You’ve probably heard of those instant offers programs whereby a company offers to buy your home instantly for cash.  Closing takes place in a short period of time.  No getting the house ready to show, no hassles with showings, no hassles period.  Sounds great, doesn’t it? What do these instant offers programs cost sellers?

Instant Offers Programs Cost Sellers 15% Equity or More

Except there’s one catch. They don’t offer you full market value.  Not even close.  A recent study showed that the typical instant offers programs cost sellers around 15% equity.  That’s a big price to pay, and costs much more than selling your home even after paying a real estate agent commission.

Going For Top Dollar

Most sellers are afraid they may have to drop their price if their home doesn’t sell.  Homes in SW Florida typically sell for around 95% of list price.  Some much more than that depending on the price range.  What this is telling us is those sellers were about 5% over the market, and when they came down to where the market was, their home sold.

Imagine selling 15% below that number.  You don’t have to imagine because it’s reality.  These instant offers companies don’t tell you that.  They also don’t tell you the final price when they make their original offer.

To date these national companies haven’t come to SW Florida.  We have spoken with people who have used them in other markets, and they’re not happy.  First, it starts with an offer, typically 7-10% below fair market value.  Seller accepts the offer, and inspections are setup.  Then the instant offers company amends the offer to account for major renovations needed.  That could total $30,000 or more depending on inspection results.

If the seller’s biggest fear was having to reduce asking price, it was just realized by accepting an instant offer.  The only difference is the process sped up, and the reduction was severe.  Had the seller priced their home upfront to meet today’s market, they could have sold quickly and put much more money in their pocket.

These sellers’ biggest regret was using an instant offers company.  Sometimes the fear of the process overrides the financial loss, until the financial loss becomes real.  We can help with this.

Choices

In the near future we’ll bring an iBuyer program to SW Florida.  You’ll be given the choice.  Take the instant offer or go for top dollar with us.  Logically most will choose the top dollar, but we’ll have the choice for those looking for the instant sale.

If you’re in a situation where you need to sell fast and you’re fearful of the process, a simple sit-down meeting can answer many of your questions.  We can look at what fair market would look like and discuss insightful ways to get your home sold fast, and not for bottom dollar.

Anyone can give away a home.  That’s easy, and costly.  We can help you sell fast and put more money in your pocket.  We’ve been working on a few solutions to help sellers that are exciting.

We have an instant repair bid program.  Basically, we take the home inspection and upload into our system.  Within 48 hours we have bids to repair anything on the report.  This makes it easy for buyers and sellers because almost instantly they know the price of the repairs.

Many times, deals are lost because a buyer believes the repair cost is just too expensive.  By having instant bids, they know the cost upfront.  Often, the repair cost isn’t as bad as they think.  Sometimes sellers blow up because they believe the repairs the buyer is asking for will add up too.  Having an instant repair bid shows the seller the true cost of the repair.  Perhaps buyer is asking too much, and now the seller will know.

The instant repair bid is a nice tool which can give both buyer and seller peace of mind.  It’s also much less expensive than giving your house away to a greedy iBuyer program.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re looking to sell, talk to Brett or Sande at the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  239-489-4042 Ext 4  We can show you how to net more at closing and make the process easier for you.  Don’t let fear of the process let these companies take advantage of you.  A solution is often just a face to face conversation away.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a quick idea of your home’s value.  If you like that price, we can talk further.  If you think it’s off, we can sit down and discuss that too, because it could be.

See last week’s article “Wall Street Fear May Spark Main Street Opportunity

Good luck and Happy Selling!

This past week we’ve experienced large fluctuations on Wall Street. Wall Street fear may spark Main Street opportunity.  Financial markets are fearful trade wars may carry over and harm earnings, which would put a damper on company valuations.  Everyone agrees the United States must confront China, as most agree the best time to do it is when we’re at our strongest economically.  Just the same, it does create worry amongst our farmers, companies, and investors as they need a road map of where it’s safe to invest.

Main Street Opportunity

Enter Main Street.  In financial turmoil’s past, there’s always been a flight to quality.  Right now, it’s U.S. treasuries, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down to 1.62%.  It simply can’t go much lower.  Europe has negative interest rates, which means people trying to protect their money choose to lose money invested in government bonds, because they feel that’s their safest bet.

