Arizona Mortgage & Real Estate News


How Much Home Can You Afford?

Want to know how much home you can qualify for, What's the maximum mortgage amount you can get approved, How much the down payment will be, How much your monthly mortgage payment will cost? -- You've definitely come to the right place! 

Arizona Central Mortgage is owned and operated by Steve Bernstein, who has originated, processed, underwritten and closed nearly $1 Billion in Arizona Home Loans over the past 25 years. Steve has assisted aspiring and existing AZ Homeowners qualify for, and close The Best Conventional, Jumbo & Government Home Loans In AZ. If you would also like to get Pre-Qualified, or Pre-Approved for Your AZ Mortgage Loan, Give Us A Call Today & SAVE (480) 424-7144.

How Much Loan Can You Qualify For?

There are three primary factors that determine how large a mortgage loan you can qualify for:

  • Credit Score - Typically a 620 middle Fico score is required for a Conventional mortgage, but there are also low down payment mortgage loans that permit a 580 middle credit score. Conventional Loans require a 4 year waiting period after Bankruptcy discharge and 7 years after Foreclosure, while Government Insured Home Loans typically only require a 2 year waiting period after a Bankruptcy, and 3 years after a Foreclosure. Note, exceptions to these rules are few and far between, regardless of whether there was a divorce, job loss, or financial mismanagement.
  • Down Payment - Depending on your middle credit score, there are AZ mortgage loans that permit down payments as low as 1% down, 3% down, 3.5% down, and on up from there. Veterans & Active Military are often eligible for 0% Down VA Home Loans. 
  • Debt Income Ratio - Depending on the loan program you select, your total monthly debt obligations cannot exceed 43%, 45%, or 50% of your gross monthly underwritable income. Note, Arizona is a community property state, so a Non-borrowing spouse' debt obligations are used when calculating your debt to income ratio.

If you would like to determine how much home, and how big a loan you can qualify for in Arizona, give us a call now to determine the Maximum Purchase Price and Home Mortgage Loan You Can Qualify For: (480) 424-7144

How Much Will The Down Payment Be?   

The lowest down payment mortgage loan in Arizona is determined by your middle credit score. The 1% down payment loan requires a 720 middle credit score, while the 3% down payment loan requires a 620 middle credit score. There is also a 3.5% down payment mortgage loan that only requires requires a 580 credit score. These are the minimum required scores, and may require compensating factors for loan approval. Following are some of the  Compensating Factors underwriters consider when approving your Home Mortgage Loan:

  • Long-term Job Stability
  • Post Close Reserves 
  • Light User of Consumer Debt
  • Additional Income Not Used In Debt/Income Ratio
  • Minimal Increase in Monthly Housing Payment
  • Tax Free Income Like Social Security or Child Support
  • Strong Residual Income Exceeding 20% of Requirement
Acceptable Down Payment Funds are required to be sourced and seasoned for at least 60 days. Cash on hand aka "mattress money," is not an acceptable source of funds for your mortgage down payment and/or closing costs & reserves. Following are acceptable sources of funds for your down payment, closing costs, and post close reserves:

  • Checking & Savings Accounts
  • Liquid Investment Accounts Minus Capital Gains Taxes
  • Vested Retirement Accounts Minus 401K Loans - 60% of Balance For Reserves
  • Documented Gift Funds From A Direct Family Member
  • Funds From Sale of Prior Real Estate
  • Rental Security Deposit Refund, If Paper-Trailed
  • Sale of Personal Property via Bill of Sale & Cancelled Check

How Much Will The Monthly Mortgage Payment Cost?

Your mortgage payment is calculated based on your Loan AmountLoan Term and Mortgage Rate. Your mortgage payment also includes 1/12th of your County Property Taxes, and 1/12th of your Annual Home Owner's Insurance Policy Premium. Additionally, if you put less than 20% down when purchasing your AZ Home using a Conventional Mortgage Loan, then Monthly Mortgage Insurance will also be included in your monthly mortgage payment. 

