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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!

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

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

For Sale By Owners are at a big disadvantage and it’s not really the seller’s fault. There are several reasons why it’s hard to sell a home By Owner. The number one factor is Fear. Buyers have a fear about the process of buying a home and without an agent all those fears bubble up. They fear they don’t know the area as well as the seller. They don’t know the neighbors. Buyers may not know the schools, etc. They don’t usually know how to structure a contract, and they don’t know financing. Buyers have never lived in the home, but the seller has. Buyers feel at a big disadvantage, so their fear leads them to the second biggest issue, which is trust. Buyers become skeptical because they realize they’re not holding many of the knowledge cards; the seller is. The seller knows much more about the home and the neighbors than the buyer. There isn’t an agent as a go-between so there is a lack of trust. This lack of trust is born out of fear.

For Sale By Owner Fort Myers

Pitfalls of Selling By Owner

When you have fear and lack of trust, any potential transaction is shaky at best. The seller has fear and trust issues too. The seller also does not understand financing, insurance, etc. The seller is fearful that the buyer may not be able to qualify or is telling them the whole story. There is no agent to verify certain facts, so the seller must ask the tough questions themselves. Buyers don’t like to divulge confidential financial information to the seller as they would a seasoned professional like an agent. Buyers trust their agent; they don’t trust a seller they don’t know. The seller doesn’t trust a buyer they don’t know, and there begins the cycle of distrust, which elevates fear. Buyers and sellers don’t negotiate with other buyers and sellers everyday, all day long. The questions they do ask come across as personal, so they get evasive answers. Buyers and sellers treat each other at arms length because they know whatever they say could be used against them in the course of negotiation. Some buyers and sellers get cute and try to Buffalo their way with the other side. Even if they are better Buffalos, the other side typically reads they’re not getting the whole story. Complex issues arise in a transaction. Inspection issues can be sticky, not to mention insurance, survey, financing, HOA, and past permit issues, to name just a few.

For Sale By Owners Net Less Money at Closing

Recent studies have shown For Sale By Owners sell on average for 12% less than what a Realtor gets for a home. The only way a buyer would buy a For Sale By Owner is if they can save the commission and buy it under market. If they have to do all the work themselves and face that fear on their own without the help of an agent, they better get a bargain. However, the reason a seller wishes to sell By Owner is to also save the commission. Both the buyer and seller cannot save the same commission. If the seller is going to take the time to show it, advertise it, make signs, place ads, and pre-qualify each buyer they better get more than fair market value for their efforts. They must fight bank appraisers and they have nobody in their corner if they get a bad appraisal. They just lose another deal. So if sellers get on average 12% less for a home, why would they try on their own? A leading For Sale By Owner company CEO recently sold his home through a Realtor. If their company is so great, why did he resort to hiring a Realtor? Every seller wishes to maximize their bottom line but selling By Owner isn’t it. If it was easy everyone would do it. Not only is there a cost to taking less, there’s also a cost for losing deals and selling it over and over. And doing it all yourself can get discouraging. Buyers and sellers are also emotional. They don’t have a 3rd party intermediary keeping things real. Facts and logic get blurred and they can convince themselves of almost anything. If you’re thinking of buying or selling, do yourself a favor and hire a good agent. You can do it right the first time, or do it the hard way and try on your own. Hey, you might get lucky, but then again, it could turn out badly. It’s your choice. We don’t see a lot of FSBO’s today but they will always exist. We hope this article helps you analyze your options. 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

Back in March we wrote an article about the benefits of joining a SW Florida boat club versus owning a boat.  The article was about people moving to SW Florida and debating whether to spend big bucks buying waterfront property so they could have a boat in their back yard.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having a nice property and having a nice boat in your own backyard.

SW Florida Boat Club Carefree Boat Club Fort Myers location

Deck Boat at Carefree Boat Club Fort Myers

 

There are some costs for this luxury though.  First of all, you spend a lot more for the property.  Flood insurance may be higher too, as are property taxes.  Then you have the costs of the boat.

