Technology and the digital age has certainly made an impact on the Scottsdale mortgage business. While roughly 90% of prospective homeowners search online for a home, less than 10% of mortgage lenders offer a comprehensive digital mortgage experience. Now, mortgage lenders are starting to enter the 21st Century by gradually reinventing the mortgage process. Here are some ways in which important improvements are occurring.
Scottsdale Mortgage Business – Ushering in Technology
Some mortgage lenders still subject their prospective borrowers to the golden age of copiers, scanners and faxes to assemble and deliver loan application information and financial paperwork. And while the Scottsdale mortgage business has largely been overlooked when it comes to technological advances, it does appear that is changing. Here are the top five ways technology is changing the home mortgage lending process for lending institutions and borrowers.
A better borrower experience.The mortgage lending process from application to closing is, by its very nature, information driven. Some loan files can exceed 500 pages. In an effort to save time, much of the information required by lenders in the Scottsdale mortgage business is available digitally, and applicants can provided bank account information, tax forms and pay stubs online. This not only streamlines the application process for homebuyers, but it also makes the collection and verification steps easier for the lending institution. Since the financial data is independently verified from its source, mortgage lenders are able to more readily confirm that the information is accurate and current, thus saving time in their review and analysis.
In addition, some financial technology companies are offering mobile experiences for prospective borrowers. The mobile apps give the borrowers unique access to the mortgage lending process. The accessibility enables borrowers to stay on top of their documentation needs and requirements, ultimately giving them a better, more satisfying user experience.
Increased transparency. Since applicants don’t have access to their mortgage lenders’ internal systems, they rarely know where they stand during the loan application process. They are then forced to rely on the loan officers to communicate various requirements or updates via phone or email. Some innovative Scottsdale mortgage lenders are now providing information portals for prospective borrowers to be able to see the same information the loan officers do. This improvement in transparency allows borrowers to obtain a complete list of required documentation ahead of time – and to know where they stand with respect to any additional information required. This innovation enables both parties to work together for the common goal of assembling the information in order to get the loan approved and closed in a timely manner.
Making the mortgage process painless. A normal turnaround time for a borrower to receive an underwritten loan approval from a mortgage lender is about 18 days. Overall, it could take roughly 50 days to complete the loan process. Comparatively speaking, in a totally digital world where online shoppers can order an item and get it overnight, 50 days seems like forever.
Technology is helping introduce the mortgage lending process to the modern world. Using a workable combination of intuitive design and direct connectivity, loan applicants are now able to contribute to the process and receive up-to-date assistance from the lending institutions. This makes the borrowers more in control of their own destiny, as well as participating in more of a “team approach” to getting their loan approved.
Digital compliance. Following the housing crash of less than a decade ago, federal regulations required lenders to follow certain lending practices and give their borrowers more disclosure information early in the mortgage loan process. The regulations are designed to allow mortgage lenders to adhere to strict guidelines while limiting negative impact on the borrower experience.
New developments in technology have enabled lenders to automatically send the production and delivery of electronic disclosure information at certain points in time during the mortgage application process. In addition, the natural creation of a digital “paper trail” for audibility and accountability is an offshoot of the new technology.
Money-saving advantages. It’s estimated that it costs around $8,000 for a lender to complete a mortgage from start to finish. Much of that cost is for employees to perform routine, manual tasks such as translating required documentation into email form, as well as the physical tracking of various items on paper documents and forms. In turn, such work inefficiencies are passed through to the borrowers by way of higher fees and other processing or closing costs. Using modern technology can automate manual work and reduce these costs. In addition, lenders are able to increase their efficiency and productivity – passing the cost savings on to their customers.
The advent of workable technological advances in the Scottsdale mortgage business creates faster and more simplified lending interactions. Best of all, the digital “revolution” will likely continue to impact the mortgage industry and improve the borrower experience. While mortgage lending will probably never be a “one-click” process, it can continue to be better, faster and less costly. When you stop and think about it, the digital world has basically spoiled us all. We want – and often expect – goods and services almost immediately. From the digital delivery to a movie or television program on demand, to the ease of online banking, our society has come to expect speed and convenience. It’s only natural that we’d expect the same speed and delivery of improvements in the Scottsdale mortgage business. In addition, mortgage lenders want it, too. That’s why we will continue to anticipate and expect further advances that will make the home buying and home financing process a better experience for all parties involved.
