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10 Best California Mortgage Lenders of 2019

NerdWalletJuly 2, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

If you’re looking to buy or refinance a home in California in 2019, NerdWallet can help you choose from some of the best mortgage lenders in the state.

Summary of Best California Mortgage Lenders of 2019

LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Better.com

Better.com

at Better.com

first-time home buyers

620

3%

at Better.com

SoFi

SoFi

at SoFi

first-time home buyers

N/A

10%

at SoFi

loanDepot

loanDepot

at LoanDepot

refinancing

620

3.5%

at LoanDepot

Chase

Chase

at Chase

refinancing

620

3%

at Chase

Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

at Rocket Mortgage

online experience

620

3%

at Rocket Mortgage

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

online experience

620

3%

Read review
New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

borrowers with bad credit

620

3%

at New American

Veterans United

Veterans United

at Veterans United

borrowers with bad credit

620

0%

at Veterans United

Citibank

Citibank

face-to-face service

N/A

3%

Read review
Bank of America

Bank of America

face-to-face service

620

3%

Read review
LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Better.com

Better.com

at Better.com

first-time home buyers

620

3%

at Better.com

SoFi

SoFi

at SoFi

first-time home buyers

N/A

10%

at SoFi

loanDepot

loanDepot

at LoanDepot

refinancing

620

3.5%

at LoanDepot

Chase

Chase

at Chase

refinancing

620

3%

at Chase

Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

at Rocket Mortgage

online experience

620

3%

at Rocket Mortgage

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

online experience

620

3%

Read review
New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

borrowers with bad credit

620

3%

at New American

Veterans United

Veterans United

at Veterans United

borrowers with bad credit

620

0%

at Veterans United

Citibank

Citibank

face-to-face service

N/A

3%

Read review
Bank of America

Bank of America

face-to-face service

620

3%

Read review
Logo

at Better.com

Better.com: NMLS#330511

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Better.com


Why we like it

Ideal for tech-savvy borrowers who prefer an online experience. Better.com provides an easy-to-navigate digital application process and charges no origination fee.

Pros

  • Claims a three-minute application process for initial preapproval.

  • An online process with human help as needed.

  • Loan officers aren't paid commissions, they are strictly available for "support, not sales."

  • For higher-value homes, offers 10% down with no mortgage insurance on jumbo loans.

  • Offers an "underwriter-reviewed" preapproval letter in as little as 24 hours.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Doesn't do VA or USDA loans.

  • Not available in all 50 states.

Read Full Review
Logo

at SoFi

SoFi: NMLS#1484615

Logo

National / Regional

Regional

Min. Down Payment

10%

at SoFi


Why we like it

Ideal for young professionals and self-employed borrowers looking for a lender that considers nontraditional income.

Pros

  • Provides an entirely digital mortgage application to make the process easier for borrowers.

  • Considers nontraditional income, such as restricted stock units, and works with self-employed borrowers.

  • Does not require private mortgage insurance for jumbo loans.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer government-backed loans, like FHA or VA.

  • Does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

Read Full Review
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at LoanDepot

loanDepot: NMLS#174457

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

at LoanDepot


Why we like it

Ideal for anyone who wants online convenience with face-to-face options. Loan Depot has affiliated locations nationwide and is well-rated for low customer complaint volume.

Pros

  • Offers conventional and government-backed refinance mortgages.

  • Offers a “lifetime guarantee” on future refinances: no lender fees and reimbursal of appraisal cost.

  • Advertises a "no steering" policy for refinance loans.

Cons

  • Must provide personal information to get a customized refinance rate quote.

  • Has fewer high-tech refinance tools than other lenders, such as no mobile app.

Read Full Review
Logo

at Chase

Chase: NMLS#399798

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

at Chase


Why we like it

Ideal for refinancing any way you want: in person, online or over the phone. With branch locations in 22 states, Chase has a strong face-to-face presence, but refinancers can apply through other channels, too.

