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Caliber Home Loans Review – Good, Bad, Or?

home loans

One of the perhaps lesser-known, but fastest growing mortgage companies that is making big strides in the industry is Caliber Home Loans.

The national mortgage lender, which is based out of Coppell, Texas, just north or Irving, TX, has been around since 2008, which was essentially when the mortgage industry went bust.

Since then, they’ve grown into a mortgage powerhouse and are now a top-10 mortgage lender nationwide, with aspirations to be top five sooner rather than later.

And it turns out they caught the attention of suitors in the process.

In August 2021, the company was acquired by New Residential Investment Corp. (Newrez).

Caliber Home Loans History

  • The company rebranded in 2008 around the time of the housing bubble burst
  • Started with government mortgages such as FHA loans
  • Then began offering conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Have grown into a top-10 mortgage lender via a number of large acquisitions
  • Funded more than $24 billion in home loans via retail channel in 2019
  • Planned to go public with $2+ billion valuation
  • Later acquired by Newrez in the second half of 2021

Back in 2008, around the time of the financial crisis, the parent company Caliber Funding went through a rebranding process and acquired the lending assets of the CIT Group, which it later renamed Vericrest Financial.

A year later, they obtained the ability to directly endorse FHA loans and received direct lending authority for VA loans, meaning lending decisions could be made in-house.

In 2012, they received Freddie Mac seller approval and began issuing securitizations. They also gained Ginnie Mae approval at that time, and loan servicer approval for both.

Caliber Home Loans Inc. was born in 2013 when Caliber Funding with Vericrest Financial merged into one brand, which coincided with their correspondent lending business and Fannie Mae seller approval.

In mid-2016, Caliber acquired First Priority Financial, expanding their footprint in northern California and the western U.S., including states like Idaho, Iowa, Oregon, Washington.

Not long after, they became one of the top mortgage lenders in the country, with over 3,500 employees nationwide.

They refer to their loan officers as loan consultants, though they also partner with mortgage bankers and wholesale lenders to originate loans through various channels.

And they pride themselves on being a mortgage-only shop, as opposed to a mega financial institution that also doles out credit cards, life insurance, and student loans. They’re mortgage-focused and only sell home loan products.

Their latest big move was in 2017 when they acquired Banc Home Loans, which resulted in an 1,800-strong sales force across 340 retail branches located throughout the United States.

Aside from retail, Caliber’s originations come via a booming correspondent channel, along with a wholesale channel, meaning mortgage brokers can offer their loan products to consumers as well.

Speaking of, they recently launched a mobile app for their broker partners that uses Caliber’s proprietary H2Online system, which allows them to price and lock loans from their smartphone.

So it’s clear their mission is to grow and become a household name in the mortgage industry, and they appear to be on track.

In fact, they now have plans to go public with a valuation greater than $2 billion, per the WSJ.

What Does Caliber Home Loans Offer?

  • Home purchase loans
  • Rate and term refinances, cash out refis, and streamline refinances
  • Conforming loan products including Freddie Mac BorrowSmart
  • Jumbo loans and high-balance mortgages
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Renovation loans
  • Portfolio loans such as interest-only products
  • HELOCs
  • Fixed mortgages
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages

Now let’s talk about their loan programs. As alluded to in their company history, they’re equipped to provide all types of loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, and the VA.

You can also obtain a USDA loan from Caliber Home Loans, and they have specialty products like the 203k renovation loan if the real estate you’ve got your eye on needs a little work.

In terms of government home loans, they’ve got everything. In fact, Caliber even has a special Military and Veteran Lending division solely for VA loans. They also been recognized as a Military Friendly Brand two years in a row (2017 and 2018).

In late summer 2017, they announced the funding of their 10,000 VA purchase loan, so it’s clear they’ve got some experience in that department.

For conventional loan offerings, they have both conforming stuff (Fannie/Freddie) along with jumbo loans, and even a jumbo interest-only ARM.

You can get a HomeReady or Home Possible loan with just 3% down, and they have all loan types from 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages to a wide array of adjustable-rate mortgages.

If you’re looking for more than just FHA loans and Fannie and Freddie stuff, they’ve got your covered.

In fact, they have some proprietary home loan products like their “Caliber 5-Star ARM” that adjusts once every five years, as opposed to annually once the first five years go by (like the classic 5/1 ARM), whose name I assume is an ode to the Lone Star State.

This 5/5 ARM can be beneficial if the associated mortgage index remains low throughout those five years, giving the homeowner another five years of safety from upward rate adjustments.

Of course, it can also backfire if the first adjustment is high and locked in for a full five years.

With regard to jumbo loans, you can get loan amounts as large as $2.5 million, which should satisfy most folks’ needs. And down payments start as low as 5%.

That jumbo interest-only ARM is one of their flexible non-QM offerings, but does require a minimum 700 credit score, which means only the most creditworthy borrowers need apply.

Ultimate Home Buying Experience

I’ve written about this technology before – in short, it allows for the digital delivery of income, asset, and employment history to speed up the loan process, similar to how Rocket Mortgage works.

If all works out, Caliber Home Loans aims to get your loan from application to closing in as little as 10 business days.

That’s pretty fast, and might give you an edge if you’re a first-time home buyer in a competitive housing market.

There’s also a Caliber Home Loans for Borrowers app that allows customers to track their loan as it moves through the process. They also can opt-in to notifications for any issues or problems that arise, and receive updates such as loan approval or denial.

Once the loan closes, they can make payments, set up recurring payments, via escrow account and payment history, and even request the removal of private mortgage insurance.