You can find more articles pertaining to the Scottsdale mortgage business in the Scottsdale Mortgage Info section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.
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For illustration, let’s compare two Scottsdale single family homes for sale in the market. We’ll assume they’re comparable in all the pertinent ways. They’re the same size, the same style and the same age. They’re even located in the same neighborhood. The only difference is in the asking price. Home A is listed at $279,900 and Home B is listed at $265,900. Let’s assume a buyer comes along and looks at both homes and determines that either home would be a great fit for his family. Realistically, which home do you expect will get the first contract offer? Let’s examine several factors worth remembering when it comes to pricing Scottsdale single family homes for sale.
Scottsdale Single Family Homes: Price Right and Sell
The illustration above, although relatively simplistic, is accurate in the way some sellers view their homes when they list them for sale. While many people may think pricing the home higher than it’s worth may give themselves room to negotiate, in truth such a decision could dissuade a buyer altogether.
A competitively priced home at the outset will likely sell at the higher end of the value range. If it stays on the market for an extended period of time, the lower it ends up in that range. According to Zillow, homes that linger on the market tend to sell for considerably less than their listing price – as much as 5% less after just two months.
Often there’s an ongoing battle between seller and real estate agent. The homeowner has an extremely one-sided opinion of the real estate market, and his experience is likely limited to only one home – his own. Real estate professionals, of course, are equipped with the knowledge and experience of what’s going on in the various neighborhoods in their market. Armed with limited knowledge, some sellers stubbornly over-value their homes – this is particularly the case with homes for sale by owner. Real estate agents have the advantage of knowing that Scottsdale single family homes for sale that are priced right and show well will sell.
Because the real estate market and prospective homebuyers usually respond to new listings in the first several weeks, it’s important to enhance a home’s attractiveness right off the bat. Price the home right and it will sell – especially if you take your agent’s advice on cleaning, decluttering, staging and improving the home's curb appeal. Price it too high or throw it on the market before it’s ready to show and you’ve hurt your chances of a sale. Little or no interest means the home stays on the market longer than it should, newer, more competitive listings are added and your home becomes “old news.”
As an unsold listing loses interest, it usually results in a price reduction – especially after several weeks or months of little activity. In addition, the home may very well develop a stigma attached to a sales price that started too high, was reduced, but still remained unsold. When that occurs, savvy agents and buyers often make an offer that’s even lower than the reduced price. The result isn’t pretty, as sellers risk losing the momentum and advantage of being a new listing on the market for Scottsdale single family homes for sale and quickly surrender their bargaining power.
Add to that scenario the risks of a changing market and you have an even more challenging set of circumstances. Let’s say a seller lists his home in April in an active early spring market. The chances of an overpriced home actually selling can be impacted by increased inventory, an economic slowdown, rising interest rates or other market conditions. Six months later, the price range for the home is substantially lower than it would have been if it had been priced right in April. Therefore, changing market dynamics is an undue risk a seller should take by pricing a home too high.
Continuing the nightmare, let’s assume the house remains unsold on the market. As more time goes by, the sellers may get complacent. Their enthusiasm about selling their once-prized home severely dampened, they become slack in their ability or desire to show the house in its best condition. Curb appeal suffers. Word on the street and in the Scottsdale single family homes market is, the house “has issues” since it’s been on the market for so long without much activity.
Prospective buyers that do show interest end up low-balling the price, testing to see how "motivated" the seller is.
A word of advice to sellers: If you’re serious about selling your home, take pricing it just as seriously. Have a plan in the event your home doesn’t sell quickly. If you find that you and your real estate agent disagree on the price – as long as it’s not a big difference – consider asking the higher amount. However, be prepared to reduce the price fast if you need to, especially if the price range is more in line with the comparably priced homes getting high traffic and multiple offers. Activity among Scottsdale single family homes for sale will likely improve and the market will respond accordingly to a property that is perceived as being priced correctly by a seller who demonstrates they are serious about selling their home.
See more articles pertaining to Scottsdale single family homes for sale in the two sections of articles on Scottsdale Real Estate and Scottsdale Homes for Sale just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.
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The latest Scottsdale real estate news indicates recent employment gains could improve the price recovery of luxury homes on the market. During the first quarter of 2016, unexpected stock market volatility caused a decrease in luxury home values. Prices were able to recover slightly during the second quarter with an increase of nearly 1%, according to a nationally recognized real estate data firm. Luxury homes are typically defined as being in the top 5% of the highest-priced homes sold in each American city. Let’s look at the impact the recent job market improvement may have on luxury home prices.
