Editorial Review

Caliber Home Loans Review 2019

Ideal for first-time home buyers, veterans and those who may have credit challenges to overcome.

Beth BuczynskiAugust 19, 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.

Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: While Caliber’s digital tools may speed up the mortgage process, consumers can’t shop its mortgage rates online.

Caliber

Caliber

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Participates in some state down payment assistance programs.

  • Offers educational resources for military borrowers.

  • Provides digital tools for a streamlined application process.

Cons
  • No mortgage rates displayed online.

  • Must work with a loan officer for pre-qualification and preapproval.

Full Review

Caliber Home Loans is one of the highest-volume mortgage lenders in America, according to the latest data. 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 to confirm details for this review. 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 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 Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Housing Administration, including 203(k) renovation loans. Mortgages insured or guaranteed by these government agencies 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 homepage 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 offers 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 a mobile device.

Not into the online thing? No problem. You can chat with a Caliber loan officer over the phone or in one of hundreds of branch locations across the country.

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 it takes a couple of clicks to find and an origination 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 with other lenders when you’re mortgage shopping.

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 2018 J.D. Power Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, Caliber Home Loans earned just over three “Power Circles” out of five, or “about average,” for overall satisfaction. This is a slight improvement from Caliber’s 2017 performance in the same J.D. Power study.

Of course, customer satisfaction doesn’t end on closing day. Your lender may become your mortgage servicer, and you should feel reasonably confident that it will provide quality support if you ever have trouble making your payments. That’s why it’s worth noting that Caliber Home Loans has been under investigation for its handling of delinquent mortgages and other practices in the past. Most recently, the lender paid a $2 million fine to settle allegations that it violated a Massachusetts state law requiring lenders to help borrowers avoid foreclosure.

More from NerdWallet

NerdWallet's star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded 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.