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Brett Ellis attended the CyberStars 2014 Meeting in Las Vegas.

CyberStars 2014 Meeting in Las Vegas

Top Real Estate Agents Meet in Las Vegas

The CyberStars met and discussed topics affecting the future of real estate and how agents can effectively market properties for their sellers and better communicate with buyers and sellers.  The real estate industry is changing.  A big topic of discussion has been whether agents should syndicate listing data to websites like Zillow, Trulia, and realtor.com

Syndication large Issue

Agents were split on the topic.  Some agents felt agents shouldn’t be gathering the data and providing it for free to these aggregators only to have the aggregators sell leads back to agents.  Other agents felt like the ship has sailed and the aggregatros are providing value because they have consumer eyeballs and provide valuable interest for our clients listings.

Most agents agreed NAR (National Association of Realtors) has dropped the ball and hasn’t properly dealt with the issue.  Brad Korn, CEO of the CyberStars presented the latest Stephan Swanepoel Report which studies latest trends in real estate and consumer behaviors.  Interesting insights were learned.  We learned the the About page for Realtors is usually the most visited page on an agent’s website.

Bob Sokoler will be sharing later today his video strategies.  Bob dominates the Louisville Kentucky market by using videos for virtually everything.  Bob is a former news anchor for a local television station and uses those video skills in his real estate practice.

Rob Levy shared how to properly promote Facebook ads.  He blew through a lot of money and learned quickly what works and what doesn’t. Rob targets his Facebook advertising to key demographics.  For instance, he has targeted ads for sellers, so he selects only people who actually use homes, over the age of 24, and so on.

CyberStars 2014 Meeting in Las Vegas

Feel free to call our team at 239-489-4042 and let us help make your move a reality.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

New Pending Sales Jump in Southwest Florida

As I look back at our business over the last few months it seems we can’t list property fast enough because we’re selling our inventory quickly.  When you’re busy and having a good month it’s sometimes easy to lose track of the overall market.  This is one of the reasons we’ve always studied the market to spot trends. I’ve spoken with agents over the years and asked them how they thought the market was doing.  One agent would say it’s on fire when another agent would say it seemed down.  I’d then follow-up and ask how their month was going and invariably the agent who said the market was on fire was having a good month and the agent who said it seemed down was having an off month.  This tells me they weren’t studying the market but rather going by how their business was doing. It is human nature I suppose.  People tend to justify the market by how they’re doing.  If they’re having a bad month it must be the market.  It’s easier to blame the market than evaluate everything you do, where you’re spending money, etc. We’ve been really busy the last few months and we wondered if it’s due to us working extra hard or if the market is doing well.

New Pending Sales Jump in Southwest Florida

New Pending Sales

It turns out both are true.  We have been working really hard and the market is doing well.  Pending sales are up 8.4% in July over last year and they were up 8.2% in June.  Pending sales are a direct result of what inventory is available.  We’ve been saying for awhile there is limited inventory that is priced correctly.  If it is priced correctly and marketed properly, it will sell.

Inventory grows in Southwest Florida

Inventory Grew Since March

If you look at the inventory graph you’ll see that inventory rose in May 6.3% and 5.5% June.  If what we’ve been saying is true, you would expect to see rising sales following the increases in May and June.  Sure enough, June and July pending sales rose 8.4% and 8.2%.  Actually inventory levels rose just a bit in March 1.7% and April 2.2% so that helped with the increase in pending sales too. The bottom line is if you’re a seller, now really is a good time to talk to us.  The sales process has become more complex with more regulations and paperwork.  The good news is if you have an agent who can properly market your home, correctly price your home, and is astute to all the government regulations and changes in financing, you have an excellent chance at selling your home. In fact, the median days on market are down to 48 days.  Depending on your price range, your home could sell sooner than that. Last week many went to our website www.Topagent.com  to get an idea of what their home is worth online.  Sellers just love this tool.  Many times this year we’ve actually sold homes for more than what the computer said the home was worth.  The computer is an excellent way to get a ballpark idea of what your home is worth based on statistics and nearby home sales, but the computer hasn’t been inside your home so you can’t trust it completely.  That’s where we come in.  We study your home versus recent comparable sales and educate you on where your homes should sell. We then show you our marketing plan and how we’ll expose your home to the market.  This is where sellers are really impressed.  If you’re considering selling, you should talk to us.  We can sit down with you and guide you through the maze.  It really isn’t hard when you’ve got a pro guiding you.  Call us at 239-489-4042 or email me at Brett@topagent.com and we’ll be glad to meet with you. Good luck and Happy Selling! Visit our Google+ Business Page Feel free to view our Virtual Tours . By Brett Ellis RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team Fort Myers Real Estate Agent 7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr Fort Myers, FL 33907