FHA Mortgage Loans always require monthly mortgage insurance, but there are some Conventional mortgage loans that do not require monthly mortgage insurance. If you are interest in removing your monthly mortgage insurance, than lender paid mortgage insurance options are often available, but typically cost .375% higher in mortgage rate. The Following variables are used to calculate your total monthly mortgage payment:

  • Principal & Interest Payment - Either use our mortgage payment calculator to calculate your monthly mortgage payment, or use the following rules of thumb:(Divide Your Expected Mortgage Loan Amount / 1,000 and then multiply that figure x $4.77 = Estimated Monthly Principle & Interest Mortgage Payment. 
  • County Property Taxes - Search your County Assessors website for a particular property annual tax bill and divide by 12 months. Otherwise estimate the property taxes as follows: (Purchase Price x .0078% / 12 months = Estimated Monthly Property Taxes. (Maricopa County Property SearchPima County Property Search)
  • Homeowner's Insurance - Estimate your homeowner's insurance as follows: (Home Price x .0035% / 12 months) = Estimated Monthly Hazard Insurance Payment.
  • Monthly Mortgage Insurance - Monthly mortgage insurance is very difficult to calculate, as it is based on your specific loan program, loan to value, and credit score. In general you can estimate your monthly mortgage insurance payment as follows: (Mortgage Loan Amount x .0085% / 12 months) = Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment.   

If you would like to calculate your approximate monthly mortgage payment, we provide plenty of Mortgage Calculators for calculating your monthly mortgage payment, income tax savings, rent versus own analysis, and many other useful mortgage calculators. If you prefer to have us walk you thru your specific mortgage calculations, give us a call now, and we will walk you thru the figures. (480) 424-7144

What Are The Closing Costs?      

Mortgage Closing Costs are added to your down payment, and your mortgage escrow account, to determine your Total Cash Required To Close. The Property Seller will also pay separate title insurance and escrow fees. But Home Buyers are responsible for most of the closing costs related to Buying a Home in Arizona. 

Following is a list of Closing Costs typically paid by an AZ Homebuyer. These Buyer costs can also be paid by the Home Seller, but "Seller Paid Buyer Costs," will need to be negotiated in writing thru your Arizona Residential Real Estate Contract. Note, some Buyer Paid Closing Costs can also be paid by the Lender. Give us a call now to discuss Lender Paid Closing Costs(480) 424-7144

Bank Closing Costs

  • Appraisal Report - Typically $470 to $750 depending on the loan program and price of the home
  • Credit Report - $35 per borrower for a 3 bureau scored credit report. Additional fees may apply when supplementing the original credit report with a landlord reference, updated mortgage rating, or adverse credit accounts that have been recently paid off. 
  • Flood Certification Fee - $15 is a 3rd party fee charged to verify if property is located in a flood zone  
  • Tax Service Fee - $45 is a 3rd party fee required to obtain tax transcripts thru the IRS and administer property tax payments over the term of your loan 
  • Underwriting Fee - $899 is a typical underwriting fee charged by a bank for underwriting your loan  
  • Processing / Administrative Fees - $45 is a cover all fee banks charge to cover misc. admin costs

Title & Escrow Company Costs

  • Title Insurance - Title company fees vary by title company, property type, and loan amount. Title companies file their fee schedules with the State of Arizona thru AZDFI. Title Insurance charges typically range from $699 to $1,020.  
  • Escrow Fees - Escrow fees are typically split between the home buyer and home seller, and cost $375 to $650, based on the title company used and the size of your loan 
  • Recording Fees - Recording fees $34, are charged by the Title Company for the cost of recording your mortgage Note and Deed of Trust, at the County Recorders Office.
  • Title Endorsements Fees (EPA, ARM, PUD, CONDO) - Title companies charge endorsement fees for adding additional title insurance coverage to their standard coverage. These endorsements range from $25 to $75 per endorsement.   
  • Courier or Overnight Delivery Fees - Courier fees of $35 are often charged by the Title Company for transporting loan documents from their office to the signing, and then back to the office, to be sent to the lender for funding, and then to the County for recording.  
  • Closing Protection Letter (CPL) - Lenders usually require a Title company to provide a CPL fee of $25 to indemnify the lender for actual losses caused by certain kinds of misconduct by the closing agent.

What About The Escrow Account?           

