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.


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

July 6, 2011

Common Home Buying Question: Should I Continue to Rent a Home or Should I Buy One?

rent versus buy a home

Home buyers everywhere wrestle with this question all the time:

“What is the best way to decide if I should continue to rent a home or if it might be the time to buy a home?”

The answer to this question is different for every home buyer and for every local market.

Using the ‘Rule of 15’ is a great way for home buyers, who have all the elements in place to purchase a home, but are just not sure if it makes sense to buy a home over continuing to rent a home,  to get some clarity.  The ‘Rule of 15’ is a great tool for doing your research… that… and the assistance of an experienced real estate agent, professional.

Read on to learn more…

May 25, 2011

How is the Government Supporting and Assisting Our Distressed Housing Market?

Visit for more articles like this.


May 19, 2011

Title Insurance Issues for Foreclosure and Short Sales

real estate, title insurance, tipsIt’s important, in today’s Real Estate market populated with a large percentage of short sale and foreclosure home listings and sales, for the home buyer to understand the differences between “Marketable” and “Insurable” title insurance before they arrive at the closing table.

Title insurance is insurance conveyed to a home buyer to protect them from any financial loss or obligation due to defects or clouds that could remain on the title to the property.

Read more here….

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.

October 11, 2010

Bradenton, Sarasota, Florida, Real Estate Information for Home Buyers, and Real Estate Investors

If you’re trying to decide if you should jump into the ‘Real Estate’ game to purchase a real estate investment or residence for your family or whether now is the right time to buy a home… Take the time to read the digital ‘book’ below.

It covers the following 7 Reasons for jumping now!

  1. Home affordability is at an all time high
  2. Mortgage rates are historically low
  3. Home prices are starting to trend upward
  4. Home sellers are motivated by ‘buyer’s market!’
  5. Financing is readily available for well qualified buyers
  6. The ‘Owning vs Renting’ ratios are increasing in favor of owning
  7. It’s still the dream of most people to own their own home!

When you’ve finished reading the ‘book’ contact THE SERENA GROUP with questions, comments, or requests for further assistance… We’re here when YOU’RE ready to buy!

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October 7, 2010

Facing Foreclosure? What to Do Right Now!

Facing Foreclosure?  What to Do Right Now!

A record high 2.8 million properties were hit with foreclosure notices in 2009. That’s the bad news. The good news: About two-thirds of notices don’t result in actual foreclosures, says Doug Robinson of NeighborWorks, a nonprofit group that offers foreclosure counseling.

Many homeowners find alternatives to foreclosure by negotiating with lenders, often with the help of foreclosure counselors. If you’re facing foreclosure, call your lender right now to determine your options, which can include loan modification, forbearance, or a short sale.

Foreclosure process takes time

The entire foreclosure process can take anywhere from two to 12 months, depending on how fast your lender acts and where you live. Some states allow a nonjudicial process that’s speedier, while others require time-consuming judicial proceedings.

Once you miss at least one mortgage payment, the steps leading up to an actual foreclosure sale can include demand letters, notices of default, a recorded notice of foreclosure, publication of the debt, and the scheduling of a foreclosure auction. Even when an auction is scheduled, however, it may never occur, or it may occur but a qualified buyer doesn’t materialize.

Bottom line: Foreclosure can be a long slog, which gives you enough time to come up with an alternative. Meantime, if your goal is to salvage your home, think about keeping up with payments for homeowners insurance and property taxes. Otherwise, you could compound your problems by getting hit with an uncovered casualty loss or liability suit, or tax liens.

Read the fine print

Start by reviewing all correspondence you’ve received from your lender. The letters—and phone calls—probably began once you were 30 days past due. Also review your mortgage documents, which should outline what steps your lender can take. For instance, is there a “power of sale” clause that authorizes the sale of your home to pay off a mortgage after you miss payments?

Determine the specific foreclosure laws for your state. What’s the timeline? Do you have “right of redemption,” essentially a grace period in which you can reverse a foreclosure? Are deficiency judgments that hold you responsible for the difference between what your home sells for and your loan’s outstanding balance allowed? Get answers.