SW Florida real estate market sales numbers for July 2014 were just released and as expected median and average home prices dropped from the previous month.  They always do this time of year as the higher seasonal sales occur in the first half of the year.  This does not mean prices are falling, rather it means the types of properties that sell changes in the 2nd half of the year which affects the numbers.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Sales Numbers

In fact, median sale price numbers are up 10.4% over last year. 2014 numbers came in at $179,900, up from $163,000 last year.  Average sales price numbers rose 3.7% from last year.  July 2014 numbers came in at $254,012 versus $244,852 July 2013.

2 Price Ranges Stand Out

We noticed two price ranges that really stood out for sales gains.  The $300,000-$399,999 price range saw a 23.5% gain in sales in July over last year.  This wasn’t the largest range to gain though.  The $600,000-$999,999 price range saw a 48.5% rise in home sales in July, so there is strength in that price range right now.  The $250,000-$299,000 was flat, but that is more attributable to the fact there isn’t much inventory in that range.  If there was more inventory it would sell.  Homes in that price range have graduated up to the $300k+ range and thus we’re seeing more sales.

Homes tend to graduate in a rising market.  Remember back in 2008 and 2009 when we had lots of sales below $100,000.  You won’t see that today as very little is available in that range due to rising prices.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Sales Numbers Homes Sold

SW Florida Real Estate Market Sales Numbers Rise

The number of homes closed also fell in July as it usually does.  In June single family home sales were 1,213 and in July they fell to 1,042.  This was however a 3.7% increase from sales levels last year.  Again, as we reported several months back, we were seeing slightly elevated inventory levels and now we’re seeing slightly elevated sales numbers.

If we had more inventory we’d be selling more homes.  More inventory is on its way if you know where to find it.  Builders are pumping homes out of the ground at an increasing pace because prices have risen which has allowed them to do so.  This wasn’t the case a few years ago.

The top builders have been making presentations to Realtor offices so the top agents should have a pretty good grasp of where the inventory is.  Builders have been saving the day in some cases as buyers just can’t always find what they’re looking for with existing inventory.

There is some inventory that is available but if the seller prices it too high buyers sit on the sidelines or move over to new construction.  Just because it’s a seller’s market shouldn’t be an excuse to overprice your home.  No matter the market, the buyer has choices, and if you overprice your home you either help sell your neighbors home or a new construction home.

You can get an idea of what your home might be worth on our website at www.TopAgent.com  Just click on the Find Out What Your Home is Worth tab.  You can also search the MLS to look for a home, or see what your competition is.  Either way it pays to be educated on the market if you’re looking to buy or sell.

There’s no substitute for talking with an expert though if you’re seriously considering making a move.  Computers are useful tools, but a knowledgeable expert can guide you on things like financing, occupancy, zoning, insurance, inspections, and many other issues.

Feel free to call our team at 239-489-4042 and let us help make your move a reality.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

Real estate has always been an industry that has adopted change.  Real estate agents by their very nature are some of the early pioneers to adopt technology.  Agents typically have an entrepreneurial spirit and are always looking for ways to make their marketing stand out. Agents are risk takers, because you have to invest so much of your time, energy, and money trying new things to make it in this business.  Owners really have little idea how much Realtors spend on various advertising or technology platforms in hopes of finding better ways to sell homes.