Most Arizona Mortgage Loans Require An Escrow Account Property Taxes, Homeowner's Insurance and Flood Insurance, if required. The escrow account also includes prorated interest from the day you close escrow, until the end of the month. For example, if you close on the 20th of the month, there will be 10 or 11 days of prorated interest due. If you close on the 10th of the month, there will be 20 or 21 days of prorated interest due except if your closing date is in the month of February.

An escrow account is setup by a mortgage lender to ensure your property taxes and homeowner's insurance are paid when due. Following is an example of escrow charges that will be collected by your Title Company's Escrow Officer, when you close your purchase or refinance loan in Arizona:

  • Homeowner's Insurance Policy - You will select and negotiate with the homeowner's insurance company who will insure your property should damage occur. Hazard Insurance policies typically cost between $750 to $1,200 per year. You will be required to pay for your 12 month insurance policy at closing, plus two months' insurance will be collected for your escrow account. Then you will pay 1/12th of the cost of your annual homeowners insurance bill, as part of your monthly mortgage payment. That way you will have 12 months of homeowner's insurance plus a 2 month cushion when your insurance is due 12 months after you close on your new home.    
  • Property Taxes - Property taxes are also collected and placed in your escrow account, when you buy a home in Arizona. Lenders will collect the the equivalent of 3 to 4 months of property taxes, so that your escrow account will have the 6 months property taxes, plus a two month cushion, each time your semi-annual property tax bill becomes due. To review a specific semi-annual property tax bill, visit the County Recorders Office online, or in person.   
  • Aggregate Adjustment - There is also a small aggregate adjustment that is calculated by the bank computer system. The aggregate is a small credit that will be subtracted from your total escrow account due, based on the congressional legislation.

What's The Next Step    

Pick up the phone and call Arizona Central Mortgage Now (480) 424-7144. One of our mortgage specialists will help you determine which home loan is best for you. You will be asked a series of brief diagnostic questions about your debt, credit income and savings, that will determine what mortgage options will help you to best accomplish your AZ home buying needs. Then you will receive a mortgage prequalification letter that will strengthen your home-buyer negotiating position, when purchasing your AZ Home.

If you are already shopping for an AZ Home, we can also assist you with a fast, automated preliminary mortgage approval for a Conventional, FHA, or VA Home Loan. The preliminary approval process will require the following financial documentation:

1. 30 days recent consecutive pay stubs
2. 2015 & 2016 W2's, 1099's or K1's
3. 2 most recent consecutive bank statements all pages
4. 1 quarterly retirement or investment account statement if applicable
5. Current award letter if using social security or disability income
6. Tax returns w/ all schedules, if using self employment or commission income 
7. $35.00 credit card authorization for 3 bureau scored mortgage credit report

We then run your preliminary mortgage approval thru our FNMA, FHLMC, FHA or VA automated underwriting engine, which will take 24 hours or less, from the time you provide your financial documentation. Then you will receive your written preliminary mortgage loan approval letter, or we will call you to review additional items required to procure your preliminary mortgage approval.

Once you have an approved Home Purchase Contract, we will update your loan application and miscellaneous disclosure forms, and quickly move your file to underwriting, for your complete underwritten mortgage approval. At that point, the underwriter will likely have a couple of questions and/or additional requests. We will work with you closely throughout the mortgage approval process, to ensure your Home Loan is approved quickly and efficiently.

Why Arizona Central Mortgage?         

Arizona Central Mortgage Provides Low Mortgage Rates For Buying, Refinancing or Taking Cash Out of Your AZ Home. We offer a complete menu of Arizona Mortgage Loans, including: Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA & First Time Homebuyer Loans. Following are a few of the Value Added Mortgage Benefits We Provide: 

Posted by Steve Bernstein on October 1st, 2017 11:03 AM

The July 2017 Residential Real Estate Figures are out for Maricopa County Arizona, and we are definitely in a Seller's Market. This means the Demand for AZ Homes, far exceeds the Supply of Available AZ Homes For Sale. This Arizona Home Inventory Shortage is due to the following Market Conditions & Statistics.


