When it comes to the Scottsdale mortgage market, these days the choices can be a little confusing. Mortgages typically fall into one of three categories: fixed rate, adjustable rate (or ARM) or hybrids (a combination of features of both fixed rate and adjustable rate offerings.)

No matter which type you choose, it’s best to select the Scottsdale mortgage that you can afford the easiest, pay off the quickest and repay as little interest as possible over the life of the loan.

A fixed rate loan offers a set rate that won’t change during the term of the mortgage. If you qualify for a payment based on a shorter-term mortgage, you can save a substantial amount of interest — even though your monthly payments will be higher.

An ARM is a popular choice since the initial rates may be lower. However, if you choose an ARM, remember these two factors:

1) WHEN the interest rate can adjust, and

2) HOW MUCH it can adjust

Find more articles about the Scottsdale mortgage market by checking out our Scottsdale Mortgage Info to your right just below our Scottsdale Real Estate Categories.

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In many ways, the Scottsdale real estate market is still paying for the sins of lax lending practices in the last housing boom. It's been five years since the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was enacted, putting into motion new credit extension and lending rules for mortgage lenders.

What it Means for Scottsdale Real Estate

Time will tell how Scottsdale real estate will be affected by Dodd-Frank

The Dodd-Frank legislation encompass reams of documentation and have required Scottsdale real estate mortgage lenders to incur millions in expenses to comply with the regulations. The requirements, however, are fairly forthright and logical. Gone are the days of the extreme risk loan offerings such as negative amortization mortgages or no documentation loans. Today, lenders are required to obtain full documentation from their borrowers for both income and debt, and lenders must further verify the borrowers credit history and ability to repay the mortgage loan. And while that may sound like the proverbial "no brainer," it's one of the basic reasons that led to the Scottsdale real estate meltdown. Lenders granted mortgage loans that borrowers simply couldn't pay back.

The end result has created a current environment in which consumers find it more difficult to obtain financing. Lenders report the average FICO score required on approved mortgage loans are higher than ever before and many point to tighter credit as the reason the homeownership rate is at its lowest in more than twenty five years. Lenders also contend that while loan approvals are still being issued, the additional documentation and verification makes the mortgage approval process lengthy and cumbersome. Borrowers, on the other hand, say it’s not only the process, but the higher credit levels that is thwarting their home buying efforts in the Scottsdale real estate market.

The Dodd-Frank legislation seems to have almost had the reverse affect from what was intended. Mortgage lenders are skittish when it comes to taking risks and, while that’s not a totally bad result, the legislation was designed to improve lending practices and stimulate the Scottsdale real estate market’s recovery.

Time will ultimately tell how Scottsdale real estate will be affected, but one thing’s for sure: since fewer homebuyers are paying cash for homes, affordable and readily-obtainable mortgage loans will always be necessary. Lenders and regulators need to find a common ground on which they can stand, and at the same time offer consumers products that are innovative, attractive and that affordably fit their needs.

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Scottsdale investors, like many other Americans, are still a little nervous about Wall Street and recent activity in the stock market. In a recent survey, Bankrate.com reported that the majority of its respondents feel more bullish about the real estate market than other long-term investments. Characterizing long-term investments as those with a duration of 10 years or more, the survey cited real estate as the most popular investment with 27%. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed preferred cash investments (CDs, Money Market Funds, etc.), 17% preferred the stock market. Gold, silver and other precious metals were at 14% and bonds finished at 5%.

Scottsdale investors were recently included in a survey by Bankrate.com

Despite the S&P 500 enjoying a 27% increase over the past two years, in general, stocks were only slightly more popular as an investment in 2015 versus 2013.

Scottsdale Investors Participate in Survey

The survey included information submitted by 1,000 adult residents of the United States and included Scottsdale investors in the questionnaire. Surveyors gleaned results based on geographic location, age, gender, and political affiliation. Women surveyed were more likely to favor cash investments offering less risk and greater security. Men were more likely to invest in real estate.

