Bradenton Real Estate

July 13, 2012

Bradenton, Short Sale, Agents… Another Successful Short Sale Transaction!

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For many Real Estate professionalsshort sales and foreclosures are the new “traditional” transactions.  REALTORS® who have earned the SFR designation know how to help short sale sellers maneuver through the complications, challenges,  and special situations that short sales sometimes  present.

It’s extremely important to have the help of a real estate professional who has earned the SFR (Short Sale, Foreclosure Resource) designation for these kinds of transactions.

Bob Serena, Team Leader for The Serena Group has earned this designation.

If you’re a homeowner who is in trouble  or underwater with your mortgage contact us today ► 941.928.1248.

For more short sale information, visit our short sale resource web page


July 10, 2012

Summer Ushers in Highest Consumer Sentiment in Four Years

Summer Ushers in Highest Consumer Sentiment in Four Years

consumer confidence report The Consumer Reports Index, an overall measure of Americans’ personal financial health, saw a sharp improvement in its consumer sentiment measure, which jumped to its highest level since October 2008.

The rise in sentiment (53.1 from 47.5 the previous month) was broad-based, with significant gains among those Americans in households earning less than $50,000 (+5.5 pts) as well as more affluent households earning $100,000 or more (+7.7 pts).

“With more than half the country earning less than 50,000, any improvement among that group may have a significant impact on the economy. They still have some distance to climb, but these are positive signs,” explains Ed Farrell, director of Consumer Insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

The improvement in consumers’ mood was supported by a decline in financial difficulties, which reached the lowest level since first measured in April 2009. The Consumer Reports Index’s Trouble Tracker, a gauge of financial difficulties faced by Americans in the past 30 days, dropped to 41.8, down from 46.5 last month.

The decline in financial troubles was evident in both lower- and upper-income households. However, the level of financial difficulties faced by those in households earning less than $50,000 is three times as great as experienced by those in more affluent households (earning $100,000 or more) as measured by the Trouble Tracker, 58.9 versus 19.5, respectively.

The Consumer Reports Index’s employment measure climbed into positive territory this month (50.9), up from 49.7 last month, indicating that more Americans have started a new job versus those that reported losing a job in the past 30 days. The employment measure’s improvement was driven by a gain in job starts (5.5 percent), up from 4.0 percent last month, reversing a three-month decline.

After a five-month slide, the index’s past 30-day retail measure moved upward this month to 9.9 from 8.9 a month earlier, but is virtually unchanged from a year ago (10.2). Planned purchasing over the next 30 days (8.6), reflecting intent to buy in July, was also up versus last month (7.0), but lags last year at this time (7.7).

Source: Consumer Reports

The Serena Group ~ Keller Williams Realty of Manatee

… is here for you!  Contact Us Today!

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 27, 2012

The Post-Purchase Jitters: Tyson’s Tips on Homeownership

Real Estate expert and author of five national bestsellers Eric Tyson sat down with Dottie Herman, CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman, on June 2 to discuss the housing market and give valuable advice to new homeowners post-purchase.  Elliman is a leading New York-based Real Estate company, and the broadcast “10 Things to Do After Buying Your Home” was part of Herman’s regular show, “Eye on Real Estate with Dottie Herman.”

Tyson, who began his career as a personal financial adviser at Bain & Company in the early 90s, shared tips with Herman’s audience from two of his newest books, “Investing for Dummies” and “Home Buying for Dummies.”  He is also the ONLY AUTHOR to have four of his books simultaneously on Business Week’s bestseller list. Tyson and Herman opened their talk with a discussion about current home pricing and the buyer’s remorse that often accompanies new home purchases.

“Getting the money to buy is hurdle one, and paying is hurdle two,” Herman explained when introducing her guest.

Tyson agreed, explaining that prospective homebuyers should always be confident of their financial and employment situations prior to buying.  Some of the initial tips he gave to buyers made reference to affordability, personal circumstances and comfort level.

“You have to look at your overall financial situation to figure out how much house you can truly afford,” Tyson said.  He added that potential buyers should account for outstanding loans and expected future expenses to make the decision less stressful in the long run.

Herman asked Tyson to share some of the tips from his most recent book.  At that point Tyson delved into several explanations of the material, including why consumers should avoid solicitors, how buyers should go about hiring effective financial planners and Real Estate teams, why new homeowners should get involved in local tax assessments and how buyers can protect their assets in the future.

Tyson explained that recent home buyers should opt for classic life insurance instead of mortgage insurance policies.  “The life insurance decision comes down to ‘how many years worth of your income are you trying to replace?’” Tyson explained. He also stressed that bank solicitations are usually less cost effective for consumers looking to buy life insurance.

In reference to the process of hiring Real Estate teams, Tyson said, “Learn enough so that you can evaluate these people and make a good hiring decision.”  He further suggested that homeowners should not assume that refinancing will save them money but should crunch the numbers themselves or with their financial planners.

Herman then directed the discussion to emergency funds.  When asked of the standard amount for an emergency fund, Tyson said, “I think for most people–at a minimum–they want to have 3 months worth of living expenses.”  He added, “If things are more volatile, you should have at least 6 months worth of living expenses.”

After noting that many home buyers get stressed out during and after the home-buying process, Tyson finished the interview with some key advice from his book:  “Take time to smell the roses.”


