Bradenton Real Estate

April 24, 2013

Housing Starts Pass 1 Million Starts for First Time in Nearly Five Years

housing reportHousing Starts Pass 1 Million Starts for First Time in Nearly Five Years

Freddie Mac recently released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for April showing that despite the ongoing housing recovery and gains on the construction jobs front, large economic headwinds persist. For example, the stubbornly high unemployment rate serves as a reminder of just how far the economy needs to go to get back to a healthy level. A short preview video and the complete April 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook are available here.

Housing starts were up 47 percent from March 2012 to March 2013, passing 1 million starts for the first time in nearly five years.
The pace of construction job growth has been accelerating in recent months. Over the past year, net construction job growth represented 8 percent of all job gains, while in the last six months it represented 15 percent.

Projecting an increase by $100 billion in refinances in 2014 to account for additional Home Affordable Refinance Program volumes with its extension through 2015.

Projecting residential originations, including single-family and apartments, to be nearly $2 trillion in 2013.

Supported by low mortgage rates, expect total homes built in 2013 to come in at the fastest pace since 2007.

“Until aggregate unemployment decreases substantially we will not experience robust growth. Construction employment is showing signs of life, which should help to improve the overall macroeconomic picture,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

“Housing construction is starting to pick up, but is well below historical averages. Supported by low mortgage rates we expect more homes to be built in 2013 than in any year since 2007. This increased construction employment should continue to help bring down the overall unemployment rate.”

Freddie Mac compiles data on major economic, housing and mortgage market indicators and offers forecasts based on those indicators.

For more information, visit

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Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.


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January 7, 2013

7 Tips for Keeping Your Financial Fitness Resolution

tips for financial fitness

7 Tips for Keeping Your Financial Fitness Resolution

The new year is a great time to get yourself pointed in the right direction financially. “Making small improvements at the beginning of the year is a lot easier than trying to play catch-up,” says financial planner Rick Rodgers, author of “The New Three-Legged Stool: A Tax Efficient Approach To Retirement Planning.”
“Just as you would embark on an exercise program to lose weight and get physically fit, there are simple steps you can take that will lead to being financially healthy and fit.” Here are Rodgers’ seven tips for improving your financial life in 2013.

• Review your credit report – Borrowing money isn’t the only reason to check your credit. Employers check credit reports and so do insurance companies. Your credit score can have a profound effect on the amount you pay for auto and homeowners insurance — and perhaps on health and life insurance in the not-too-distant future. Order your free credit report at

• Set up an Automatic Savings Plan (ASP) – If your employer doesn’t offer this through payroll deduction you can set one up through your bank or brokerage account. Simply have a certain amount of money withdrawn from your checking or savings account each month and deposited into your investment account. That way, you save it before you ever have a chance to spend it. Try to increase the amount you invest at least once a year.

• Establish a cash flow plan – Business owners know you can’t control what you don’t track. Take the time to forecast your income and expenses for the year, and put it in writing. Then adjust those numbers to reach your goals, such as paying down debt or replacing a car. Track your progress on a regular basis by holding a monthly family finance meeting to review the plan.

• Pay off your credit cards – It’s especially important to take action on debt in 2013. Cash doesn’t earn much interest sitting in a deposit account (less than 1 percent) and even “low interest” credit cards charge 10 to 12 percent. So if you’re sitting on any extra savings, consider using it to pay down credit card debt. Your cash flow plan should include a schedule to eliminate credit card debt as quickly as possible.

• Shop your insurance – Insurance agents are often paid commission based on premium levels, so they have no incentive for finding existing customers lower premiums. However, there is a huge incentive for a competing agent to find you the lowest premium in order to win your business. Make note of the coverage levels you have for your homeowner’s and auto policies and use them to comparison shop. Look at ways to save on your health insurance coverage, too, such as switching to a high-deductible plan and opening a Health Savings Account.

• Write an estate plan – At a minimum you need to have a valid will, power-of-attorney (POA) for your finances and health-care decisions, and a living will (Advanced Healthcare Directive in some states). Decide who will be your personal representative in the event you become incapacitated (POA) or at your death (executor). If you have minor children, choose who will raise them in your absence and establish a testamentary trust for their finances.

• Meet with a financial adviser – An adviser is to financial planning as a personal trainer is to an exercise program. Allow yourself to be held accountable by a third party who will push you to help yourself. Good advisers will help you develop a budget, look at your debts, tax situation, retirement and college savings, estate planning and insurance. You don’t have to be a high-net-worth individual to seek the assistance of a financial adviser. Go to the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and search for one in your area.