Help For Luxury Homes? Scottsdale Real Estate News
The U.S. stock market took quite a tumble in June with the Brexit vote and the resulting repercussions throughout world markets. However, it’s rebounded considerably since that time and recent employment numbers are likely to boost the stock market even more. Economists expect the employment growth to aid the recovery in luxury home prices.
With this recent Scottsdale real estate news, analysts say the higher, luxury end of the housing spectrum is more sensitive to changes in the stock market. The reason is that homebuyers with higher net worths and incomes are likely to have more money invested in various equities than middle America. Some economists say the housing market, in general, can adjust and adapt to even large spikes or dips in the stock market. However, they say, there are some markets – especially those in high-value real estate areas – where volatility in the stock market has a very direct correlation to the luxury housing market. In those markets, what happens in the stock market is more closely tied to real estate transactions because homebuyers in that income segment rely heavily on market activity to produce down payments and other liquid investments. Plus, there’s often a resulting sensitivity from foreign buyers who would otherwise invest in high-end real estate. Global volatility and its effects on the U.S. stock market curb – at least temporarily – their interest in purchasing luxury homes in some major cities.
The improvement in the jobs report, some analysts believe, will make it more likely the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates during the year. While not directly tied to mortgage interest rates, a hike in the fed funds rate may signal an end to record-low mortgage rates. Despite the seemingly negative impact such an increase may have on most homebuyers, a mortgage rate increase will probably not affect buyers in the luxury home market. In the words of one real estate professional, “Luxury (home) buyers aren’t motivated by mortgage rates. As evidence, luxury home prices were sluggish in the second quarter even though rates were near rock bottom levels.” Real estate agents and economists alike say what matters the most to buyers in the luxury market is a solid investment opportunity that is likely to pay higher returns in the future – much like their investment philosophy in the stock market. So, if the employment results do spur growth in the economy, there could likely be an improvement in the luxury housing market, regardless of what happens to interest rates.
Regarding the Federal Reserve, some economists maintain there will be no increase in interest rates for the remainder of 2016. In addition, some feel that bond yields – to which mortgage interest rates are more closely tied – may move downward as a result of several other global market factors. One respected economist said, “Rate hike odds by year-end shifted from 32% to 40% after (the recent) jobs number.” That would mean the likelihood of the Fed increasing short-term rates would still lean in favor of that not happening.
Of course, the luxury housing market – like its counterpart at other points in the buying spectrum – still suffers from a lower than normal inventory. However, if higher prices return, investors and homeowners are more likely to put their homes on the market – especially if the stock market continues its return to normal levels – allowing them the opportunity to use those additional earnings to purchase newer or larger homes.
The unknown factor that could affect luxury prices is the upcoming presidential election. With that event occurring in the fall – coinciding with the normal housing market shift that post-spring and summer bring – there could be a leveling off of luxury home prices. Interestingly, however, politics overseas may increase luxury prices in some U.S. markets traditionally popular to foreign investors. Real estate analysts point to Miami Beach, Florida, for example, where luxury home prices rose roughly 22% during the spring quarter.
Economists and political pundits alike continue to debate what effect the U.S. presidential election results will have on the housing market in general. If history is any indication, little impact is expected for several months after the presidential election. Either candidate, including those that may be reelected or replaced in upcoming Congressional races, will individually or collectively need time to assess and change economic policies. While we will all likely keep an eye on Scottsdale real estate news on a regular basis, most analysts say the greatest likelihood for the real estate markets to be affected will lie in the hands of the American public and the perception that a win by either party will make a difference in their financial future. In short, human nature takes over and prospective home purchasers who are optimistic about the country’s economy will likely be bullish on home ownership – if the price is right – while those with a more pessimistic opinion will likely be more cautious until economic conditions improve.
The bottom line is the real Scottsdale real estate news is that it remains to be seen how the recent job gains and the November election will affect the housing market.
See more articles pertaining to real estate news in the section of articles on Scottsdale Real Estate News just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. And remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter. Check us out there, too.
A Scottsdale home inspection isn’t just a good idea. It’s imperative if you’re contemplating buying a starter home or “fixer-upper.” Before you buy any house – regardless of its age, size or condition – select a qualified home inspector to thoroughly inspect it and provide you with a complete report. Here are a few areas in your prospective home you and your inspector should check out.