Pick up the phone

Don’t give up because you missed a mortgage payment or two and received a notice of default. Foreclosure isn’t a foregone conclusion, but it’s heading in that direction if you don’t call your lender. Dial the number on your mortgage statement, and ask for the Loss Mitigation Department. You might stay on hold for a while, but don’t hang up. Once you do get someone on the line, take notes and record names.

The next call should be to a foreclosure avoidance counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. One of these counselors can, free of charge, explain your state’s foreclosure laws, discuss alternatives to foreclosure, help you organize financial documents, and even represent you in negotiations with your lender. Be wary of unsolicited offers of help, since foreclosure rescue scams are common.

Be sure to let your lender know that you’re working with a counselor. Not only does it demonstrate your resolve, but according to NeighborWorks, homeowners who receive foreclosure counseling are 1.6 times more likely to avoid losing their homes than those who don’t. Homeowners who receive loan modifications with the help of a counselor also reduce monthly mortgage payments by $454 more than homeowners who receive a modification without the aid of a counselor.

Lender alternatives to foreclosure

Hope Now, an alliance of mortgage companies and housing counselors, can aid homeowners facing foreclosure. A self-assessment tool will give you an idea whether you might be eligible for help from your lender, and there are direct links to HUD-approved counseling agencies and lenders’ foreclosure-prevention programs.

There are alternatives to foreclosure that your lender might accept. The most attractive option that’ll allow you to keep your home is a loan modification that reduces your monthly payment. A modification can entail lowering the interest rate, changing a loan from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate, extending the term of a loan, or eliminating past-due balances. Another option, forbearance, can temporarily suspend payments, though the amount will likely be tacked on to the end of the loan.

If you’re unable to make even reduced payments, and assuming a conventional sale isn’t possible, then it may be best to turn your home over to your lender before a foreclosure is completed. A completed foreclosure can decimate a credit score, which will make it hard not only to purchase another home someday, but also to rent a home in the immediate future.

Your lender can approve a short sale, in which the proceeds are less than what’s still owed on your mortgage. A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, which amounts to handing over your keys to your lender, is another possibility. The earlier you begin talks with your lender, the more likelihood of success.

Explore government programs

The federal government’s Making Home Affordable program offers two options: loan modification and refinancing. A self-assessment will indicate which option might be right for you, but you need to apply for the program through your lender. A Making Home Affordable loan modification requires a three-month trial period before it can become permanent.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own foreclosure-prevention programs as well. Check to determine if either Fannie or Freddie owns your mortgage. Present this information to your lender and your counselor. Fannie and Freddie also have rental programs under which former owners can remain in recently foreclosed homes on a month-to-month basis.

The federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, which takes full effect in April 2010, offers lenders financial incentives to approve short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure. It also provides $1,500 in relocation assistance to borrowers. Again, talk to your lender and counselor.

Source: ~ 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.





The Family That Welcomes YOU Home!

April 13, 2010


THE SERENA GROUP consists of 5 licensed, full time REALTORS® serving the Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee County, East Manatee County, and Sarasota County areas of Florida, with over 75 years of combined “Real Estate Experience & Expertise” specializing in new construction homes, foreclosure homes, golf course homes, properties, heritage harbour homes, and short sale transactions. For home sellers… THE SERENA GROUP has a very aggressive home marketing planContact us for your copy! If you’re selling a home... THE SERENA GROUP is very experienced and knowledgeable about pre-existing homes and new construction homes all over Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee, and Sarasota County… Contact us today for a free home buying consultation… We don’t just want to sell you a home, we want you to understand the process!   Why work with a single Real Estate Agent and have to wait in line to have your concerns and requests addressed?  You don’t have to pay more… to get more. CONTACT THE SERENA GROUP and our TEAM of 5!   PUT OUR TEAM TO WORK FOR YOU TODAY!



December 9, 2009


Greetings, Bradenton, Sarasota, Manatee County and Sarasota County, Home buyers and Home Sellers! Here is the latest monthly Real Estate Market Report courtesty of Keller Williams Research. Please call THE SERENA GROUP for an interpretation of this report for your area and request a free MLS Snapshot Real Estate report for your neighborhood! (LINK ON THE RIGHT SIDEBAR)

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