Main Street Opportunity

Money always moves.  We saw money this past week move into Gold and oil, and then it moved back out.  Investors are seeking safety and return if they can get it.

Real estate may become the preferred investment once again.  Wall Street fear may become Main Street Opportunity. Money is practically free.  The Federal Reserve has been forced to cut interest rates to protect against the dollar becoming too strong.  A strong dollar means foreign countries will buy less of our stuff because it’s too expensive.  In this case, the trade imbalance widens, so we weaken the dollar by lowering interest rates to remain competitive.  There is no inflation right now, so it’s safe.

Lower rates have helped propel the Southwest Florida real estate market.  Going into 2019 we were experiencing a shift.  The feds had just raised rates about 1%, and the market responded.  Buyers couldn’t afford as much as in the past and the market cooled.  Inventory built up.

Fast forward to today.  The feds are fixing their mistake.  It’s not the feds job to prop up the stock market or housing market.  It is their job to manage our monetary policy to keep us competitive, and they are responding.

The advantage real estate brings is it’s tangible.  If the stock market collapses, investors lose money.  If the real estate market falls, homeowners can still live in the property and investors can still rent out a property.  Real estate can still provide income.  Buying gold or silver provides no income, just a tangible asset. Real estate is both.

Most Americans believe the best long-term investment is real estate by far.  It might surprise you to know that millennials prefer real estate as an investment more than any other generation.  This is surprising because many millennials put off home buying compared to predecessor generations.

Right now, home sellers have an interesting opportunity in front of them.  They already own a home, and perhaps they’ve considered a move.   They’re not sold on the idea though, but they are considering it.  These lower rates help sellers in two ways.  The most obvious is, when they pay off their mortgage and buy another home, they’ll save big-time when they purchase their next home.

Secondly, lower rates help more buyers qualify for homes today than last Fall.  More buyers create more competition for the listings.  Listing inventory begins to fall, and this helps raise home prices.  Or, at the very least, it stalls out price declines.  June inventory numbers were lower than April.  We’ll be pulling August numbers soon to compare.

The fact that sellers win in two ways creates an opportunity for home sellers.  Usually home sellers have questions, because there are many pieces to the puzzle that must be answered before deciding.  The most obvious would be, where do we move to?  How do we accomplish this logistically?

A seasoned real estate professional can help answer these questions.  Call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  We’ll guide you through the maze and help you decide if a move is right for you.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

Thank you, News Press readers, for voting the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty the Best in Real Estate for the 4th straight year.

Good luck, and happy house hunting.

See last week’s article Total Volume Down 7.15% Year to Date in Lee County

One of the ways to measure the health of the local real estate market is to look at total dollar volume.  Because total dollar volume consists of the total number of sales multiplied by the cumulative sales prices, it’s a good indicator of the overall strength of the market.  Sometimes sales prices are up but home sales are softer, and other time home sales are strong and prices are down.  Each component affects the total volume of closed sales. Total dollar volume down 7.15% year to date in Lee County.

Obviously if prices are up and sales are up, total dollar volume will be up.  And vice versa if both are down.  Because it’s not always both up or down, this measure is a great tool to quickly identify what’s going on.

Total Dollar Volume Down 7.15% Year to Date in Lee County

Upon further inspection, total dollar volume in Lee County Florida is down 7.15% year to date.  Perhaps this is why inventory has grown just a bit and agents are feeling the pinch.  Combine this with a lot going on in the industry right now, and it’s no wonder agents are jumping around switching companies.  When business is down for an agent, they begin to look at why, and whether another company might be the answer.

Monthly dollar volume Lee County Florida real estate

If you look at the monthly trend, you’ll see it was worse January through April.  The last two months have reduced the imbalance, but agents are still jumpy.  There are two truths consumers and agents may want to consider.

Interest rates have really helped spark the market.  Buyers are seeing some of the lowest rates we’ve seen in decades and they don’t want to miss this opportunity.  If rates stay low, this could help wipe out losses compared to last year.

