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 www.FreddieMac.com.

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

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March 31, 2013

From Gloom to Bloom: Expecting the Healthiest Spring Season Since 2007

gloom to bloomFrom Gloom to Bloom: Expecting the Healthiest Spring Season Since 2007

Freddie Mac recently released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook through March showing that as we head into the spring home buying season, continued low mortgage rates, increasing house prices, and gradually improving consumer confidence will help support increased home sales. A short preview video and the complete March 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook are available here.

Outlook Highlights

• Compared to 2012, expect home sales to be up 8 to 10 percent for 2013.
• Expect housing starts to increase to 950,000 units for 2013, compared to 780,000 in 2012.
• In 2012, real estate added $1.5 trillion to balance sheets, and residential mortgage debt outstanding increased by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating household deleveraging might be drawing to a close.
• Because of sequestration spending reductions, expect the unemployment rate in 2013 to average about 7.8 percent, essentially flat for the year or about 0.25 percentage points higher than it otherwise would have been.
• Regardless, the housing wealth effect is taking hold in the broader market which should translate into the healthiest spring home buying season since 2007.

“History shows us not all economic recoveries are created equal and consumer confidence mirrors this fact,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

“With the spring home buying season upon us, the recent highs in the stock market are a welcome signal of better times ahead. But it will be the gradually declining unemployment rate and steadily improving housing market that will deliver broad-based economic benefits for Americans and, in turn, support the overall recovery.”

For more information, visit www.FreddieMac.com.

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January 19, 2013

5 Credit Myths to Ditch Now

credit myths

5 Credit Myths to Ditch Now

By Barbara Pronin

Everyone knows that having a good credit score marks you as a credit-worthy individual with increased buying power. But, said consumer finance consultant Jill Krasny, many people have critical misconceptions about what makes for a good credit score.

Krasny offers five common credit misconceptions:

  • Having too much available credit can hurt your score – False. There is nothing in the credit scoring formula that penalizes a consumer for having too much available credit. If anything, it may increase your credit worthiness in the eye of lenders, who operate on the theory that having a lot of credit available but low balances and on-time payments make you the best possible risk.
  • Income is part of your credit score – Wrong. Credit reporting agencies do not even include your income on your report. Lenders are interested only in whether your pay your bills on time.
  • Once married, a couple’s credit score is combined – Wrong again. All consumers, married or not, have individual credit files and scores. But it is important to manage your finances carefully, especially when it comes to shared debts.
  • Carrying balances on credit cards is better for your score – Not. The only thing a running balance will get you is interest charges. Paying off your bill on time each month shows credit activity as well as credit worthiness.
  • A credit repair agency can get negatives off your report – False. If late payments are listed accurately on your credit report, no agency can legally remove them, no matter what they promise. If the information is correct, the only thing you can do is make on-time payments going forward. If the information is not accurate, you should file a dispute with the credit reporting agency, asking them to correct the inaccurate information or remove the negative info that doesn’t belong to you – which credit agencies are obligated to do within 30 days under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BUYING OR SELLING A HOME…

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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 AnnualCreditReport.com.

• 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, visitwww.RodgersSpeaks.com and www.TheNewThreeLeggedStool.com.

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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

 

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2013 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

December 30, 2012

FHA Loan Fees Are Scheduled To Increase… Again in 2013!

FHA mortgage update

In case you haven’t heard… FHA loan fees are scheduled to increase… again in 2013!

These changes are projected to be in effect by the early part of 2013, and would raise FHA mortgage insurance rates from 1.25% to 2.05% per year.  That percentage increase translates to about an $800 hike in loan costs per year for every $100,000, being financed by an FHA loan, for a home purchase.  Additionally, this news also means that, potentially, the loan amount that a home buyer could qualify for would also drop by $10,000 per $100,000 being financed by an FHA mortgage.

The proposed hike in FHA mortgage insurance premiums, for a large number of home buyers, will negatively affect their ‘home purchasing power.’   The price of a home that a buyer could qualify to purchase, when these increased fees are factored in, will most likely be greatly reduced and some home buyers, in certain price ranges, could even be locked out of the market completely.

