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.”


kitchen remodel

Remodel Your Home With A Cash Out Refinance

Did you know, there is a way to Refinance AND Remodel your home into the home you’ve been dreaming about? It may sound too good to be true, but I promise there is no catch. Most people fantasize about their dream home improvements or admire everyone else’s home projects from afar-but this could be you! If you have been on the fence about making these home improvements, by the end of this article you’ll be ready to put those dreams into action. Instead of moving to a new property, many homeowners are using the “cash out” refinance strategy to make these upgrades possible. 

Cash Out Refinance

First, lets talk about refinancing your home. What exactly does this mean? Refinancing makes it possible for homeowners to minimize their monthly payments OR pay less interest over the course of the loan. Refinancing exchanges the original loan for another loan with a rate and term that is a financially better situation for the homeowner. 

Here’s how this ties in with making home improvements. Instead of just a straight refinance, you can choose to do a “cash out” refinance on your current mortgage, which means you walk away with extra cash in your pocket. This option gives you the lowest long-term interest rate of any type of home equity borrowing. You’re paying less per month on your monthly mortgage payments, have a lower interest rate, AND at the same time, are able to make home improvements with the extra cash you’ve pulled out. 

So, for example, lets say the mortgage balance on your home is $200,000.

If your home is valued at $300,000.

The equity in your home is about $100,000.

You decide to use the cash out refinance option and pull out $40,000 of that equity to remodel your home. Your new mortgage balance will now be $240,000. This still leaves you at 80% Loan To Value with your home. It’s one of the best option to do renovations, without breaking the bank.

refinance your home - lighting

What To Look Out For

In order to get the best rate possible, make sure to improve your credit score and pay off any outstanding debts. 

A cash out refinance wouldn’t be considered the best option if you have been thinking of moving in the very near future. It is still worth your time to get an estimate, or check out how much you could save through this refinance option.  

Making Home Improvements… How Much Does It Cost?

So you’ve got your wish list of TOP home improvements and extra cash in your pocket, but how do you outline your budget for all these upgrades? Here are some the most common home improvements and their different costs to give you some ideas. 


“Kitchens are the most expensive areas of the home in terms of construction and where people spend most of the time in their homes”, according to Los Angeles architect Steve Straughen. Research has shown that kitchen remodeling has found to return more than 100 percent of the cost!

The cost of remodeling a kitchen can range anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 depending how much you want to change. There are so many options to choose from, so it’s exciting to shop around and then make it unique to your style!

For remodel ideas that stay around the $5,000 side of the budget, you can install storage shelves, pull out counter tops, or update the lighting in your kitchen, or possible windows too. With this smaller budget, you could also upgrade one of your appliance like a fridge, dishwasher, or stove for example. 

cash out refinance - island kitchen

If you are looking to spend between $10,000 and $15,000 to remodel your kitchen, some common projects done with these prices include, upgrading your sink and faucet, adding a Tile Backsplash, Painting your Walls and Ceilings, or Installing High- End Kitchen Appliances. 

refinance your home - white kitchen

With a budget of $15,000-$30,000, you can leave most of the work to professionals. With this budget you could build a beautiful kitchen island, or replace your counter tops to stone, wood, metal, or granite.

If your flooring is also getting worn out, consider taking this budget to upgrade that as well!

You can also get your custom cabinets installed. This is a project people will take on themselves or hire a professional cabinet company to come take over. 

refinance your home - black kitchen


The average cost to remodel a bathroom ranges from $3500-$7000. Most homeowners spend about $10,000.  Studies at Florida State University found that upgrading a bathroom increased the sale price by 8.7%, which is more than twice the rate for adding a bedroom. breaks down the prices for you to better plan out your budgetrefinance your home - bathroom

refinance your home - bath

 refinance your home - shower


Homeowners spend an average of $2,861 to redo their flooring. Even replacing old tile with some modern wood tiles or stone tiles can help increase your homes value. This is such a valuable investment and gives your home a much cleaner and trendy feel to it. Below are just a few ideas of what types of floors are trending. 

cash out refinance - floors

cash out refinance - floors

cash out refinance - floors


Just as the Kitchen can become a bit pricey with remodeling, so can your backyard. This is a great spot in your home to start investing into if this is where you and your family spend most of your time!

