refinance blog

What Does it Mean to Refinance Your Mortgage?

When homeowners refinance, it gives them access to a new mortgage loan replacing its existing one. Homeowners can customize the details of a new mortgage loan including the loan’s mortgage rate, loan length in years and the amount borrowed. So, what makes a refinance attractive? Refinancing can be taken advantage of to reduce the monthly mortgage payment, withdraw cash for home improvement projects, cancel mortgage insurance, among other helpful uses.

Here, we will break down the different types of refinance mortgages.

Rate and Term Refinance

This type of refinancing changes the interest rate and/or the length of the term and does not change the amount of principal. Perhaps the original mortgage terms made sense for you when you initially agreed to it but as time goes on, circumstances may change. For example, if you’re looking to trade your 7-year adjustable rate mortgage for long-term stability, doing a rate and term refinance into a 30-year fixed rate loan may be better for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to pay off your mortgage sooner than later, you could also refinance into a shorter loan term.

What if the interest rate on your mortgage is significantly higher than current interest rates? You can refinance to get a better rate and help you save money on your mortgage monthly payments.

Cash-out Refinance

cash-out refinance is a refinance option where the new mortgage loan is for a larger amount than the current mortgage loan and you receive the difference between the two loans in cash. One of the most common reasons why homeowners do a cash-out refinance is to transform the equity (ownership) that’s been built up in their home into cash. This cash can be spent on home improvementspay off student loans, debt consolidation or other important financial needs.

This type of refinancing has slightly higher interest rates due to a higher loan amount. The cash-out amount limits to 80-90% of your home’s equity. For example, if your home has a value of $200,000 but your remaining mortgage balance is $100,000, then the equity in your home is $100,000. If you are needing $50,000 for a home improvement project or using it for other financial priorities, you can choose to refinance your loan for $150.000 and receive $50,000 in cash at closing.

HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) Refinance

This particular type of refinance is a loan that’s set up as a line of credit for some maximum draw instead of a fixed dollar amount. It is a revolving line of credit that uses your house as collateral. The bank gives you an amount that you may borrow and may access at any point in time. There are two main ways of tapping into this line of credit; writing a check or using a credit card that’s connected to the account.

If you’re a homeowner that has built some equity in your home and need some additional cash for helping your child pay for college, renovating your home or buying a car, borrowing money this way may offer low interest rates and improve financial flexibility.

Ready for the first step to refinancing your mortgage? Here at Sun American Mortgage we want to help you find the best possible solution and save you money at the same time. Call us to talk about some of your options, or start with our simple online application.  480-832-4343


dream home - cash

4 Money Mistakes To Avoid When You’re Closing On a Home

As a borrower, there are very specific moves you should avoid making throughout the mortgage loan process.

Luckily, we don’t leave you in the dark and we’ll tell you upfront what you should and shouldn’t be doing while you’re trying to close on a home. 

Today we will review the top 4 money mistakes borrowers make that could make or break closing on your dream home. 

Let’s get started! 

mortgage loan process - moving

1. Moving money around

A general rule of thumb while closing on a home is to keep your money in the same place. If moving money around is unavoidable, it’s important to keep a good paper trail. 

One of our underwriters, Anna says this regarding moving money around..

“Moving money around is okay, we can document transfers from one account to the other pretty easy. The issue is: “Undocumented Assets” this is when we have a large deposit and we are unable to document the source. All large deposits must be documented from an acceptable source per FHA, FNMA, VA, USDA guidelines.”

close on a home - money

2. Applying for new credit cards

A TransUnion TRU, -0.87%   study released in May showed that consumers increase their credit card spending as much as two or three times their previous rate just before they close on a home. Spontaneously applying for a credit card during the mortgage loan process could possibly get your loan denied altogether. Sometimes the problem can be fixed, but it ends up being a major headache for everyone. 

One of our loan officer’s Derek, gives a great example of a borrower he worked with who faced this sort of dilemma during the closing process:

“My client was at Home Depot buying a washer and dryer. He got to the counter and the cashier asked him if he would like to save 10% on his purchase. He did the quick math in his head and calculated that would be $200 bucks off his new fancy schmancy washer and dryer- good deal right?!

He signs up for the credit card at the register and leaves Home Depot. Suddenly, he realizes what he has done and calls me at 9:30pm in a panic since we are a week from closing.  We were able to save things but it involved a bunch of phone calls to Home Depot’s credit department and about $100 worth of credit supplements. Everything fell into place, but that credit card turned out to be not such a great deal after all.”