  1. The Cost of Land has Increased in Arizona to the point where Residential Home Builders in AZ cannot afford to build Lower Priced Homes.
  2. Mortgage Rates are still Very Low, but are approximately .50% to .75% above prior lows. So, AZ Home Sellers who plan to Buy Another Home, have to pay more per month just to maintain their current standard of living.
  3. The Population in Arizona Continues to Increase, so their are more Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials chasing Fewer AZ Homes For Sale. 
  4. AZ Rental Costs have been Steadily Increasing, due to the Lack of Affordable Rental Housing Inventory. 
For those Selling an AZ Home, and moving down, or moving to a more affordable geographic area, market conditions are excellent. For those Selling an AZ Home, and then Buying a more expensive AZ Home, payment shock is an issue, hence a 5/1 or 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage is becoming a more attractive home financing option. For those who are currently renting in Arizona, and who plan to buy their First AZ Home, the market is quite challenging, as there is currently a shortage of affordable housing available.

The Good News for First Time Homebuyers is that mortgage rates, and down payment requirements are relatively low. So, First Time Home Buyer's monthly mortgage payments are typically very similar to current rents.     

Following are Maricopa County AZ Residential Real Estate Figures that were used to support the assertions above.


  • New Home Listings July 2017: 7,696 vs. July 2016: 8,823 = -12.8%
  • Active Home Listings July 2017: 13,340 vs. July 2016: 21,172 = -37%
  • Avg Home Listing Price July 2017: $572,013 vs. July 2016: $444,644 = +28.6%
  • Median Listing Price July 2017: $355,975 vs. July 2016: $295,000 = +20.7%
  • Monthly Home Inventory July 2017: 1.6 vs. July 2016: 2.7 = -40.7%
  • Average Home Sales Price July 2017: $308,956 vs. July 2016: $284,192 = +8.7%
  • Median Home Sales Price July 2017: $254,000 vs. July 2016: $235,000 = +8.1%
  • Multifamily Apartment Rents in Phoenix, AZ have risen 8% in the past 12 months
  • Apartment Occupancy Rates in Phoenix, AZ metro area are approximately 95%
  • Maricopa County AZ Population is currently 4.2 Million, and is increasing by over 81,000 per year, or 222 people per day.

If you would like to Buy, Refinance, or Take Cash Out of Your AZ Home, and you want to Save More Time & Money, Call Local AZ Mortgage Expert Steve Bernstein Today & SAVE: (480) 424-7144, Arizona Central Mortgage,, NMLS 1230169, Company NMLS 1443346, Equal Housing Lender.

Posted by Steve Bernstein on August 7th, 2017 1:24 AM


NEW homes sold in May 2017, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units, according to HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is 2.9% above the revised April sales figure of 593,000 new homes sold, and 8.9% above the May 2016 estimate of 560,000 expected new home sales. Please realize these figures are for "NEW HOMES" only, and do not include existing home sales / resales for May 2017. Also the margin of error is higher than typical for the HUD and U.S. Census figures released.


The median sales price for NEW HOMES sold in May 2017 was $345,800 units, as compared to $406,400 for Existing Home Sales. The number of EXISTING / RESALE HOMES sold in May 2017, was 610,000 units, an annualized figure of 5.62 million homes expected to sell in 2017. Although we do not yet have the figures for Arizona, new homes and existing homes sold on the West Coast, were significantly higher than the national averages.


Buying An AZ Home & Want To Save $1,000? Contact Steve Bernstein Direct (480) 424-7144, Arizona Central Mortgage,
steveb@azcentralmortgage.comNMLS 1230169 / Co. NMLS 1443346


Posted by Steve Bernstein on June 23rd, 2017 3:41 PM

Fannie Mae released a few important updates today regarding Conventional Mortgage Loans! The changes will take affect July 29, 2017, and should help more Arizona Home-Buyers and Homeowners procure Conventional Mortgage Approval! 

1) Maximum Debt/Income Ratios - The maximum allowable debt-to-income ratio will be adjusted up to 50%. For DTIs above 45% and up to 50%, DU will no longer require, "certain additional compensating factors."

2) Adjustable Rate Mortgages - The new maximum allowable loan to value for adjustable-rate mortgages will be increased to mirror the LTV for fixed-rate mortgages.

3) Self-Employment Income - More Fannie Mae self employed borrowers will only be required to provide one year of personal and/or business tax returns vs. two years.