Consider the benefits you will reap down the road. Remodeling your front and backyard increases your home value like no other! For example, just fixing up your landscape increases your home value by 28 percent and cuts the amount of time the home is spent on the market by 10-15 percent.

Click here for more projects and backyard remodels that increase the value of your home. 

The most common investment for backyards is a swimming pool. According to Landscape Network, Swimming Pool prices vary in price depending on TYPE: 

cash out refinance - pools

This is just a very basic break down of prices, considering there are many other features you may be interested in. It’s worth doing your research and finding the perfect pool to invest in, especially with intense summer heat!

refinance your home - pool

If you are happy without a pool or any fancy new features, but your grass needs some TLC, consider using that extra cash in your pocket to invest in that! Put in some beautiful flowers, grass, artificial turf, or plant some trees. This costs less than a pool and can make all the difference in your home’s value and overall look. 

cash out refinance - big backyard

A Gazebo and some cute lighting only costs about $500-$1,500. If you’re perfectly happy with your backyard but it could use something new, consider using some extra cash leftover to add a new look to it. 

cash out refinance - gazebo

Here at Sun American Mortgage we want to help you remodel your home into something beautiful and save you money at the same time. Now is the time to get started-rates are currently at an all time low! Call us to talk about some of your options, or start with our simple online application.  480-832-4343

top 5 paint colors - feature

Top 5 Paint Colors for Your Home

Painting is an easy and affordable way to change up your home to match the current trends. So what are the trendy paint colors? Are you ready to get your home looking its best?

Top 5 Paint Colors

Here’s a list of the top 5 paint colors in the market right now.

taupe paint

1. Taupe

According to Sherwin-Williams the 2017 color of the year is Taupe! This warm brown-gray, earthy tone is a great way to add some color while keeping it neutral

paint colors - ivory

2. White/Ivory

A soft white is a great color to use in a living room or another room with classy furniture. It can help soften the look of the room without take away from the decorations and furniture. 

paint colors - gray

3. Gray

One of the top paint colors to use is gray. Anything in the gray family is a pretty good bet. Whether you’re painting walls or kitchen cabinets, grays have a great way of making a house feel like a home. 

In fact, Joanna Gaines, from HGTV’s show “Fixer Upper” says she likes using paint colors in the gray family for the homes she designs.

top 5 paint colors - blue

4. Blue

Using blue can really add a pop of color or warm up a room. Whether you use a royal blue for kitchen cabinets, or a soft “Blue Arrow” for the walls, blue can really make your home feel cozy. 

paint colors - green

5. Green 

According to “House Beautiful,” green (especially an emerald) is around to stay. If you aren’t feeling like painting your walls something this bold, try painting your lower kitchen cabinets green. 


To learn more about trendy paint colors, check out these articles:

HGTV: “The Ultimate ‘Fixer Upper’-Inspired House Color Palette”

The Harper House: “Fixer Upper Paint Colors: Joanna’s 5 Favorites”

Favorite Paint Colors Blog: “Paint Colors of Instagram 05.19.17”

Good Housekeeping: “The 10 Paint Colors Designers Always Use”

Better Homes and Gardens: “Designers’ Favorite Wall Colors”

House Beautiful: “These 15 Color Trends are Dominating 2017”


spring cleaning - feature

Spring Cleaning – Tips for Decluttering Your Home

Although the weather may be getting warmer, it’s still spring time. Have you done your spring cleaning yet? 

Decluttering your home is very important. Let me explain why, and I’ll give you a few ways you can make the most of your spring cleaning. Are you ready for a clean home?

Make the Most of Your Spring Cleaning

I don’t know about you, but this picture makes me cringe. Having a messy space like this (at home or at work) can be detrimental to your health. Decluttering is so important. Here’s why:


Why Cleaning and Decluttering is Important

Living in clutter can have negative impacts on our mental health. According to an article by “The Times of India,” clutter can actually cause anxiety, anger and stress. 

Clutter can make you more tired as well. A “Make Use Of” article says that because humans are naturally bad multi-taskers, seeing clutter adds another “to do” in the brain, taking some of our precious mental energy. The article also stresses that while a cluttered area may help your creativity, being in a clean space helps you make good, smart decisions.

Be sure to check out these articles for more explanation on the importance of decluttering. 

Make Use Of: “Clearing Out Clutter is Good for You – But Why?”