Disruption Coming to Industry

Even with sales coming back agents are jumpy.  There is an uneasy feeling amongst agents, because things are changing, and they don’t know what to do about it.  The balance of power is shifting.  In a few months, agents will be hit with more disruptions they don’t even see coming in the industry.  When you’re an agent and bogged down in your own business, sometimes you don’t pay attention to external forces that will influence your industry.

You’ve heard the “too close to the forest to see the trees” saying.  I think agents think things have always been a certain way, so they believe these changes they’ve heard about for so long won’t affect them.

We hosted a seminar this past week and agents from other companies came and listened.  When they saw some of the changes coming, most of them immediately went back and acted.  Change is coming whether we’re ready for it or not.  Most were just blind to what is coming until their eyes were opened.

Questions Consumers Should Ask

Consumers should really ask their agent how business has been for them in 2019 versus 2018.  Is that agent thinking of making a move?  A consumer would want to know that before listing.  If their business is down, they may need to make a move and not even realize why.  If the agent does need to make a move, let them do it first before listing with them.  There is nothing more frustrating than listing with an agent and finding out they just moved.  The broker may or may not release the listing, and you could be stuck with an agent you didn’t choose, and you don’t know.

You holding out may spur your agent to act now versus waiting too long.  If you’re an agent and you’re curious as to what the big changes are, send me an email at Brett@topagent.com  Big change is coming whether you face it or not.

If you’re looking to sell your home, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. 239-489-4042 Ext 4  Ask for Brett or Sande.  Or visit www.swflhomevalues.com to find out what your home is worth online, instantly. Our sales are up, and we’re on top of the changes, so you will be too.  This can be a fun market if you’re prepared.  Let us show you how to take advantage of the opportunities.

See Last Week’s Article: 2019 SW Florida Real Estate Market Officially Balanced

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Sat 12-4 PM

Riverfront Home- Priced to Sell This Weekend

8471 Casa Del Rio

Riverfront Home Open House Sat 12-4 PM

Open House Sat 12-3 PM

Eagle Ridge Home-Spacious and Gorgeous

7904 Eagles Flight Ln

Eagle Ridge Open House Sat 12-3 PM

Open House Sat 12-3 PM

Cape Coral Waterfront Home

2653 SW 29th Ave

Cape Coral Waterfront Open House Sat 12-3 PM

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

4 Bedroom Golf Course Home

21529 Windham Run

4 Bedroom Golf Course Home

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

Sailboat Access Home Cape Coral

914 El Dorado Pkwy E

Sailboat Access Pool Home Total Dollar Volume Down

 

Open House App

We have an app that will show you all the open houses nationwide.  Check it out at www.SWfloridaopenhouse.com and download for Free

Ellis Team Open House App

All indications show the 2019 SW Florida real estate market officially balanced.  Homes closed is mirroring 2018 levels.  We started out a little slow but picked it up in May and returned to just above 2018 levels in June.  Interest rates have certainly help spark the SW Florida real estate market.

2019 Real Estate Market Officially Balanced

Closed sales were up 1.0% in June from last year.  Median sales price was up 2.0% over last year and the average sale price was up 2.7%.  New pending sales were up 9.3% this year compared to last.

Agents we talk to are busy.  Title companies are having a big July, so we expect July numbers to be good as well when they are released next month.  We are seeing first time home buyers in this market as well as move-up buyers.  For nearly a decade we didn’t see much move-up buyers, so this is an encouraging sign.

The Ellis Team will be hosting home buyer seminars soon, so stay tuned or call us to find out when the next one will be.  We partner with a local lender and together we bring you the steps you’ll follow to purchase a home.  Our lender is a credit repair specialist as well.  Many people think if they just pay off a debt it helps their credit, but this isn’t always true.  At the seminar, we’ll help you improve your credit score, and explain all the steps on how to purchase a new home.

We also compare renting versus buying.  Many don’t realize they could own their own home for less money that they’re paying in rent.  We have low to no down payment options as well, so that takes away that worry for some home buyers.

Move up buyers have different needs.  First, they need to know how much their home would sell for, and how much money they’d end up with in their pocket.  Secondly, they need to know how much they’d qualify for in the new home, and what’s available in that price range.  What repairs need to be done to make current home sell-able?  Lastly, it becomes a logistics exercise.  How do they time the sale with a new purchase?

