5 Best Physician Mortgage Loans in California

If you’re a doctor in California, a physician mortgage loan may make a housing purchase more affordable.

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Mary Kate Raffetto

I’m an associate at a firm in Houston and used JD Mortgage thanks to your advice! The experience was great—they were super fast and responsive.” —Mary Kate Raffetto Beck Redden LLP

Clint Cowan

For a JD Mortgage, I had good luck with IBERIABank. [They] made this process very smooth.” —Clint Cowan Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann

Key Terms

  • Higher loan limits with potential 100% financing in some cases give borrowers more options.
  • Professionals with student loan payments get special consideration of this debt under physician mortgages.
  • Some programs allow you to qualify based on a signed contract or offer letter, even before you’ve started working.

California is the land of dreams, boasting great weather, tons of hiking trails and a diverse array of cultures and people. It is also the most populous state in America and home to the iconic Hollywood film and television industry.   

California does, however, have a reputation for having an expensive housing market. Rents in major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco are sky high, and data from the California Association of Realtors shows that the average price of a single-family home in California is $898,980.

For many, California may seem too expensive to even think about purchasing a home. Doctors, however, along with dentists and certain other high-earning professionals can take advantage of the state’s physician mortgage loan programs. These programs allow any of the more than 100,000 medical doctors in California to purchase a home with minimal or no down payment. 

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Advantages and disadvantages of physician mortgages in California

With the California housing market the way it is, you may well want to consider a doctor mortgage, but weighing the pros and cons first is advisable. Personal finance is a challenge for medical residents on limited incomes. When many doctors finish their residency, however, their earning power increases tremendously. With an employment offer in hand, signing up for a mortgage payment through a physician home loan makes these purchases accessible. In the future, repayment is not as much of an issue when the higher paycheck kicks in, allowing doctors to find their dream home on the NMLS now and make an offer with the help of a lender.

To start, you can enjoy a wide range of benefits if you go with a physician mortgage loan, including:

  • Little to no money required for a down payment
  • Enjoying higher limits that will allow you to afford a California home
  • No PMI

Additionally, lenders who service doctor mortgages give special consideration to student debt. That means that even if you have significant debt left over from medical school or college, you can still qualify for physician mortgage loans. Much like veterinarians, doctors may enter their new career with a lot of student loan debt and other expenses after having lived on a limited income for years.

While those are significant assets, there are some cons you need to consider, including:

  • With higher limits, you may purchase a home that you cannot afford in the long term
  • Interest rates can be higher with these loans

Lenders who service these loans may also want to build a relationship with you and may require that you open an account with them. Of course, having a strong relationship with a bank can serve you and your career well in the years to come. As always, read through all details on disclosures and about details like interest rates to confirm that this is the right bank for you.

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5 Top California physician home loan lenders

If you’re in the market to purchase a home in California, consider these doctor mortgage loans that are available to state residents.

Match Banks Loan OfficerSend Text Message


usually responds within 30 minutes

Eligible degrees & accreditations:

Medical doctor (MD/DO); Dentist (DMD, DDS), Pharmacist (Pharm D), Attorney (JD), Veterinarian (DVM), Physician Assistant, Registered Nurse (RN/NP/CRNA), ATP Pilots, CPA

Flagstar Bank

(All 50 States)

$500M+ Closed Loans

Flagstar Bank was chartered in 1987 and holds around $23 billion in assets, making it a medium sized bank. However, they punch above their weight when it comes to mortgages.

The bank is the sixth largest bank mortgage originator nationally. They only offer ARM products when it comes to doctor mortgages but their ability to lend in all 50 states means they're a player at every closing. There is no application fee or prepayment penalties. They also offer a float down, buy down, and recast option. [ Read Review ]

Eligible degrees & accreditations:

Medical doctor (MD/DO); Dentist (DMD, DDS), Pharmacist (Pharm D), Attorney (JD), Veterinarian (DVM), Physician Assistant, Registered Nurse (RN/NP/CRNA), ATP Pilots, CPA

Down payment Financing
0% up to $1 million
5% up to $1.5 million
20% up to $2 million
  • Minimum credit score: 700
  • Maximum loan: $2,500,000
  • Residents / fellows accepted: Yes
  • Construction loans available: Yes
  • Income history: Not required
  • Rate options: ARM Only
Match Banks Text Us Send Text Message


usually responds within 30 minutes

Eligible degrees & accreditations:

Medical doctor (MD/DO), Dentist (DMD/DDS), Podiatrist (DPM)


(All 50 States)

$10M+ Closed Loans

Keybank is a major national bank based in Ohio with a competitive doctor mortgage program. They also lend across a large part of the United States.