SW Florida CyberStar Attending Conference on Real Estate Change

SW Florida CyberStar Attending Conference on Real Estate Change

This is why we are traveling to Las Vegas in September.  I will be attending and speaking at the CyberStars annual convention.  The CyberStars are a network of 225+ top technology-oriented real estate professionals from the U.S., Canada and Australia. Their purpose is to share ideas, tips and techniques with each other, to conduct information-sharing sessions at various state, national and franchise conventions and to benefit from numerous referrals sent within the CyberStars® network.

The Ellis Team has attended CyberStars conventions for years and brought back some of the most exciting marketing ideas the SW Florida real estate market has ever seen.  While the Cyberstars are one of the best groups, there are others, and we highly encourage agents to attend events and bring back ideas.  It makes us all better.

Years ago we had a slogan that said we were the most copied team in real estate.  That’s probably true as we introduce ideas to the market and other agents copy them.  We always felt we could innovate faster than others could copy, and most agents won’t or can’t copy everything you do anyway.

The truth is, some of these ideas we’ve copied from other agents nationwide.  If an idea is successful and helps sell homes, chances are others are going to try it too.  If it works in one market, it’ll probably work in another.

It’s also important to stay on top of emerging trends and discuss their implications with other top producing agents who are dealing with the same thing.  There are some looming changes on the horizon and we look forward to exchanging thoughts on how we’re going to deal with them.

Among the changes we see coming are further Dodd-Frank rules and regulations affecting lending.  Companies are also deliberating on the value of sending listing data to portals that assemble that data and sell back to agents and companies.  If that data isn’t accurate and up to date, why are agents buying back data that is created at the MLS level anyway?

The closing process is changing.  Recently RE/MAX Realty Group switched to a system called Dot Loop whereby everything is paperless.  We really love it.  Contracts can be created and digitally signed online now, and the entire sales and closing process has sped up and been more efficient.

We’ve also joined a new referral system for top agents around the world called Agent Bridge. This system was developed by a top producing agent we know in CA and does some things other referral systems cannot.  We’ve already placed some referrals with this system so it’s benefiting our clients from day 1.

In a month or so we’ll report back on what we learn at the convention.  Rest assured, if there’s a new and exciting technology or idea, we’re going to look into it.  Not every new idea works.  We’ve tried several over the years, so we’re selective.  We’re also excited about some of the new changes coming to the industry, and we think you will be too when you see them.

Good luck and happy buying/selling!

Be sure to check out our Hurricane Tips

 Learn more about selling your home in Hi Defintion

Search the MLS for Your Dream Home

SW Florida Hurricane Tips From a Top Agent

It’s getting that time of year again when the tropics begin to heat up.  The newspapers and TV stations do a good job of educating people how to survive a storm.  We thought we’d give you our insights and tips from an agent perspective.

SW Florida Hurricane Tips From a Top Agent

 

  1.  Remove for sale signs from yard.  You don’t want that becoming a projectile in a storm
  2. Purchase a Hi Definition antenna for your TV. TV stations broadcast over the air in digital format and Hi Definition.  If you have a Hi Def TV you can receive these broadcasts over the air for free with $10 antennae. Mine has a 35 mile range and picks up stations from all over, including Sarasota and Tampa.  Those old portable hurricane TV’s probably won’t work anymore as the standards have changed
  3. If you have hurricane shutters, roll them down or slide them and lock into place and test them out.  Over the years dirt, frogs, and other creatures can jam up the tracks.  The time to work on these is before the storm
  4. Be sure to go around your yard and look for loose items.  Pay particular attention to your lanai and bring items inside that could blow around
  5. Do not cut pool screens.  It is true pool screens add resistance and could help bring down your cage in heavy hurricane force winds, but why cut them?  You’d be better off removing spline and the screen and installing the screen after the storm.  When you cut the screen you remove any chance of using it again
  6. Park your cars against your garage door inside your garage.  Experts will tell you this doesn’t work.  Since your garage door may be the least protected exterior item on your home, I just don’t see how reinforcement behind the garage door could hurt.  It’s no guarantee, but sometimes little things can help
  7. Purchase a Sawzall, also know as a reciprocating saw.  These are very useful in cutting down debris after a storm. We had one client take down his entire pool cage that had collapsed in Charley after the storm.  Sometimes debris can block your exit to your home, so it’s nice to cut your way out if need be
  8. Keep an axe in your home.  Rising waters are usually more dangerous than high winds.  If the waters were to rise, you might want a ladder and an axe. In Katrina people in New Orleans used axes to cut wholes in their roof from their attic.  They were forced up in their homes due to rising waters.  You’d hate to survive high winds only to drown in your own home
  9. Buy lots of water-If the electricity goes out, you may not be able to count on having good drinking water
  10. Fill up your car with gas ahead of the storm.  Buying gas after a storm is never fun, and nearby stations could be out

