Caliber Home Loans Review 2018
Ideal for first-time home buyers, veterans and those who may have credit challenges to overcome.
The Bottom Line: While Caliber’s digital tools may speed up the mortgage process, it doesn’t publish mortgage rates online.
Pros & Cons
- Participates in some down payment assistance programs
- Offers educational resources for military borrowers
- Provides digital tools for a streamlined application process
- No mortgage rates displayed online
- Must work with a loan officer for pre-qualification and preapproval
Caliber Home Loans is one of the highest-volume mortgage lenders in America. It offers home loan services through its network of consultants, as well as independent mortgage brokers and loan officers.
The lender embraces digital mortgage technology with the goal of providing an easy application process and fast closing times.
Caliber declined NerdWallet’s invitation to comment. This evaluation is based on information obtained on its websites and from other reputable sources, such as the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System.
Caliber Home Loans’ mortgage products
Caliber offers a broad selection of home purchase and refinance loans, including fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, first-time buyer programs and jumbo mortgages.
On the conventional loan side, Caliber’s mortgage selection includes low down payment options like HomeReady and Home Possible loans, and the HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage.
On the government loan side, Caliber offers mortgages from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which generally allow for lower credit scores, down payments and income.
In fact, Caliber appears to place special emphasis on serving military members through its VA home loans. On a separate website, CaliberMilitaryLending.com, it provides extensive details about VA loan options and eligibility requirements. The lender also claims to have created a “specialized, in-house educational curriculum” to help its loan consultants and branch managers meet the needs of military borrowers.
Caliber’s portfolio lending programs provide options for homeowners who don’t qualify for traditional financing. The Homeowner’s Access and Fresh Start programs are aimed at those who’ve had past financial difficulties, while the Elite and Premier Access programs are designed for borrowers who are buying or refinancing a high-value property. The company also offers up to $2 million in financing for investment properties.
Nerd tip: Portfolio mortgages are serviced by the original lender rather than being bundled and sold to government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. When lenders keep loans on their own books, they’re often more flexible when it comes to loan amounts, debt-to-income ratios and loan-to-value ratios.
Caliber Home Loans’ mortgage process
To see if you’re qualified for a particular mortgage, the Caliber website suggests contacting a loan consultant to discuss your income, debts and credit history. Use the green “Find a Loan Consultant” tab at the top of the home page to get started.
If everything checks out, you can pursue full preapproval by filling out an online application — complete with document uploads and electronic employment verification — or by continuing to work with your Caliber loan consultant.
For borrowers on the go, Caliber recently launched a mobile app for Android and iPhone. It lets you find a loan consultant, view the status of your loan application, and even manage mortgage payments using whatever device happens to be in the palm of your hand.
Not into the online thing? No problem. You can chat with a Caliber loan officer over the phone or in one of the hundreds of branch locations across 43 states.
Caliber Home Loans’ mortgage rates and fees
General information and amounts for some mortgage fees can be found on the Caliber website under the Tools & Resources tab, but a processing or underwriting fee isn’t one of them. The website’s Closing Costs page also avoids getting into specifics.
Mortgage interest rates, either general or customized, are missing from the website as well. This makes it difficult to compare Caliber Home Loans to other lenders when you’re mortgage shopping.
» MORE: See today’s mortgage rates
Caliber Home Loans’ features for first-time home buyers
First-time home buyers often have lower credit scores or trouble meeting traditional mortgage down payment requirements. To meet these needs, Caliber offers several loans with flexible credit minimums and participates in some state-level down payment assistance programs.
Also, Caliber’s website includes a first-time homebuying guide that describes each step of the process in detail.
Caliber Home Loans’ customer service
When it comes to customer service options, the Caliber website lists a toll-free phone number and several mailing addresses. There’s also an option to submit questions online: Click the green “submit questions” button, then select the “email us” tab on the following page.
If you prefer support that’s closer to home, Caliber’s Branch Locator tool can help you find the address and phone number of a loan consultant in your state, if available. It’s also possible to find a loan consultant and contact Caliber through the lender’s mobile app.
In the 2017 J.D. Power Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, Caliber Home Loans ranked 14th out of 24 lenders profiled. In the study, it earned three “Power Circles” out of five, or “about average,” for overall satisfaction. This is an improvement from Caliber’s 2016 performance in the same J.D. Power study. At that time, Caliber ranked 16th out of 18 lenders, garnering only two “Power Circles” for overall satisfaction.
What Caliber Home Loans does best
- Offers a large number of loan products.
- Caters to borrowers with low credit scores or past financial troubles.
- Provides loans and educational resources to military borrowers.
Where Caliber Home Loans falls short
- Doesn’t display mortgage rates online.