Guest Author Credit:  Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work pertaining to home improvement, the latest architecture, design and fashion.  She also writes on behalf of Elliman Real Estate.  Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

For Dottie Herman | CEO | Prudential Douglas Elliman

June 20, 2012

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

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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.

May 31, 2012

First Time Buyers Dilemma – Starter Home or Dream Home?

First Time Buyers Dilemma – Starter Home or Dream Home?

May 16, 2012

6 Arguments for Buying Versus Renting a home

You’ve probably been bombarded by local and national real estate market news and information stating that “Now is the time to buy!”  

Especially if you are a first time home buyer, you might be asking yourself,

“Should I take the leap now into the real estate market to purchase a home?”  Or  “Is now the right time to buy a home?”

As much as all of the positive signs that we’re seeing in our local real estate market for the Sarasota, Bradenton, Manatee County, and Sarasota County area of Florida seems to provoke the answer to those questions to be a resounding “YES!”buying a home is a very personal action with very unique and individual circumstances to be considered for making the right decision at the right time .  A ‘one size fits all’ answer to the questions posed above would not do you, as a home buyer,  justice as the unique person that you are.

The advantages to home buying versus renting a home are numerous, but only you can determine if those advantages outweigh your other personal situations.

The very best home buying advice that you could follow is to, first, sit down with your family to privately discuss your options, pros and cons of both home ownership and renting.  When you’ve got a clear picture of your family’s priorities and have decided to look into buying a home, poll your trusted family members, friends, and colleagues, do your research on the web, and then,  seek the advice and guidance of an experienced, seasoned, and skilled real estate team or professional.

A good real estate agent or team of agents will be happy to schedule a home buyer consultation to go over your list of priorities, home criteria, and personal family situations to help you to decide the best plan of attack for purchasing your new home.  A good real estate agent will also counsel you on the steps of buying a home so that you will feel comfortable all throughout the home buying process… from the beginning point of looking at homes, to the end of the line at the closing table when you finally take possession of the keys to your new home!

If you or anyone that you know would like to schedule a home buyer consultation with The Serena Group, please contact our team leader, Bob Serena, directly at ► 941.928.1248

controlling your expenses, stable living costs, renting versus buying a home

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privacy, entry rights, renting versus buying a home

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pet ownership, renting versus buying a home

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noise and privacy, renting versus buying a home

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designing decisions, renting versus buying a home

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tax breaks, renting versus buying a home

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May 1, 2012

Updates to Florida’s Hardest Hit Program for Underwater Homeowners

Florida Hardest Hit Program UpdateThis past Friday, April 27, 2012, Changes to the eligibility requirements for Florida‘s Hardest Hit Fund Program were approved by the Florida Housing Board.  

Even after passing through the Florida Housing Board, the changes to Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund Program will not take effect until the US Treasury reviews, approves these changes, makes changes to their systems, and trains their staff.

Approved changes to Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund include:

  • Increase of time period for homeowners to receive assistance increased from 6 months to 1 year.
  • Cap for allowance to bring a loan current increased from $6000 to $18,000.
  • Monies to bring a loan current will be given to the homeowner upon approval instead of later in the process, helping to minimize the damage to the homeowner’s credit.
  • Monthly expense limitation of 31%, to qualify for money to bring the loan current, has been removed.
As of April 1, 2012, in Florida, nearly 90 million dollars has been earmarked to assist approximately 4,955 homeowners.

For more information or for an application visit: 

April 25, 2012

Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee and Sarasota County, Real Estate, Market Report, News, Information

Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee and Sarasota County,

Real Estate, Market Report, News, Information, Article

presented by  Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee and Sarasota County, Real Estate, Market Report, News, Information

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Contact The Serena Group for more information

about buying or selling a home in the Bradenton, Sarasota,

Manatee County, and Sarasota County areas of Florida!

April 17, 2012

Invest Your Tax Refund in Your Home

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Invest Your Tax Refund in Your Home

One way to give your tax refund legs is to invest it in your home.   While the housing market may still be experiencing difficulties, real estate remains a great long-term investment.   BMO Financial Group offers the following real estate-related options for your tax refund:
First-Time Homebuyers
Today’s historically low interest rates along with more reasonable home prices make home buying a great opportunity and a tax refund can be used toward a down payment.   There are a number of loan options along with grant and down payment assistance programs that are perfect if you are a first-time homebuyer.   But, before you set out to buy a home, it’s best to talk with a mortgage professional and be pre-approved.

Refinance Your Home
With rates at historical lows, refinancing may help a homeowner lower their rate or change the length of the loan’s term, allowing them to pay off their loan quicker and save money on interest.   It’s best to check with a mortgage professional you trust who can help determine if a lower rate or different loan term makes the most sense for your personal situation.

When considering refinancing, people often worry that appraisals and closing costs will outweigh the minimal monthly savings gained.   Determine how long you plan on staying in the home you’re refinancing.   Sometimes closing costs can be recouped in monthly savings over a longer period of time.   An alternative is to use your tax refund to pay closing costs.

Pay Down Your Mortgage

Paying down your mortgage with your tax refund is also a great way to decrease your debt and increase equity in your home.   If you plan on staying in your home for at least the next three to five years, consider investing your tax refund toward the principal of your mortgage.

The Serena Group ~ Keller Williams Realty of Manatee is here for you!     Contact Us Today!

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