SW Florida real estate home prices aren’t quite back to what they were in January 2006 however Southwest Florida home prices rise to highest level in years.

December 2015 median home sales price in Lee County came in at $231,000 which was a 21.6% increase over sales in 2014. Average sales prices rose 17.2% up to $333,735 in December.

Southwest Florida Home Prices Rise to Highest Level in Years

Closed sales fell 2.8% in December and most attribute that to delayed closings due to new Federal regulations knows as TRID.  We’ve written extensively on how TRID would delay or kill some closings and you can search those articles right here on our Blog

While overall sales fell 2.8%, cash sales fell 10.8%.  We don’t really have an explanation other than as prices rise we tend to see more financed sales.

Each year listing inventory increases starting in January but this year we actually saw a 4.2% decrease.

January started out strong.  Typically sales don’t pick up until about January 18th or so, but this year it was early.  If anything we perhaps saw a slowdown in the 2nd half of January.  Perhaps this was reaction to major stock market corrections?  We don’t know, and we hesitate to get caught up in sales activity over a one or two week period.  January isn’t the biggest month for sales anyway.

Sales tend to build in season.  February becomes a very strong month and March builds on top of that.  Mortgage rates have actually fallen with all the financial turmoil, so buyers may benefit from that when they go to purchase.

Official year end stats for 2015 won’t be released until February 17th, so we’ll wait and report that breaking news on our Blog that day.  You may wish to subscribe to our Blog so you don’t miss it.  We know year end prices will be up; it’s just a matter of how much.  Sellers like to know as it forebodes next year’s tax assessments.  It also gives sellers a good idea in case they are considering selling.

If you’re considering selling you might like to check our the Market Reports section on our Southwest Florida MLS search website   We wrote about this new feature last week and many signed up to receive real-time reports of active listings, pending sales, and solds in their neighborhood.  If your neighborhood isn’t listed yet, you can create your own.

If you’re a buyer, you can use our website to search for properties.  Buyers love it because it’s updated every 5 minutes.  It’s fun as a Realtor to make a change in MLS and watch it update on our site in just a minute or so.  A lot of national websites don’t update or don’t have all the listings, so buyers get frustrated when the home that interests them isn’t there or sold months ago.

That won’t happen on our website as long as Realtors have updated the MLS.  While buyers love shopping on our site, there’s no substitute for sitting down with a knowledgeable professional who will listen to your needs and make suggestions.  People who are not from here feel at a disadvantage because they don’t know the area.  They want local help from someone who cares and knows the area.

That’s where we come in.  We’re the Name You Know.  We don’t try to sell you anything.  We just educate you on the market and guide you in the right direction so you can make the best decision for you.

Call us today at 239-489-4042 or search online at LeeCountyOnline.com

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

The Ellis Team is growing.  We’d like to welcome two fantastic additions to our team.  Ashley Johnson and Alisha Swientek have joined the team as buyer specialists.  Both bring a wealth of real estate experience to the team.  They look forward to helping you find your dream home, along with Kevin Ellis and Chris Herrington.  We are deeply proud of each of our team members as they share our values and goals of helping our customers buy or sell the perfect home for them.


In the old days we used to send out market update reports to neighborhoods which would provide homeowners a list of nearby properties on the market, pending, and recently closed sales.

New Market Report for Home Sellers in SW Florida
Sample Market Report

Sellers loved the information because it gave them a handy reference guide of similar homes in their neighborhood.  They could take it and drive by those homes and compare locations and appearance to their own home.  People would track homes for months especially when they had a potential interest in selling in the near future.

We pioneered the online computer valuation estimate even before the big national online valuations came out.  Sellers are now able to go online at sites like  www.LeeCountyOnline.com or www.Ellisteam.smarthomeprice.com  and get an instant price analysis of their home.  These sites are great and sellers love them, but they don’t give you the list of comparables like those old reports did.

One of the problems with the old reports was they were somewhat outdated the day they came out.  Agents compile the reports and send to printer.  Once it’s printed, they get mailed, which takes time.  They weren’t real-time.

We decided to bring back those reports, but not for just a few select neighborhoods.  We want everyone to have them, and in real-time.  And we’ve done it.  Introducing new market report for home sellers in SW Florida.