Don’t just make a vague resolution to save money. According to Psychology Today, of the millions of American’s who make a New Years resolution, 40 percent have already failed by Jan. 31. Let 2013 be the year you make lasting changes to improve your financial life.

Certified Financial Planner Rick Rodgers is president of Rodgers & Associates, “The Retirement Specialists,” in Lancaster. For more information, and

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January 2, 2013

Selling Your Home? Tips for Getting Across the Finish Line in 2013

Selling Your Home? Tips for Getting Across the Finish Line in 2013


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December 4, 2012

Bradenton, Manatee County, Real Estate Report, Forecast, Stats, and Data – October 2012

Bradenton, Manatee County, Real Estate Report, Forecast, Stats, and Data – October 2012

In Manatee county, FL, the median sold price for CONDOMINIUM properties for October 2012 was $89,000

, showing a decrease of 16.4% compared to last month, and an increase of 12.8% from October of 2011. The average days on market for condos sold in October 2012 was 147 days. That number is 6% below the 5-year October average number of 157 days. We realized an 8.2%, month over month, increase in the number of new contracts with 172 new ‘pending’ contracts, & a 2/4% month over month increase for ‘all’ pending contracts with 296. (All pendings = new pendings + contracts carried over from September 2012)

In Manatee county, FL, the median sold price for SINGLE FAMILY HOMES AND VILLA properties for October 2012 wa $185,000, showing an increase of 5/7% compared to last month, and an 18.6% from October of 2011. The average days on market for single family homes sold in October 2012 was 96 days. That number is 20% below the 5-year October average of 119 days. We realized a 1.4% month over month decrease in the number of new contracts with 629 new ‘pending’ contracts, & a 0.2% month over month increase for ‘all’ pending contracts with 1,363 (All pendings = new pendings + contracts carried over from September 2012) and a 4% increase in supply to 1,762 active listing for single family homes and villa homes. This activity resulted in a contract ratio of 0.77 pending contracts per each active listing, . This contract ratio is 153% higher than the 5-year October average of 0.30.

For a detailed real estate market report for your Manatee or Sarasota county zip code or neighborhood, please contact our team, The Serena Group, and we would be happy to provide that report at no cost to you → 941.757.5377

or email: or follow this link to make your request: REQUEST MARKET REPORT!

Click on the images to enlarge the charts for viewing!

September 19, 2012

Manatee County Real Estate Market Report – Year to Date – August 2012

Manatee County

Real Estate Market Report – Year to Date

All Property Types

Single Family and Condominiums – August 2012

manatee county, real estate, market, report, data, statistics, news

Thinking of selling or buying a home in

Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee or Sarasota County?

THE SERENA GROUP is here for you!   Direct → 941.757.5377

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July 5, 2012

7 Issues That Will Prevent Your Home From Selling

7 Issues That Will Prevent Your Home From Selling

7 Issues That Will Prevent Your Home From Selling

No curb appeal

Buyers won’t even go inside if the outside of the house looks unappealing.  Clean up your front yard by trimming trees and hedges, and getting rid of weeds. Make sure the outside of your home looks well cared-for by painting the trim, mowing the lawn, refreshing mulch and plant beds, and placing attractive potted plants by the front door.

Offensive Odors

You may have become accustomed to and not even notice bad odors that may be lurking in your home, but buyers most certainly will. Smoking and pets are the prime causes of offensive odors, so, if you’re a smoking household, smoke outside while you are selling your home and make sure to dispose of the ashes right away.  Take time to devise a plan for how to handle your pets while buyers will be viewing your home.  Make sure that they are always well-groomed, that their pillows and bedding are laundered frequently, litter boxes emptied and cleaned, and that any ‘accidents’ are thoroughly and completely eliminated.  Allow the house to air out thoroughly before viewings – don’t just try to mask the odor with another scent.  If a freshening scent is needed, place a pan of water or apple juice on the stove, set to simmer on a low setting, with cinnamon sticks, and lemon or orange slices.

Loud and intimidating pets

Apart from the odor of some animals, a big dog or noisy bird can be off-putting to some buyers. If that’s a concern for you, try to remove the pet from your home when you have viewings so your potential buyers aren’t distracted from appreciating the great features of your home by your pet, or worse, frightened.

Signs of Moisture or Mold

Problems with moisture are a big turn-off to buyers. Make sure your home doesn’t smell of mildew and there are no signs of mold or mildew on walls, cabinetry, sinks, bathroom showers, A/C units, or flooring. It’s much better to address and remedy moisture problems, proactively, before you get a buyer, than to wait until buyers point them out to you.