The Ellis Team can answer those questions. The Ellis Team has vendors that can help with repairs to get your home sellable and maximize value.  We have the best technology to alert you to new listings in your current neighborhood as well as pendings and solds.  We can also alert you to new opportunities where you’re moving to as well.

The neatest thing is we can now do this nationwide.  If you’re thinking of selling here in SW Florida and moving out of state, we have the data to show you right here, right now what your options are out of state.  This new data essentially turns the Ellis Team into nationwide agents.  We’re not going to show you a home in Maryland or Iowa, but we can sure give you the information at your fingertips on the spot.

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, a move-up buyer, or moving out of state, we can help.  If you live somewhere else and love SW Florida, call us and we can help you too.  Not only can we get you neighborhood and home data where you live, we can find the top agent in your neighborhood at the click of a button.  It’s pretty neat, and it will change the way people buy and sell real estate.

If you have a home to sell, contact Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or email us at sande@topagent.com or Brett@topagent.com We also have a team of buyer specialists ready to help you.  And don’t forget, we have upcoming seminars on the home buying process.  We’re also available to meet one on one.  That’s what we enjoy most.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.

Find Out What Your Home is Worth Online for Free

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See last week’s article: Should I Refinance My Mortgage at Today’s Rates?

 

With interest rates below 4%, many homeowners may be asking the question, should I refinance my mortgage?  The answer may be easy, and it could be complicated.

Should I refinance my Mortgage?

Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

With rates around 3.75%, it may make sense to refinance anything over 4.5%, depending on how long you want to stay in your current home.  In the old days, experts used to tell people you’d better save 2% or more on rates because the refinance costs were so high.  Keep in mind you will be asked to pay for a new title policy for the new lender, appraisal in most cases, and other closing costs.  It’s not free to refinance, so you’d better save money by doing it.

If rates today are 3.75% and you take out a new 30-year loan on $250,000, the principal and interest portion would be $1,157.19.  If you had a loan at 4.5% on $250,000 the P&I payment would be $1,266.71  So the savings would be $109.52/mo or $1,314,24/yr.  Closing costs might be $4,000-$5,000, so that could take 3,8 years just to break even on the deal.

Does Your Home Suit Your Needs?

The other question you must ask yourself is, does this home suit my needs?  If so, for how long?  Is my family growing or shrinking?  Might my job take me somewhere else?  How is my health?  Will the property be too much to take care of 5 years from now?

If your situation could change in the next 5 years, it probably wouldn’t make sense to refinance.  It might make sense to make the move now while rates are low.  If you wait 5 years to make the move, rates could go up a few percent.  Each percentage point rate gain costs a buyer 11% purchasing power, so essentially you could qualify for 22% less home.  Or, it could cost you a lot more in payment per month.

If you’re 1-2 years away from making a move, is there a way you could make that move while rates are this low?  It’d be a shame to spend all that money refinancing for a home that won’t suit you in a few years and miss the low rates on the next home.

If You Did Move, Where Would You Go?

Many people in SW Florida are contemplating this very decision right now.  What makes it complicated is they’re not sure where they’d move to, and how they would pull it off.  That’s where a real estate consultant comes in.  A consultant isn’t there to sell you anything.  They’re there to present you with your options, and let you choose what’s best for you.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty are consultants.  We want you to make the best decision for you.  We know about inventory you might not know about, like homes hidden from MLS or new construction.  It may make sense for you to make a move now, and it might not.  Until you know the cost of where you’re going, and how much you’d net if you sold your home, it’s impossible to make a fair decision.

You can’t base your current home’s value off those online valuation models.  They can be wrong, and they don’t figure in how much you’ll net in the end.  We can help you with that.  Making a good decision is like putting a puzzle together.  You must identify all the pieces, turn them right side up, and put them in their correct position.  Only then does the picture become clear, and your decision gains clarity.

Call Sande Ellis or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  We’ll help you get a fair value of your current home, make some suggestions on where you could go based on your needs, and figure up what it will cost to do it.  You’ll have the best advice, and you might just make that move you’ve been talking about.  Or, you might decide you love your current home and it’s the place for you.