Simply go to Market Reports section on our website.  You’ll see several neighborhoods listed with more on the way.  If you don’t see your neighborhood listed, don’t worry.  Just click on a neighborhood, any neighborhood.  At the top select Create Your Own Market Report.  With just 2 clicks you can select your neighborhood and yours is created.  You can even save it and have it sent to you monthly.

We’ve created market reports for neighborhoods like Reflection Lakes, Whiskey Creek, Cross Creek Estates, Danforth Lakes, Highland Pines, Caloosa Trace, Daniels Park, Botanica Lakes, and even the Downtown River District high rise condos.

You can see what homes and condos are listed for, which units are going pending, and what homes are selling for.  You’ll get the price per square foot for each home along with the averages so you can compare your home to the market.

It’s all in Real-Time, just like our MLS search site.  You won’t have to wait for properties to close, agents to compile reports, and the postal service to send them.  Our database is updated every 5 minutes. Don’t believe it?  Test it out.  Within an agent inputting a listing or sale in MLS, our system updates.

If you’re thinking about selling, www.LeeCountyOnline.com will be a great resource.  There’s no substitute for professional advice though.  Please call us and find out how our marketing is bringing more buyers and top dollar for our sellers.

If you’re a buyer, you’ll love the website too.  It’s hard to find properties and beat out other buyers to hot new listings.  Because our site is updated every 5 minutes you’ll have a distinct advantage over other buyers.  Our agents are great and listen to your needs.  We’re not here to sell you anything but rather find you what you’re looking for and help you get it.

Our people are the best, and our technology isn’t too shabby either.  Call us and we’ll talk, or login and see the difference.  Not all Realtors have the same people skills or the same technology.  And they don’t all spend the money to market your home the way we do either.

Call us at 230-489-4042.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Large 5 Bedroom 3 Bath Home in Danforth Lakes

Danforth Lakes Market Report 5 Bedroom 3 Bath Pool Home
Danforth Lakes Pool Home 5 Bedrooms 3 Baths

In real estate we teach Realtors to create their own Unique Selling Proposition to gain clients.  When you’re asking customers to work with your team you must ask the question, why should a customer work with us?  What makes us Unique?  What do we do that’s better than everybody else?

At the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group, we feel we have several things that make us unique.  There are several things we do that the average agent doesn’t, and we’re quite sure nobody does everything we do to get a home sold.  Every agent should ask themselves this question, and if the answer is nothing is unique, find something that is and offer it.  The United States is filled with solid companies that identified a need in the marketplace that wasn’t being met and created a solution or product to meet that need.

If you’re interviewing agents to buy or sell, we think we should definitely be in the conversation.

While the Unique Selling Proposition is true for every agent and every company, it can also be true for every property.  When we list a property, we try to identify who the target buyer might be.  We also identify all the traits of the property to determine if there is something we can advertise to make this property stand out. Create Your unique selling proposition to sell your property.

Create Your Unique Selling Proposition to Sell Your Property
31 Lagoon St

You’d be surprised at all the ways a property can stand out.  Perhaps you own a property seconds to the water.  This is an attractive feature to boaters, and not all properties meet those criteria.

We’ve listed and sold properties that sit inside an air park, so we advertised to pilots and air enthusiasts.  We’ve sold horse and ranch properties, so of course we geared our advertising to reach those potential buyers.

Perhaps your selling proposition is value.  If your home is the lowest priced, or has the most add-ons and extras per square foot, that is something to mention.  Perhaps you live in a golf community with a golf view but golf membership is voluntary.  We would market to someone who appreciates a gorgeous view but doesn’t necessarily have to pay to golf.  You can go both ways on this one.  You can market to avid golfer, or someone who isn’t but wants resale ability later on to someone who is.

Perhaps your condo association offers lots of amenities for a low fee.  This is a great way to attract buyers.  Maybe you have a very high fee but your association offers one amenity nobody else does.  We would definitely advertise that as chances are that’s why you purchased there and most likely is why the next buyer will as well.

Obviously your property must be priced correctly, as that is a value proposition all its own.

Be careful though, as some sellers mistakenly believe certain things are appealing to buyers when in fact they are a turn-off.  Some sellers believe they’ve built the perfect home and load it up with all kinds of weird stuff, and for that a buyer should pay a $200,000 premium for it.  It pays to consult a professional that can guide you through the process and look at your property objectively.

