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9 Best San Diego Mortgage Lenders of 2020

NerdWalletFebruary 11, 2020

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Shopping for San Diego mortgage lenders? Compare our picks for the city’s top mortgage companies to get the best loan options, mortgage rates and more.

Thanks to white-sand beaches and year-round sunshine, deciding to live in San Diego is a no-brainer. But with scores of mortgage companies to pick from, finding the right one to finance your house can feel more difficult. That’s where NerdWallet comes in.

We compared San Diego’s leading mortgage lenders — high-volume national brands along with local options — to identify top options for first-time home buyers and repeat buyers alike.

When choosing a mortgage lender, it’s important to think about what matters most to you: Some borrowers need low-down-payment options, some want a competitive interest rate, and others look for the convenience of an online application process.

We've narrowed the field to help simplify your search for a San Diego mortgage lender.

These national and regional mortgage lenders do business in San Diego, even if they don’t have physical locations there, and are among the city’s highest-volume mortgage companies.

Summary of Best San Diego Mortgage Lenders of 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating Minimum Credit Score Minimum Down PaymentLearn More

Flagstar

Best for first-time home buyers

620

3%

Read review

Guild Mortgage

Best for first-time home buyers

620

3%

Read review

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

Best for a digital mortgage experience

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

Fairway Independent Mortgage

at Fairway

Best for a digital mortgage experience

620

3%

at Fairway

Best for veterans

620

3%

Read review

Bank of America

Best for home equity borrowing + face-to-face service

620

3%

Read review

Navy Federal

Best for a credit union mortgage

N/A

0%

Read review

San Diego Country Credit Union

Best for a credit union mortgage

N/A

5%

Read review

Best for face-to-face service

620

3%

Read review

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for those who appreciate the full-service experience of a leading regional bank. Flagstar offers a full menu of fixed and adjustable home loans and mortgage refinancing, as well as jumbo loans and home equity financing.

Pros

  • Embraces FHA-backed home loans.

  • Offers several types of construction and renovation mortgages.

  • A professional loan package is tailored for the needs of doctors, lawyers, nurse practitioners, airline pilots and certified public accountants.

  • Flagstar reps are familiar with low-down-payment state bond programs for first-time home buyers and income-limited households, as well as the areas that qualify for USDA loans.

  • Offers home equity loans and home equity lines of credit.

Cons

  • Charges an average $1,295 in underwriting and processing fees.

Read Full Review

Guild Mortgage: NMLS#3274

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers with a relatively high credit score who may need down payment assistance or help from a state housing agency.

Pros

  • Works with loan programs offered by state and local housing agencies.

  • Specializes in mortgages for first-time home buyers.

  • Almost half of its loans are low-down-payment government mortgages.

  • Considers alternative credit, such as history of payments on rent and utilities.

Cons

  • With a concentration of offices in the West and South, Guild has little presence in the Northeast and Midwest.

  • Jumbo borrowers may find that banks are more competitive when it comes to large loan amounts.

Read Full Review
Logo

at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Ideal choice for convenience and quick-response customer service. Quicken Loans provides just about all the services your neighborhood lender does — with online convenience.

Pros

  • Quicken Loans couples a fully online application with available mortgage advisors for those who want a human touch.

  • Instantly verifies employment and income for more than 60% of working Americans.

  • Offers custom fixed-rate loan terms that are between eight and 30 years.

  • Provides FHA-backed loans, USDA loans as well as products offered by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that require down payments as low as 3%.

Cons

  • Quicken Loans 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
Logo

at Fairway

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Fairway


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who want lots of options and a quick turn time. Fairway Independent Mortgage offers a full selection of home loans along with a comprehensive mobile app for a fast and easy application process.

Pros

  • A robust suite of loan products.

  • Licensed in all 50 states.

  • Close in as little as 10 days using the Fairway app.

Cons

  • Limited branch locations.

  • Mortgage rates not posted on website.

Read Full Review

Caliber: NMLS#15622

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


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.

  • Provides digital tools for a streamlined application process.

  • Participates in some state down payment assistance and first-time homebuyer programs.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates displayed online.

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

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.

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

Cons

  • Does not offer renovation loans.

Read Full Review

Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

Logo

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%


Why we like it

Ideal for military members and their families. Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of mortgage products, an online application and considers alternative credit data for certain loan types.

Pros

  • Wide range of affordable mortgage products designed for military members.

  • Willing to look at nontraditional credit data, such as rent payments, as part of its credit evaluation for certain products.

  • Online application for preapproval with quick decision.

Cons

  • Website does not provide customized mortgage rates based on credit score or other factors before you apply.

Read Full Review

San Diego Country Credit Union: NMLS#580585

Logo

Min. Down Payment

5%

National / Regional

Regional


Why we like it

San Diego County Credit Union is ideal for borrowers who want a conventional loan, and live or work in San Diego County.

Pros

  • Online loan application and rate tracking.

  • Customized rates available without personal info.

  • Down payments as low as 5%.

  • Offers partial rebates on real estate agent commissions.

Cons

  • No FHA, VA or USDA home loans.

  • Can't digitally sign loan documents.

  • Online preapproval not available for all loan products.

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.

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

Cons

  • Does not offer renovation loans.

Read Full Review

Chase: NMLS#399798

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers who want to talk to a loan officer in person or on the phone, and for homeowners who want to refinance their mortgages in 60 days or less. Chase offers a full line of mortgage products and account management tools.

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of documents.

  • Existing Chase customers can get discounts.

  • Offers a wide selection of purchase and refinance mortgages.

Cons

  • Charges rate lock, origination and underwriting fees.

  • You have to speak with a mortgage banker to get complete info on products and requirements.

Read Full Review

Local mortgage lenders in San Diego

The following lenders have not been reviewed by NerdWallet. However, they do a significant volume of mortgage lending in San Diego and are popular among the city’s mortgage shoppers. Check them out if you prefer to include a local lender or two in your search for the best mortgage.

  • Several low-down-payment loans.

  • Loan options with no closing costs and no mortgage insurance.

  • Mobile app available.

  • Multiple branch locations in San Diego.

  • Pre-qualification requires a phone call with a loan officer.

  • Loan programs for foreign nationals and self-employed borrowers.

  • Will finance all types of condos.

  • Several branch locations in and around San Diego.

  • Conventional, government and jumbo loan options.

  • Offers refinancing and reverse mortgages.

  • Only one branch location in San Diego.

  • Website provides instant customized rate quotes.

  • Offers 3% down conventional loans.

  • Claims to charge a flat, guaranteed lender fee.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on February 11, 2020

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 San Diego Mortgage Lenders of 2020