4. Timeshare Credit Reporting - Timeshare installment loans that are currently reported as mortgage debt and/or mortgage delinquencies will now be treated as an installment loan, and not a mortgage.

For additional questions regarding Buying, Refinancing, or Taking Cash Out of Your AZ Home, Contact Local AZ Mortgage Expert Steve Bernstein To Save! (480) 424-7144 -, NMLS 1230169 / 1443346, Equal Housing Lender.

* Information provided by Arizona Mortgage Expert Steve Bernstein (480) 424-7144 NMLS 1230169 / 1443346, and sourced thru Fannie Mae.
Posted by Steve Bernstein on May 31st, 2017 5:37 PM

 Arizona Credit Reporting Laws

Credit Scores determine Mortgage Rates in Arizona. The key to saving more money when Buying, Refinancing, or Taking Cash Out of an AZ Home is to maximize your three FICO credit scores. Many consumers use Credit Karma to monitor their credit, but the reality is, CK scores are not the same as FICO Credit Scores. In my experience the CK scores deviate from AZ Mortgage credit scores by 20 to 50 points per credit bureau. So the key is to talk to a mortgage loan expert who can run your actual credit scores, and then help you procure the best mortgage at the lowest possible interest rate. There are a couple of obvious, and not so obvious strategies used for increasing credit scores:

  • Pay all debt obligations on time
  • Do not apply for extra credit. Credit Inquiries result in credit score reductions
  • The more debt you pay off, the better your credit scores will be
  • Do not close old credit accounts. Older accounts demonstrate greater credit history
  • Do not pay off latent adverse credit accounts that have been inactive and recently unreported
  • It is better to build a diverse credit history ie., Installment, Revolving, Retail & Mortgage Debt 
  • Ask a Family member to add you to one or two credit accounts, so you can benefit from their good credit
  • If you have an unpaid collection or judgment, try to negotiate with the creditor to "Remove" the item from all three credit bureaus, in exchange for partial or full payment. Make sure you receive a written commitment stating that the creditor will remove the account from Transunion, Equifax & Experian 
  • When all else fails, write repeat letters to the three major credit bureaus requesting that they provide you with the legal documentation used for reporting a particular account, otherwise request that they remove the item from your credit report
  • Review National Consumer Assistance Plan updates and news about the the three major credit reporting bureaus:
The Fair Credit Reporting Act explains your consumer rights, and the credit reporting agencies responsibilities, when reporting your consumer credit in AZ. For each uncorrected error on your credit report, the credit bureaus are liable for $1,000. 

The point is that by paying your credit obligations on time, paying your balances down as quickly as possible, and holding the credit bureaus accountable for accurate credit reporting, you can maximize your credit scores, and save more time and money when Buying, Refinancing, or Taking Cash Out of Your AZ Home! 

You are also entitled by law to a Free Annual Credit Report showing exactly how Transunion, Equifax & Experian are currently reporting your credit. This is considered a "soft pull," and will not affect your FICO credit score. 

Steve Bernstein is a Mortgage Broker & Mortgage Credit Expert in Arizona for 22 years. If you are Buying, Refinancing, or Taking Cash Out of an AZ Home, Contact Your Mortgage Expert Steve Bernstein to Help You Save More Time & Money! Phone: (480) 424-7144, Fax: 866-424-7176,,
Posted by Steve Bernstein on February 20th, 2017 10:57 PM
Steve Bernstein is excited to announce the launch of the new Arizona Central Mortgage website:! This new AZ internet mortgage resource provides Hot Photos of Modern AZ Homes, along with Current AZ Mortgage Rates, AZ Mortgage Loan Programs, AZ Mortgage Calculators, AZ Mortgage Videos & More!

If you are Buying, Selling, Refinancing, or Taking Cash Out of Your AZ Home, Goto Now To Save More Time & Money, or Call AZ Mortgage Expert Steve Bernstein Now To Save! Direct: 480.424.7144 

Arizona Central Mortgage is Owned & Operated by Steve Bernstein NMLS 1230169 / Company NMLS 1443346, Equal Housing Lender, 7771 N Via Del Mundo, #1000 Scottsdale, AZ 85258.
Posted by Steve Bernstein on February 9th, 2017 5:34 PM

More good news for those Buying, Refinancing, or Taking Cash Out of AZ Homes, as Conventional & FHA maximum mortgage loan limits are increasing throughout the State of AZ. Effective January 1, 2017, Conventional mortgage loan limits will be increasing equally throughout AZ, while FHA maximum mortgage loan limits will increase greater in Maricopa County AZ, and in Pinal County AZ, than all other AZ Counties. 

