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10 Best CalHFA Mortgage Lenders of 2022

CalHFA loan programs help you purchase a home in California with down payment and closing cost assistance. See our picks for CalHFA participating lenders.

By NerdWallet 

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The California Housing Finance Agency, or CalHFA, provides mortgage and assistance programs to help Californians buy their first home.

To take advantage of these loan programs, you’ll have to work with a participating loan officer. But how do you know which lender is right for you?

NerdWallet compared several of CalHFA’s participating lenders, identifying the best ones for a variety of borrower needs so you can start your mortgage search with confidence.

Best CalHFA Mortgage Lenders

Guaranteed Rate
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at Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
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at Guaranteed Rate


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers seeking a solid variety of loan types, including jumbo and interest-only options, and a totally online experience.

Pros

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.

  • Offers a wide variety of loans, including jumbo and interest-only products.

  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans.

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New American Funding
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at New American Funding

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
New American Funding

Min. credit score

500

Min. down payment

0%
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at New American Funding


Why we like it

Good for: First-time home buyers and other borrowers looking for a broad array of loan choices.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of purchase and refinance mortgages with an emphasis on helping underserved communities.

  • Its home equity line of credit can be used for an owner-occupied or second home.

  • Offers a program to enable buyers to make cash offers.

Cons

  • Mortgage origination fees tend to be on the high end, according to the latest federal data.

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Fairway Independent Mortgage
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at Fairway Independent Mortgage

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Fairway Independent Mortgage

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
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at Fairway Independent Mortgage


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want access to a wide variety of mortgages, including renovation loans and ITIN loans.

Pros

  • Offers a robust suite of loan products, including ITIN loans for borrowers without Social Security numbers, renovation loans, government-backed mortgages and loans for self-employed borrowers.

  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.

Cons

  • Mortgage rates for different types of loans aren't posted online.

  • Origination fees are on the high side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Read Full Review

loanDepot: NMLS#174457

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
loanDepot

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

5%

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want an easy online application and a variety of loan types to explore.

Pros

  • Has branches across the country for customers who prefer face-to-face service.

  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.

  • Mortgage interest rates tend to be on the lower end, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Mortgage rates aren't available online; you'll need to contact a loan officer.

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

Read Full Review

Guild Mortgage: NMLS#3274

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Guild Mortgage

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who value customer service, and first-time home buyers and others who may need the flexibility of a low-down-payment loan program.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loan products, including home improvement loans and mortgages for manufactured homes.

  • Has retail branches in most states.

  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.

Cons

  • Does not offer home equity loan products.

  • Origination fees tend to be higher, according to the latest federal data.

Read Full Review

Homebridge: NMLS#6521

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Homebridge

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for borrowers who want a loan officer's help, in person or on the phone, when deciding among the wide range of available mortgage options — including loans to buy and renovate.

Pros

  • Offers a full array of mortgage products, including government and renovation loans.

  • Online portal keeps borrowers up to date on the loan application's progress.

  • Offers home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs.

Cons

  • Doesn't post interest rates on its site.

  • Lender fees are on the high side, according to the latest federal data.

Read Full Review

Caliber: NMLS#15622

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Caliber

Min. credit score

580

Min. down payment

0%

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers, veterans and those who may have credit challenges to overcome.

Pros

  • Offers extensive educational resources for military borrowers.

  • Participates in some down payment assistance and first-time home buyer programs.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates displayed online.

  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

Read Full Review

PrimeLending: NMLS#13649

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
PrimeLending

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers looking for closing cost assistance, as well as those seeking to renovate or to build a new home.

Pros

  • Full online application includes document uploads and automated loan updates.

  • Offers a "float-down" interest rate lock.

  • Offers government-backed mortgage and refinance options, including FHA, USDA and VA loans.

Cons

  • No online mortgage rates — you have to contact the lender for info.

  • Doesn't offer home equity products.

Read Full Review

Wintrust Mortgage: NMLS#449042

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Wintrust Mortgage

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Wintrust Mortgage offers a variety of loan products, including home equity lines of credit and even home-improvement loans, and provides a number of online conveniences, such as loan process updates. But you won’t find rates posted online.

Pros

  • Offers specialty loans, such as construction and renovation loans and loans for second homes and investment properties.

  • Participates in first-time home buyer assistance programs in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Cons

  • Sample rates for some loan products are available only by contacting a loan officer.

  • Physical locations aren't available in all states.

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Alterra: NMLS#133739

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Alterra

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers and those ineligible for Social Security numbers.

Pros

  • Offers an ITIN qualification path for borrowers ineligible for Social Security numbers.

  • Has a digital application process.

  • Offers government-backed mortgage options for low- to moderate-income borrowers.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates published online.

  • No home equity loans or lines of credit.

  • Generally has higher rates and fees than other lenders.

  • Branch offices not available in all states.

Read Full Review

Last updated on January 6, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet's star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best CalHFA Mortgage Lenders of 2022