The application’s credit inquiry could plummet your credit score by several points. This may not sound like much now, but those few points could be the difference between you closing on your dream home or not. 

Closing a credit card account is another decision you should consult with your lender about first. This could potential cause/affect your credit score for the worse. The key to remember is, your Loan Officer knows and sees these things all the time, they are the expert. So when in doubt, consult with them first.

Click here to learn more about credit score tips and how to clean up your credit report!

close on a home - card

3. Making big purchases

In all the excitement of closing on your dream home, you might want to impulsively buy new appliances or other big purchases.

Did you know these major purchases have the ability to keep you from closing on your home altogether and/or hurt your DTI (debt-to-income ratio)?

One of our Loan Officers gave an example of a past client who purchased a brand new car during closing.

“I had a client who’s car broke down and he went to the dealership to get it repaired. While waiting for the repair, the salesman that was trolling the lobby area says, “What if we traded in your broken car and helped you buy a new one? We’ve got some great deals today!”

The client, with nothing else to do while they wait, goes out to the lot to look around. The salesman ends up getting them set up in a new car with financing that is about $300 per month more than what they were paying with their old car.

This decision killed our DTI and now the client could only qualify for about 2/3rds of what they wanted to buy. We had to cancel our pre-qualification because their debt to income ratio was out of whack. They are currently renting until the car is paid off or they are able to sell it to get rid of that vehicle loan. Sad.”

These purchases have to be documented, and it’s better for everyone to just wait until the closing process is all said and done.  

mortgage loan process - car

4. Switching Jobs

When you are trying to close on a home, the last thing you want to do is switch jobs or companies. However, there are a couple exceptions that can be made.

For example, if you’ve recently changed jobs before starting the mortgage loan process, but its in the same line of work- you will be fine. 

Everything is being qualified on the borrowers current income with that current employer.  So, if you change jobs that process starts over and everything needs to be re-verified, such as:

– Verification of employment

– Income amount

– Type of work (is it the same or different)

– Are they still W-2 or have they switched to 1099, commission or self-employed

– We won’t have pay-stubs and need at least one prior to close in most instances; so start date comes into play

How much of a problem this is really depends on where you are in the process. Changing 2 months before closing is easier to handle than 2 weeks before. 

close on a home - write

If there’s one piece of advice you takeaway from this article, it’s this… during the mortgage loan process, if there’s any sort of financial change you want to make – it’s a MUST to consult with your loan officer/agents first. 

Even if it’s a decision you feel wouldn’t be a big deal, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

What are your concerns regarding the mortgage loan process? Are there any questions we can answer for you? Please comment below, browse our website, or give us a call 480-832-4343. Our team works so hard to be thorough and make this process as easy as possible!

Click here to use our Online Accelerator and get a quick estimate today! 


home buyer - home

Ready for a LOWER down-payment?

Are you looking to become a homeowner in 2018? We’ve got some pretty exciting news for home buyers!

This week, we are excited to announce the addition of Freddie Mac Home Possible Fixed Rate product. 

Home Possible gives Americans much more flexible guidelines and a better opportunity to purchasing their dream home. Keep reading to see the outline of all the benefits that come with this new option!

Product Highlights

Home Possible offers lower down payment options for buyers with a moderate income or in underserved communities. This product also provides higher loan-to-value ratios and lower than standard mortgage insurance requirements!

What are some other benefits to this product?

– Financing up to 97% LTV; up to 100% CLTV on eligible transactions with Affordable Second lien

– 1-unit properties, condominiums, and PUDs (attached and detached)

– Purchase and rate-term refinance transactions

– Maximum loan amount of $453,100

– 15,20, and 30 year terms

– Minimum FICO of 620

– Reduced MI coverage of 25% for 90.01% to 97% LTV

To get started with this great product, there is a short Homeownership Education course required. Click here to learn more! 

We work so hard here at Sun American Mortgage to help you accomplish the American Dream of becoming a homeowner!  We will walk you through every step of the home buying and mortgage loan process and thoroughly answer any questions you may have.

No matter your financial situation, we will help find the mortgage loan program that fits you BEST. Take the first step and get a quick and easy Pre-Approval here or call us at 480-832-4343.

closing costs - wallet

What Are Closing Costs?