Scottsdale Home Inspection: Avoiding a "Money Pit"
There’s a classic 1986 Tom Hanks movie entitled “The Money Pit” in which a young couple sinks their entire life savings into a home that is, quite literally, falling apart. A comedy of calamities ensues as they try to handle each disaster the “money pit” they purchased throws their way.
Typical fixer-uppers are less expensive and offer the best potential growth in value. As a result, they are popular with first-time buyers. While a fresh coat of paint and some landscaping or other curb appeal improvements can help the property, it’s more important to make sure the house is structurally sound. Once that’s determined, further improvements can be made that may potentially increase its value, appearance and livability. The key is to avoid issues in the house that could create your family’s money pit. Let’s look at the benefits of a Scottsdale home inspection in several key areas.
General Structure of the Home
The most important part of any home is its foundation. If it was constructed properly, the home should be on a sturdy foundation, usually reinforced with steel and a concrete perimeter wall below ground with concrete footings. Make sure the structure of the house is straight and solid. Inspect exterior walls to ensure they are plumb and straight – from top to bottom. In addition, the floors should be flat and level. Look for doors that don’t open or close properly or that don’t fit squarely in the door jambs. That could indicate structural problems or settling issues that have created issues. Lastly, the floor should have a solid, sturdy feel to it. If it feels springy or “soft” it could mean the floor joists need greater support or potential repair.
Large cracks in the foundation are warning signs. They can often represent structural issues that may lead to expensive foundation repair. If the interior walls in your prospective home have cracks, it could indicate settling or movement has occurred over time. That’s usually caused by unstable or shifting soil or potential drainage issues. Those problems can often be difficult and expensive to solve. Minor cracks above the corners of windows and doors are less worrisome. They can usually be remedied with a little cosmetic work using filler and touch up paint.
Your Scottsdale home inspection should also include a closer look into how well your gutters and downspouts operate. Their sole job is to efficiently move water away from the house. Look for signs of drainage problems. Check to see if there are watermarks or moisture near the corners of the exterior walls and lower places near the home’s immediate perimeter. Have your home inspector thoroughly inspect the basement or crawlspace for signs of flooding, standing water, or excessive moisture. Moisture can create a perfect environment for mold. While some types of mold are not problematic and easily removed, other types may require considerable expense. Your home inspector will know the difference and will recommend the best course of action.
Determine whether your fixer-upper’s plumbing consists of copper or steel water pipes. As steel pipes age, they may become blocked with natural sediments which can reduce water pressure and restrict water flow. Here’s a test you can perform to check your water pressure – even the most experienced Scottsdale home inspection professionals do this. Turn on the bathtub spout in the bathroom located the furthest from the water heater. Then, while the water’s running, turn on the bathroom sink faucets and flush the toilet. If the water flow coming from the bathtub spout slows down a good bit, it may be time to re-pipe the plumbing.
Another determination you should make in your fixer-upper is whether the house has an outdated and undersized main electrical service panel. Check to see if the main electrical circuit breaker (fuse box panel) has a maximum capacity of 100 amps or less. If it does, it’s undersized for a typical family. In addition, the house should be equipped with 220-volt service. Check to see if there are three main wires from the power company’s pole to the house. If so, the house likely has 220-volt service. If there are only two wires, there’s probably only 110-volt service. Lastly, you can check for 220-volt outlets that accommodate appliances like clothes dryers or electric ovens.
Heating and Cooling
It’s important in your Scottsdale home inspection to determine the approximate age and type of heating system in the home – and whether all the rooms are heated. Look in the attic and walls for insulation. Adding more insulation in the attic usually isn’t a very expensive or difficult task. However, adding insulation in the walls can add up quickly. Have a home inspection professional check by removing electrical outlet covers.
The easiest way to tell if your prospective home has a leaky roof is to check for water stains in the ceiling or attic. Instead of actually climbing on the roof to examine the shingles and other materials, we suggest you hire a Scottsdale home inspection professional whose trained to do that sort of work and knows what to look for.
Architecture and Design
One last recommendation is to check out the house’s general layout and architectural appearance. Homes with a distinct style like a ranch-styled home, a Cape Cod or salt box home are perennial favorites. These homes and others are relatively easy to upgrade and perform improvements to – and that work will likely increase the home’s value – turning your fixer upper into a nicely restored older home that will be more marketable when the time comes to sell.
You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home inspections in the Scottsdale Home Inspections section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.