Caliber Has Some Unique Home Loan Options

  • Loan amounts as high as $3 million with credit scores as low as 650
  • Loan programs for those who have late payments or a recent short sale, foreclosure, etc. with FICO scores as low as 610
  • Loan amounts as low as $100,000 for both investors and primary residences
  • A home loan financing program for new builds
  • HELOCs for those wishing to tap equity

Premier Access

They also have a Premier Access portfolio program that allows loan amounts as high as $3 million with lower credit score requirements down to 650. And the loans may not require private mortgage insurance.

It’s also possible to use asset depletion to qualify for a mortgage through the Premier Access lending suite, and cash-out refinances up to $750,000 are also permitted.

Elite Access

Their newest portfolio loan program, known as “Elite Access,” is a jumbo loan product that allows loan amounts as high as $3 million with as little as 5% down payment. However, a minimum 700 FICO score is required.

It is being offered in both fixed and adjustable options to satisfy home buyers and those refinancing existing mortgages (up to 95% LTV) in high-cost markets nationwide.

Homeowner’s Access

This is Caliber’s loan suite for those who have late mortgage payments, or a recent short sale, foreclosure, or bankruptcy filing.

It features shorter waiting times to buy a home, the acceptance of non-traditional credit history, and higher DTI ratios up to 50%. You may also be able to purchase a home with nothing down by using gift funds, and credit scores go as low as 610.

Fresh Start Program

This suite of home financing solutions seems to be even more aggressive, offering home loans with no seasoning requirement after bankruptcy, short sale, deed-in-lieu, or foreclosure.

The Fresh Start program also offers low down payment options and low minimum credit scores, along with loan amounts from $100,000 all the way up to $1 million.

Investment Program

Additionally, they have a suite of loan programs designed especially for real estate investors, including low down payment requirements on loans up to $2 million.

They’ll go as low as 620 in terms of credit score and allow loan amounts as low as $100,000.

More importantly, they provide the option to purchase an unlimited number of investment properties, and offer things like delayed financing, which allows you to buy with cash then quickly do a rate and term refinance.

National Builder Program

Lastly, they have a home builder financing arm that specializes in providing mortgage loan financing on new homes.

They have a dedicated loan fulfillment team that can offer financing of all types on all sorts of properties, including non-warrantable condos.

And they allow mortgage rate locks for as long as 12 months, yes, that long. Well, for some reason 360 days, but that’s still pretty unheard of! So if it takes a while to close, they can secure your rate.

Along those same lines, they offer a service called “Doc Lock,” which secures income and asset verification for up to six months on conventional home loans.

Oh, and they recently launched a HELOC known as the “HomeAccess Your Way Equity Line of Credit.” It appears to have a 30-year term, including a 10-year draw period and a 20-year repayment period.

So they’ve got plenty of loan products and a potentially streamlined loan process to serve mortgage loans to customers nationwide across all channels.

Caliber Home Loans Mortgage Rates

  • Caliber mortgage rates aren’t advertised
  • You won’t see them on their website
  • However I came across some of their rate sheets
  • That seem to be in line with what most other lenders are offering

They don’t seem to openly advertise their mortgage rates, unlike other banks and mortgage lenders, you won’t find them on their website.

However, I’ve seen some lender ratesheets from Caliber and their pricing seems to be on par (no pun intended) with what else is out there. Of course, that’s the wholesale lender channel, so results may vary across other channels like retail and correspondent.

From what I can tell, their mortgage rates aren’t necessarily any higher or lower than the average rates available. Of course, take the time to shop your rate with other lenders to ensure it’s the best it can be.

Caliber Home Loans Reviews

On Zillow, the company has a 4.96-star rating out of 5, which is pretty much as good as it gets aside from perfection.

That strong rating is based on nearly 6,000 customer reviews, meaning it’s not a fluke.

Since they’re a very large company, you may want to drill down and look at individual loan officer reviews for Caliber, which you can do on the Zillow website.

Many of the reviews said both the interest rate and closing costs were lower than expected, which is a good sign if your lender decision is driven by price.

On LendingTree, they have a 4.2 out of 5-star rating based on more than 700 customer reviews. While not as good, it’s still mostly positive.

They are a Better Business Bureau accredited company and have been since 2014.

Caliber Home Loans Inc. currently has an ‘A’ rating with the BBB and has just over 3 out of 5 stars based on about 200 customer reviews.

They’ve got some bad reviews, but that’s typical because people are more likely to leave a bad review than a good review. But feel free to peruse them as you see fit.

And pay attention to closing costs, which can vary widely as well.

Why Choose Caliber Home Loans?

  • Caliber offers a wide selection of home loan types to fit most loan scenarios
  • They’ve got smartphone apps for borrowers and all their business partners
  • Along with the latest technology to go digital and upload/track important documents
  • And they offer home loans via all major channels including retail, correspondent, and wholesale in all 50 states

To sum it up, Irving, Texas-based Caliber Home Loans has a home loan for just about any purpose, and the company originates loans through various avenues to suit all personality types. They’re also a national mortgage lender licensed to do business in all 50 states.

This means you can take advantage of their mortgage products via a retail branch, a mortgage broker, or even another correspondent lender.

And unlike many mortgage lenders, Caliber retains the servicing rights to their home loans, meaning you’ll make your monthly mortgage payments to them, not some other company. This appears to be their pledge to make you a customer for life.

As a servicing customer, you might be eligible for a mortgage recast if your loan type is eligible. The minimum principal reduction payment is $5,000, which when applied, will lower your future monthly mortgage payments.

At last glance, their loan servicing portfolio had swelled to over $100 billion, while monthly loan volume is nearing $2 billion.

As such, I expect Caliber to become a household name in the next decade, if not sooner.

As always, be sure to compare all your loan and lender options to ensure you receive the best pricing and service on your home loan. There are lots of choices out there, so make sure you get more than one quote.

Read more: Quicken Loans review

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