What does that means to you, if you’re planning to purchase a home with an FHA mortgage?  It means that now, rather than later, is the right time to start your search for your new home!

FHA mortgage insurance rate hikes, coupled with lower inventory of homes in certain price ranges, and rebounding home prices in many areas, indicates that people who plan to purchase a home in 2013 should consider doing so in the early part of the year to take full advantage of their ‘home purchasing power.’

If you are planning to sell your home in 2013, you can also apply this news to your plans. It’s a good bet that more buyers will be, most likely, in the market to purchase homes early in the new year which would mean that there will be a larger ‘home buyer pool’ and more interest  for your property if it’s on the market in early 2013.

If you’re not sure what property values are for your neighborhood or community, contact a trusted real estate professional for a ‘Market Analysis’ report.  This analysis will give you an educated look at whether prices are stabilizing, declining, or rising for your subdivision or community, and based on those facts you can decide, with your agent’s professional guidance, when the time is right for you to put your home on the market for sale.

If you live in the Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee County, or Sarasota County areas of Florida, or own an investment, vacation, or part-time residence here, The Serena Group would be happy to provide a market report, with no strings and free of charge, for your home… just contact us today to make your request!

Phone Direct: 941.757.5377
Email: info@TheSerenaGroup.com

or use the form provided below:

You may also visit our website at: www.Bradenton-Florida-RealEstate.com for a wealth of real estate information including:

mortgage tools and calculators, school ratings, relocation information, new home construction information, area, community videos, home search tools, foreclosures, short sale facts and information, and home buyer and home seller reports and tools.

September 9, 2012

Mortgage Rates Change Little, Remain Near Record Lows – September 2012

mortgage news, freddie mac
Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates declining or remaining the same from the previous week amid mixed economic data, and continuing to hover around their all-time record lows.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.55 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending September 6, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.59 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.12 percent.

Additionally, the 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.86 percent with an average 0.6 point, the same as last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.33 percent.

Results showed that the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.75 percent this week with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.78 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.96 percent.

The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.61 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.63 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.84 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following links for Regional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

“Mortgage rates were little changed over the holiday week amid mixed economic data releases,” says Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Although consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in July, representing the largest gain in five months, the core price index was unchanged suggesting little threat of inflation. Consumer confidence picked up slightly in August according to the University of Michigan, but remained below this year’s peak in May. And the manufacturing industry contracted for the third consecutive month in August.”

For more information, visit www.FreddieMac.com.

The Serena Group ~ Keller Williams Realty of Manatee

is here for you!  Contact Us Today!

August 16, 2012

Fighting Off Foreclosure

Thank you to the folks at eLocal for the following guest post relating to ‘Avoiding Foreclosure.’

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As we hear about foreclosures in the news almost daily now, it is important to understand how the foreclosure process works and what some of the other options might be.

Foreclosure is an emotional and arduous process, as well as being catastrophic to your credit rating.  Foreclosure can stay on your credit report for up to 7 years and remains a part of your public record forever.

 eLocal asked their Legal Expert Network, which is made up of real estate agents and real estate lawyers, how to protect against foreclosure.They received many responses.   Using these responses, along with doing some further research on their part, eLocal compiled this information into a mini infographic foreclosure guide.

Source: elocal.com

Fighting Off Foreclosure - Infographic by eLocal.com

→ CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Fighting Off Foreclosure – Infographic by eLocal.com

August 13, 2012

Zillow Study Finds Owning a Home After Three Years More Beneficial Than Renting

Zillow Study Finds Owning a Home After Three Years More Beneficial Than Renting

View this document on Scribd

Thank you to Mike & Winnie Koebel of Home Lending Source for this guest blog post.

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.

Pricing

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 ▼

HOME SELLING, SHORT SALE, FORECLOSURE, TIPS, INFORMATION, AND RESOURCES!

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.

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