Dirt and Grime

Although dirt is usually only cosmetic, it sends a ‘red flag’ out to buyers, leaving the impression that; overall, the house isn’t well cared for. Make sure that your kitchen and bathrooms, in particular, are squeaky clean, as these areas are particularly scrutinized for cleanliness by potential buyers.

Questionable or Dated Décor

Although your home’s décor shouldn’t matter, due to the fact that it’s also a cosmetic fix or design choice, with many buyers it does influence their choices. ‘Move in ready homes’ are very appealing to home buyers and are usually at the top of their favorite’s list due to the fact that they can move in and get settled quickly without having to make a lot of changes. Given this reality, make it a priority, when getting your home ready to sell, to replace or refresh tired or out-of-date carpeting, flooring, paint,  or wallpaper with more neutral colors and modern scheme.


If your home is overpriced compared to similar properties on the market for your neighborhood or community, you’ll be limiting buyer interest and activity, and it will be very likely that your home will sit on the market without getting solid offers. Pricing for your home depends on a number of important market conditions and factors, so it’s very important to seek out the advice of and engage a real estate professional that you trust, and then take their advice when it comes to setting a price for your home.

Follow the link below for more home selling tips from The Serena Group ▼


If you’re contemplating or need answers to questions that you may have about a short sale of your home, The Serena Group is a team of distressed property experts and specialists, sharing 100+ years of real estate experience and expertise… We CAN help you!

Follow the link below to schedule a free short sale consultation ▼

The Serena Group offers online SHORT SALE CONSULTATION scheduling HERE!

or Contact our team leader, ROBERT SERENA directly ► 941.928.1248.

June 20, 2012

Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee County, or Sarasota County Home Owner, Contemplating a Move?

selling a home, selling real estate, home selling

If you’re thinking about the pros and cons of selling your home in the current Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee County, or Sarasota County real estate market, here are a few key points to consider:

  1. Low inventory in your neighborhood with high ‘buyer’ demand is usually indicative of a seller advantage or seller’s market for that area.  If this is the case for your neighborhood or subdivision, you may end up with multiple offers or a bidding war on your home, which is a great position to be in as a home owner!  Offers over the ‘list price’ are becoming more common for high demand areas.
  2. Even if there are distressed property competitors or a higher inventory of available properties for sale in your neighborhood, if you’re selling a home and then buying a new home too, you could very well make up on the ‘buying side’ of the process what you might lose on the selling side.  In some instances, you might even gain more than you lose.  Enlist the assistance of a great real estate team/agent to give you an analysis of the real estate market for your area and to offer their professional interpretation of the facts.
  3. Although the real estate market is moving in an upward direction, after a number of ‘down years,’ you still might be able to take advantage of a ‘move up’ opportunity or of purchasing a bigger, more elegant, or newer home at a price that may not be available long or be seen again for years.

Need an ear, a hand, or just some wise and professional real estate advice?

Contact The Serena Group today!

Our team of 7 seasoned agents is here for you with free online home research tools, market reports, a free home seller consultation, short sale resources, or a free market analysis for your home.

Email or contact our team leader, Robert Serena at ►

or by Direct phone ►941.928.1248.

If you do decide to sell your home, you may benefit from some of these excellent moving tips.

Vital Ideas to Make Moving as Easy as Possible

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events.  Here’s a quick guide to make your move as painless as possible.

Decide what not to pack

  • Now’s a good time to declutter your life by deciding which items you don’t want to take with you. Decide what you want to give away, throw away, or sell.
  • Get packing materials
  • If you’re not using a professional mover, you’ll need to get some packing materials. Bookstores often have strong boxes they don’t want anymore — call on the day of a delivery to ask for them.
  • Draw a floor plan — and use labels
  • Create a plan of your new home that you can use as a guide throughout the moving process. Label each of your boxes according to this plan. And clearly list what’s in each of the boxes.

What to pack first

  • Pack things you don’t need often first. Books, out-of-season clothes, and memorabilia make good candidates to go into boxes right away.
  • Pack “essentials” boxes
  • Mark some boxes as “essentials” and put in them the things you need on your first night in your new home.  That way you won’t waste time (and valuable energy) trying to find important things.

Food…and plants

  • Food, particularly from the freezer, isn’t easily stored, so try to use it up. Put plants in big plastic bags to avoid dirt spilling.