Interestingly, college graduates largely comprised the group most likely to prefer investing in stocks. Geographically, the western states favored real estate investments by a two to one margin over other investment options.

Not surprisingly, 32% of millennials (defined as those age 18-29) cited cash as their most popular long-term investment. In addition, the same percentage — 32% — of Generation Xers (those between 30-40) favored real estate, a popular choice of Scottsdale investors.

Those earning less than $50,000 per year said they felt "more secure" in their investments, while those earning $50,000 – $74,900 weren't quite as confident in their investments. Additionally, Republican respondents were three times more likely to say they felt "less secure" about their jobs than Democratic counterparts.

The July Bankrate Financial Security Index posted a positive response for the 14th consecutive monthly period, but July was the second lowest month of the year so far. Analysts attribute the ranking in part to an overall downward slide in job security. Of those surveyed, 22% felt "more secure" about their job situation than they did just a year ago, while 14% said they feel "less secure." Sixty-two percent felt "about the same" compared to a year ago.

Stay abreast of all the news affecting Scottsdale real estate, and what Scottsdale investors are finding most attractive by continuing to follow our blog, and also remember to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

A Scottsdale mortgage is probably the single largest monthly obligation you'll ever have if you own a home here. Everybody likes saving money, whether they live in Scottsdale or another American city! And whenever you're able to save money it's especially satisfying.

Six Tips for Lowering Your Scottsdale Mortgage

There are, among potential others, at least a half-dozen ways you may be able to reduce that large mortgage payment looming before you each month. Monthly mortgage payments are comprised of four main costs: principal, interest, (property) taxes and (homeowners) insurance, commonly referred to as “PITI.” If you’re able to reduce one or more of these component parts, it can make a substantial impact on your monthly payment… and quite possibly make living in the Scottsdale area more enjoyable than ever!

Six Tips for Lowering Your Scottsdale Mortgage:

1. Refinance Your Scottsdale Mortgage at a Lower Interest Rate

Whenever possible, and assuming your closing costs aren’t prohibitive compared to the amount of interest you’re saving, it’s probably best to refinance your existing loan at a lower rate of interest. That will reduce your monthly principal and interest payment. More importantly, over the life of the new loan it could save you thousands of dollars in the amount of interest you’ll pay.

Furthermore, even though it won’t necessarily reduce your monthly payment, you may elect to opt for a 15-year or 20-year term when you refinance, rather than the longer 30-year term.  A shorter term will increase your monthly payment amount, but it will substantially reduce the number of years of remaining payments. Consult your real estate agent or mortgage lender. You may be surprised at how popular a shorter term Scottsdale mortgage is.

2. Compare Prices for Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Shopping around for the best homeowners insurance premium is another way you can save a good deal of money each month, each year and over the life of your home ownership. Insurance premiums are based on a variety of factors, including the amount of deductibles, the nature and numbers of claims filed and, in cases where you “bundled” your auto insurance with your homeowners insurance, your driving record. Some companies in Scottsdale will offer you premium discounts on your homeowners insurance and your auto insurance if you have a safe driving record.

In addition, making certain home improvements may qualify you for a premium discount. For example, if you live in an area prone to hurricanes, your home could be reinforced with high wind-resistant glass and roofing improvements to better protect your home. Such improvements, among others, may enable you to qualify for savings to your homeowners insurance premiums. Discuss with your insurance agent what improvements may be applicable in Scottsdale that would potentially reduce your premium.

3. Contest Your Real Estate Tax Bill

If you have sufficient evidence to appeal or petition your town or county for a lower tax assessment it may be something that they may consider. There are probably companies in Scottsdale  that can handle the process for you or you could handle it yourself.

4. Pay an Additional Scottsdale Mortgage Payment Every Year

By making one extra principal and interest payment each year you can save hundreds or more in interest over the life of your Scottsdale mortgage. Plus, it will reduce the length of the term of your loan.