Watching HGTV doesn’t make you a real estate expert.  We watch it for the entertainment, and for the occasional good idea.  There’s just no substitute for market knowledge though.

If you’re considering buying or selling, call a professional.  There are lots of great Realtors out there.  Just pick one with lots of experience and one who will listen to your wants and needs.  Pick one that isn’t afraid to tell you the truth and will educate you.

You can search the MLS for free at www.LeeCountyOnlinie.com or call us at 239-489-4042.  We’ll be glad to help you.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Check out our latest- Neighborhood Market Reports-You can create your own too.

Botanica Lakes Market Report

Cross Creek Estates Market Report

River District High Rise Condos Market Report

Reflection Lakes Market Report

Whiskey Creek Market Report

Fort Myers Waterfront Homes Market Report

We’re also adding Single Property Websites to each of our listings.  Check back as we’ll be adding a lot more.

Think back to when cable TV was first introduced.  It changed the television viewing habits of millions of Americans, however the big 3 networks were still king in ratings.  Then came along a 4th network.  Today there are hundreds of channels, and while the Big 4 networks still maintain good ratings on certain shows, there is much competition for the eyeballs of viewers.

Content Isn’t King Trust is King

Just a few decades ago a great real estate marketing campaign consisted of postcard mail outs, newspaper ads, and maybe some image advertising like a bus bench or car wrap.  Today image advertising has its place, but it’s not going to be the single thing that attracts buyers like it did in the past.

Buyers search for credibility and content.  Listing sites like www.LeeCountyOnline.com have all the listings and updates every 5 minutes.  Others like Realtor.com, Homefinder.com, HGTV, Zillow, Trulia, and others also compete in the online space.  These are sources buyers search for content

Others like Realtor.com, Homefinder.com, HGTV, Zillow, Trulia, and others also compete in the online space.  These are sources buyers search for content.

Content is what gets people interested, but it’s not necessarily what makes them purchase.  Some people believe that Content is King, but we believe Trust is King.  Trust is the difference between having general interest and actually pulling the trigger.

Imagine you had a son or daughter going off to college in a large town clear across the country.  Campus housing is full, so you must find her an apartment.  Parents are typically concerned about costs, convenience, safety, and terms.

Can she walk to classes or must she drive?  If she must drive, is there parking available.  How much will apartments cost?  What are the terms?  How long is the lease?  If she goes to school 9 months she may not need a 1 year lease.  Is it a safe neighborhood?

Searching for a home or 2nd home is not much different.  Buyers ask similar questions.  They want to know the neighborhood, it’s proximity to shopping and things to do, and if it’s a good investment.  They want to know average prices, historical changes, and if the area is likely to improve.  They want to know what the job market looks like and if the area is likely to go up in value or decline.  People want to make a sound investment.

All these questions go to trust.  You have to trust the person you’re dealing with.  All the computers in the world can’t answer the simple fundamental question.  What does your gut tell you?

People search for content, but they buy with trust.  This is why these portals can create interest, but it’s the person behind the portal who answers the emails or answers the phone that makes the difference.  If people don’t have a good feel for the area or trust their gut instinct, they won’t buy no matter how good of a deal it may seem.

Yes, our team participates and pays big dollars for our website and the big portals.  We appreciate the interest these sites create.  We spend a lot more money that most to create that interest, both online and in print.  By the way, print is not dead.  You’re reading this now in the newspaper.

The point is our team takes great care to forge a bond of trust with each customer.  We don’t care what you buy so long as it matches what’s right for you.  Maybe you’re not ready to buy, and that’s OK too.  We seek to listen to you so we can find out you’re your needs are.  We can educate you on our market, but if we fail to listen properly we won’t get to that gut feeling you need.

There’s an old saying that goes “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  We care to get it right, and what’s right is whatever is best for you.  Each customer is different and has different wants and needs.

Let our team help you achieve your dream!  Call us at 239-489-4042 or search online at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Check out our latest- Neighborhood Market Reports-You can create your own too.

Reflection Lakes Market Report

We’re also adding Single Property Websites to each of our listings.  Check back as we’ll be adding a lot more.

Check out our newest search for Fort Myers Waterfront Homes With Gulf Access


We won’t have final 2015 numbers until the 3rd week in January of 2016, but by all accounts the SW Florida real estate market is going out with a bang!