We look forward to speaking with you.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!  And remember, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.

Be Careful Which Sites You Sign Up On

Consumers and agents may not understand the difference between real estate platform versus bolt-on technology, but they soon will.  Let’s discuss why it matters to both consumers and agents.

Real Estate Platform Protects Your Privacy

From a consumer perspective, information about your home, your finances, and your preferences is worth a lot of money to big companies and could cause aggravation if in the wrong hands.  Data security is important now more than ever.  Uploaded contracts, disclosures, inspection reports, agreements, and other reports aren’t always encrypted.    Who owns that data?  What if your data were released without your knowledge?

As a consumer, who you do business with matters.  The same is true with brokerages and agents.  Does your brokerage have agreements with 3rd party vendors on who owns data and what can be done with it?  Does your brokerage own its own real estate platform, or do you employ bolt-on technology by outside companies to run your business?

Bolt-On Technology

CEO’s of national brand companies say they’re going with bolt-on technology as opposed to real estate platform technology so as not to disrupt agent’s business.  They say they want to give agents the freedom to choose whatever software they prefer using.  The truth is, agents prefer not to change, so they stick with who they’ve used for years, even if it’s not great.  Agents tailor their business around what their software can do, not what is ideal for their business.

If agents could design the perfect software, it would look and work much differently than what they have now.  Most agents don’t have the time, money, or expertise to do this, so they stick with the status quo, even though it’s holding them back.

Currently, when consumers sign onto apps and real estate websites their data becomes free game.  Consumer search preference data is valuable for advertisers and as a result, consumers are being bombarded with calls and emails from all kinds of companies.  Consumers don’t like it.  They just didn’t realize what they were giving up to get real estate information.  Agents who advertise on those sites fund this behavior because they want the leads.  Ironically, agents are purchasing the very data consumers hate giving up.

A Better Way

There is a better way.  Consumers will give you everything you want if you give them everything they want and agree not to sell or give away their data.  If you can protect the consumer, they don’t mind if their agent emails them with real estate information they care about.  Consumers information to be relevant to them., and they don’t want to be spammed.

This is exactly why our company has been developing its own platform for a few years now.  We don’t want to be reliant on outside companies with ulterior motives.  We want to control and own the data so that consumers can trust they won’t be bombarded with offers from companies they don’t know.  However, the consumer experience must be first class and offer things consumers want and nobody else has.

Real Estate Platform Local Data

The Consumer Experience

It’s all about the consumer experience.  We’ve studied the items consumers like best.  For instance, we tested over 1 million consumers and found that they like neighborhood information better than at the zip code level.  In fact, they spent on average over 4 minutes on site per neighborhood versus a zip code.  Consumers want information like the home’s DNA score, commute times to places they choose, and more.  Because we’re developing our own platform, we can deliver all these consumer preferences, and more.

Real Estate Platform Versus Bolt-On Technology

 

Keller Williams’ Realty consumer mobile app is in testing pending release.  Currently Google employees are testing out the platform for us and providing feedback before we release to the public.  It will not only be best in class; it will offer privacy and confidence to the consumer.  Our desktop websites are working now, and we’re still tweaking and improving those.  If you’d like us to send you our app or provide you a local neighborhood website, we can do that.  Just email me at Brett@topagent.com and we’ll get you started.

It’s a work on progress, and we believe it’s one the consumer will love and appreciate.  In fact, we believe it’s the Future of Real Estate.  We’d love your feedback.  Try it out and let us know what you think!

Check out this weekend’s open houses on our current mobile app which will be upgraded automatically when we release the new app.

 

Lee County Florida median home prices rose 1.6% in May to $265,000, up from $260,700 last year.  Average home prices rose too, up 3.3% to $375,899.  The average number last May was $363,829.

While home prices aren’t changing dramatically, this is good news for Lee County home sellers.  Sometimes a steady housing market is better than rapidly rising prices which can lead to rapidly declining prices down the road.

Lee County Florida Median Home Prices Rose 1.6% in May

As you can see by the graph, Lee County Florida median home prices and average home prices didn’t really participate much on the upside the past few years, so we didn’t have far to fall if the market shifted.  We feel the market did indeed shift, and SW Florida for the most part fared well.