The Times of India: “Why Decluttering You House is Important”


Some Spring Cleaning Tasks to Remember

Starting the spring cleaning process can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Is there something you’re forgetting?

We’ve compiled a list of a few things to remember. Although it’s not an exhaustive list, it’s a good place to start.

decluttering - home



Clean your windows inside and out! The weather is starting to warm up, so cleaning the outside of your windows should probably be one of the first things you do.

Don’t forget to clean the window sills and the window coverings. If you have shutters or blinds, wipe them down with a damp cloth. If you have curtains or drapes, wash them, but be sure you know how to wash the fabric you have.

Dust Thoroughly

Take items off of shelves, dressers and other flat surfaces. Give the surfaces and items a good dusting.

You’ll also want to dust photos and frames, ceiling fans, door frames, baseboards and air filter grates. 


Move the furniture in your home so you can be sure to clean the entire floor.

If you have carpet, give it a good vacuum, and then call in the carpet cleaners. If you have wood or tile, sweep it, mop it and scrub it. Be sure to clean out the grout in your tile, and if you have wood floors, be sure to wax them.


Give all your appliances a good deep cleaning. Wipe down the surfaces and scrub out the insides. Be sure that no stickiness or extra food is left. Any appliances that don’t work or you know longer use? Get rid of them!

Clean out your refrigerator, pantry, cabinets and drawers. Throw out old food and kitchen supplies. Get a damp cloth and clean the inside and outside of these storage areas.

spring cleaning - clean house


Aside from the regular wipe down of counters, mirrors and toilet, do a deeper clean of your bathroom. Wipe down the walls and scrub out the bathtub and/or shower. Clean the faucets and shower heads. Vinegar does a great job of removing water spots on the metal.

Clean out bathroom cabinets and drawers. Throw away old items and wipe down the surfaces. 

Closets and Storage

Go through all the closets and storage areas in your home. Throw or give away stuff you no longer use or want. If you haven’t used something for a year, you’re probably safe to throw it out. 

Say Goodbye to Stuff you Don’t Need! 

And say HELLO to your gorgeous, clean house!

Remember all those cabinets and closets you cleaned out? Take all the items you no longer need, and either throw them away or take a much-needed trip to Goodwill!

Although sometimes it can be difficult to part with things, I promise you’ll feel so much better when you do!


See some of these articles for more tips on having a clean home:

HGTV: “Spring Cleaning Made Easy”

HGTV: “7 Spring-Cleaning Tips”

House Beautiful: “20 Things You Should Deep Clean this Spring”

Reader’s Digest: “8 Spring Cleaning Tips to Get it Done Faster”

wallpaper trends - feature

Is Wallpaper Making a Comeback?

Wallpaper started fading out of style, and by the early 2000s was pretty much non-existent. But this former “tacky” trend it’s starting to make a comeback! Wallpaper can add some personality and texture to your home. 

What kind of prints are in style? How can you incorporate wallpaper into your home? 


Wallpaper Making a Comeback!

Why Use Wallpaper?


Believe it or not, wallpaper is easy to put up and remove. The product has changed over the years, and is now much more user friendly. You don’t have to spend the day clearing out the room and painting to only have your home smell. If you change your mind next year, just rip it off – piece of cake!



If you like staying up on trends, wallpaper is the way to do it. You can stick with the trendy look without having to completely change around your decor. As mentioned above, it’s also easy to change out as trends evolve.


Color and Texture

Wallpaper allows you to add color and texture to your home. You can be as neutral and personalized as you want. There are so many options! 


How to Incorporate Wallpaper

In the Bathroom

If you’re trying to decide if you’re liking the wallpaper trend or not, try it out in the bathroom. It’s a small enough room that it won’t take over your home, yet it’s seen often enough, that you can gauge how much you and your guests like it. 

You can find a wallpaper to fit your bathroom hardware and color scheme. CLICK HERE for more bathroom design trends.


Use for Texture

Whether you’re wallpaper is actually textured or not, it can give your wall a textured look. Find a spot in your home that you want to give some dimension. Maybe a wall by the front entryway, or as an accent wall in a bedroom. 

With textured wallpaper, you won’t need many other decorations, so use in an area that’s a little more “plain.”


Use to Highlight Another Home Feature

Want your gorgeous fireplace to really standout? Pick a neutral, yet stunning, wallpaper to surround the hearth. It can really draw attention to this focal point.

