service Dog over the years, and knowing that dogs’ lives are relatively short, we wanted to do more. So, we approached The Malinois Foundation with an idea for The Service Dog Successor Program. Veterans First Mortgage became the flagship sponsor of the new program and kicked it off by funding Alex’s next dog.  Alex’s new puppy will spend three years training to serve Alex’s specific needs and will become top dog when Cooper retires. To watch a video of Al and Cooper, click here.

    Veterans Family Gift Shop

    The Veterans Family Gift Shop, located at the VA’s George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center, is a favorite holiday giving initiative for the employees of Veterans First. The shop provides holiday gifts for needy Veterans and their families. Each holiday season, children and Veterans are able to pick out popular electronic devices, clothes, toys, and many other items that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. During the pandemic, rather than gift shop items, we donated wireless headphones, pajamas, slippers and more to the VA Hospitals in Salt Lake City and San Diego.

    Serving Dinner at the Fisher House

    Veterans First employees routinely have the opportunity to serve dinners for the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that builds and supports 76 comfort houses on 24 installations and 32 VA medical centers around the world. These homes are meant to be supportive, relaxing environments where military and Veteran families can stay free of charge while a loved one is in the hospital. Our staff members serve dinners at Fisher Houses in Salt Lake City, Utah, and San Diego, California. We’ve found providing meals and sitting down to tell and hear stories to be a great way to warm hearts and bellies, while loved ones are healing.

    Care Packages for U.S. Troops

    Operation Outreach is a care package initiative supported by Veterans First employee donations. These packages filled with toiletries, sundries, and treats are sent to U.S. troops overseas. Since the program started, Veterans First has sent approximately 2,000 packages containing the most requested items to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    PTSD Awareness

    Veterans First Mortgage passionately advocates for Veterans with PTSD, supporting them through education and partnerships with national charities. One such effort is a fireworks education program. Started by Military with PTSD -- a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening military and Veteran families through peer support, community education, and special events -- the “An Explosion of Kindness” campaign is intended to educate the general public on the effects of fireworks on Veterans. To support this initiative, we’ve created special flyers, held events, and designed and printed yard signs that inform Veterans and those affected by PTSD that fireworks will be used to mark special occasions like weddings and holidays. Such a sign design, available for free download, can be found on our Pinterest page.

    Suicide Prevention

    Navy Veteran, Jason, found himself homeless and suicidal after his service separation. Thankfully, Jason had taken the Spartan Pledge, a commitment among Veterans to not take their own lives, but to stand with their fellow brothers in arms in their darkest hours. With the support of his Spartan brothers, Jason was able to turn his life around. Jason went from homeless to homeowner with a VA loan with the help of our own loan officer Chris, an Air Force Veteran. Chris and Jason became fast friends. And after the loan closed, Chris took the Spartan Pledge with Jason to became Spartan brothers for life.

    "I will not take my own life by my own hand until I talk to my battle buddy first. My mission is to find a mission to help my warfighter family.” –Spartan Pledge

  • For Real Estate Agents

    Why do real estate agents prefer working with us? Relying on the right people with the specialized knowledge, proactiveness, and urgency to take care of your client’s loan can make all the difference. It’s about results.

    Help Clients Get the Most Out of Their Benefits

    Seller-Paid Fees

    The VA home loan program allows a seller to pay:

    • all approved closing costs, and
    • up to 4% concessions.

    You may negotiate these seller-paid fees into the contract, which means your client will pay little or nothing up front for the purchase of a home.

    The VA Option Clause

    A favorite of VA-knowledgeable real estate agents, the VA Option Clause protects clients with special contingencies should the sale fall through. Here’s a sample VA Option Clause:

    ”It is expressly agreed that, notwithstanding any other provisions of this contract, the purchaser shall not incur any penalty by forfeiture of earnest money or otherwise be obligated to complete the purchase of the property described herein, if the contract purchase price or cost exceeds the reasonable value of the property established by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The purchaser shall, however, have the privilege and option of proceeding with the consummation of this contract without regard to the amount of the reasonable value established by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

    The VA Option Clause, or similar addendum or clause, can protect your buyer. Ask us about how our team helps real estate agents execute optimal sales contracts.

    Real Estate Agent Experiences

    We’ve earned the confidence of real estate professionals across the country by working to get the best results for their military clients.

    Advantages of VA Loans

    Some real estate agents are surprised to find that VA loans can do all this and more. VA home loans:

    • may close faster than FHA or conventional mortgages,
    • often have lower rates than FHA or conventional mortgages,
    • can average fewer days to dispatch and complete VA appraisals, and
    • generally require no down payment.

