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Mortgage lenders in California

How to afford and finance a house in The Golden State.

Updated

California’s sought-after real estate market means that prices aren’t cheap — but these lenders can help make it more feasible. Plus, government-backed programs can help you get approved and make the first payment.

How to find the lenders and rates in California

Like any financial decision, there are many factors to consider beyond just finding the lowest interest rate. To find the best mortgage lender for you in California, keep an eye on:

    • Origination fees. This is the cost lenders charge for processing a loan application. Generally, origination fees shouldn’t be more than 1% of your total loan, though they can vary based on your lender and other factors.
  • Total APR. An APR is a broader measure than an interest rate, as it encompasses things like broker fees and closing costs as well. Finding a lender with a reasonable or low APR will help you stick to a budget.
    • Customer service. Pay attention to how easy it is to get in touch with the representatives and how attentive they seem to your case. Staying close to your contact can help ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Special mortgage programs. The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) offers homebuyer assistance programs for qualifying candidates to help make buying a house more accessible. Federal programs, such as USDA, VA, or FHA, offer loans to lower your down payment and help you get approved.

What to consider when looking for a mortgage in California

California has some of the most desired property in the country, and the prices reflect that. Though mortgage rates differ slightly depending on which metro area you’re moving to, they’re generally higher than other states.

And though down payments vary depending on the value of the home, they can quickly jump to six figures in California due to the high home costs. If you’re having trouble affording a down payment, reach out to a CalHFA-approved lender to help you qualify for one of California’s first-time homebuyer programs.

Both FHA and CalHFA have programs designed to reduce down payments to make buying a house more feasible.

Closing costs in California

The average closing costs in California — post tax — are $7,512. It ranks in the top 10 most expensive states to close on a house, though exact fees vary depending on the lender, location of the home and property type.

Bottom line

While California tends to be a more expensive state when it comes to real estate, there are programs in place to help you get approved and afford the cost of a mortgage.

But if you don’t qualify for one of those programs or you’re still not sure which loan is best for you, compare all of your options before making a decision.

Frequently asked questions

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We analyze top home loan providers and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: rates and fees, product selection and borrower experience.

Read the full methodology of how we rate home loan providers.

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