Or maybe you want to highlight the stove range hood in your kitchen, put some wallpaper around it and under the surrounding cabinets. Let the wallpaper do all the work for you. CLICK HERE to see more kitchen trends.


Accent Wall

It’s a thing of the past to have wallpaper on every wall of your home. Wallpaper, used sparingly, makes a trendy statement. Pick an accent wall in your family room or living area to put the wallpaper on. 


Wallpaper Trends


Metallic wallpaper adds an elegance that you can’t get with paint. It can make a statement for itself while also “supporting” the other furniture in the room. 


There are so many different wallpaper designs you can pick from, and manufacturers are only adding more and more ornamentation to the designs.


Pick a shape any shape – there’s a wallpaper design for that. Although having an entire room covered in a single shape pattern can get crazy on the eyes, it can also give the room a unique feel and look, especially when used sparingly (as mentioned above). 


What wallpaper trends are you going to try? Wallpaper is a fast and easy way to give your home a whole new look and feel! 


Check out these articles for more wallpaper tips and trends.

Canyon Creek Cabinet Company: “Wallpaper is Making a Comeback”

Houzz: “Are Your Walls Talking? Wallpaper makes a Comeback!”

RealtorMag: “Wallpaper: Back in the Game”

FineHomebuilding: “Designs Like These are Why Wallpaper is making a Comeback”

Boston Globe: “Wallpaper’s Making a Comeback”

The Washington Post: “Wallpaper is Making a Big Comeback. Here’s How to Choose, Use and Remove” “Stuck on You: 6 New Wallpaper Trends that Will Make you Say ‘Wow'”

HouseBeautiful: “Top Wallpaper Trends for 2017”

Walls Republic: “Designer Wallpaper Trends for 2017”

HGTV: “Contemporary Wallpaper Design Trends”

bathroom remodel - feature

Top 10 Bathroom Trends for 2017

The master bathroom is a place of refuge and a place that can bring in a lot of ROI when you sell your home. Are you ready to do a remodel of your master bath? Here are some of the biggest bathroom trends of 2017!


Top Bathroom Trends

master bathroom - tile

1. Tile

Tile is a great way to make a statement as well as add a personal touch to your master bathroom. There are so many options with tile. You can pick a patterned tile or something that adds a textured look and feel. You can use mismatched tile and tile with unique patterns. Going for a clean slate? You can use an all-white tile to keep it pristine yet simple while adding a little flair. 

2. Unique Metals

When it comes to your faucets, lighting and other bathroom hardware, find a metal that matches your look and style. Pretty much any metal is “in” right now – although brass and gold are the top picks. 

bathroom trends - metal and tub

3. Free-Standing Tub

I don’t know about you, but looking at photos of stand-alone tubs, makes me want to relax. They are all the rage right now (and probably always will be). Change up your master bathroom with a claw-foot tub or even a rectangle one. Or stick with the good-old reliable oval beauty!

4. Round Mirrors

Vanity mirrors are a big bathroom trend this year, especially circle and oval ones. You can either put a unique frame around it to really finish the look and tie it in to the rest of your bathroom theme, or you can go with a simple, frameless mirror. 

5. Bold Cabinets

Cabinets have the power to make a statement, what statement will yours make? Whether you go with a bold color or a white or an antique or modern look, pick a style that you like. This is where your personality can really shine.

master bathroom - cabinets

6. Creative Storage

We can never have enough storage – it’s just a fact of life. So finding more ways to add storage to the master bathroom made the “top trends” list. Get creative with your bathroom space. Maybe you can add some baskets or wall shelves (keep an eye out for fun shelving ideas). What about finding a vanity that has some drawers and/or cabinets? 

7. Pop of Color 

Adding a pop of color is usually a good idea when it comes to design, and it’s relatively easy in terms of a bathroom remodel. If you want a darker color, navy is a big trend right now, or if you’re liking a softer tone, try sea-foam green. Whether you add this color with paint, window coverings, towels, the shower curtain or something else entirely, it can really give your master bathroom that extra touch you’ve been wanting. 

master bathroom - color

8. Wall Art

Hang unique art to dress up the walls of your master bathroom. Find something that matches the style and coloring you’ve decided on for your bathroom. Maybe it can be part of your pop of color or maybe it’s a black and white sketch.

