Buying a home will likely be your greatest life purchase. If you think back to your biggest milestones, like having a baby, getting married or buying your first automobile, you probably didn’t make decisions around them without a great deal of thought.

Buying a house is no different. But while home buyers often invest a lot of time searching for the ideal structure, they don’t invest nearly enough or sometimes any time deciding what loan provider to use for their VA home loan.

When you make the greatest investment in your life, you should browse around and find a home loan loan provider that will get to know you and your household goals, educate you on the purchase and be your partner through the whole process and beyond.

Good VA home loan lenders see their reputations as the foundation of their company. They can recite most regulations faster than their kids’ names, but are prepared to admit when they need to go back and consult the guidelines. They believe in making sure anyone they come across in the market for a home loan is confident and prepared for what’s coming.

Getting a home loan, including a VA home loan, often comes down to “you don’t know what you don’t know.” And in such a complex field as home loan lending, what you don’t know is often quite a lot.

And that’s why important not to just go with the first VA home loan loan provider you find. Take time to browse around for someone who recognizes you and the VA home loan process.

What questions should you ask when searching for the ideal loan provider match? Here are some suggestions.

What is your loan officer’s knowledge with the VA loan?

You’re not just searching for the dollar amount they’ve processed, but their number of closed transactions per year. If your loan officer is just starting out in the company, inquire as to their branch manager or trainer’s numbers.

What is your average “clear to close” time frame?

This is the amount of time it takes from the day they ratify a sales contract to the day the sign the papers making the home theirs. A great time frame is between 25 and 30 days. Ask about your loan provider track record, and if a closing is missed, who is going to ensure that your rate lock doesn’t expire. Pro tip: smaller lenders usually have much quicker turnaround time.