Bradenton Real Estate

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

or use the form provided below:

You may also visit our website at: 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 29, 2011

What Do You Know About USDA Home Mortgage Loans?

If you’re planning a home purchase, and are planning to get a mortgage,

make sure that you explore all the options that are available to you.

One of those options might be a USDA mortgage loan.

USDA mortgage loans have some huge benefits if the property that you’re choosing and your financial situation meet certain criteria:

  • Home must be within certain geographic areas.  For our area in Manatee County, Florida, the geographic  area includes a rather large part of the county.
        For more specifics, you can look up a property address by going to:

  • The income of the borrower(s) must be within certain limits.  $75,200 for a family of 1-4, and $99,250 for families of 5 or more.

For more detailed information and to ask questions from a mortgage professional, READ ON HERE!

August 23, 2011

Tips for Scoring Better Credit


Credit scores are a hot topic of discussion given todays’ world of uncertain financial news and situations.

In the housing market, Home buyers, with less than perfect credit, have difficulty qualifying for mortgages due to tighter restrictions and tougher underwriting for mortgage money. Home sellers are in unfavorable situations, in many cases due to the fact that property values have fallen below the amounts that are owed on mortgages, making foreclosure or short sale the unfortunate choice of many home owners who need to sell their homes.

How do you improve or rebuild your credit score? Here are some tips for both home buyers and home sellers… READ ON HERE: TIPS FOR SCORING BETTER CREDIT

July 15, 2011

Why Work With A REALTOR® ? We’ve Got Your Back!

On September 30, the cost of a mortgage could rise significantly.

“On October 1, 2011, the mortgage loan limits for FHA and the GSEs will decrease, lessening the availability of mortgage credit for hundreds of thousands of responsible and credit-worthy American families. What we need now is time for the real estate market and overall economy to heal, to self-correct, and stabilize. Reducing mortgage liquidity at this time will hurt our fragile economic recovery.”

Wondering what Real Estate agents do to earn their living besides selling homes?

The above excerpt is from a letter that thousands of REALTORS will be sending to their respective governmental representatives… on your behalf.

Reference the chart below to see how the proposed changes could impact our area of Florida

(click to enlarge!)

FHA mortgages, FHA mortgage news, real estate news

April 13, 2011

How to Find the Right Mortgage

The home buying process is daunting for a first time home buyer.  One of the first things a potential home buyer should do, even before going out to look at homes to buy, is to explore financing options, if planning to obtain a mortgage.

Here are some tips on how to find the right mortgage:

(click on the image to read, save, or print the article)

how to find the right mortgage

November 9, 2010

Your Home Mortgage Down Payment – Bradenton Real Estate, Mortage Information

Your Home Mortgage Down Payment

Bradenton Real Estate, Mortage Information

BRADENTON MORTGAGE INFORMATIONDo you have the money for a home mortgage down payment and closing costs?

The down payment for a home mortgage is a percentage of the value of the property that you’ve identified for purchase.

Freddie Mac says the percentage will be determined by the type of mortgage that you select.   Home mortgage down payments, as a general rule, range from 3 to 20 percent of the property value.

You may also be required to have Private Mortgage Insurance  (PMI or MI)  if your down payment is less than 20 percent.

Closing costs include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs and items that must be prepaid or escrowed in addition to any other settlement costs. You can generally expect to pay between from 2 to 7 percent of the property value for mortgage closing and settlement costs. As a home buyer, you will receive an estimate of these costs in a ‘Good Faith Estimate’ or ‘GFE’  from your lender after you apply for a home mortgage.

Having a substantial mortgage down payment will open up more house buying options for you.   Getting pre-approved will also put you in a great position to purchase from the best homes.

Contact THE SERENA GROUP for – Bradenton Real Estate Information, and for recommendations for mortgage lenders for the Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee and Sarasota county areas of Florida.

February 24, 2010


serena group logo- real estate experts

RESPA Rules Limit Fee Increases at Home Closing

Article From

By: Jerry DeMuth
Published: February 19, 2010

A revamped good faith estimate and HUD-1 settlement form mean fewer last-minute surprises at closing because of limits on fee increases.

Homeowners in the market to refinance a mortgage or take out an equity loan, as well as homebuyers looking for purchase financing, should benefit from improved RESPA disclosure rules.

Lenders are required to use a redesigned good faith estimate, or GFE, form and HUD-1 settlement statement that clearly spell out loan terms and closing costs. RESPA also limits how much some fees listed on a GFE can increase at settlement, decreasing the likelihood of last-minute surprises.

RESPA could save borrowers time, money

Residential loans, including mortgages and equity loans, are subject to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (, or RESPA for short. That means its requirements will come into play any time you try to refinance a first mortgage, take out a second mortgage, or buy a house. Home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, are excluded because they’re covered by other disclosure guidelines. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s RESPA rule took full effect Jan. 1, 2010.