November statistics were recently released over the Holidays and median sales prices of single family homes shot up 16.1% over last year.  The November median sales price sits at $227,000.  The averages sales price shot up 13.1% to $304,691.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Prices November 2105

Good things are happening in Southwest Florida.  Businesses are hiring, people are moving here, and real estate is booming.  The Lee County School Board is having a hard time finding teachers to fill vacancies.  This tells us that the school system is growing and people are moving back because the jobs are here.

The time it takes to sell a home also fell 11.8%, down to 30 days on market.  So basically the numbers suggest prices are rising and should you decide to sell your home you should be able to within 30 days.  This is good news for home sellers.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Inventory Levels

So why doesn’t every home sell in 30 days?  Of the homes that do sell, half sell quicker than 30 days and half take longer than 30 days.  Then of course there are the homes that never sell.  Those homes are not included in this calculation.

Homes priced at the lower end tend to sell quicker because there is more competition.  More buyers qualify at the lower price ranges.  Additionally you have investors that compete against home buyers in those ranges.  As you rise in price you lose buyers from the available buyer pool.  Simple economics are in play here.

As interest rates rise it squeezes home buyers as well.  A 1% rise in interest rates decreases a buyer’s purchasing power by 11%.  So if a buyer qualifies to purchase a home up to $300,000, they now only qualify for $267,000.  The payment is the same for both mortgages though.  They just qualify for less because the rise in rates made the lower amount financed cost as much as the higher amount financed today.

This is precisely why we tell buyers now is the time to buy.  Rates are rising now and are expected to rise for the next few years. For the same payment, you will buy less home next year than you can this year.  And add to the fact home prices are going up, not down, you get caught in a double whammy.  If you don’t like the available selection now, you might hate it next year.

Inventory levels are down 5.1% from last year.  Buyers are in competition with other buyers for the best homes.  If a seller is priced correctly, their home should sell, so the buyers aren’t really in competition with the seller.

One way to beat out other buyers to Hot new listings is by signing up on www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Listings are updated from MLS every 5 minutes and we have all the shareable listings.  This is important because some of the other platforms don’t update regularly.  There’s nothing worse than searching listings and missing out on a good one because it wasn’t there, or missing out on a diamond that comes back on the market and missing it because the system you’re using doesn’t have current data.  In fact, our system will also email you new properties that match your criteria along with price changes and back on the market listings.

And of course, there’s no substitute for speaking with a knowledgeable agent that cares for you.  We’re not here to sell you anything.  You want to buy.  We want to help you find what’s right for you.  It’s really pretty simple.

If you’ve got questions, give us a call at 239-489-4042  We’re easy to talk to and never high pressure.  We listen to you and find you what you’re looking for.  And, we’ve got some great tips on things to think about too.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!

Featured Properties of the Week-

Danforth Lakes Pool Home 5 Bedrooms 3 Baths
Danforth Lakes Pool Home


5 Bedroom 4 Bath Home in South Fort Myers
Eagle Ridge Pool Home on Golf Course


SW Florida closed sales for single family homes fell in November 6.7% in SW Florida.  Many are blaming new Federal guidelines known as TRID for delayed or cancelled closings, and there may be some truth to that.  However, a deeper look inside the numbers presents another theory as well.

SW Florida Closed Sales Sale Prices

Cash sales also fell 12% in November.  Cash sales were not affected by the new rules, so this would dispel the idea that the entire slowdown was caused by delayed closings caused by TRID.  It could very well be there are fewer closings because there is less active inventory to sell.

Active single family home inventory fell 5.1% in November, down to 5,010 listings as compared to 5,277 available last year.  It’s hard to keep losing inventory each month and expect closed sales to rise.  Statistically it can’t happen forever, and this is why it’s putting pressure on prices to rise.  And rise they have!

SW Florida Closed Sales

Before we look at prices, there is some good news on the inventory front.  New listings rose 10.7% in November. 1,661 new listings came in this year compared to only 1,500 last year.  We are seeing more listings hitting the market, so why aren’t inventory levels rising?

New pending sales fell in November 4.4%  There were 1,104 new pending sales this year compared to 1,155 last year.  If 1,661 new listings came on the market, and only 1,104 went pending, how did inventory levels fall in November?

The answer is convoluted.  Not all pending sales close.  Not all pending sales close in the month they go pending as there is a lag.  And not all closings are happening on their scheduled contract closing date.  Closings are being delayed by TRID and banking delays.  Additionally, some listings expire and don’t go pending which also drops inventory levels.