If you’ve been interested in becoming a homeowner, you may be wondering what the different costs are and what they entail. Closing costs are a standard step in the home buying process! So it’s good to do your research and look up whats included, how to save, and why they are necessary. 

What are closing costs?

Mortgage closing costs are fees charged by the lender to the borrower, for services that were performed to close your loan. This is how we seal the deal and get ready to finally move you into your new home!

To avoid surprises, get a good idea from the start of what gets included in those costs and how much you’ll need to have ready. Many mortgage closing costs go to a third party for their services in helping close the transaction, and lenders usually have no control over these fees. 

closing costs - writing

What’s included in closing costs?

If you want to get a good idea of what home buyers typically spend on these closing costs, on average it comes to about 2-3% of the property price. Again, this is totally situational and prices vary from person to person. 

Some of these fees include:

Lender Fees: Here at Sun American we have some of the LOWEST lender fees in the Valley. These fees include a Documentation Prep Fee & an Underwriting Fee. This ranges anywhere from $1,000-$1,200 altogether. 

Title Company: A title company makes sure that the title to the home is legitimate. They issue title insurance for that property that protects the lender or owner against any claims against the property. To learn more about title companies and why they are a necessity in the home buying process, click here

ESCROW: When you close, you may be required to deposit money into an Escrow account for homeowners insurance, PMI Impound, and Property Tax Impound for example. 

There can also be some other 3rd Party and Appraisal Fees. The amount of fees and their prices all just depends on the property, which lender you choose, and some other factors. 

Saving tips, how to prepare for them!

It’s not like these costs will come as a shock or will hit you out of nowhere. From the beginning of the mortgage loan process, a Loan Officer is going to give you a Loan Estimate which gives you a good breakdown of the services, fees, and costs through this process. An estimate shows you your estimated interest rate, monthly payments, taxes, insurance, and closing costs. 

If paying for closing costs out of pocket is not something that you want to do, you are in luck! There are actually several really effective ways to take care of the closing costs that don’t involve your bank account. In fact most buyers never end up having to pay for them out of pocket! We suggest negotiating a closing cost concession from the seller in the purchase contract for all or at least most of the closing costs.

A seasoned real estate agent will be a great resource when it comes to this negotiation. They do it ALL the time! If for some reason the seller is unwilling or unable to provide the concession needed to cover the closing costs, Sun American can also provide lender credits to pay for them as well through some creative mortgage financing on most loan types. It’s super easy and it only has a minor impact on your final monthly payment. We’ll figure out something that will work for you!

Here at Sun American, we offer some of the BEST prices and rates in town. Our knowledgeable team has a great reputation going on 33 years of incredible service to our community and TONS of five star reviews to show for it. 

If you need some more explanations of fees in detail, checkout these websites to get a better idea!

Take the first step and start a QUICK Online Application, free & simple to use!

Or call one of our Loan Officers to learn about our loan programs, how to get started, and how much you qualify for 480-832-4343

conventional loan - homes

Meeting Your Mortgage Needs

Are you sick of paying rent? Taking out a mortgage is easier than you may think. Especially when you have a knowledgeable and caring team like ours to guide you along the way! Today we want to address common concerns and frequently asked questions we get from new home buyers. 

There are a few different mortgage programs and financing options, by the end of this article hopefully you’ll have a better idea of which one works BEST for you!

Meeting your mortgage needs is our number one goal, lets get started!

What if I can’t afford a 20% Down Payment?

Its unrealistic to think everyone has that 20% down payment stashed away in their bank. Luckily there are other mortgage options to help meet everyone else’s needs. 

For example, with an FHA Loan, lenders require less money from the borrower upfront. This low down payment can be as little as 3.5% down! With this low down payment also comes possibly a higher monthly payment or less equity in the home when you’re ready to sell. 

To learn more about our different Mortgage Programs, click here! 

conventional loan - pic

I have children in elementary school, I want to pay off my mortgage before they leave to college. How can I do that?

With a 15 year fixed rate loan you’re gaining equity in your home quicker and paying off your loan faster. If you don’t mind a higher monthly payment, a Conventional Loan may your best pick, click here to learn more! 

You could set realistic and attainable financial goals that will help you to pay your mortgage loan off faster. Meet with a financial adviser or do some research. Many have done it and so can you! Here’s a great article that can offer you some tips:

conventional loan - family

I don’t have the best credit score, what type of mortgage should I look for? 