Perhaps you have a boat payment, a down payment, Sea Tow, insurance, licensing, maintenance, and of course depreciation.  Boats never seem to go up in value, only down.  Personally I hate cleaning up the boat after I come in from a day in the sun.  It would be so nice to just walk up onto the boat and it’s all gassed up and walk right off at the end of the day.

After writing the article I looked into this membership a little further.  For me it wasn’t about moving down here and selecting a property.  I already live here and love the life in paradise.  I don’t have enough equity in my home to make a move to the waterfront so that’s not even an option.

If I wanted to get out on the water I basically had just two options.  First, buy a boat and find somewhere to store it.  My garage isn’t big enough to store and trailer a boat.  Secondly, I could check out a boat club.

Advantages of Joining a SW Florida Boat Club:

My monthly payment with the boat club is less than what a boat payment would be.  I don’t pay for insurance, towing, storage, maintenance, tax, title, repairs, or anything.  I just pay for the gas.

Best yet, when I walk off the boat I just walk away.  They fill it up with gas, clean it, park it for the night, etc.  Our family just walks off happy and we have the rest of our evening.  It’s really a beautiful thing.

I don’t have to get the boat ready either,  Years ago we owned a boat and each time we took it out I’d have to go make sure battery is working, clean it up since it had been in storage, etc.  Today I just login to the online reservation system and reserve the boat and show up.  They have it sitting in the water all waiting for me.

My family just walks on and we’re off the dock in less than 5 minutes.  I just run through a quick checklist to make sure all the life vests are there and a few other things and we’re underway.  Most boats have a GPS unit, portable bathroom onboard.  My kids like the radio.

Blow up raft off Sanibel Island Florida

Enjoying a Leisurely Day at the Beach

We even bought a blow-up raft we tie up to the boat.  Last week we anchored off Sanibel Island and had a blast.

The boat club I joined has fishing boats, leisure boats, and more.  One has air conditioning and a cabin.  They’re adding boats to the fleet all the time.  My boys are excited about going fishing one of these days.

I joined Carefree Boat Club in Fort Myers, however I like that I have access to all the Carefree Boat Clubs across the world.  Next week I have a reservation at the Cape Coral location.  Basically it feels like I have joined two boat clubs because I have access to all the boats in Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

Our YouTube page has a nice video where dolphins were playing with us for about 10 minutes.  You might enjoy that video.  Joining the boat club has been great for my family.  Raising 3 teenagers and an 11 year old who thinks she’s a teenager can be challenging, and having something fun to do like going out on a boat is a great family bonding experience.

Taking the family out on a boat doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  The time you spend making memories is priceless.

And remember, if you’re thinking about moving to SW Florida, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to live the good life.  Just get out there and make some memories.

Good luck and have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend.

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

New sales numbers are out for the SW Florida real estate market and we’ve been pouring over the numbers and we’ve come to the conclusion that sales are directly related to the amount of inventory on hand.  We can’t sell what we don’t have, and if we had more we could sell more.

Perhaps a better headline would be sales are directly related to the amount of fairly priced homes on the market.  In any market, up, down, or sideways, there are always fairly priced homes and overpriced homes.  The fairly priced homes sell in any market, and the overpriced homes fail to sell in any market.

SW Florida real estate market Fort Myers Cape Coral real estate median days on market

Median Days on Market by Price Range

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

The median sales price fell in May to $195,000 from $200,000 in April, but it is up 10.6% over May 2013 levels.  Inventory rose slightly to 5,540 listings which was up 6.3% over last year.  Each month new listings come to the market and some are selling, and some are not. Pending inventory fell 10.9% from last year, so we’ll keep an eye on inventory rising and pending inventory declining in the coming months.

I’d like you to look at the two charts provided. They may look confusing but it’s really not. One is the median days on the market by price range and the other is the months supply of inventory chart.  The difference is the months supply of inventory takes into account all single family listings to give you an idea of how much is on the market.

SW Florida real estate market Months Supply of Inventory

Months Supply of Inventory Chart

The median days on the market by sales price chart only looks at homes that actually sold, not all listings.  These are the listings that have won the home selling game.  If priced correctly, a home will sell, and these homes did.  In other words, if a home is going to sell, these are the median average times it will take.  If you have a home on the market you can lookup what price range you’re in and see the median time.  If your home is over the median time, perhaps your home is overpriced and isn’t going to sell.