9. Statement Furniture

Although not all master bathrooms have room to spare, if you have the ability, a piece of furniture can really make a statement. Whether you pick an ottoman, a chair or a stool, find something that is aesthetically pleasing and fits in with your bathroom style.

bathroom remodels - furniture

10. Luxury Products and Accessories

Remember that your master bathroom can be a place of refuge. Let’s make it feel like a spa! Add some live plants (hanging or in pots) or fancy soaps and gels to your counter space and new shelves. If you find products in fancy bottles it can really give it that timeless, classy look. This is really the final touch to making your bathroom top-notch! 


Give yourself the trendy bathroom you’ve always wanted! You can do all of these steps or just one or two. Let’s build you a better home one step at a time.


Want more than just a bathroom remodel? Check out our article on 2017’s top kitchen trends for more home improvement ideas. CLICK HERE

For more insight on 2017 bathroom trends, check out these articles:

HGTV: “20 Fresh Bathroom Tile Trends to Look for in 2017”

Brit+Co: “20 Bathroom Trends that Will be Huge in 2017”

Ideal Home: “Brilliant Btahroom Trends you Don’t Want to Miss in 2017”


top kitchen trends - feature

Top 10 Kitchen Trends for 2017

It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s not only the place where food is prepared and enjoyed, but it’s often the place for families and friends to connect.

With all this emphasis on the kitchen, having a gorgeous, modern kitchen is becoming more and more important. Here are the top 10 kitchen trends for 2017. Which is your favorite?


top kitchen trends in 2017 - gray cabinets1. Gray Cabinets to Top White?

Although white will never go out of style, gray cabinets and other earthly tones are starting to make an appearance. For 2017, gray cabinets may top white. Which do you prefer?


2. Pops of Color

Whether the kitchen island is a nice blue or the bar stools are covered with yellow fabric, having pops of color integrated throughout the kitchen is becoming a more popular trend. Just remember, that this is a “pop” of color. Be careful to not go overboard. You don’t want an entirely purple kitchen. All things in moderation right?

top kitchen trends - pop of color

3. Bold Fixtures and Appliances

Have your kitchen fixtures make a statement. Install large lights that add to the pop of color or generate a conversation all on their own. Range hoods are another fixture making a bold statement in 2017. Find ways to make these fixtures and appliances fit your theme yet stand out. Have fun with it!


4. More Storage

Storage is becoming more and more important. Whether you use pull-out shelves, or double-layered drawers, there are many different ways you can add more storage to your kitchen. Open shelves are another big trend. 


5. Quartz Counters

Watch out granite, quartz is coming through! With various options in colors, quartz counters are becoming the new “must-have.”

2017 kitchen trends - farmhouse sink

6. Farmhouse Sinks

Farmhouse sinks have always been loved, but they’re making an even stronger comeback. Their look says “trendy,” while their size says “functional.” And with various options and colors available, you can have a little extra fun with your kitchen sink. Make this part of your kitchen something to be envied.


7. Texture

Adding texture is a trend coming up in 2017. Texture can be implemented with the backsplash, counters and fixtures. It gives your kitchen some dimension while giving it that “trendy” look we all want from our kitchen.


8. Copper Accents

Having metal accents are big right now, especially copper. Copper can be incorporated with cabinet knobs/handles, range hoods, lights, faucets, bar stools, etc. There are so many different ways you can add metal accents to your kitchen! 

2017 kitchen trends - metal accents

9. Flooring 

Flooring is always important. Dark wood or “statement tile” are having a big say in 2017. 


10. Personalize

Like with any trend right now, there’s not really an exact mold to fit into. Personalize your kitchen to fit you! What do you like? You want to make sure your kitchen is functional, yet beautiful. Because it is the most important room in your home, you want it to be a place that people enjoy. How will you do that?


Want to find a home with the perfect kitchen? Sun American Mortgage can help you finance your dream home! CALL us today! 480-832-4343


Check out these other articles on 2017 kitchen trends.

HGTV: “17 Top Kitchen Design Trends” 

House Beautiful: “10 Kitchen Trends We’ll be Seeing in 2017”

Country Living: “8 Gorgeous Kitchen Trends that will be Huge in 2017”

Houzz: “Kitchen Confidential: Trends to Look for in 2017”

Style at Home: “Top Kitchen Design Trends for 2017”

People – Home & Travel: “9 Kitchen Trends You’ll See Everywhere in 2017 – And One That’s on the Way Out”