Of course, we know real estate is neighborhood specific, so some areas and price ranges can be doing better than others.  Therefore, it’s always important to evaluate what your home or neighborhood offers relative to the market.

For instance, let’s say you have two golf course communities.  Both offer a similar style, look good, and are in relatively the same part of town.  The difference however is the mandatory fees.  One has an equity membership fee of $90,000 plus yearly fees of $15,000 between golf, club house, HOA fees, etc.  The other golf community has an equity fee of $30,000 and yearly fees of $9,600.

If both courses are similar, which one will buyers gravitate to?  The same is true with non-golf properties.  Buyers look at the total cost of ownership, and what they get for it.  Some communities have gates, some don’t.  Some have clubhouses, cable TV, swimming pools, tennis, you name it.  Buyers look at the home or condo, and they also look at the amenities and what it all costs.

Let’s say you don’t live in a community.  Do buyers still look at yearly costs?  Yes, they do.  They look at what are the annual projected maintenance costs.  Does the home need renovation?  Will the home need a new air conditioner or new roof soon?  How old is the home?  This affects the price of home insurance.  Is the home in a flood zone?  If so, what is the elevation of the home?  This affects the yearly price of flood insurance.

Having answers to all these questions is critical for the buyer.  The buyer won’t make a decision without these facts, or they’ll back out of a contract after inspection once they discover facts that didn’t fit in with their projected financial outlays.

Having the information upfront can temper expectations and keep deals together.  Pricing your home to meet these conditions helps as well.  If your home needs a new roof, you don’t want to price your home the same as homes that just had a new roof installed, all else being equal.  The hard part is, all else isn’t equal.  Each home is unique, down to where it sits.  A good Realtor or appraiser looks at your land value relative to other sales.  Additionally, they’ll look at age of home, features, replacements, and anything else that can affect value.  You throw it all in the pot and come up with a value.  Even then it’s difficult because all buyers don’t view value the same way.

Some buyers appreciate the view differently.  Some value privacy while others may value beauty.  One buyer may desire a lakefront lot while another may value a preserve view.  Appraisers can set a lake value differently than a preserve view but, in the end, value is in the eye of the beholder.

Therefore, it’s critical to be honest and view your home like a buyer.  You must take off the seller’s glasses and put on buyer glasses.  If you tried to sell your home and it didn’t work, chances are you looked at it like a seller, didn’t have all the information a buyer needs to decide, or your home wasn’t marketed properly.

If you’re thinking of selling, call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or, go online www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get a Free instant computer evaluation of what your home could be worth.  Of course, we’d love to talk with you when you’re ready.

Good luck, and Happy House Selling!

See Last Week’s Article:  Low Interest Rates Fuels Surge in Real Estate Closings

Low interest rates fuels surge in real estate closings locally and nationwide.  Nationally home sales for homes and condos were up 2.5% from April, albeit down from last year 1.1%.

Low Interest Rates Fuels Surge in Real Estate Closings

In SW Florida single family home sales were up 8.1% over last year.  With rates remaining low for the short term, we could see a continuation of good times for real estate for the rest of the year, if not longer.  New pending sales were up 1.4% in May, and new listings were down 3.2% in May.  All these are great signs.

We still have 7.7% more inventory than we did last year, and pending inventory was down 2.3% in May, so it’s not all Boom time ahead.  Overall, we have a fairly balanced marked with an official 5.7-months’ supply of homes on the market.  That’s more than the 5.4 months’ supply last year but could get better if rates stay low.

One of the indicators we look at is total dollar volume of sales in the market.  In May of 2019 we reached $569.1 million in sales in Lee County.  In 2018 that number was $509.4 million.  That’s an 11.7% rise in volume, which is a good sign going forward.

What’s the takeaway from these official numbers?  It’s a good time to buy, and a good time to sell?  You might ask, how can it be both?  The answer is it deeply benefits both sides to buy and sell right now.  Buyers benefit from lower rates.  This could save them tens of thousands on the mortgage of 30 years.