We’ve created a Hurricane Tips Page on our website at Topagent.com with more tips.  We’ll have an updated video you can watch on our YouTube Channel www.YouTube.com/brettellisfl with many more tips you might not think about.  We’ve lived through and flourished through several storms, and we want you to as well.  A storm doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds if you prepare ahead of time.

If you stay, be prepared.  The decision to stay or evacuate is yours.  Listen to the experts, and know what you’re going to do before so you’re not caught off-guard.  Be sure to visit our complete checklist with more tips online.

Good luck and have a safe hurricane season!

 
View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

Changes are coming to the way property is shown in SW Florida.  Gone are the days where agents call the listing office to setup showing appointments.  This was an inefficient system as agents had to make phone calls to listing office, who had to in turn call seller, then call showing agent back to confirm.  If one seller wasn’t available it could throw the whole showing schedule into chaos and start the process all over.

Centralized Showing Service Changes Way Property is Shown in SW Florida

The way properties will be shown is changing for the better as the MLS has now gone to a Centralized Showing Service.  Technically offices can still setup showings the old fashioned way, but once they see how the new system works they’ll quickly learn their sellers will be at a big disadvantage so they’ll want to join in the new system.

When agents view properties online in the MLS there is a button they can click on that will automatically setup the showing for them.  If the agent sees 7 homes that meet their buyer’s needs, they simply select those 7 homes and request showings at a set time interval, i.e., tomorrow from 2-4 pm.  They system will contact each owner and notify the showing agents which appointments are set along with a showing map for the route.

Since this will be automated sellers need to understand the new rules of showing real estate.  Actually they’re old rules but with the new system it’s even more important.  The more accessible a property is, the more it will get shown if it’s priced correctly.  If the sellers reject showings as inconvenient, the showing agent will simply just show the homes they have approvals on.  The rejected showings will miss out unless the buyer doesn’t like one of the other 6 homes.

With limited inventory, buyers are hesitant to wait, so they offer on one they’ve seen that meets their needs and is priced correctly.

The new system will handle alarm codes, gates codes, special instructions like handling of pets, etc.  There’s even an app for the agent’s phone that will remind them not to let cat out or why a bedroom door is closed.

Sellers will have the option of receiving a tele-call where they can hit 1 for accept the showing or 2 for reject.  Or, they can receive texts where they can accept or reject, or an email, or all 3.  Once the seller accepts the showing agent is instantly notified, so setting up showings can take just a few minutes versus chasing listing brokers and sellers down for hours.  Weekends were especially hairy if the listing office didn’t have personnel to handle showings.

Hot Price Ranges Way Property is Shown in SW Florida

The system has some interesting features.  It can tell an agent which price range is receiving the most showings.  This can be helpful in setting the correct price for a home if the home is on the edge of a price bracket.

The system also contacts showing agents for feedback and generates a nice report for our sellers.  Tracking agents down for feedback used to be difficult but now the system will do it automatically and makes it easy on the showing agent to respond.

We look forward to sharing with our sellers the new seller reports, showing reports, and market statistics we’ll generate on showings.  We can compare this to sold and pending data and spot trends as they develop.  If the market takes a turn, we’ll be able to see if other similarly priced homes are getting showings.