Following are the maximum Conventional & FHA mortgage loan limits that are currently available in AZ, as compared to the maximum AZ mortgage loan limits that will be available, effective January 1, 2017:     

                          2016 Max Loan      2017 Max Loan

Conventional Mortgage       $417,000 $424,100
FHA Mortgage
Maricopa County AZ         $271,050 $279,450
Pinal County AZ $271,050 $279,450
All other AZ Counties $271,050 $275,650

"The general loan limits for 2017 have increased and apply to loans delivered to Fannie Mae in 2017 (even if originated prior to 1/1/2017). This is the first time the base loan limits have increased since 2006."

FHA "Forward mortgage limits for calendar year 2017 are effective for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2017."

Data Source:

For mortgage related questions in AZ, please contact Steve Bernstein Direct at (480) 424-7144 or goto:, NMLS 1230169, Company NMLS 1443346.

Posted by Steve Bernstein on December 28th, 2016 11:14 PM
Mortgage and Real Estate News
Posted by Steve Bernstein on September 9th, 2016 11:51 PM
Social Security Income is possibly the best source of income used to qualify for a mortgage. SSI is not only easy to document via Awards Letters & Bank Statements, but also consistent every month.

SSI is often received tax free. When this is the case, the Mortgage Industry "Grosses Up" Net monthly SSI by 125%. The extra 25% in SSI is used to equalize Non-Taxable income with other Gross monthly income sources.  

Example: If a Borrower receives $1,600 per month in Net SSI, a mortgage underwriter can increase that income to $2,000 per month, ($1,600 x 1.25). Moreover, that extra $400 per month in underwritable income, equates to approximately $40,000 in additional loan amount a borrower can qualify for. 

For mortgage related questions in az, contact Steve Bernstein at (480) 424-7144,,, NMLS 1230169 / 1443346.   
Posted by Steve Bernstein on August 24th, 2016 11:32 PM
Low Credit Score Mortgage Loans Are Available in AZ, as long as your middle credit score is at least 580. If your scores are less than 580, the best idea is to work on increasing your credit scores quickly. Otherwise you will need a non-conforming mortgage loan that typically requires a 20% - 25% down payment, with a rate that is 4% above conforming interest rates. Interestingly there are also non-conforming mortgage loans for borrowers who are 1 Day to 1 Year out of Bankruptcy or Foreclosure. These loans usually require a 25% to 40% down payment, and have interest rates that are 5% above market rates.    

Conforming mortgage loans include the 3% down payment home mortgage loan that requires a 640 middle credit score, and the 3.5% down payment mortgage that requires a 580 middle credit score. If your middle credit score is below 580, and you want to buy a home in AZ, following are 7 ways to increase your credit scores quickly!     

7 Ways To Increase Your Credit Scores Quickly:

1. Pay down Revolving credit lines.
2. Pay off small collections and request paid in full letters.
3. Pay off Collections & Judgments after negotiating reduced payoffs &/or letters stating accounts will be removed. 
4. Build 3 Positive accounts by running small balances & paying at least the minimum monthly payments on each card.
5. If you don't have 3 opened accounts, try to open, use & pay a couple of retail store accounts &/or secured credit cards.
6. Don't run additional credit Inquiries until you are ready to apply for your mortgage as each inquiry reduces your credit scores.
7. Then contact Steve Bernstein at for a lower AZ mortgage rate! (480) 424-7144 

If you have additional questions about Buying, Refinancing, or Taking Cash Out of Your AZ Home, Please contact Steve Bernstein Today To Save! (480) 424-7144,, NMLS 1230169 / 1443346, Equal Housing Lender. 
Posted by Steve Bernstein on August 8th, 2016 1:43 AM

Got a Question?

Do you have a question? We can help. Simply fill out the form below and we'll contact you with the answer, with no obligation to you. We guarantee your privacy.

Your Information
Your Question