The Keybank doctor mortgage program does not require you to be a minimum or maximum number of years out of medical school to qualify. They also offer large mortgage options if needed and part of your down payment can be supplied in money that you've received as a gift. [ Read Review ]

Eligible degrees & accreditations:

Medical doctor (MD/DO), Dentist (DMD/DDS), Podiatrist (DPM)

Down payment Financing
0% up to $1 million
5% up to $1.5 million
15% above $2 million
  • Minimum credit score: 700
  • Maximum loan: Contact to discuss
  • Residents / fellows accepted: Yes
  • Construction loans available: Yes
  • Income history: Not required
  • Rate options: Fixed and ARMs

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is one of the largest banks in the Untied States. I bet you didn’t know that it’s headquartered in the smallest state: Rhode Island. With over $160 billion in assets, it’s no surprise that Citizens offers a full range of financial products, including a physician loan.

We contacted a loan officer at Citizens Bank to learn more about their doctor mortgage loan program specifically. Here are details you won’t find anywhere else:

  • 5% down up to $850,000
  • 10% down up to $1,000,000
  • Practicing licensed medical doctors (MD and DO), dentists (DDS and DMD), residents and research physicians are eligible
  • Licensed residents, fellows and interns can borrow a maximum of $600,00 (or $400,000 if unlicensed)
  • No more than 10 years out of residency
  • Self-employed professionals are eligible with a two-year history of self-employment income
  • New medical professional graduates who are under contract for residency within 60 days of closing and have not yet obtained a license are eligible
  • No private mortgage insurance
  • 40% max debt-to-income ratio
  • Student loan debt that’s deferred for more than 12 months from the date of closing can be excluded from DTI calculations
  • Construction-to-permanent loans available with a maximum of 89% financing
  • Fixed rate or adjustable-rate mortgage options
  • Interest-only option on certain adjustable-rate mortgage options (max financing at 89%)

When you’re ready to connect with a loan officer experienced in doctor mortgages, use our form to quickly match with eligible loan programs based on your specific circumstances.

City National Bank of Florida

City National Bank of Florida is a medium-sized bank with over $22 billion in assets. Although they are headquartered in Florida, they offer a physician loan in all 48 contiguous states and are eager to find physicians and other professionals as new customers.

We spoke with a loan officer at City National Bank of Florida to gather details on the doctor mortgage program. Here is what we learned:

  • Physicians, Dentists, Attorneys and CPAs are eligible
  • 3% down up to $650,000
  • 5% down up to $850,000
  • 10% down up to $1,250,000
  • 10.51% down up to $2,500,000
  • 15.51% down up to $3,000,000
  • Primary residence and vacation homes are available (higher down payments required for secondary houses)
  • Can finance condos but only with a 20% down payment
  • Minimum credit score required is 660 but better rates/options require 720 credit score
  • Self-employed individuals need to provide 2 years of income verification

When you’re ready to connect with a loan officer experienced in doctor mortgages, use our form to quickly match with eligible loan programs based on your specific circumstances.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the original lenders (if not THE original lender) in the physician mortgage space. With over $3 trillion in assets, it’s one of the largest banks in the United States and chances are good that you are familiar with the company. Not surprisingly, they still offer a doctor mortgage product.

We reached out to a Bank of America mortgage officer to get more details about their program and this is what we learned:

  • 5% down up to $1,000,000
  • 10% down up to $1,500,000
  • Residents and fellows with a job lined up can close on a home 90 days before they start.
  • You can often exclude your student debt from your total debt when you apply for a mortgage.
  • Eligible medical professionals include salaried medical students and medical doctors who are about to begin their new employment/ residency for fellowship within 90 days of closing. Those employed in research or as professor are not eligible. 

