If you’re thinking about buying a home in Los Angeles, the good news is you’re about to be right in the middle of the sunshine and good vibes of Southern California. Those good vibes come at a cost, though: the median sales price of a property in the L.A. metro area was almost $920,000 as of August 2021, according to real estate brokerage Redfin, making it one of the most expensive places to call home in the country.
Whether you’re thinking about planting roots with a new home or looking to refinance at a lower interest rate, it’s important to compare options from multiple mortgage lenders in Los Angeles. Here are some of the best ones to consider.
To determine the best mortgage lenders by city, Bankrate evaluated lenders based on several criteria, including affordability (APR and fees); expediency (approval and closing times); and experience (including customer service support). In general, the best mortgage lenders have a high Bankrate Score and high ratings from borrowers.
Best mortgage lenders in Los Angeles
- Good if: You prefer an all-online experience
Better.com isn’t located in Los Angeles; it’s located on your screen, and that online-only operation translates to significant savings. The mortgage lender doesn’t charge any fees, and it offers some of the lowest rates among all lenders reviewed by Bankrate. Plus, the experience is fast: You can get a preapproval in three minutes, and closings take just 21 days.
- No lender commissions or fees
- 24/7 customer support
- No VA or USDA loans
- Requires at least a 620 credit score (even for FHA loans)
- Good if: You want to build a new property
If you can’t find the home you want in Los Angeles, you might be considering building one instead. GO Mortgage is one of the best lenders to choose if you plan to take that route. The lender specializes in single-close construction loans, so rather than paying for closings for multiple loans, you’ll only pay for one, which can save you thousands of dollars. The product is also available for FHA borrowers with a minimum credit score of 640.
- Specializes in single-close construction loans
- Transparent about borrower requirements
- Doesn’t advertise rates on its website; need to provide contact info first
- Good if: You need a jumbo loan
With the high home prices in Los Angeles, you might need to borrow a sizable chunk of money to get into the place you really want to call home. Ally Bank is one choice for those borrowing needs. With a credit score of 700, you can put down 20 percent on a jumbo loan and secure some of the most competitive interest rates. The other great news: Ally doesn’t charge any fees, and you can also save on closing costs if you have other banking products with the company, such as a checking account.
- Closings that beat industry averages by up to 10 days
- No lender fees
- Great for higher-priced property needs
- No FHA, VA or USDA loans
- No home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) or home equity loans
- No branches
- Good if: You’re a Costco member and want to save on your mortgage
You might have joined Costco to get savings on the bulk groceries you bring home, but that membership can also translate to savings on your actual home. To be clear, Costco doesn’t actually loan you a mortgage or originate the loan. Instead, it acts as a broker and online marketplace where you can compare multiple offers, and you’ll save some money on lender fees based on your membership status. Costco Executive Members can save nearly $10,000 over the typical life of a loan. You can also use the Costco Mortgage Program if you aren’t a member, but you won’t score the extra discount.
- Great customer service ratings on Trustpilot
- Closings in 30 days for new purchases
- No HELOCs or home equity loans
- Discounts only available to Costco members
Local Los Angeles mortgage lenders
If you want to meet with a loan officer in person to understand the ins and outs of getting a mortgage in Los Angeles, consider these three options.
- Good if: You’re looking to refinance and have less-than-perfect credit
Headquartered in Irvine and with an office in Century City, Network Capital can be a great pick if you want to refinance but haven’t managed to build up much equity in your home. Ask about the lender’s RefiNow program, which allows you to refinance with a 97 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and a 65 percent debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Past customers rave about their experience with this lender, too.
Bank of the West
- Good if: You want to get your mortgage at the same place you do banking
Bank of the West has locations across the L.A. metro area, and the bank offers a wide range of mortgage programs, including jumbo loans up to $4 million and home equity loans. Plus, if you’re a banking customer, you could qualify for additional discounts on your mortgage.
- Good if: You don’t have an established credit history
While Wells Fargo has been the subject of negative press recently, the bank has its upsides, including options for those who want to buy a home but have a lack of credit history. To help you qualify for a mortgage, the bank can consider alternative data — rent payments and utility bills, for example. You might also be able to take advantage of the bank’s “Dream. Plan. Home.” Program, designed to help low- to moderate-income borrowers become homeowners.
What to know when getting a mortgage in Los Angeles
In addition to comparing different lenders when looking for a mortgage in Los Angeles, compare different neighborhoods in your search for a dream home. If you’re willing to move a bit further away from the ocean, you can save some serious money: The median sales price downtown — an area that continues to add new restaurants and other reasons to leave the beach — was $590,000 as of August 2021, Redfin data shows.
If this is your first time getting a mortgage, you might be able to secure some assistance, too. California’s first-time homebuyer programs include offerings like down payment assistance, which can help you borrow money for down payment and closing cost expenses with a deferred payment plan (you’ll pay the money back when you sell the home or refinance your mortgage). You’ll likely need to attend a homebuyer education course to be eligible, but that homework is well worth the potential savings and the ability to begin building equity in a home.
Investigate additional options on the local level, too. The Los Angeles Housing Department, for instance, offers down payment loans up to $90,000 to eligible low-income borrowers.
Once you get preapproved for a mortgage, know that you might have some extra muscle as a buyer. A recent survey from the University of Southern California revealed that 10 percent of Los Angeles County residents are planning to move out of the county in the coming year. That exodus could mean that buyers might be able to drive a harder bargain compared to buyers in other markets.