This new service is a win/win for sellers and agents.  Knowing the new rules and how to work the system can mean the difference between selling or watching all the homes around you sell while your home sits.  Take the time to learn the system and make your home accessible.

Good Luck and Happy Showing!

View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

Fort Myers Open House

Fort Myers open house in Reflection Lakes gated community

When: Sunday, August 3, 2014 from 1pm – 4pm.
Where: 13745 Bald Cypress Circle. Map here.
Special Instructions: Reflection Lakes Pkwy to Gate 2 Code is: Press Phone button then 0293

 

Fort Myers Open House Reflection Lakes

13745 Bald Cypress Cir

Reflection Lakes Finest!

This beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bath, pool home located on one of the most desirable lakefront lots in all of Reflection Lakes. You will be captivated by the gorgeous view as you relax poolside and thoroughly enjoy the ideal Florida lifestyle. From the moment you enter, you’ll find a spacious open floor plan, high ceilings, and upgrades abound. The kitchen is equipped with stainless steel appliances, solid surface counter tops, and plenty of space to satisfy any home chef! Reflection Lakes is regarded as one of Ft. Myers best communities featuring its ideal location close to everything! With a large community clubhouse, resort style pool, tennis courts, children’s play area, fitness center, and low HOA fees, Reflection Lakes has it all. Be sure to put this at the top of your list and see it today.

More Information on This Home

 

For more information on Open House
View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

Zillow-Trulia Deal Effects on Real Estate in SW Florida

The simple answer is probably not much.  Zillow and Trulia are online portals meaning they take data from agents and brokers and display it to the public.  This is nothing new as agents display the data as well on their own websites.  Companies like Zillow and Trulia bank on the fact consumers will hit their site as they are nationwide versus agents who are in each local market.

 Zillow-Trulia Deal Effects on Real Estate in SW Florida

Zillow Purchasing Trulia for $3.5 Billion in Stock

Zillow collects money from agents who pay to advertise on their site.  They sell consumer leads to agents.  Agents basically pay for views in a zip code, or to have their presence as a featured agent on certain listings.

In the past year Zillow has been raising rates significantly.  So much so that agents are falling out and zip codes are becoming available right and left as agents decline to renew their agreements, so they look for new agents.  I get calls weekly telling me zip codes are opening up.

Let’s say Zillow’s traffic increases in zip code 33919.  Zillow sells chunks of impressions by the thousand, so if they find they have 3,000 more impressions in that zip code, they’ll sell 3,000 more impressions.  Agents used to get overflow but not now.  Zillow is diluting the lead generation and charging more for it.

If we used to pay about $400/mo for 10,000 impressions, Zillow has raised the ante.  They call now trying to sell me 3,000-5,000 impressions for $800.

Zillow has a problem.  They are raising prices and selling more impressions than ever before, but their net income is going the wrong way.  In fact, revenue increased 70% while net income was a loss of 6.26 million last quarter.

So what does Zillow do, but up #2 competitor Trulia. I looked up Trulia’s financial situation and last year revenue was up 142% while their net loss was 11.1 million.  So Zillow is purchasing Trulia for 3.5 billion in common stock.  Both companies are losing money.  How does this deal make sense?

Zillow says they can grow revenue and cut costs.  Of course they mean they’ll cut employees.  They intend to operate both businesses separately to try and generate more revenue.

If they raise prices too much agents will revolt.  I predict they’re going to sell more consumer data to agents in segments.  They’ll use more menu pricing whereby agents can purchase leads of sellers thinking about selling their home.  If you fill out a Zestimate on their website, they’ll sell those leads.  On Trulia if a consumer makes an inquiry on a home that lead info is sent out to multiple agents and it becomes a war as to who can hammer the consumer the fastest and most often to convert the lead.

We don’t think this is what the consumer is asking for when they go online.  The consumer just wants information without talking to someone.  They don’t want agents calling them hammering them with solicitation until they’re ready.

