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Best San Francisco Mortgage Lenders of 2018

Aug. 13, 2018
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
NerdWallet offers financial tools and advice to help you understand your options and make the best possible decisions. The guidance we offer and information we provide are deeply researched, objective and independent. We spent over 400 hours reviewing the top mortgage lenders before selecting the best for our readers.

San Francisco mortgage lenders are about as varied as Bay Area homes. Whether cutting-edge modern or button-down traditional, the capabilities of San Francisco mortgage lenders vary nearly as much as the features of a postmodern home in SoMa compared with a Queen Anne in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

NerdWallet screened the capabilities of San Francisco mortgage companies in various categories — from national brands to leading local lenders. Here are the results.

National and regional mortgage lenders in San Francisco

These national brands underwrite a lot of mortgages in the Bay Area. Here are top-rated lenders in different lending categories.

Best San Francisco mortgage lenders among traditional banks

For borrowers who appreciate the full-service offerings of national banks, these lenders have the extensive home loan products to match.

4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • Offers a wide array of purchase and refinance products.
  • Has first-time home buyer loans with low down payments and no mandatory mortgage insurance.
  • Borrowers can get qualified and navigate the mortgage lending process entirely online.
  • Bank of America mortgage review
3.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Has a full menu of home loan products and options for low down payments.
  • Considers alternative credit data.
  • Connects first-time home buyers with government bond and mortgage credit certificate (MCC) programs.
  • CitiMortgage review

Best San Francisco mortgage lenders for refinancing

Whether you’re improving the interest rate of your old loan or looking for a cash-out option, these lenders are refinancing specialists.

3.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Provides fixed, adjustable, jumbo, FHA and VA refinance options.
  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of documents.
  • Existing Chase customers can earn fee discounts.
  • Chase Mortgage review
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Refinance offerings run the gamut, including for FHA, VA and jumbo loans.
  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.
  • Boasts of a high customer-satisfaction rate and a robust digital offering.
  • Guaranteed Rate review

Best San Francisco mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers

These top-rated lenders have loan programs particularly suited to first-time home buyers.

Quicken Loans
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • The largest FHA lender in the nation — a go-to home loan program for first-time buyers.
  • Instantly verifies employment and income for more than 60% of working Americans.
  • Pairs a fully online application with available mortgage advisors for those who want a human touch.
  • Quicken Loans review
4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • Considers nontraditional credit history, providing a break to well-employed first-time buyers with thin credit files.
  • In one sitting, SoFi gives you an upfront, underwritten loan approval.
  • No application or origination fees.
  • SoFi Mortgage review

Best San Francisco mortgage lenders for home equity products

With soaring property values, it may be time to access some of the equity accumulated in your home. These lenders are among the best.

4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Offers home equity loans and home equity lines of credit.
  • Home equity loan has a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan with no prepayment penalty.
  • HELOC has no lender fees if line of credit remains open for 36 months.
  • Flagstar Bank review
3.0 NerdWallet rating
  • HELOC balances can be converted to up to three fixed-rate options at one time.
  • Offers variable- and fixed-rate HELOC options.
  • No application fees or closing costs.
  • U.S. Bank mortgage review

Best San Francisco mortgage lenders for government-backed loans

Government-backed loans, such as FHA, VA and USDA mortgages, offer flexible down payment options and relaxed lending standards to qualifying buyers.

4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Offers FHA purchase loans and FHA streamline refinances.
  • VA loan specialists help military-connected borrowers navigate the application process.
  • Well-rated for low customer complaint volume.
  • LoanDepot review

PNC Mortgage

3.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Serves low- to moderate-income borrowers with a minimum 660 credit score.
  • Considers nontraditional credit history such as rent payments.
  • Applications can be made online or on the phone.
  • PNC Mortgage review

» MORE: See the best California mortgage lenders

Local mortgage lenders in San Francisco

If you want to include a local lender or two in your search for the best mortgage, these San Francisco lenders are among the highest-volume mortgage makers in the city. The lenders have not been reviewed by NerdWallet.

  • Offers single-family, co-op and condo loans.
  • All-in-one construction-to-permanent loans finance the building of your dream home.
  • Underwrites vacation and second-home loans.
  • No-closing-cost options reduce out-of-pocket fees.
  • Offers loan options that don’t require mortgage insurance.
  • Home hunters can get pre-qualified over the phone “in minutes.”

 

  • Combo loans allow the purchase of a property using a primary mortgage and a HELOC.
  • Portfolio loans provide underwriting flexibility for higher-value homes.
  • HELOCs feature no application fee or closing costs, subject to some restrictions.
  • Over 100 branches in Northern California.
  • An independent mortgage banking firm established in 1996.
  • Application documents are available online for downloading.

Best San Francisco mortgage lenders: Summary

Bank of America: Best among traditional banks.

CitiMortgage: Best among traditional banks.

Chase: Best for refinancing.

Guaranteed Rate: Best for refinancing.

Quicken Loans: Best for first-time home buyers.

SoFi: Best for first-time home buyers.

Flagstar Bank: Best for home equity products.

US Bank: Best for home equity products.

LoanDepot: Best for government-backed loans.

PNC Bank: Best for government-backed loans.

First Republic: Top local lender.

Union Bank: Top local lender.

Fremont Bank: Top local lender.

American Pacific Mortgage: Top local lender.

More from NerdWallet

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.