Low Interest Rates Fuels Surge in Real Estate Closings

It’s also a good time for sellers because today buyers qualify for 11% more home than they did last year.  This means more buyers just popped up into your price range, assuming you priced your home where it should be.  Who wouldn’t want more buyers shopping and qualifying for your home than last year?

And, as a seller, chances are you’re going to buy another home somewhere.  If you sell while rates are low, you get to purchase your next home while rates are low.  So, it’s a double win for sellers as they have more buyers for their home, and they get to save on their next home.

The challenge most sellers have is, what do I have to do to get my home ready to sell, and where would I go?  These might be easier answers than you think.  A knowledgeable Realtor can give you information on both options.  We can even refer you to another great Realtor somewhere else if you’re not staying in the area.

Some improvements are necessary.  Some are a waste of money and won’t put money in your pocket.  Others won’t add much money, but they will help your home sell.  Call Sande or Brett 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and let’s talk about your options.  Sometimes we can suggest resources to a problem so it’s not really a problem.

Let’s Talk

Sitting down with us and going through the MLS can help you identify if there are better options for your next home.  We also know about new communities and incentives the public doesn’t always know about.  We might be able to get you into a new home for a lower payment than you have now.  The advantage to that may be lower insurance premiums and lower maintenance costs going forward.  Newer homes tend to be energy efficient as well, so not only would your payment go down, but also all your other costs.

The thing is you don’t want to rush anything.  You want to take your time and explore your options.  We don’t know how long these rates will stay this low, so starting the process now may be a good idea.  After a first meeting, you’ll know your options and you can decide if it’s worth exploring further.  We have a team of agents that focuses on finding your next property that fits your needs, and a team dedicated to maximizing your current home’s value and make it sell as quickly as possible.

There’s no sense in moving unless you improve your situation.  Many want to do that; they just don’t know where to start.  Call Sande or Brett to explore your options, or go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get your home’s value online for Free!

Lee County Housing Inventory Falls Since April

Lee County housing inventory fell since April and now sits at 5.04 months supply.  Back in April it was 5.81 months.  Housing supply fell in all categories except $150,000 and below.  Let’s take a look at what caused this.

Lee County housing inventory  fell 13.3% since April. Active listings fell from 6,283 back in April to 5,447 in June.  Either more homes are pending and haven’t closed yet, or many listings expired since mid-April, and sellers gave up trying to sell.  Closed sales are almost even.  They slipped from 12,986 last 365 days in April to 12,973 in June.

Lee County Housing Inventory Falls Since April

Perhaps sellers got discouraged.  There is new hope as interest rates have fallen and given a boom to real estate buyers making homes more affordable.  Rates have fallen unexpectedly due to trade talk about 1% since last Fall.  That adds about 11% purchasing power to a buyer, which means buyers have been able to step up in price to get the home they want for the same payment.

This creates additional opportunities for buyers, and we know this may be a limited window.  If it’s an opportunity for buyers, then it’s also an opportunity for sellers.

When a seller decides to list their home, they have two major decisions to make.  What price to price it at and which agent to list it.  Both decisions are critical, and either one can kill your chances for a sale.

Many sellers believe the MLS will sell their home, so it doesn’t matter which agent they choose.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  All agents are not the same.  Some are better at negotiating, and some are better at marketing.  A few are great at both and knowing who they are can make the difference between a sale and no sale.  It can also cost you thousands.  Less marketing means fewer buyers to choose from and more time on the market.  With fewer buyers, you’re not assured of getting top dollar for your home or a sale at all.

Pricing is important too.  It’s important to know where you stand in the marketplace.  How does your home rate?  How much competition is there?  Is the market generally favorable for your home or unfavorable?  Your agent should be able to discuss with you the absorption rate as well as the months supply of homes.  We’ve given you the overall month’s supply for single family homes in Lee County.  This can be done at the neighborhood level too.

We love to sit down with homeowners and go over the comparable sales.  We’ll look at photos of kitchens, bathrooms, front entry, etc. and compare them to the subject property.  The seller quickly gains an understanding of what buyers are looking for and how much their home is going to sell for.  We look at current competition as well.