5. Ask Your Lender to Recast Your Mortgage Loan

"If you like your bank, you can ask to recast your loan at a lower rate,”  so says industry expert, Rich Zito, co-founder of Flynn Zito Capital Management in Garden City, New York. Tito goes on to say that whether the lender will recast your loan depends on the bank’s policy and certain other factors, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Realistically, however, most lenders probably would prefer — and perhaps require — that you refinance your mortgage. Scottsdale mortgage lenders and those in other parts of the United States earn greater fees through the refinance process.

6. Eliminate Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

When you originally bought your home, if you financed more than 80% of the purchase price you probably were required to have private mortgage insurance on your loan.  If your home in Scottsdale has appreciated significantly and other lender requirements have been met, you can request that your mortgage lender eliminate the PMI on your loan. The lender may require a new appraisal at your expense, but in the long run the savings will pay for the cost of the new appraisal.

If you're not concerned with Scottsdale home security, perhaps you should be. The United States is the world’s most burglarized nation, with a burglary occurring every fifteen seconds! And, while we like to think of our Scottsdale neighborhoods as safe, the sad fact is that even in the best of neighborhoods throughout America there are unscrupulous people ready to steal your valuables right from the very home in which you live. The majority of home burglaries occur when you are away from your home — especially when you and your family are on vacation or out of town.

Improve Scottsdale home security by joining a neighborhood crime watch

Make Scottsdale Home Security a Top Priority

You can take some proactive measures to make sure your home is a little safer when you’re not there. Improving your home security can also help to lower your homeowners insurance rates as well. Follow these guidelines to improve your Scottsdale home security.

Install a good alarm system.

Most industry experts agree that the most important feature of any alarm system is its ability to act as a deterrent. If a potential burglar sees that your home is protected by an alarm system, he is less likely to run the risk of choosing your house. There are too many other homes that probably have no security or alarm systems from which the robber can choose.

Get to know your neighbors.

While it may sound like a suggestion from the 1950s when the vast majority of Americans thought nothing of leaving their houses unlocked, the simple truth is an observant and caring neighbor can be important in warding off burglars. If you have close friendships with your neighbors who agree Scottsdale home security is important, let them know you are going to be away from your home for a few days. Perhaps one of them may be willing to collect your mail, newspapers or packages that may be delivered in your absence. These are often telltale signs would-be robbers look for when scouting a home that may be unoccupied for a short period of time –– long enough for a robbery.

If your neighborhood has a crime watch group committed to improving Scottsdale home security, make sure you alert them about your plans to be out of town or on vacation. It always helps to have additional eyes watching your property, just in case it was being targeted for illicit activity.

Break out the spy equipment.

With the technology of today it’s much easier and more affordable than ever to connect your Scottsdale home security cameras to your smartphone, tablet or laptop. This allows you to keep an eye on your home and your belongings remotely, giving you an added sense of security, peace of mind and the ability to contact the police if you see something suspicious. Even less expensively, you can install one or more “dummy” cameras that may act to deter potential burglars. Some people use a combination of both real and dummy cameras to ensure they can optimize their Scottsdale home security.

Install motion sensor lights.

Burglars are like vampires. They love the darkness, but hate the light. By installing motion sensor lights the chances of deterring a potential robber are greatly increased. No burglar wants to have bright lights shone on him that may enable neighbors to get a good look at him or be able to provide the police with a good description.

Don’t make your house alluring to crooks.

Most burglars have an idea of what they are looking for when they choose a home to rob. Simply put, they look for the easiest and most accessible targets that offer the highest potential.

So don't make it easier for them than it needs to be by having your valuable belongings in plain view if a burglar looks through a window. Position your curtains, drapes or blinds so your electronics such as computers and flat screen TVs aren't easily seen from outside your home. Keep guns and rifles locked in gun safes or gun racks. Don’t leave jewelry on top of your dresser. Make sure your valuable silverware is out of sight in a cabinet — preferably a locked one. Crooks are opportunists, so if they don’t immediately see something worth stealing they may move on to another house.

By following these and other smart ideas, you can improve your Scottsdale home security. Find more tips for lowering your homeowner insurance rates under our Scottsdale Insurance section of articles under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right.