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 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…

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!

View this document on Scribd

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!



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®.”

August 31, 2009


HOME BUYERS! … The time is ripe for making YOUR move! Home prices are rising… investors are grabbing the best deals… the home buyer tax credit expires on November 30, 2009! WHAT ARE YOU WAITNG FOR? Contact THE SERENA GROUP today to find out how you can get into the market… before this “HISTORICAL BUYER’S OPPORTUNITY” passes you by….

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