Sellers love to know how much they’re going to net out in the pocket at closing, so we do a net sheet right there at the table.  Armed with this information, sellers make better choices. Together the agent and the seller interpret the data.  It must be looked at objectively through the eyes of a buyer, because they’re the ones buying.  A good agent can help you with that.

To get an approximate value for your home, head over to www.SWFLhomevalues.com.  It’s free and easy, and you’ll get a value within seconds.  No waiting for an agent to call you.

To see the latest marketing and how we reach buyers targeted for your home, give Sande or Brett Ellis a call.  239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Our team has been voted the Best by News Press readers several years, and we’ve been top agents in SW Florida for over 30 years.  We know the market, and we know how to market.  Put our experience to work for you!

Read last week’s Real Estate Consumer Experience Will Forever Change Industry

Buckle up, it’s about to get very interesting in the real estate world!  The real estate consumer experience will forever change the real estate industry.  We’re about to experience more change in the next year than the last 20 years combined.  That’s a big statement, and we’ve seen it with other industries.

This may lead to fewer agents in the business.  Some experts predict National Association of Realtors membership may decline from 1.2 million members to around 700,000. That’s about a 42% drop.  Even a 20% drop will put pressure on real estate companies.  We may see mergers and we may see brands closing.  There are just too many unprofitable companies.  Independent brokerages will either close or merge into larger companies with more consumer tools.  Publicly traded real estate companies will face increased pressure from shareholders to return a profit, which could affect commission splits to agents.  All these spell big change for the industry.

What will drive these changes?  The consumer experience will, and that’s about to change in a big way soon.  We’ve already seen rival companies gearing up with new updates, and we’ve seen sites like Realtor.com losing their CEO and losing brokerage accounts right and left.

A Better Real Estate Consumer Experience

In the past, search was where it was at.  Companies competed on search to gain consumers, but retaining consumers is another story.  Consumers are always in search of a better experience.  If you’re looking for places to vacation in Hawaii, you may use search.  However, if you frequently visit Hawaii and a company came along and provided a more in-depth and customizable experience, you might go from search to being loyal to the online experience.

This happened to Blockbuster.  They had all the DVD’s you could ever want.  They knew which titles were popular because they had the data from their stores.  What they didn’t have was the data outside their stores.  Netflix did, and they ate Blockbuster’s lunch.  We call it getting Netflixed.

2019 will be the year some real estate companies get Netflixed.  This will only happen because other companies provide a unique customer experience. Some companies will focus on search, because it’s all they’ve ever known.  Search might attract a customer, but the experience will retain them.

Better Online Search

Real Estate Consumer Experience

If an agent today has a database of 1,000 past customers, they need to ask themselves one question.  Are any of these 1,000 past customers at risk?  Could I lose them if someone else came along with a wonderful consumer experience?  The answer is, you betcha!  Nobody owns a customer.  While they may love their agent, they’ll go to whoever provides the best consumer experience today.

Neighborhood Insights

Real Estate Consumer Experience Neighborhood Insights

And this is what’s changing right now.  In the next 60 days we’ll be rolling out our new customer experience. We’ll use artificial intelligence to match home buyers with properties they love.  It will shorten their search for a home time.  We’ll provide neighborhood information like never before.  The consumer will be immersed in a platform they won’t want to leave.

Other companies will try to copy, but it might be too late.  It would take over 3 years to copy what we’ve done, along with data.  Wall Street is impatient and won’t wait 3 years.  Already we’re seeing real estate company stocks of selected companies under pressure.  Agents are worried and beginning to shop around for a company that can compete with what’s coming.  No agent wants to be caught at a company that’s been Netflixed.

We’re not saying one company will survive.  There will be 2-3 main companies that make it through all this, and several fighting for 4th place.  4th place isn’t where you want to be.

You can download our consumer app at www.SWfloridaopenhouse.com  It will automatically change over to the new real estate consumer experience when it’s released, so you won’t have to do anything.  Today you can search open houses, find homes, rentals, and much more.  Soon, your whole new real estate experience will change.  We have a web version coming too if you’re not into smartphones.

We look forward to changing the way consumers experience the real estate market.  You can always email me at Brett@topagent.com if you have more questions, or call 239-489-4042 Ext 4