Borrowers with a lower credit score are more likely to get approved if they apply for an FHA Loan. Scores can be a low as 580! However you will still need to do some explaining why your score is so low, how you plan on improving it, etc. Click here to learn more about how to clean up your report and prepare your credit for the mortgage loan process. 

conventional loan - card

What else should I take into consideration when I’m buying a home and taking out a mortgage?

Get information from other lenders, do your research, shop around, and make sure you’re getting the best possible price. Here at Sun American we have the best rates and prices in the Valley! Our reviews on Google and Facebook beat any other mortgage business in town, here’s some of our most recent ones! 

conventional loan - reviews

I’m not too sure how long I’ll be living in my current city…should I still take out a mortgage right now? 

Real Estate professionals recommend taking into consideration how long you’ll be staying in that area. A 15 year or 30 year mortgage is the best way to go if you’re pretty uncertain. This gets you the most equity in your home. 

conventional loan - city

What are closing costs and how much will they be? 

Closing costs are fees that come along with your home purchase and are paid at the end of the real estate transaction. In a recent survey done on, on average buyers will pay roughly $3,700 in closing fees. The Loan Estimate from the beginning will give you a pretty good idea of what you’re closing costs will be. 

This week we celebrate 33 YEARS of helping individuals become home buyers! Whatever your concerns or questions may be, we always answer them as thoroughly as we can. The best part of our job is making this new chapter exciting for you and your family. Meeting your mortgage needs is our top priority!

Call to speak to one of our expert team members today! 480-832-4343 


fixer-upper - happy

How To Buy a Fixer-Upper Home Without Breaking the Bank!

We’ve all seen the “Fixer-Upper” shows where they take a dingy house or room and transform into something magnificent, right? Have you been considering this as an option for your next home purchase, but don’t know where to start, or don’t have the money for all the renovations? Or maybe you found a house and it just needs the kitchen and a couple other areas upgraded to what you want. There is something exciting about taking something old and transforming it into something beautiful.

fixer upper - kitchen

There are huge benefits to finding a home that is below market value that needs some work. The obvious ones are, you get to transform the home into the home of your dreams, while at the same time, bringing it’s value to the upper tier of the market. Most people don’t venture into this type of a purchase or project because they don’t know how to effectively do this, and most often are thinking to themselves…”where am I going to get the money to do all those renovations?”

Today we are going to show you how to make this all possible without draining your bank account.

GOOD NEWS! There’s a specific loan program called the Renovation Loan Program, and it fulfills all your re-modeling dreams and more!

What is the Renovation Loan Program? 

This “home makeover” program loans you the money to accomplish all the upgrades you’ve been dreaming of. This program is all about taking a home that needs work and transforming it into something that in the end is worth more value. Whether the home needs major or minor repairs, a new pool, or you’d like a trendier kitchen- this program makes it possible to do it all.


  1. You find the ideal home in the perfect community surrounded by great schools, and has a beautiful curb appeal. BUT the inside could use some major work.
  2. This home is on the market for say $225,000. You love everything about it, you’re ready to fix it up and make it your own. When you plan out renovation costs, let’s say they range anywhere from $50-$70K.
  3. So the total cost for this home including the renovations ends up being $275,000 – $295,000.

Here’s the BEST part! The Renovation Loan Program wraps all of these costs into one loan. No additional fees are asked of you except for your traditional down payment and closing costs.

Ok there’s one more BEST PART! When you do a renovation loan, we get to use the appraised value of what the home is going to be after all the renovations are done! SERIOUSLY??  Yep. You literally are walking into a new home with instant equity.

So sticking with our example above… If you did all those renovations and now your home appraises for let’s say, $325,000, you just set yourself up to not only have the home features you want, but now you have anywhere from $30,000 – $50,000 in equity right out of the gate. NO BRAINER right?


Here’s some basic requirements to help you decide which program type might be best. With the Renovation loan program, you can choose between an FHA 203K or conventional financing.

renovation loan program - qualifications


Aside from being able to create a beautiful new space AND save money at the same time, there are other fantastic benefits that come with this loan program!

renovation loan program - benefits

Now that you know some of the requirements and benefits of a Renovation Loan Program, let’s see what you can do with it. These are just a few examples of what you can accomplish with this awesome financing option!

Remodel your Kitchen

fixer-upper - windows

Rip out ugly carpet and put in some beautiful wood floors or tiles. Put in some new lighting to brighten up the place. There are some pretty inexpensive changes that can make all the difference!

