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10 Best California Mortgage Lenders of 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 2, 2020

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If you’re looking to buy or refinance a home in California in 2020, NerdWallet can help you choose from some of the best mortgage lenders in the state.

Whether you’re shopping for a condo on the coast, a classic suburban ranch or a low-rate refinance, these lenders reviewed by NerdWallet can get you there.

Summary of Best California Mortgage Lenders of 2020

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at Better.com

Better.com: NMLS#330511

Great for digital convenience

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Better.com


Why we like it

Good for: Better.com shines for tech-savvy borrowers who prefer an online experience.

Pros

  • An online process with human help as needed.

  • Makes it easy to see customized mortgage rates.

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

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Doesn't do FHA, VA or USDA loans.

Read Full Review

SoFi: NMLS#1484615

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Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Down Payment

10%


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

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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

Chase: NMLS#399798

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Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National


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 by Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

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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

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Good for borrowers seeking conventional or government-backed loans, and a totally online experience.

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.

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

Cons

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

Read Full Review
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at New American

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

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Min. Credit Score

700

Min. Down Payment

3%

National / Regional

National

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

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Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Down Payment

0%

at Veterans United


Why we like it

Good for: veterans, active-duty service members and eligible Reservists looking for VA or non-VA loans.

Pros

  • Offers 24/7 customer service over the phone.

  • Has online application and pre-qualification.

  • Offers a free credit counseling service.

  • Employs advisors from each branch of the armed forces.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Veterans United has physical branch offices in only 18 states.

  • Information on FHA, USDA and conventional loans is harder to find on their website.

  • Charges higher rates and fees than some other lenders.

Read Full Review

Citibank: NMLS#412915

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National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Good for: Borrowers wanting to compare mortgage rates online for a variety of loan options.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including low-down-payment mortgages and jumbo mortgages.

  • Provides customizable mortgage rates on its website.

  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders.

Cons

  • Charges a mortgage application fee.

  • Requires help from a mortgage loan officer to complete the loan application online.

Read Full Review

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

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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.

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

Cons

  • Does not offer renovation loans.

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 January 2, 2020

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 California Mortgage Lenders of 2020