At the core of RESPA is a new three-page GFE form ( that highlights proposed loan terms and breaks out projected settlement fees, from title services to origination charges. There’s also the revamped HUD-1 settlement statement (, which is issued just before closing and provides an accounting of the final loan and settlement service costs. The redesigned forms are cross-referenced, allowing the borrower to easily compare the fees provided up front on the GFE, to the actual fees presented at closing.

HUD, in its impact analysis ( of RESPA, claims that a typical borrower should save $668-12.5% of the average total loan charges. The savings are projected to be derived primarily from the reduced cost of many fees as a result of upfront disclosure, limits on fee increases, and competition. Borrowers also should be able to reduce the typical 12 to 15 hours spent obtaining a loan by at least an hour, says HUD.

Some in the industry, including the National Association of REALTORS®, dispute HUD’s savings estimate, claiming any savings would be less than projected or not materialize because of increased compliance costs for lenders and title companies.

GFE form spells out loan terms, fees

Fees typically add up to between 3% and 6% of a loan amount, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve, so it’s important for borrowers to keep tabs on these charges. That’s often easier said than done. But because the revised GFE and HUD-1 forms group like fees, use consistent terminology, and cross-reference fees by line number, the task is much simpler. The only fee that can be collected at the time of a loan application is a charge to pull a credit report (U.S. average: $37 ( ).

Loan originators have three business days to give a borrower, who submits a loan application, a good faith estimate that discloses key loan terms and fees.

Certain fees listed on the GFE, such as transfer taxes, can’t change at settlement. Loan-origination fees can’t change once an interest rate is locked in. The total cost of fees for such things as title services and title insurance can only increase by up to 10%, if you use a provider recommended by the lender. The 10% cap doesn’t apply if you pick your own providers. What can also change by any amount at settlement includes reserves for escrow and premiums for homeowners insurance.

For some services, such as appraisals or credit reports, lenders can require you to use a specific provider or choose from a list of selected providers. RESPA prohibits lenders from receiving any type of kickback from these providers. Borrowers can shop around for providers of some services, such as pest inspections and surveys.

Which amounts can and can’t change are clearly labeled in a table in the instructions on page 3 of the GFE form. The instructions also provide a handy table for comparing terms from various GFEs, and a tradeoff table that outlines such things as how the purchase of discount points will affect your monthly payment and settlement charges. (Buying points-the cost of each point is equal to 1% of the loan amount-will lower the interest rate you pay on a loan in exchange for a higher upfront payment.)

Be a smart consumer

HUD’s settlement cost booklet (, “Shopping for Your Home Loan,” provides useful information about the new GFE and HUD-1 forms. Lenders must, at the time of application, provide you with a copy. Read it.

•The transparency of the new GFE makes comparison shopping easier. Settlement service terms not related to the lender’s loan origination charges are required to be available for a minimum of 10 business days.
•Review the good faith estimates with a real estate attorney. If you have any questions about the number or size of fees, contact the lender immediately. Once you express an intention to proceed with a loan, a lender can collect additional fees related to origination.
•Don’t toss the GFE in the trash after you pick a lender. Take the paperwork to your closing. You’ll be able to compare, line by line, the GFE with the three-page HUD-1 settlement statement.
•If questionable charges turn up at settlement yet you decide to close on the loan anyway, or if you don’t spot the charges until after the closing, there’s still recourse. Lenders have 30 days from the date of closing to correct errors and violations, and repay consumers any overcharges. Borrowers can file RESPA complaints with HUD by calling 202/708-0502.

Jerry DeMuth has written about mortgages and other financial issues for more than two decades for trade publications, major newspapers, and consumer magazines. His writing has received four awards and has been included in eight non-fiction books.

“Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

April 8, 2009


Home Improvement Made Easier
With 203(k) loans!

You can take advantage of a “fixer” home and make repairs with FHA 203(k) Rehabilitation mortgage. With one loan that combines the cost of buying the home with the cost of making repairs, the 203(k) could be ideal for qualified buyers interested in purchasing a home in need of repairs or updating!

The 203(k) advantages:203k-photo

 Refinancing existing liens on eligible primary, owner occupied residences and rehabilitate such a dwelling
 Qualify with as little as 3.5% down
 Cash needed for repairs is built into the loan amount
 Loan amount is based on the “as-improved” value
 Owner occupied, FHA approved condos can qualify

For homes needing limited repairs, qualified buyers may opt to use the FHA Streamline 203(k), featuring all of the advantages of the 203(k), except that up to $35,000 of loan proceeds can be applied toward repair / rehabilitation.

For More Information:

At Countrywide, you get direct access to local home loan experts so that you can turn that “fixer-upper” into a cozy, comfortable home!

Call Bill McGowan for more information or visit us on the web at:

Bill McGowan
Home Loan Consultant


Office 941.708.3137 ( Ext. 225)
Mobile 941.720.5665
Fax 866.409.5182

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