Caliber Home Loans Review for 2021

Caliber Home Loans has a broad appeal, with competitive interest rates and a wide range of mortgage loan options for home buyers and refinancers.

Caliber Home Loans
Minimum down payment3%
Minimum credit score620
Loan Products Offered

Fixed–rate mortgage
Adjustable–rate mortgage
Jumbo mortgage
FHA, VA, USDA
Streamline refinancing
Renovation loans

Best Features

  • Wide variety of mortgage and refinance loans
  • Can close some loans in as little as 10 days
  • Mix of in-person and online application services

Drawbacks

  • Have to apply to see rates
  • Higher credit score requirements than some other lenders

Overview

Texas-based Caliber Home Loans, Inc. was incorporated in 2013. However, it was formed by the merger of two companies and those go back as far as 1963.

Caliber has 145 “corporate family members,” which seems to suggest it operates branch–based regional franchises. That means there’s a good chance there are one or more branches in your state.

This is one of America’s bigger lenders and it operates in all 50 states. It offers a comprehensive range of types of mortgages, including some unique, proprietary ones.

Caliber also has a good reputation for helping first–time buyers, veterans, and others needing specialty loans.


Caliber mortgage rates

Caliber’s mortgage rates are not especially low on average.

However, average rates account for all sorts of borrowers, and your own interest rate could be lower.

Buyers with excellent credit could stand to get a great deal from Caliber. The only way to know how good a rate you qualify for is to request a quote.

Average mortgage rates at major lenders

  Caliber Home Loans Rocket Mortgage Wells Fargo Freedom Mortgage
Average 30-Year Interest Rate, 20201 3.25% 3.20% 3.62% 2.92%
Median Total Loan Costs, 2020 $4,150 $4,610 $3,370 $3,340
Median Origination Fee, 2020 $1,300 $2,950 $1,280 $0

Average rate and fee data sourced from public rate and fee records required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

Caliber Home Loans review for

What are the benefits of using Caliber for a home purchase or refinance? Here are some key ones:

  1. Wide range of loan options – Whatever type of loan you need, you’re likely to find it here
  2. Personal service – Great for those who like to deal with people
  3. Good technology – Under–the–hood IT means your loan can be processed quickly, sometimes within 10 business days
  4. Options for first–time home buyers – Works with some down payment assistance programs and borrowers with moderate credit

But, as always, there are some drawbacks, too.

A big one is that you can’t compare Caliber mortgage rates at a glance.

There are no advertised rates online, and you need to create an account and fill out an application before you have any idea of what your interest rate will be.

In addition, Caliber requires a minimum credit score of at least 620 – even for FHA loans. Many lenders will start at 580 for those. So if your credit is on the low end, this might not be the ideal lender for you.

Working with Caliber Home Loans

After creating an account, Caliber gives you the option to apply for a mortgage online. You can upload documents to the web portal and even track your application via a mobile app.

Anyone who likes dealing with real people may enjoy working with a Caliber loan consultant.

That person should guide you through the entire process, from selecting the best loan for your needs, through preapproval, the application process, and closing.

Caliber also has state–of–the–art underwriting technologies, which it says “enables us to take eligible borrowers from application to closing in record time – as little as 10 business days*.”

However, that *asterisk is important. Because it leads to a warning that not all loans are appropriate for accelerated digital delivery.

Caliber says, “Processing and closing times vary depending on the nature and complexity of the transaction.”

Borrowers with a troubled credit history or self–employed income, for example, often require manual underwriting that can lengthen the processing time.

Still, many are appropriate for expedited closing, and that’s an impressive level of service.

Caliber Home Loans customer service reviews

Caliber gets solid customer service reviews across the board.

The company receives fewer than 1 complaint per 100 customers, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). And it was middle of the road in J.D. Power’s most recent Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.

Average reviews across online forums give Caliber Home Loans a respectable 4.63 out of 5.

Customer service reviews at major lenders

  CFPB Complaints, 20204 Complaints per 100 Mortgages, 20205 J.D. Power Satisfaction Score, 20206
Caliber Home Loans 77 0.02 828/1,000
Rocket Mortgage 391 0.03 883/1,000
Wells Fargo 554 0.05 840/1,000
Freedom Mortgage 288 0.04 817/1,000

Mortgage loan products at Caliber

Caliber has an exceptionally broad range of both conventional and government–backed mortgage products. There are plenty of options whether you want to buy a new home or refinance one you already own.

Conventional loan options:

  • Conventional loans – Not backed by the federal government and often best for those with strong finances and good credit (620+)
  • Freddie Mac's Home Possible – Minimum 3% down payment
  • Fannie Mae's HomeReady – Also as little as 3% down
  • Homestyle Renovation – When you need financial flexibility to buy and build or refurbish a home
  • Jumbo loan – When you want to borrow more than conforming loan limits allow: up to $2.5 million
  • Jumbo interest-only adjustable-rate mortgage – Again, borrow up to $2.5 million but have ultralow monthly payments from the start. But you won’t be reducing the amount you owe every month
  • Relief Refinance – Refinance to a lower rate or monthly payment

Government-backed loan options:

  • FHA loans – Down payments as low as 3.5% and opportunities for borrowers with imperfect credit scores
  • FHA 203(k) rehab loan – One loan that covers both the purchase and renovation of a home
  • VA loans – As little as $0 down. But only for eligible groups, including veterans and active–duty service members
  • USDA loans – Another zero–down loan. The home has to be in a USDA–designated rural or suburban area and the borrower must have a low or median income for the area
  • FHA streamline refinance – No cash–out but allows you to refinance with minimum fuss, perhaps without an appraisal. You must be current with your mortgage payments
  • VA streamline refinance (IRRRL) – Like the FHA streamline but for VA loans

Not many lenders offer such a variety of types of mortgages.

Where can I get a home loan with Caliber?

You can begin your mortgage application process online. But very soon you’ll be talking to a loan officer, or “loan consultant,” as Caliber calls them.

You can also call to begin that process or to schedule a face–to–face meeting with someone in a branch.

According to NMLS, Caliber Home Loans currently has brick–and–mortar branches in most states, including:

  • AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, and WV

That said, homeowners in those states without branches are still welcome to use Caliber, as it’s licensed in all 50 states. They’ll just need to apply online or over the phone instead of in–person.

That shouldn’t be too much trouble, as Caliber’s technology is reputedly as advanced as many end–to–end online lenders.

Is Caliber the best mortgage lender for you?

Caliber Home Loans is a strong mortgage lender in many regards. It offers every major type of home loan. And it’s flexible in helping borrowers qualify with modest credit scores and down payments starting at 3%.

However, many lenders offer similar benefits. So be sure to compare mortgage rates from more than one company before settling on the lender you’ll use.

Sources:

  1. Average mortgage rates and fees sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Rates and fees shown reflect the previous year’s data and may not align with today’s mortgage rates
  2. Monthly principal and interest payments calculated using TheMortgageReports.com mortgage calculator. Payments shown are based on a $200,000 loan amount and assume a “very good” credit score. Property taxes and homeowners insurance are not included. Your own monthly payment will vary
  3. Number of mortgage originations for the previous year sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
  4. CFPB Complaints reflect the number of mortgage origination or closing-related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the previous year
  5. Complaints per 1000 mortgages reflect the number of official complaints filed against a lender with the CFPB for the previous year, compared to the lender’s total number of mortgage originations for the previous year
  6. JD Power Rating reflects the company’s customer satisfaction score according to JD Power’s most recent Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Survey respondents score their lenders in four areas: application/approval process, communication, loan closing, and loan offerings