That’s a tough pill to swallow when you read headlines that say the market is improving, and there are multiple offers on many properties.  This is all true.  However, there aren’t multiple offers on all properties.  And some properties receive no offers.

It doesn’t matter how good the market is, nor how much marketing your Realtor throws at your property.  If it’s overpriced, it’s not going to sell.

Cash sales have fallen to 52% of all sales, and this time of year they typically fall further.  Financed sales must appraise, and we have seen some appraisal issues on properties lately.

If your home isn’t selling, it’s time to have a conversation with your Realtor about proper pricing. The seller may set the price, but the market determines the value.  If your home is over the market, then it’s not really on the market.  If you wish to sell you’ve got to price your home at or close to where the market is.  Some sellers don’t really care if they sell, so they continually keep their home over the market and if a buyer comes along and pays more than market, they’ll sell.  We’ve all seen these listings. They just linger on the market and make all the fairly priced homes look good. They get fewer showings and few offers, because serious buyers offer on fairly priced homes first.  They don’t waste time offering low on overpriced listings.  Buyers go for value, and overpriced listings don’t offer value.

This is probably the biggest mistake we see sellers make.  They assume buyers can always make an offer, but they don’t.  Many times the overpriced home is invisible to the buyer because it’s over where they’re looking.

We don’t suggest under pricing your home.  Just price it fairly and you’ll be glad you did.  Good luck and Happy Selling!

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

View Cape Coral Homes For Sale $900,000-$1,000,000

Perhaps you’ve tried various search sites and gotten confused on how to search the SW Florida MLS.  As a consumer, it’s not always easy navigating search sites and knowing the lingo and field definitions of the MLS which you don’t have access to.

 Search SW Florida MLS

I came across a nifty sitemap on our website that provides shortcuts to some useful searches in the Fort Myers MLS.

Sitemap

Search Real Estate For Sale by City

SEARCH CITIES IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA GULF COAST MLS

Search Real Estate For Sale by County

SEARCH COUNTIES IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA GULF COAST MLS

Search Real Estate For Sale by Price

Search Luxury Real Estate For Sale by Price

Search Real Estate by Number of Bedrooms

Search Real Estate by Number of Bathrooms

Search Real Estate by Size

Search Featured Real Estate Listings by ID

Let us know what you think.  Are these searches useful?  We can add custom searches and save the links for you.  For instance, we created a custom search for Reflection Lakes in Fort Myers

We did another one for Cape Coral Homes For Sale which displays search results for single family homes in Cape Coral without having to select more criteria.  Some people want more search options and some desire quick and easy search results.  We wish to proved you what you’re looking for.

We welcome your comments.

To view our homes 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

Search SW Florida MLS

Search SW Florida MLS

This past year our team has sold several new homes in the The Plantation Gated Golf  Course Community in Fort Myers Florida so we thought we’d tell you a little but more about this community. Here is an aerial view of the clubhouse.

The Plantation Gated Golf Course Community in Fort Myers Florida Clubhouse

Aerial View of the Clubhouse

With over 30,000 square feet The Great House as it  is called by the developer features an interior similar to a British Colonial manor home. It features restaurant and a bar with two fireplaces.  RE/MAX has had our Holiday office party at the clubhouse twice and a good time was had by all. The clubhouse has a golf pro shop, men’s and women’s locker rooms, a billiards room, gathering room, and a meeting room.

Overhead golf view the Plantation Fort Myers

Overhead View of Golf Course

 

The 18 hole championship golf course was designed by Hurdzan-Fry and is perfect for players of all skill sets.  It is a 7,233 yard course with a variety of tees that provide various angles of play and is generally considered a fun but challenging course.

Clubhouse Outdoor Seating Area

Outdoor Seating Area Overlooking Golf Course at Night

 

Somerset Hall is the hub of the Somerset at the Plantation community. It is a large activity center where the community can meet and socialize and features an on-site activities director.  Somerset Hall features a resort style pool, spa, fitness center, aerobics room, massage and sauna rooms, locker rooms, tennis courts, billiards room, TV & Internet lounge, library, and community room.