Consumers don’t like it when they’re information is sold.  Agents don’t like it when they receive a lead and it’s also distributed to other agents.  Real estate is a one on one transaction.  It’s personal and about trust, and this business model doesn’t recognize that.  It’s just money.  If a consumer wanted to be contacted by lots of agents they could just signup on multiple agent websites.  That way the consumer is consenting.

Zillow came to fame by providing home value estimates.  In the beginning these estimates were way off, and still are in many cases.  Agents and consumers alike complain that Zillow’s data is old and inaccurate.  Zillow and Trulia obtain information from multiple sources and it’s not always accurate.

We provide home value estimates on our website. www.Topagent.com  We also provide the MLS feed for searching the MLS.  The difference is it is accurate because it comes directly from the MLS.

The other difference is we don’t sell consumer data to other agents.  This is a big win for the consumer.

If agents spent the same amount advertising their own agent website that provides more accurate information as they do on Zillow and Trulia, that online business model would crumble.  In fact it already shows signs of it as neither is producing a profit.  As they raise prices on agents, agents may wise up and shift advertising dollars back to their websites, or sites like Realtor.com

You heard of the Internet bubble back in the 90’s full of online companies that had high valuation with no real net income.  This could be Zillow and Trulia if they don’t find a way to turn a profit.  They’ll try, and agents better be prepared to pay more.  Consumers should be prepared to be bombarded.  Whether this deal passes antitrust or not, these companies have to find a way to turn a profit.  Wall St won’t continue to pour money in forever.

So if you’re an agent and someone asks you how the  Zillow-Trulia Deal Effects on Real Estate in SW Florida

In the meantime, just remember Topagent.com in SW Florida.  We won’t sell your data and you can search away.  Then when you’re ready, call us and we’ll have a one on one conversation.  That’s a novel idea!

Read our Newest Article about how showings will change in SW Florida

View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

SW Florida Home Prices Rise

Local numbers were just released and June 2014 single family home sales were up 8.1% over last year with a median sales price of $200,000.  That’s up from $185,000 last year and up from $195,000 last month.

SW Florida Home Prices Fort Myers Real Estate Market Update July 2014

SW Florida Real Estate Single Family Home Sales

Average SW Florida home prices have been holding steady all year around $300,000, bouncing between $299,000 and $319,000.  Median prices are definitely up for the year while average sale prices are level.

Listing inventory is falling as it usually does this time of year, however it is up from last year about 5%.  This is a positive sign and indicative of a healthy market. There will always be a level of homes that never sell because they are priced too high for what they offer.  Having more inventory creates visible competition for sellers.  When prices outpace the market, buyers shut off like a hose spicket. We have not seen that, but there is invisible competition coming to the market some sellers may not be aware of.

SW Florida Home Prices and Listing Inventory

SW Florida Real Estate Market Listing Inventory July 2014

We’ve been warning sellers for months that new home inventory is arriving.  Builders have been ramping up and we know of many new homes coming to the market and available starting in September.  These new homes will add to the inventory, but they won’t show up in the numbers.  Sellers won’t necessarily know about them, but buyers will.

Nationally inventories are at their highest levels in over a year which is tempering price gains.  We could see the same here in SW Florida heading into next year.  What’s different in SW Florida versus the rest of the country is the economy.  Locally we have positive driving forces.  Companies are hiring and relocating here.  Bringing higher paying jobs to SW Florida helps our median income.  Nationwide, wages are stagnant which keeps a lid on rising prices.

Traditionally SW Florida fares well against the national real estate market, although it does affect us to some extent. Some people need to sell up North before buying here.  In the past 7 years or so SW Florida trailed the national market, so it’s kind of refreshing to lead again.

Rising inventory is leading to increased sales.  We always said if we had more inventory we could surely sell it, assuming it’s fairly priced inventory.  If a home is priced over the market then it’s not really on the market.  We wish there was an index of inventory levels of correctly priced homes.

