Best Physician Mortgage Loans in California

After medical school, many physicians are saddled with staggering student loan debt pushing their debt-to-income ratios outside the qualifications for a conventional mortgage, but physician mortgage loans can be a great option for early-career doctors interested in homeownership.

With over 117,500 doctors practicing in the Golden State, you’ll find several lenders who can help you navigate the physician mortgage loan process.

California is the most populous state in the country with more than 39,237,000 residents, which makes it a hub for many different healthcare systems, centers for technology, and research.

Whether you’re in residency or relocating to continue your career as an attending physician in California, there are a variety of mortgage options available for medical professionals. Securing a home loan designed for doctors can help you attain your dream of homeownership.

9 Best California Physician Home Loan Lenders

Here are the top physician mortgage loan lenders in CA:

  1. Bank of America
  2. BMO Harris
  3. Citizens Bank
  4. Evolve Bank & Trust
  5. Flagstar Bank
  6. KeyBank
  7. Truist
  8. UMB Bank
  9. US Bank

Discover The Best Lenders in California

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1. Bank of America

  • BBB Grade: A+
  • JD Power Score: 894

Bank of America (BoA) is one of the original providers of physician home loans in California and it boasts the highest JD Power Score of any company we recommend.

They offer 100% financing for homes up to $1 million and 90% financing for homes up to $1.5 million.

Like many other doctor mortgage loans, Bank of America stipulates that the loan must be used to purchase your primary residence, not a rental, vacation, or investment property.

BoA expects repayment in 15 or 30 years with a fixed-rate mortgage or you can select an adjustable mortgage rate. These loans can also be used to purchase a new home or to refinance your loan on your existing property.

2. BMO Harris

  • BBB Grade: A+
  • JD Power Score: 805

BMO Harris is another great option for medical doctors and dentists interested in purchasing a home.

This lender offers all standard fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage products in all states, except New York. BMO Harris offers two down payment options.

It will provide up to 95% financing on mortgages up to $1.5 million and as much as 90% financing on mortgages up to $2 million, which is a slightly higher limit than BoA.

BMO Harris also doesn’t require primary mortgage insurance, which will lower your monthly mortgage payments compared to a conventional mortgage.

3. Citizens Bank

  • BBB Grade: A+
  • JD Power Score: 818

Citizens Bank’s physician loan program is called the Citizens Doctor Loan.

It will provide up to 95% financing and cash-out refinancing options for licensed:

  • Doctors of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
  • Doctors of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctors of Dental Medicine (DMD)

…who have completed residency within the last ten years and current medical professional residents, fellows, and interns.

Like other doctor loans, the Citizens Doctor Loan is available with 15, 30, and adjustable mortgage rate repayment plans. You can use Citizens’ built-in calculator to find out your estimated loan payment.

4. Evolve Bank & Trust

  • BBB Grade: N/A
  • JD Power Score: N/A

Evolve Bank and Trust calls its doctor loan program Physicians Capital. Physicians Capital is available to physicians, surgeons, dentists, and veterinarians.

Evolve Bank and Trust is highly specialized and works exclusively with the medical industry. Because it is a specialized lender, its programs can be tailored to meet the needs of its borrowers.

Evolve’s lenders are knowledgeable and experienced, which allows for a streamlined application process.

5. Flagstar Bank

  • BBB Grade: A+
  • JD Power Score: 781

Flagstar Bank can customize a specialty loan program for physicians in California. One of this lender’s biggest benefits is its availability to a wide range of professions, including:

  • Medical residents with educational licenses
  • Medical Doctors (MD)
  • Doctors of Osteopathy (DO)
  • Doctors of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctors of Dental Medicine (DMD)
  • Doctors of Optometry (OD)
  • Doctors of Ophthalmology (MD)
  • Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)
  • Certified Public Accountants (CPA)
  • Nurse Practitioners (NP)
  • Registered Nurses (RN)
  • Physician Assistants (PA)
  • Pharmacists (PharmD)
  • Veterinarians (DVM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Attorneys
  • ATP Pilots

Flagstar Bank’s borrowers can secure up to $1 million without a down payment. It will provide loans up to $1.5 million with a 5% down payment. H-1B visa and green card holders are also eligible for Flagstar’s doctor loans.

6. KeyBank

  • BBB Grade: A+
  • JD Power Score: 794

KeyBank provides loans of up to $3.5 million to medical professionals. Borrowers can use KeyBank loans for attached or detached single-family homes, condos, and planned unit developments as long as it is owner-occupied.

When you apply for a KeyBank doctor loan, you’ll be provided a personalized service that works for your unique needs.

KeyBank loans are only available to interns, residents, fellows, doctors, dentists, clinical professors, researchers, or managing physicians with a current license and a degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

7. Truist

  • BBB Grade: A+
  • JD Power Score: 650

Truist offers a few down payment options for MDs, DOs, DPMs, DDSs, and DMDs in California. Doctors can secure 100% financing for up to $1 million without a down payment.

Borrowers can qualify for up to $1.5 million with 5% down. With 10.1% down, you could qualify for as much as $2 million toward your dream home.

Like all doctor loans, you will not have to pay PMI, but the loan must go toward an owner-occupied property. If you have deferred student loans, Truist won’t consider your payments in your DTI ratio.

Truist does allow its borrowers to purchase condos, but it will require a 5% down payment. Medical professionals practicing for more than ten years are not eligible for Truist’s doctor loan programs.

8. UMB Bank

  • BBB Grade: A+
  • JD Power Score: 791

UMB Bank’s physician loan program is called Mortgage Portfolio Professional Loan Program.