Have you always dreamed of having a giant bath tub? Or a HUGE walk in shower. A Renovation Loan Program makes that addition possible if the home you’d like to purchase doesn’t have them!

Is the backyard where you and your friends and family spend the most time? Consider using this loan to create a spectacular backyard where fun memories can be made!

Why wouldn’t you want to tailor a cheaper home to your style? Especially if there’s a way for you to save the money in your bank account.

According to statistics, there has never been a better time to buy a Fixer Upper home and renovate it.  This program enables you to buy smart while everyone else is going after a pricier “move in ready” home. The fixer upper homes on the market are being overlooked and are waiting for you to customize them to your style.

Let’s make it happen!

Our team is well known for having the most organized and professional system set up to make the home-buying process as stress-free as possible. We walk you through all the steps to make this become a reality!

So let’s take the first step and call one of our expert Loan Officers to talk more about how this program can work for your next home purchase!

480-832-4343 or click here to use our Online Smart Application, “The Accelerator.”


mortgage loan process - we care

Unveiling An Underwriter’s Role in the Mortgage Loan Process

Here at Sun American, our team genuinely cares and does everything possible to help get you qualified for your mortgage loan. Many steps are involved in the mortgage loan process. Today we are going to outline and dive deeper into what happens in the underwriting process. Underwriting happens behind the scenes of the mortgage loan process, but is a very important step towards getting you approved for a home loan.

What is an Underwriter?

Typically underwriters have years of experience in  Business, Finance, Economics, Math, or Statistics. Certifications and specialized training are required as well. Attention to detail and great communication skills are important traits that underwriters must have to successfully complete their job each day. The underwriter checks thoroughly through all of your documents for completeness and accuracy.

What are they looking for?

What does an underwriter look for? EVERYTHING.

Their goal is to make sure everything meets requirements and is totally compliant in every way. If the list of questions and documents seem endless, we promise they are all necessary and incredibly important for the Underwriter to do their job right. Their top priority is to follow the required guidelines, meanwhile making sure you get approved for a home loan.

Here are the top 4 areas the Underwriter focuses on

Income: Borrowers must have a sufficient income to qualify for the size of the loan they’re aiming for.  Income is reviewed for the length of employment, promotions, type of work and anything else related. To verify this, underwriters ask for bank statements, W2’s and pay stubs that show year to date earnings and other employee documents. Alimony & Child Support also falls under this category.

Credit: Another part of the Underwriting Process involves taking a look at your ability to repay a loan. To check this, an underwriter pulls up things like your DTI (debt to income ratio), current credit score & a credit report history. Credit reputation has to do with any past foreclosures, bankruptcies, judgments, and ultimately measures your ability to pay off your debts.

Property: A property’s appraised value is also analyzed by the underwriter in this stage of the mortgage loan process. An underwriter needs to make sure that the price of the home you’re buying is comparable to values of similar properties. An appraiser will verify this. The underwriter uses the appraised value to determine if the funds garnered from the sale of the property would be enough to cover the amount borrowed.

Assets: Assets are one of the most essential conditions of underwriting. The most common assets include checking and savings accounts, bonds, stocks, and retirement accounts. This shows the borrowers ability to save money and instills more confidence in providing you a loan. It also allows the Underwriter to verify any sources of down payment that may be coming from these accounts. Borrowers most often need to provide 2-3 months of bank statements, their most current investments statements, and all the other necessary documentation to help verify this. In the event that you would be receiving a gift from a family member for your down payment on a new home, the underwriter would be need to verify this and source where that money came from in your account.


We’ve created an extremely organized and top notch system that ensures underwriting is completed in about 24-48 hours. We avoid the “never ending” list of questions and documents by collecting everything we need from the very beginning of this mortgage loan process. By the time your loan hits the underwriting process, it’s been filtered through a few other team members so that the underwriter already has everything he or she needs to complete this final step. The best part of our job is telling you those magic words- that you are cleared to close on a home!

Let us help you get started today! Our team is dedicated to helping you qualify for your dream home. Use our Online Application here and see a quick estimate of how much you can qualify for!

To get started in the mortgage loan process, contact one of our knowledgable Loan Officers today.

conventional loan - family moving

Which Mortgage Loan Program Fits You Best- Conventional or FHA?

For new home buyers there are a lot of different mortgage loans out there to choose from – so how do you decide which is right for you? To keep it simple, today we will cover the two most common programs, conventional and FHA.

