You do not need to use a VA lender near the purchase area, it is easier sometimes but that is not often the best choice for your money. Each lender can be very different and it is important to find one that can work with you to get the best experience for you.
I have a few lenders I recommend and would be happy to give you their information. We have used two of them personally for our own properties using VA loans.
If you are not currently working with an Agent, I would be happy to recommend someone to you. We have a large network of Agents that work to give you the best experience in the business.
Please review my profile on Trulia and send me a message or email me directly at THOYT@prutropical.com and I can send those lenders to you. I will tell you who I preferred to do our loans and why they worked best for us. You are allowed to shop around and you should.
If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. NO pressure, just help.
Prudential Tropical Realty