It is available to MDs, DOs, DDSs, DMDs, ODs, and PharmDs, but only attending physicians are eligible for 100% financing up to $1 million.

Attending physicians are also eligible for 95% financing for loan amounts up to $1.5 million. Residents can secure up to 90% financing with a limit of $2 million.

Borrowers can select 15, 20, or 20-year fixed-rate home loans. These loans can be used to purchase a new property or refinance a primary or secondary residence.

9. US Bank

  • BBB Grade: B+
  • JD Power Score: 807

US Bank’s Physician Mortgage Program is available to medical physicians, including residents, fellows, or doctors of osteopathy (DO), and lawyers, but it’s important to note that the program excludes dentists.

It does not offer a zero-down payment option, but it’s possible to secure a $1 million loan for as little as 5% down.

Borrowers can put 10% down for $1.5 million loans and 15% down for loans up to $2 million. Applicants will need a 710 minimum FICO score to qualify for the loan program.

Like other doctor loan programs, primary mortgage insurance is not required.

How Physician Mortgage Loans Work in California

In California, physician loans can allow doctors to practice in the state by allowing them to secure loans using offer letters, employment contracts, and transcripts.

Doctors are in high demand and desirable for employment, so lenders will lower many eligibility requirements to attract medical professionals to the area.

Early career doctors can be excluded from the home-buying process because they often have high debt-to-income ratios, no credit, very little cash in their savings accounts, and minimal work experience.

Physician loans lower the approval threshold for borrowers for mortgages because doctors are less likely to default on their loans and have high earning potential.

Pros & Cons

It’s important to consider the pros and cons of physician mortgage loans in California before making your decision.

Pros:

  • Zero down payment: In many cases, you can get 100% financing and lower closing costs when you purchase a home with a doctor’s loan.
  • No PMI: Physician loans don’t tack on extra monthly costs for private mortgage insurance.
  • Student loans excluded: Physician loans don’t consider student loans in your DTI ratio, but they do include auto loans, credit cards, and other debts.
  • Purchase home before job: Physician loans can allow you to purchase your home before you start working as long as you have an employment contract, which can provide added security for medical professionals pursuing homeownership near their hospital.

Cons:

  • Interest rates: Some physician loans will have variable interest rates, which can fluctuate over time. In other cases, physician loans will have higher interest rates than conventional loans.
  • Residence requirements: To secure a physician loan, the property must be your primary residence. Most lenders will not approve borrowers who want to purchase a condo.
  • Can lead to purchasing more real estate than you can afford: Because physician loans aren’t subject to the same caps as conventional loans, home buyers can end up purchasing more than they can realistically afford with very high monthly payments, especially if they have an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do doctors get better mortgage rates?

No, doctors do not get better mortgage rates. Physician mortgage loan programs, or doctor mortgage loans, are generally attractive because they don’t require a down payment or primary mortgage insurance (PMI), which can cut the initial costs of homeownership.

The interest rate on your loan will be calculated based on the Fed and the current state of the economy, but in general, doctor mortgage loans have higher interest rates than conventional loans.

What credit score do you need for physician mortgage loans in California?

You’ll need a credit score of around 700 to qualify for a physician loan. Generally, the higher your credit score, the more favorable your interest rates will be.

What are the qualifications for physician mortgage loans in California?

The qualifications for a physician loan will vary depending on the bank and loan program you select. Physician loans are meant for healthcare professionals early on in their careers. Doctor mortgage loans are also reserved for certain degrees, such as medical doctors with an MD or DO degree and dentists with a DDS or DMD degree.

For most physician loan programs, you have to be within 10 years of completing residency and have a decent credit score of at least 700. Physician mortgage loans can be advantageous because some programs will accept your offer letter or transcripts as proof of earning potential.

Is a physician loan the same as a conventional loan?

No, a physician loan is not the same as a conventional loan. Doctor mortgage loans have less stringent eligibility requirements than conventional loans.

Conventional mortgage lenders want borrowers to have strong credit histories, favorable debt-to-income ratios, and cash on hand before approving the loan, which not all medical professionals have.

With a physician loan, medical doctors can purchase a home with little to no down payment, but they’ll likely be subject to higher interest rates.

Who is a Physician Loan in California Best For?

Physician loans are a great option for medical doctors who want to purchase homes without the hassle of a down payment or paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Some examples of doctors who benefit from physician loans include:

1. Medical residents with significant debt and little cash

Conventional loan calculators will factor student loan debt into your debt-to-income ratio, which can disqualify many medical professionals.

Physician mortgage loans do not consider student loans and will likely approve you if your debt-to-income ratio is less than 45%.

Conventional and FHA loans require a down payment of at least 3%, but you’ll have to consider PMI in your monthly expenses if you put down less than 20%. With a physician loan, down payments and PMI are often waived.

2. Current doctors that are homeowners looking to refinance

If you’re a doctor who currently owns a home, you may benefit from refinancing with a physician loan.

Refinancing with a physician loan can be a good idea if you currently have an adjustable mortgage rate (ARM) and you’re able to get a fixed-rate mortgage.

3. Early career dentists and doctors shopping for loans

While physician loans often have higher interest rates than conventional loans, it’s not always the case.

If you’re shopping around for the best rate, it’s worthwhile to consider physician loans because some loan programs will offer better terms if the area or the bank is trying to attract long-term business.

A physician loan specialist can help you decide if a doctor mortgage loan is right for you.

According to Physician Loan Specialist Doug Crouse;

Physician loans in California are most often utilized by MDs and DOs, and more specifically physicians that are early in their careers and lack funds for a large down payment.
Doug Crouse Physician Loan Specialist with BMO Bank

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