Somerset Hall Activity Center

Somerset Hall Activity Center

Residents enjoy the resort style pool as a place to unwind or get some sun in.

The Plantation at Somerset Community Pool

Community Pool

The Plantation Gated Golf Course Community in Fort Myers Florida

To view more photos and video of the Plantation and the recreation areas check out our video on the Plantation Golf Course Community in Fort Myers

The floor plans aren’t bad either.  Here is a photo of the kitchen in the Dartmouth II model.  By the way, we hear they’re building all new models.  The Plantation also has another section called Bridgeport at the Plantation with different floor plans as well.

Dartmouth II kitchen

Dartmouth II Kitchen

We have plenty more photos we could show you, but there’s no substitute for seeing the Plantation in person.  Let one of our buyer specialists help find your dream home at the Plantation, or wherever your dreams take you.  We know the area, we know the development, and we know the builder.  It pays to work with an agent who can listen to your needs and recommend the best product for you.

 

We can be reached at 239-489-4042

 

If you’d like to search the MLS, visit our website www.TopAgent.com

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

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Search the MLS

 

View Larger Map

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

What is a 4 Point Home Inspection?

Most buyers are familiar with a typical home inspection where the buyer hires an inspector to inspect a home they are purchasing to see what defects or required repairs the home may have, as well as informative maintenance type issues. However, you may be curious about a 4 point home inspection.

4 Point Home Inspection For Insurance Company Discounts

You may have heard the term 4 point inspection thrown around as well.  A 4 point inspection is a separate inspection report many insurance companies require on homes 20 years old or more.  Citizens required them on homes 30 years old or more.  Some companies are requiring them on newer homes as well, so it’s always good to check with your insurance company as getting a 4 point inspection is less expensive if added on to a regular home inspection.

The 4 points are heating and air conditioning, electrical wiring and panels, plumbing connections and fixtures, and the roof.

Insurance companies have become increasingly reluctant to issue Homeowner Insurance Policies on older homes (usually 25 years old or more). Their common concern is that there may be conditions in an older home that could become a liability to them. For instance; a home with a roof nearing the end of its reliable service life may fail while under the policy and the homeowner may seek reimbursement from their insurance company for damages to the home or its contents.

Similar concerns extend to the condition of the HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems in an older home. If these elements are in poor condition, in need of being updated or replaced or were improperly installed, they may fail and cause fire or water damage to a home.

Newer homes are assumed (by the insurance companies) to not have these problems as frequently as older homes. There is a standard form for this type of inspection that must be filled out by a qualified inspector or contractor.

There is also a Uniform Wind Mitigation Verification Inspection which provides significant discounts to a homeowner if the home qualifies. The state has recently changed the reporting rules this year making it harder to qualify for such discounts. More proof is needed in the report including photos.

There is also a Roof Certification Inspection insurance companies require when the roof is approximately 15 years old. The 4 point inspection report may suffice if your insurance company asks for this inspection. Check with your company.

Last week an insurance company sent over their own person to check on one of our listings for an upcoming closing.  I checked with an insurance agent who said more and more insurance companies are starting to send their own people over to perform these inspections as they are not fully trusting the reports they are receiving.  This may cost the insurance company more money upfront, but it is a signal that they are increasingly looking to limit exposure and risk.

Not only must a seller satisfy the buyer, the lender, the appraiser, but now also the insurance company before a home can be sold.

If the home has polybutylene plumbing you can forget about an insurance company insuring the home.  The home must be re-plumbed.

Buying and selling a home today has become more complex.  With new Dodd Frank regulations being written and taking effect combined with new insurance disclosures and requirements it’s a wonder anything gets done.  Inspectors have to fill out more reports so they must charge more.

As regulations increase Realtors will have to charge more in the future. State Farm now requires their own forms be filled out by inspector on a PC, not a mobile device so inspectors are charging more for State Farm inspections.