It’s important to thoroughly research each type of mortgage loan program and understand the benefits of the different financing options available to you! Our Loan Officers are some of the best in the business and are happy to help walk you through this mortgage loan process!


What is a Conventional Loan?

Our Conventional Loan programs offer fantastic rates and in most cases, faster closings. Unlike an FHA loan program, a conventional loan is not insured by the federal government in any way. While a 3% down option is available, conventional Loans typically work best when a new home buyer is able to put at least 5% down. Most home buyers choose conventional mortgages because they provide the fairly aggressive interest rates, lenient loan terms and the ability to cancel mortgage insurance once the home has a 20% equity position in the event that less than 20% is put down as a down payment.

Conventional Loan qualification is geared towards individuals with a decent credit score (680 or above), solid financial stability, and the required down payment. Just like the other loan types, to qualify for a Conventional Loan, you also must prove a stable income to your lender.

Another great benefit is that with most conventional transactions, mortgage insurance can eventually be removed from the monthly payment.  Compared to an FHA transaction, the mortgage insurance remains for the life of the loan when putting less than 10% down.

In direct contrast to an FHA loan, where the mortgage insurance remains in the mortgage payment for the life of the loan when putting less than 10% down. Even with 10% down on an FHA loan you will be required to pay for the mortgage insurance for at least 11 years.

While this information will get you headed in the right direction, there might be other factors in your finances or type of property, that MIGHT make an FHA loan more advantageous. Our expert loan officer’s will help you navigate the finer details as there are many other factors that could play a role in finding the best fit for you.

If you feel like a Conventional Loan fits best for you, the next step is to fill out our easy to use smart online application! Click here to get started!

What is an FHA Loan?

An FHA Loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA Loans require up front mortgage insurance and monthly mortgage insurance. This protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. These protections are set in place so that more lenient loan terms can be offered to borrowers who might fall a little short of qualifying for a conventional loan. For example, loans from the Federal Housing Administration are popular for borrowers because they allow individuals to purchase a home with a relatively small down payment. The down payment requirement is only 3.5% – with very aggressive interest rates. The additional layers of protection built into FHA loans pad the banks risk and keep their interest rates anywhere from, .5% to 1% lower than their conventional loan counterpart!

Borrowers with lower credit scores are more likely to get approved with this loan program. Scores can be as low as 580.

It’s a little easier to qualify for an FHA loan because the guidelines are not as strict. Individuals with lower credit scores will have an easier time qualifying for an FHA loan if they can’t qualify for a conventional.

Conventional loans are very particular when it comes to debt to income ratio limitations, which can make it difficult for some buyers to purchase the home that they want.

Some low down payment loans (USDA) have income limitations. However, with an FHA loan, is that there is no minimum or maximum salary requirement that will qualify or prohibit you from getting this mortgage loan.


How To Get Started

We know purchasing a new home is a big step and for many, a brand new chapter in life! We take pride in making this the most memorable and positive experience for you, walking you through every step of the way!

Now that you see how easy it is to qualify- what are you waiting for?! These affordable programs are right at your fingertips and just an application away. Our team of experts have the best programs and love helping home buyers qualify for their new dream home, or refinance their existing one.

Click here to meet our team and get started today! Call us to get a quick estimate at 480-832-4343

Use our Online Accelerator, our easy to use online application! Click here to get started!

buying a home - card

How To Improve Your Credit Score

In the wonderful world of collections, there are actually many tips and tricks that can help relieve you of these financial burdens. So many in fact, that we can’t possibly cover all of them in just one article. Most people shy away from checking their credit score or don’t have a clue where to get started. It’s important to make checking and increasing your credit score a top priority because to lenders it is a reflection of how fiscally responsible you are. This score dictates whether you’re approved for a mortgage, credit card, and so much more.

So before we get started on how to improve your credit score, let start by checking what your credit score is if you don’t already know it.

Most commonly used websites are or or you can consult with a Credit Counselor. 

How To Improve Your Credit Score

Adjusting Credit Card Balances

If you are looking to improve your credit score, it’s best to start by asking for a higher credit limit on your credit cards. This tactic is most commonly recommended by Credit Counselors. Although calling up your credit card company can feel a little bit daunting, it’s worth the trouble if its going to jump your credit score. First step, is to locate your creditors phone number online or on the back of your card. Thoroughly explain to the representative your reason for requesting an increase. Be prepared to provide additional information such as income, employment status, and personal information. This can also be done in person or depending on your account requested online.