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Hardly a day goes by without Scottsdale's economy being adversely affected by financial fraud. The reported fraudulent activity ranges from hackers being able to access a business’ computer network to various types of identity theft. Despite new chip-enabled credit cards and the general heightened awareness of phishing scams, hackers are becoming much more sophisticated and consumers are at greater risk than ever. However, there are some proactive steps we can all take that are relatively simple. Let’s take a closer look at how to combat fraud and reduce the frequency of it occurring in Scottsdale's economy.
Scottsdale's Economy: 5 Tips to Fight Fraud
Experts say taking precautionary steps isn't difficult. The problem, they say, is that consumers are literally bombarded with information overload, making it easy to become overwhelmed. Follow these five tips to better protect your financial assets.
Whenever possible, use a chip-enabled credit card. Chip-enabled cards have an added layer of protection built in. They generate a unique consumer code designed solely for one purchase. That prevents a crook from using that information. The only drawback is that not all retailers accept the chip-enabled cards, but they soon will. Analysts say the lag time in card acceptance is primarily the result of the sheer number of banks, credit cards and checkout counters/card readers. A recent survey published by the National Retail Federation showed 86% of retailers expect to have their card readers operational by the end of the year – a number that some detractors claim is overly optimistic. Many retailers continue to await arrival of their terminals, while others have received the terminals, but are waiting for the credit card networks to certify the systems as operationally ready.
Don’t send sensitive information via public wifi or email. Many people make the mistake of assuming that public wifi is safe and secure. It’s not – hence the name, public. Never divulge information such as credit or debit card numbers or other personal or financial information over public wifi. If you must use public wifi, make sure that the site on which you’re conducting business has the “https” designation at the beginning of its url address. The “s” at the end is the optimum level of internet security available. In addition, remember that financial institutions will never request passwords, ATM pin numbers, or other sensitive financial data via email.
Make the switch to electronic delivery of account documents and check online banking and credit accounts often. Another tip to help fight fraudulent activity in Scottsdale's economy is to reduce the chance that paper documents or account statements could be intercepted in the mail or in other ways. Participating in online account access removes that risk. In addition, users can monitor their accounts more often in an effort to see and react to any suspicious activity or transactions. Security experts suggest monitoring your credit card and bank accounts once a week. Be sure to take advantage of free opportunities to sign up for fraud alerts from your financial institution or bank card company. The alerts can be set to notify users if purchases which exceed a certain prescribed amount, or if a purchase is made without the credit card being physically presented. One additional tip for these sensitive financial sites: Make sure your password is more complex than usual, and that you change it frequently. Experts recommend you not use the same password for multiple accounts.
Beware of card skimming. Thieves perform the illegal information gathering act of skimming by putting a device over the credit or debit card slot, allowing them to get information when the card is swiped. If you use a credit or debit card at a gas station, for example, look closely to make sure there’s nothing unusual on or near the card slot. Experts suggest physically touching the ATM or gas pump card slot and slightly jiggle it back and forth. If it moves a little too much, it could be a sign that a crook has attached a skimming device. In addition, cover your hands and fingers as you punch in your pin number. Thieves often install portable cameras nearby or watch through binoculars to try to steal your pin number.
Keep an eye on your mail. Despite having signed up for electronic banking, there are times where financial information must be sent through the mail. If you choose to receive paper documents instead of, or in addition to, electronic correspondence, be vigilant. Make sure what you’re being sent arrives as expected. We know of a situation where an apartment complex’s row of mailboxes was completely destroyed and a recipient of a new credit card was the victim of several thousand dollars in fraudulent charges – all because he wasn’t aware a new credit card was being mailed to him. The thieves only had to call a toll free number on the credit card to activate it and begin making purchases. The credit card company didn’t hold the cardholder liable for the fraudulent purchases, but he had to go through a inordinate amount of red tape in disputing the charges.
One last tip for fighting fraudulent financial activity affecting Scottsdale's economy: If you receive a change of address notice in the mail, call the financial institution or company it was sent from immediately. An address change could be a red flag that someone is trying to commit a fraud in your name. In a worst case situation, a crook could open accounts or purchase financial products in your name with the illegal intent of laundering money. So be vigilant, trust no-one and don’t just assume it couldn’t happen to you – it can and does happen to people every day – in Scottsdale's economy as well as others throughout the U.S.
You can find more articles pertaining to the Scottsdale Economy in the Economy section of articles just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.
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