    In working with Veterans First Mortgage, you’ll benefit from:

    • efficient in-house processing and underwriting,
    • proactive communication,
    • leadership and expertise in government-backed lending that drive better results for clients, and
    • a long heritage in client-first service and sound lending.

    Watch as the Reed family’s real estate agent has a change of heart about VA loans.

  • Our StoryA Legacy of Leadership in Government-Backed Mortgage Lending


    Started by Kevin Gates and three other Utah partners with backgrounds in mortgage lending and real estate, Freedom Mortgage Corporation is born. In the first few years, sales and operations leaders – who will be part of the business for decades to come – are added to the team. Early on, the company obtains approval to do VA and FHA loans.


    Gates acquires sole ownership of Freedom Mortgage, leading the mortgage company as a pioneer in no- or low-out-of-pocket-cost refinancing, through which he and management gain valuable knowledge and experience. They develop and refine a philosophy of customer‐first service, a direct‐to-consumer business model, and a focus on VA and FHA streamline refinance programs.


    Gates and some investors merge two entities to form another mortgage company in Utah, and begin to grow its business, complementary to Freedom Mortgage. It becomes known as Liberty Home Mortgage.


    Gates sells his interest in Freedom Mortgage to First Plus Financial Group. Meanwhile, Liberty Home Mortgage continues to grow.


    Through Liberty Home Mortgage, Gates acquires back the branch office lending operations of the former Freedom Mortgage and changes the name to New Freedom Mortgage. He continues to focus on a direct-to-consumer model, centered on VA and FHA programs. Key management from Gates’ first company join him at New Freedom, bringing their commitment to customer‐first service.


    New Freedom is on the map as the fifth largest government mortgage lender in the third quarter of 2003, beating out the likes of large banks such as Washington Mutual.


    The company strengthens its focus on direct lending from loan centers, and on its specialty in government‐backed loans, and sells its retail branches and its wholesale division. The company’s name is changed to iFreedom Direct, to communicate its direct‐to‐consumer philosophy.


    Thanks to a track record of putting borrowers into quality government loans, and a sharpened focus on military customers, iFreedom thrives through the mortgage crisis, making Inc. 5000’s The Full List of Fastest Growing Private Companies. It opens a second loan center in San Diego.


    iFreedom Direct makes the list of top 10 VA lenders by volume.


    To better communicate its dedication to serving the military community, the company begins operating under the name Veterans First Mortgage.


    On January 4th, Wintrust Mortgage, a division of Barrington Bank & Trust Company, N.A, acquires certain assets of the company. Veterans First Mortgage becomes part of the Chicago-based Wintrust Financial family of businesses, aligned with the organization’s core belief in the power of personal relationships. Gates continues to lead the Veterans First group as a Wintrust Mortgage Executive Vice President.


    Veterans First Mortgage opens the doors of its first brick-and-mortar branch in Virginia Beach, Virginia, one of the country’s largest military communities. The local presence allows current and future Hampton Roads residents to receive information, personalized attention, and support during every step of their homeownership journey.

  • Meet Our Team

    The dedicated employees at Veterans First work to deliver Veterans the quality home loan experience they deserve.

    The nearly 400-person team is comprised of multiple dedicated divisions, including purchase and refinance production, contacting, customer service, marketing, IT, underwriting, processing, quality control, secondary markets, auditing, closing and post-closing, underwriting, funding, and human resources. Our team members — whether through fixing computers or connecting with clients on the phone — all are dedicated to a singular mission: helping our nation’s heroes attain the dream of homeownership.

    Find Your Loan Officer

    Need to reach your loan officer but can’t find their contact information? Use our employee search tool to get in touch.

  • Contact Us

    We’re here to listen. Would you like more information? Please contact us using the information below.

    Call Us

    Would you like to speak with a mortgage professional right now? Reach us at  800-217-1596

    Email Us

    Prefer email? It’s a simple way to get started or ask a question. Send a message to  [email protected]

    Request A Call

    Fill out a simple online form, and we’ll work quickly to get you in touch with the right person.

    Our Loan Centers

    Utah Loan Center

    124 N. Charles Lindbergh Drive Salt Lake City, UT 84116 Toll-Free: 800-217-1596

    Hours of Operation: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mountain time

    California Loan Center

    2265 India Street San Diego, CA 92101 Toll-Free: 800-217-1596

    Hours of Operation: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m., Pacific time

    Virginia Beach Loan Center

    1900 Laskin Road Virginia Beach, VA 23454 Toll-Free: 800-217-1596

    Hours of Operation: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Eastern time

Call Us800-217-1596

800-217-1596 Whether you’re ready to apply now, or simply looking to explore your options, this is the easiest way to get started. Our experienced lending professionals stand ready to listen and respond, with no obligation.
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