The reason you want to start here is because the balance due on your credit card should always be less than 30% of your limit. This simple adjustment improves your credit score drastically. So start working on those cards that are reporting more than the 30 percent first and increase those monthly payments as best as you can. Decreasing that utilization rate makes a huge difference!

Fix Report Errors

Read through and make sure everything looks accurate on your credit report. Look carefully through several different credit reports for items that may not be yours, paid balances, or items that are repeated too  many times. There are some important steps to consider when filing a dispute, click here to learn more.

Although this isn’t the most exciting way to spend your day, this is a major step towards cleaning up your credit score and will benefit you in the long run.

Plan Your Monthly Payments

Are you often a little late on your monthly car payment or phone bill? Those can actually stay on your report for years and can really plummet your score.

A smart strategy is to put all your bills on automatic payments to avoid overdraft fees or plan your bills better around your paydays. How on time you are to pay a bill really speaks to your borrowing power and strength.

Some other tips to help improve your credit score are:

  • Opening a new Credit Card account
  • Become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card
  • Reduce your credit utilization & budget spending
  • Don’t reduce your credit limit or close any cards

These tips are worth doing more research on to clean up your credit report!

Naturally, we all want an instant and amazing credit score. Unfortunately, this is a process. But knocking down debts chunks at a time, you’ll see your score drastically improve right before your eyes.

Just months of following steps like these, can increase your credit score significantly! Be patient and diligent. Watch your spending and make checking your credit score a top priority. The benefits of improving your credit score pours into every part of your financial life and gives an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Contact one of our Loan Officers here at Sun American Mortgage to help you start this process today!

For more information on how to improve your credit score, click below:

retire early -feature

Want to Retire Early? How to Make it Happen

Have you already started planning for retirement?  Are you wanting to retire early?

Here are a few tips for help you prepare for early retirement.


How to Retire Early:

how to retire early - plan

Make a Plan to Prepare for Retirement

Make a retirement plan.

Ask yourself these few questions: What do you want from your retirement? Where do you want to live? Do you want to travel? Any hobbies you want to start? 

Decide what your ideal retirement looks like. Having this goal can keep you on track as you prepare for retirement.


Start Saving

Once you have an idea of what your plan if for retirement, look into how much that’s all going to cost. 

How much will you need in basic living expenses? How much will you need for your hobbies and fun?

Then start saving now! Take advantage of 401ks and IRAs. You can also invest in various money market accounts. Talk to a financial adviser, and decide what your best option is.

retire early - saving

Cut Costs

To save up for your dream retirement, you’ll need to spend less than you make so you can put a good chunk of money away. 

You’ll also want to pay off as much debt as possible (ideally all of it). Having no debt will allow you to fully live your retirement with no stress and no extra burdens.


Health Insurance & Taxes

Because you won’t be working any longer, you’ll have to find a health insurance plan. 

Get an idea of what these look like, so you can plan accordingly. 

You’ll obviously want to include this cost in your monthly budget once you retire.


Taxes are another thing you may forget about. You’ll still have to pay taxes once you retire. Depending on where your money is coming from (brokerage account, IRAs, 401ks, etc) you’ll have varying taxes to pay. 


Where Will your Kids be?

Do you have kids? Will they be living on their own by the time you retire? Will they be relying on you financially for any reason? 

If so, you’ll also want to add these costs to your budget.

Are there grandkids that you’ll want to visit throughout the year? Plan these travel expenses as well.

As you prepare for retirement, thinking of your family situation is very important!


Expect the Unexpected

You never know what’s going to happen in the future. Maybe one of your children will all of a sudden need some help financially. Maybe you won’t be able to sell your home for as much as you planned on. 

Whatever the case may be, expect some things not going according to plan. Better to be prepared!


Be Consistent

As you consider all these things, be consistent as  you work toward your plan. Follow a strict budget now, so you can put more money away for retirement. 

Time is the key with these kinds of things. Be patient, be consistent and be disciplined. Don’t forget your goal! 

If you put your mind to it, you can do anything – even retire early



Market Watch: “How to Retire Early: A 5-Step Plan”

The Motley Fool: “Here’s How to Retire Early”

Can I Retire Yet?: “How I Retired Early”

Bankrate: “6 Signs that You Are Ready to Retire Early”

Forbes: “7 Simple Strategies to Retire Early”