February 29, 2012

Bradenton, Manatee County, Golf Course, Homes for Sale

bradenton, manatee county, golf course, homes, properties, for sale

Bradenton, Florida, in Manatee county not only offers some great golf courses for golf enthusiasts… it also is home to some fabulous golf course home communities.  If you’re an avid golfer, you probably already know the benefits of living the ‘golfing lifestyle.’

Several members of our real estate team, The Serena Group, are not only experienced REALTORS, they’re also huge golfing fanatics.   In fact, a couple of them are very good players!  Since golf is our passion in real life, it only makes sense that our team also specializes in listing and selling golf course homes.  We know these golfing communities,  in the Bradenton, Manatee County area of Florida, inside and out.

If you’re new to the area, or just thinking of making your dream of living in a golf course community a reality, use the ‘quick links’ below to search for homes in a few of the more popular golfing communities in the area.

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For a tour of other options or for a list of properties


contact a bradenton realtor, real estate agent, realtors, agents, the serena group

February 8, 2012

Bradenton, Manatee County, Real Estate, News, Statistics, and Market Report

Welcome to the Latest Issue of The Serena Group Newsletter!

As a real estate professionals, we strive to keep in touch with our clients providing them with information that we hope they will find useful.

This newsletter is an opportunity to let you know about the state of the market & current trends. It may even touch on ways that you could enhance your home’s value.

We hope the market data & articles will help you with understanding real estate today & help you with your real estate decisions. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Robert Serena ~ Team Leader ~ 941.928.1248

Trend, Tips & Tricks

Manatee County in Florida Real Estate Sales Data

Average Listing Price (last 12 months)

Average List Price in January

Single Family Homes $444,390 Condos/ Townhomes $308,539 Multi-family $325,437

Home Improvements and Which Ones to Do

Home Improvements and Which Ones to Do

Whether you plan to sell in the near future, or just want to improve the value of your home, here is one low cost improvement you should consider. Give your home curb appeal!
Landscape the front yard. If the bushes are overgrown, the birds are dining on grubs in your lawn, and dandelions are the only flowers in the front yard, perhaps it’s time to get out the gardening tools.
Landscaping today doesn’t mean three evergreen bushes on the right and three evergreen bushes on the left. There are dozens of choices of plant materials that can add color and style to your front yard. Stop by your local landscaping center – they’ll have lots of ideas for you. Know the measurements and layout of your yard so a landscaper can advise you on how many plants or supplies you need.

Manatee County in Florida Real Estate Sales Data

Days on Market (last 12 months)

Current Average Days on Market in January

Single Family Homes 176 Condos/ Townhomes 207 Multi-family 288

Monthly Trivia articles


Valentine’s Day (February 14) has been associated with romantic love for centuries, but modern day Valentines are often expressions of non-romantic love. Originally celebrated on All Saint’s Day in May, Valentine’s Day was moved to February in the 1400s.
February is named after the Latin word februare (to purify), in recognition of the Roman festival for forgiveness of sins on February 15. But not for sins committed on Valentine’s Day as the Roman festival was many centuries before Valentine’s Day moved to February.
The birth flower for February is the Violet or the Primrose. The modern birthstone is the Amethyst (security, sobriety, spirituality and wisdom) and the traditional birthstone is the Onyx (relaxation and comfort).

Manatee County in Florida Real Estate Sales Data

Price Reduction (last 12 months)

Recent Price Reductions in January

Single Family Homes 6.4% Condos/ Townhomes 6.3% Multi-family 11.8%


short sale and foreclosure resource for home sellers and home buyers
Our team leader, Bob Serena, has completed the necessary education & training necessary to obtain his SFR (Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource) REALTOR® Designation.Not familiar with that acronym? What does that mean to you?It simply means that Bob has taken the time, energy, & expense to further educate himself on how to provide home buyers (as well as home sellers) with the very best real estate service with respect to Foreclosures & Short Sales.REALTORS® who have earned the SFR (Short Sale, Foreclosure Resource) certification know how to help home buyers pursue short sale & foreclosure opportunities. SFR Agents know the best ways & strategies to negotiate with lenders, protect buyers, & limit risk for their clients involved in short sale and foreclosure transactions.
Please use the form below to let us know how we might assist  you with your Real Estate plans!

January 25, 2012

Real Estate Statistics and Market Conditions

regional map for data, market reports

The Map above shows the areas that are represented in the real estate data and statistics below

View this document on Scribd

Data Source ► MyFloridaRegional MLS

Click here for a ‘no strings,’ customized, free market report for your area or neighborhood!

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