While they may not have the most competitive program, they are a solid choice for a physician looking for a doctor mortgage, particularly if you’re already banking with Bank of America.

Of course, if you aren’t already a current Bank of America customer, they will require you to have, or open prior to closing, a checking or savings account. Applicants with an existing account with Merrill or Bank of America Private Bank prior to application also satisfy this requirement.

When it comes to reserves, Bank of America requires PITIA (Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance, Assessments) reserves of 4 – 6 months, depending on loan amount.

If applicant’s employment does not commence until after closing, in addition to the minimum cash reserves required, sufficient reserves to handle all debt obligations between closing and employment start date up to an additional 90 days must be verified.

When you’re ready to connect with a loan officer, use our form to quickly match with eligible loan programs based on your specific circumstances.

Is a California physician mortgage loan right for you?

If you are asking yourself whether a physician mortgage loan is right for you, first check in with yourself about where you are in your career. When purchasing a home, you want to make sure that you are in a job you believe you will stay committed to for years to come. If you are at the start of a job and have not put in enough years to know whether it will continue to work for you, maybe committing to a home should wait. 

If you’re confident that you’re staying in California, a physician mortgage loan may make a housing purchase more affordable. Unlike a refinance or traditional borrower scenario, these loans are specifically made for doctors and helps healthcare professionals like you who are looking for real estate property to buy on the NMLS.

Once you take out a loan with one of these lenders, future monthly payments will apply like a regular mortgage. Unlike traditional homeownership loan options or refinancing, these loans are specifically available to medical providers to purchase a new home. For medical residents, this is a viable option for someone who does not yet have the employment history or substantial down payment to cover a more traditional loan. Likewise, residents might have relied on a credit card to get through medical school or residency, but are now focused on improving their personal finance as they start their new job offer.

Another thing to keep in mind? Doctor mortgages do often come with a higher rate. If you prefer to wait and see if you can qualify for a conventional loan that might offer a lower rate, then do so. It can save you over the life of the loan and may be worth the temporary delay in buying a home. 

Examples of doctors who take out physician loans in California

Now let’s take a look at some examples of the physicians in California that are taking out doctor mortgages. You may find that their narratives line up directly with yours and may add some clarity to your decision making process. 

A resident with a high student loan debt balance

Myra is on top of her game. Not only did she graduate at the top of her class from the David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA and sail through her residency, she’s now starting a new position in plastics at Cedars Sinai. Her career is more than on track and she is set to become a high earner in due course. 

She knows she wants to stay in LA for the rest of her career and she is ready to purchase her first home. The problem is she still has a significant amount of student debt to pay off, and this has skewed her DTI ratio to the point where banks won’t approve her for a conventional loan. Given Myra’s contract with Cedars and her earning potential, a doctor mortgage is a perfect choice for her. 

A dentist who finds a doctor mortgage lender with the best rate

In some situations, a doctor mortgage can come with an interest rate that is as much as 0.25% higher than the one available on a conventional loan. That being said, there are some scenarios in which banks can extend offers to physicians and other high-earning professionals that actually offer a better rate than conventional options. 

That’s what has just happened to Randy,  a dentist with an established practice in Alameda. A regional bank looking to attract new and long-term business is offering a doctor mortgage that is actually a better deal than the conventional loan he was considering. With the student debt-friendly terms and the other benefits that come with a physician loan, Randy has decided to go with a physician loan and bypass the conventional mortgage. 

Looking for a physician loan in a different state?

If you’re looking to explore the best physician loans in other states, click on your state below.

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Joshua Holt

Joshua Holt is a licensed mortgage loan originator (NMLS #2306824) and founder of Biglaw Investor. His mortgage expertise lies in the areas of professional mortgage loans, particularly for lawyers, doctors and other high-income professionals. Prior to Biglaw Investor, Josh practiced private equity mergers & acquisition law for one of the largest law firms in the country.

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