Several years ago we invented the Current Market Index which accurately predicts home sales going forward.  We’re working on a new index that measures inventory levels by price so we can determine how much of the current available inventory is actually on the market and how much is over the market and not truly available.

Next season buyers will have choices between existing homes and new homes built and ready for delivery.  We’ll be watching to see if builders can keep up the pace with delivery homes versus building on contract for a buyer.  The bottom line is this will cause sellers who wish to sell an existing home to be competitive.

Builders can offer a new never lived in home with new features, but they can’t always offer the same location.  There will always be a premium for location, i.e. west of 41 and closer to the beaches.  Many new communities are inland so the land costs will be less.

As always, if you want to sell you’ve got to price it correctly.  Many sellers are choosing to sell and purchase something else that fits their needs better today.  Interest rates are still low so it makes sense to do it now.  When rates change, some sellers may not want to make the move because the new home will cost more to finance.

The bottom line is the SW Florida real estate market is healthy and more balanced and our economy is good.  We’ll keep an eye on shifting forces and see which way it directs SW Florida home prices and by how much.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

Do Professional Listing Photos Really Matter?

We’ve been doing real estate a long time.  Long enough to remember the days when we’d go down to the board office and pickup MLS books on Tuesdays where each MLS listing had black and white listing photos in a book.  It’s hard to believe real estate was done that way even back in the 90’s.

Oh sure, agents needed at least one good photo of the front of the home for print advertising.  Some agents didn’t bother taking more photos than the front.  Then along came the Internet in the mid to late 90’s.  MLS’s started accepting more photos of the home, and agents started posting the entire MLS on their website like we do at www.Topagent.com  In fact, we were the first agents to put the MLS on our website back then.

 

Professional Listing phtos by Ellis Team

New Listing Coming to Market in August by the Ellis Team

I was searching through listings the other day and I came across some really bad photos.  Some were obviously shot from and iPhone because they had that narrow elongated tiny vertical picture you see, almost like a screenshot photo.  Other photos had cluttered counter tops or garbage all over the place.

I don’t want to call out any local Realtors or sellers so I won’t display those photos here.  I was just amazed that they’d put these photos online knowing full well that sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Homes.com, Trulia, etc scrape that data and display these listings online, not to mention all the agents who display the MLS on their websites.

Listing Photos Example of Bad Photo of Listing

Bad Photo in MLS

Basically the world’s first and last impression of these homes is a series of crappy photos.  With more buyers starting their search online, why in the world would they expect a showing from these photos?

We since stumbled onto a website called badmlsphotos.com  Believe it or not there is a website dedicated to calling out sellers and Realtors for displaying bad photos online.  Much thanks to Barry Bevis who runs this site for allowing us to use one of his photos.

The Ellis Team takes photography seriously.  It all starts with hiring photographers who take excellent pictures.  Some homes can be tricky with lighting, both interior and exterior.  Having a pro can make all the difference, so we hired someone on staff with experience.  In fact, we have two full-time employees on staff with photography experience.  We also have a Photoshop expert optimize our photos for extra quality.

We created a website called www.HomesinHD.TV  Basically it’s our homes shot in High Definition.  We take professional photographs and edit them then combine them with full HD video and aerial photography.  The result is a Hi Definition video we use to market each of our listings.

Not only are these videos available on our website, but the high quality still photos and aerial photos are available on national sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, etc.  We have the ability to place these photos into MLS so these aggregating sites pickup on our photos.

The photos your Realtor provides to MLS makes all the difference.  Buyers today are deciding which homes they want to see based upon their impressions from photos.  Many Realtors show homes online in their office and narrow down which homes their customers want to see.  This is one reason why each showing matters and many times buyers buy on day 1.

Buyers today are more informed.  They do their homework before contacting a Realtor.  They’re more ready to make a decision.  Just another reason why you don’t want to turn down showings and keep your home ready at all times, but that’s fodder for another article in the future.

Bottom line, hire a Realtor that takes photos seriously.  Your sale depends upon it.  The buyer takes them seriously, and so should the seller.

View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

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Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

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