Scottsdale home prices increased in August, but...

Scottsdale home prices increased in August, yet the pace of these gains continues to slow, helping to improve affordability for potential buyers.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic said recently that Scottsdale home prices rose 6.4 percent in August compared with a year ago. That marks a decline from an annual gain of 6.8 percent in July. Scottsdale home prices had been rising as much as 12 percent yearly toward the end of last year.

Scottsdale Home Prices Not Adjusted for Seasonality

Prices rose 0.3 percent in August from July. But CoreLogic's monthly figures aren't adjusted for seasonality, such as buying that occurs during warmer weather.

Sales struck a plateau in the middle of last year and have remained subdued for much of 2014. As sales have slowed, so have price gains. That should eventually make it easier for would-be buyers to afford a Scottsdale home.

As the pace of price gains has slowed, so have sales of existing homes.

Home Prices Dropping Nationwide Too

Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors reports that purchases fell 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million in August. Sales fell from a July rate of 5.14 million, a figure that was revised slightly downward. Overall, the pace of home sales has dropped 5.3 percent year-over-year.

Economists associate annual sales of 5.5 million with a healthy market.

The NAR also said that median sales prices had risen 4.8 percent over the past 12 months to $219,800, but that average slipped slightly in August compared to prices in July and June.

Follow news on Scottsdale home prices and the housing recovery right here by periodically checking back in the Scottsdale Real Estate News section of our website under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories.

Knowing your credit score is important. But with the sheer number of different credit score systems out there, are any of them really doing you any good, or are they just a big hindrance?

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To get more tips on Scottsdale mortgage information, including more articles about your credit score and the various ways to improve yours, check out our other articles by clicking on the Scottsdale Mortgage Info link to your right under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories.
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Scottsdale home equity loans are on the rise once again.

Scottsdale home equity is rising once again. Home gains over the past two years have restored a lot of money to most homeowner's available fund balance through the value in their home versus what they owe on it. As a result, more and more Scottsdale homeowners are taking out HELOC's (Home Equity Lines of Credit) again.

Through July, some 449 of 884 markets or 48.9 percent of America's housing markets, have reached or exceeded median peak price levels, according to Homes.com.

RealtyTrac recently reported that the 12 months ending in June 2014 a total of 797,865 Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) were originated nationwide, up 20.6 percent from a year ago and the highest level since the 12 months ending in June 2009.

What Exactly is a Home Equity Line?

Home Equity Lines of Credit are non-purchase loans that are secured by the equity (the appraised market value of a property minus any other loans secured by that property) and can be used by homeowners to fund home improvement projects or other purchases.

This recent rise in HELOC originations indicates an increasing number of homeowners are gaining confidence in the strength of the housing recovery and, more importantly, have regained much of their home equity lost during the housing crisis. Nearly 10 million homeowners nationwide, representing 19 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, now have at least 50 percent equity in their homes, according to RealtyTrac data. Meanwhile the percentage of homeowners with severe negative equity has decreased from 29 percent in the second quarter of 2012 to 17 percent in the second quarter of this year.

With new loans slowing to a crawl, lenders have been looking for ways to come up with products to offer homeowners who have already refinanced or gotten their primary loan. A Scottsdale home equity loan (HELOC) enables homeowners to leverage additional equity they may have gained since refinancing while still preserving the rock-bottom interest rate on their first position loan.

Like it or not, we all live in a digital age. But now, smart gadgets for your Scottsdale home are making things inside your home completely controllable outside of your home, using your smart phone.

Living in Digital Times technology editor Andrea Smith discusses some of her favorite gadgets for the ultimate connected home.

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Do you have smart gadgets and devices in your Scottsdale home yet? Chances are, if you don't already, you will soon. Smart gadgets and devices are getting smarter almost by the day, and cheaper too. What used to cost a fortune to automate your home, is now much more affordable.
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If the high cost of installing smart gadgets and devices in your Scottsdale home has been holding you back, wait no longer. Now is the time to start looking at ways you can simplify your life, go green, and possibly even save money on your homeowner's insurance because your Scottsdale home is less likely to suffer a break-in when it's controlled by these smart gadgets and devices.
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For other ideas on improvements you can make in your home, check out our Scottsdale Home Improvements section of articles under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right.

Buying a Scottsdale home remains a dream for many people. Whether you are a young professional, part of a new family, or an empty-nester, the desire for permanence, peace of mind, and independence can be extremely motivating, in part because almost everyone considers these factors important for having a good quality of life.

When looking for a Scottsdale home, whether for the first time or not, many would-be homeowners finding themselves wondering: what kind of Scottsdale home can I actually afford and how do I find one that is affordable on my budget?

Here is how to go about figuring out a budget for your Scottsdale home.

Determining a Budget for Your Scottsdale Home

You must take an objective look at your finances to understand exactly how much you can afford to spend on creating your perfect home.

You must look closely at all your debts, bills, and earnings, and that can be uncomfortable or even depressing, depending on your circumstances.

A good place to start is by talking to a financial adviser, loan officer, or other professional to get an accurate picture of your finances and potential budget for buying your Scottsdale home.

In the end, however, you should have a figure in mind in terms of the monthly payment you can afford. Remember the payment includes more than just the principal and interest associated with the home loan. You will also be paying property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and possibly mortgage insurance, making the payment higher than you may initially think.

Finding an Affordable Scottsdale Home

In recent years, some of the best real estate deals have been on foreclosures and short sales. Foreclosures are homes sold by the bank holding the mortgage, usually due to non-payment by the owner. Sometimes, homes may be sold at auction by the state/city due to non-payment of property or other taxes. Foreclosures are generally sold well below market value, primarily to prevent the bank or other interested parties from losing even more money on the property. Lists of foreclosures can be found online or sometimes in local newspapers.

Short sales are similar, however, the list price of the home may be higher than a foreclosure. Keep in mind, many of these homes are not necessarily in good condition and may need work, either cosmetic or structural, to make the home livable or nice inside.

If you choose to purchase such a Scottsdale home, a property inspection beforehand can save you a lot of potential heartache. Replacing a roof, for example, generally costs thousands. Mold remediation is likewise expensive, not to mention hazardous. Homes for sale by-owner are likely to be affordable; however, the transaction itself can be much more difficult without having professional assistance working on behalf of both parties.

These reasons alone should be convincing enough to hire your own agent to look after your best interests in any purchase of a Scottsdale home.

Other Expenses When Buying A Scottsdale Home

Closing costs can be one major expense. Ideally, the seller should pay the majority of these costs. To avoid surprises, be certain to understand fully which expenses are your responsibility and which ones belong to the seller. High closing costs can represent a serious expense that could be unnecessary or at least negotiable.

The same goes for insurance. It is entirely possible to overpay for a policy that does not provide any additional benefits to you as the homeowner. You should get quotes from several insurance companies prior to choosing a policy. Do not skimp on coverage! Just make an attempt at getting what you need for an affordable rate through comparison shopping.

We have more articles to help in the process of buying a Scottsdale home over in our Scottsdale Home Buying Tips section of articles under the Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right.