Pros

  • Fixed- and adjustable-rate refinance options.

  • Aims to close all refinance transactions in 60 days or less.

  • Customized rate quotes available online without providing personal info.

Cons

  • Physical locations not available in all states.

  • Charges an origination fee as well as other third-party fees for refinances.

  • You must speak with a mortgage banker to be approved.

Read Full Review
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at Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage: NMLS#3030

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Rocket Mortgage


Why we like it

Ideal for anyone who appreciates smartphone app service, support and time savings. Rocket Mortgage offers a fully digital home loan experience with a large variety of mortgage products.

Pros

  • The site caters to self-service users who want to apply for a home loan without talking to a human unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  • With your authorization, accesses asset statements from 98% of U.S. financial institutions.

  • Tells you the loan amount you’ll qualify for within minutes.

  • Rocket Mortgage’s document and asset retrieval capabilities can save you a bunch of time and hassle.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • If you’re a “look me in the eye” type of customer, you’re out of luck.

  • Doesn’t consider alternative credit data. It just looks at credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, the way most mortgage lenders always have.

Read Full Review

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who are looking to apply for a mortgage and manage the process through online tools, whether buying or refinancing. Guaranteed Rate offers FHA, VA and USDA loans for borrowers who are well-qualified.

Pros

  • Works with most borrowers as long as they have good credit scores and incomes.

  • Provides a user-friendly digital platform that’s thorough in covering all types of borrowing scenarios.

  • Has a 95% customer satisfaction rate, according to company data.

Cons

  • Charges some fees, such as a $1,290 lender fee that includes a $150 application fee.

  • Offers many products, which might confuse or overwhelm borrowers.

  • Several click-throughs required for personalized rates.

Read Full Review
Logo

at New American

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at New American


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who need to be evaluated on the basis of nontraditional credit. New American Funding offers FHA and VA loans, works with down payment assistance programs, and helps borrowers whose credit histories don't fit the mold of traditional banking.

Pros

  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate creditworthiness.

  • Offers full online mortgage application, rate quotes, document upload and loan tracking.

  • Home equity lending sets it apart from most non-bank lenders.

Cons

  • Services not available in all 50 states.

Read Full Review
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at Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

0%

at Veterans United


Why we like it

Ideal for veterans and active-duty service members. Veterans United is the nation's largest VA home purchase lender but also offers an excellent selection of other government and conventional loans.

Pros

  • Also offers FHA, USDA and conventional loans.

  • Offers 24/7 customer service.

  • You can complete a loan application and pre-qualify online.

  • Registers a low volume of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • Offers free credit score education and assistance.

  • Provides a client advocate team staffed by former senior enlisted leaders from each branch of the armed forces.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Loans are available in all 50 states, but Veterans United has offices in only about half.

Read Full Review

Citibank: NMLS#412915

Logo

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers or those with weaker credit. Citibank, a large-scale mortgage lender with a full menu of home loan products, offers low down payment options and considers alternative credit data.

Pros

  • Low down payment options.

  • Discounts for Citibank customers.

  • Looks at alternative credit data like rent history and child support payments.

  • Available in all 50 states.

Cons

  • Charges a mortgage application fee.

  • Did not disclose origination fees, which may vary.

  • Can't complete loan online.

Read Full Review

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who prefer a traditional bank. Bank of America offers a wide array of mortgages and online account management tools. It also has first-time home buyer loans with low down payments and no mandatory mortgage insurance.

Pros

  • Allows borrowers to apply entirely online.

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

  • Accepts alternative credit data for some loan types.

  • May give existing customers a discount on mortgage lender origination fees.

Cons

  • Charges an application fee of $1,170, on average.

  • Has a high volume of consumer complaints, even for a big national bank.

Read Full Review

Best California mortgage lenders by city

We took an even closer look to find lenders in major California cities. See our picks for best mortgage lenders in your area.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on July 2, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's selection of mortgage lenders for inclusion here was made based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best California Mortgage Lenders of 2019