Sun West Mortgage review: Offerings go beyond conventional loans

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Sun West mortgage loans at a glance

  • Conventional loans: Yes 
  • FHA loans: Yes
  • VA loans: Yes
  • Refinancing: Yes
  • Jumbo loans: Yes
  • Adjustable rates: Yes
  • Fixed rates: Yes

Sun West Mortgage Co. is a mortgage lender whose main licensed location is in Buena Park, California.

Pros

  • Chat and phone assistance provided
  • Offers conventional, VA, FHA and USDA loans
  • Website provides links to external resources

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer loans in all states
  • Website doesn’t list HELOCs
  • Rate information not readily available on the website

5 things to know about a Sun West mortgage loan

Sun West Mortgage Co. calls itself a “full service” mortgage lender. It’s licensed in most states as well as in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to its website, Sun West doesn’t accept applicants who live in Georgia or Massachusetts, and it doesn’t buy mortgages secured by properties located in Georgia, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island.

The Sun West website displays links to the FHA handbooks and other documents that may be useful for borrowers. Plus, you can access several forms and checklists without creating an account.

It’s easy to see where to start an application or to get support.

But it’s also challenging to locate some information on the site. There doesn’t appear to be a search bar. For example, an informational page about purchase and refinance mortgages contains several links scattered throughout blocks of text — without a menu or other organizational features. The page tells visitors to look for the heading “Second Trust Deeds” to learn about equity loans, but there’s no link to the information and this heading doesn’t appear anywhere else on the page or in the site’s main drop-down menus, so it’s not clear where to find it.

2. Multiple loan options available

Sun West offers a diverse set of products, including conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans and USDA loans. It offers loans for buying a new home and refinancing.

Sun West also offers FHA 203(k) loans to finance repairs or improvements on a home. And it offers home equity conversion mortgages, which are often called reverse mortgages.

Thanks to the variety of loan programs it participates in, Sun West may be an attractive lender to those who want to look beyond conventional loan choices, such as homebuyers who want to save on closing costs.

3. Rates not displayed online

The Sun West site isn’t transparent about interest rates or loan terms. Its FHA purchase calculator shows a starting interest rate only, and its calculator for other mortgages doesn’t provide rate information. And there are no details on rates or loan terms shown on the page that contains information about purchasing and refinancing.

Prospective borrowers can call a customer support number or chat online to try to learn more. Alternatively, they can fill out a contact form and wait to hear back, or they can inquire with a particular branch over the phone, through email or in person.

But it may not always be possible to get immediate answers from the lender. A support agent in the online chat declined to answer specific questions about terms for adjustable rate or fixed rate mortgages offered by Sun West in two separate attempts to get the information. And calls to the lender’s customer service yielded mixed results — with one call going to voicemail after a few minutes of waiting on hold.

Some homebuyers may not mind potentially doing some legwork to learn about loan details, but if you want to be able to consider rates at a glance, you may prefer a lender that displays this information on its site or that offers instant quotes — or that is at least more responsive to inquiries.

4. Prequalification offered online or by phone

Sun West offers an online application for prospective borrowers to prequalify for a mortgage that requires creating an account and sharing your email address, phone number and Social Security number.

Prospective borrowers can also start the preapproval process by phone, and the lender says it can usually make a “tentative” decision by the end of the call.

So if you want to get prequalified remotely, you’ll probably appreciate that Sun West gives you a couple of options for getting started without having to visit a branch.

5. Website gives limited information about applying

While some other lenders’ websites provide road maps of the mortgage application process, Sun West’s description of its process is relatively vague. It’s not clear from its website how much of the application is completed online, and how much you may have to do in person. It also doesn’t provide the timeline from preapproval to closing.

But Sun West does state that it typically takes up to 14 working days to process the application after the borrower decides on a home and that there may be a couple of days between signing the final documents and taking possession of the property.

Homebuyers may want to talk to a Sun West loan agent to get a clearer picture of how the application works before creating an account. Alternatively, you might prefer to work with a different lender that’s more forthcoming about its procedures and timeline. 

Who is a Sun West loan good for?

Sun West may be a good choice for someone who’s looking to rehab a home because it offers FHA 203(k) loans. It may also make sense for veterans or people shopping in rural areas because it offers VA loans and USDA loans.

But the lack of transparency about rates, loan terms and the application process may mean Sun West isn’t ideal for those who aren’t already familiar with mortgage applications and comfortable seeking out information from the lender.

How to apply for a Sun West mortgage

Sun West doesn’t accept applications from residents of Georgia or Massachusetts. If you live in any other state, you can apply for prequalification online or by phone.

If you prequalify, you’ll have the opportunity to complete a loan application. Make sure to have recent pay stubs and W-2s ready because the lender says it may ask for them.

Not sure if Sun West is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

Before deciding on a mortgage banker, it’s a good idea to learn about your options and to compare estimates. Here are some other lenders to consider.

  • Better: If you’re looking for a streamlined experience, Better offers a fully online mortgage application and doesn’t charge lender fees.
  • Wells Fargo: If you’d like to check interest rates before committing to an application, Wells Fargo posts current rates on its website.


About the author: Sarah Brodsky is a freelance writer covering personal finance and economics. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from The University of Chicago. Sarah has written for companies such as Hcareers, Impactivate and K… Read more.