Yesterday I had to go back out to a property under contract and photograph certain things for an appraiser to go in that report.  Appraisers and insurance companies are documenting everything.

We’d strongly recommend getting a 4 point inspection as an add-on to your regular home inspection.  It just might save you thousands on your home insurance, and it might come in handy when you go to sell the property, even if your insurance company doesn’t use it.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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Whether you’re ready to list your home today or just get an update on prices, we’re here to help. To get your home listed and marketed in High Definition simply call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042 or email us at Brett@topagent.com or Sande@topagent.com To search the MLS visit TopAgent.com  To learn more about Hi Def video for your home visit HomesinHD.TV

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By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

A new form just arrived June 1st informing buyers of what the homeowners insurance and flood insurance may cost, and if the cost exceeds the amount disclosed then buyer may have a right to cancel contract.

Homeowners Insurance Disclosure Flood insurance

Homeowners and Flood Insurance Disclosure in Florida

There have been significant changes to homeowners and flood insurance policies and costs in the past few years and some are quite surprised at the hoops they must jump through to obtain affordable insurance.

The Ellis Team is strongly encouraging our sellers to provide an elevation certificate so we can obtain upfront what the flood insurance costs will be.  Without the elevation certificate insurance agents are forced to quote off the base elevation which can be much costlier.  Some buyers were surprised to find out flood insurance was tens of thousands of dollars on a property.  This is one reason the National Association of Realtors urged Congress to make changes to the flood program.

These changes are in effect now, but having the elevation certificate helps.  Many people don’t realize the buyer can assume the seller’s flood policy.  This is worth examining as well.

Homeowners insurance has seen its share of changes too.  Wind mitigation surveys can significantly reduce policy premiums on homes, especially homes built before 2002.   Older homes are getting costlier to insure because they were built to lesser codes.

I called Peter Craig over at Pacific Crest Insurance as he has been bailing us out and saving deals for us from surprised buyers brought in by other agents who didn’t know about inspections and saving money.  Peter told me about a company that is charging $800 to nail in clips so that the insurance companies will reduce premiums. If the home has certain features like hurricane clips or straps the premium is reduced.  Homes built before 1985 typically don’t have either so having nails put in helps with costs.

He also told me about a survey company that does elevation certificates quickly.  We ordered one for a property because the seller didn’t have one and got it back within a few days.  I think the seller paid $130 or so for the certificate, but it saved his deal and saved the buyer thousands on insurance.

Many buyers qualify for the home, but when they find out the homeowners and flood insurance costs are so high without these discounts they no longer qualify.  I’ve talked with several agents who have lost deals because buyers no longer qualified for the home.  It’s knocking them out on their ratios on the monthly payment.

Sellers used to not care because it was the buyer’s issue, but that’s no longer the case.  It’s not about if the buyer pays more in insurance, it’s about whether the buyer can still qualify for the home.  Most buyers buy as much as they qualify for, but when insurance costs are double or triple what the lender used for their monthly payment, it knocks them out of the deal.  Now sellers care, and if they don’t, they soon will when they start losing deals on their home.  Even if the buyer hasn’t bought as much as they can afford, they still shy away when they see high yearly insurance premiums they weren’t prepared for.

Now the new disclosure addresses this upfront, which is a good thing.  For it to work properly, getting quotes before you find the buyer is essential, so I’d recommend real estate agents find a good insurance agent and do the research on each listing before you find the buyer. Having the elevation certificate is crucial.  A wind mitigation report is helpful as well.

It’s so much easier to sell a home once than several times.  Getting this information upfront can save deals and get the sellers on their way to their next property and get buyers into their home the first time.  It’s more work on the front end, but it will help keep deals together and save work on the back end.

 

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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1528 Pinecrest Rd

Cypress Lake Country Club

Fort Myers, FL 33919

Whether you’re ready to list your home today or just get an update on prices, we’re here to help. To get your home listed and marketed in High Definition simply call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042 or email us at Brett@topagent.com or Sande@topagent.com To search the MLS visit TopAgent.com  To learn more about Hi Def video for your home visit HomesinHD.TV

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Search the MLS

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By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

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