Sellers with expired listings need to make difficult choices.  Did they hire the wrong Realtor?  Does their home need repairs?  Or did they simply overprice the market?  Sometimes it’s good to step back and objectively look at what other sellers are offering and at what price.  That is your current competition.  It’s also important to look at sellers who won the home selling game.  What condition was the property in?  Did that property receive updates?  How was it priced?

Many times the answer is staring sellers right n the face, and it’s right there if they want to look at it.

Buyers have similar decisions to make.  Often we hear from buyers who have lost out on many homes for various reasons.  Quite often they’re being outbid by other buyers.  If you keep offering 10% off asking price expecting to win a home you have about as much chance as a seller overpricing their home by 10%.  The market is the market, and when you price a home correctly, it will sell.  When you bid for a home correctly, you have a chance.  We’re not saying you have a guarantee as sellers evaluate the entire offer and compare it against other offers, or potential future offers.

Sellers look at how much you have in escrow, how confident they are in the lender you chose and the details in your pre-approval letter.  They look at how much you’re putting down, and if it’s not a lot how you would overcome your bank appraising the property low.

Buyers typically say a low appraisal is the seller’s problem, and it may be.  But it also can be the buyer’s problem as many sellers turn down low appraisals and sell their home to cash buyers the next week.  This is of course if their home was priced correctly in the first place, as cash buyers don’t like to over-pay anymore than financed buyers do.

The bottom line is it pays to research the market, and work with an expert.  Experts can help you navigate the process of how much to offer, battling low appraisals, and overall market statistics.  If you’d like to do a little research yourself, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search the MLS.  If you’d like to talk to local experts, call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll see if we can help.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Featured Property of the Week

8740 Banyan Bay Blvd

3 Bed 2 Bath Pool Home- Former Model

Bella Casa Condominiums

Search Bella Casa Condominiums in MLS

While we’re awaiting the Fed’s decision on interest rates at the time of writing this article we thought we’d delve into year-end inventory numbers in SW Florida. Could this be a perfect storm for Southwest Florida home sellers?

We’ve been saying for quite awhile this may be the perfect time to sell your home as rates are low and inventory is low. Buyers have to compete against each other to win bids. In a normal market it feels like the buyer is competing against the seller and that’s just not the case right now.

As rates rise it will begin, albeit slowly, to price buyers out of certain price ranges. Ultimately this will begin the process of adding inventory to the market as there will be less buyers competing for each listing. It may force buyers down in price range and increase the number of buyers at the low end of the spectrum, but then again some buyers at the low end will be priced out completely, so that may wash.

We never know how many buyers become priced out. All we do know is that a 1% increase in rates equates to about 11% less purchasing power for any given borrower.

A Perfect Storm for Southwest Florida Home Sellers

As you can see from the inventory graph, single family residential listings in Lee County Florida are down to 4,628 listings. This is down 10.3% from last year’s number, and down significantly from 2011 when we had in excess of 8,100 listings. It’s no wonder average prices rose 20.4% in October this year over last October. Median sales prices were up 14.0%

A Perfect Storm for Southwest Florida Home SellersA Perfect Storm for Southwest Florida Home Sellers Months Supply of Inventory

Month’s supply of inventory is also down 20.5% from last year. Currently it sits at 4.0 months, which is up from September’s 3.7 months. Last year supply was running around 5 months.

If you’re a seller, it’s really a “Perfect Storm” to sell right now. Listing inventory is down right now, and nobody knows how long it will be this low. The one thing we know for sure is that real estate is never constant. External forces influence inventory levels, demand, and ultimately pricing.

Rising rates is a big driver which influences demand. It affects affordability. It also affects consumer confidence. While higher rates slightly above zero percent shouldn’t affect buyers too much right now, the psychology of continued rising rates can influence consumer sentiment going forward.

Nobody is really concerned about the first Fed rate increase. It’s just that when they start raising rates, they usually continue. Nobody wants to see rates stay at zero percent forever, and yet everyone is afraid to begin the process. They cannot stay where they are, although empirical evidence suggests if you had a basis to place rates at zero for several years, there is still some evidence that suggests rates should stay there. And if you believe rates need to stay at zero then you’ll be against beginning the process now.

By the time you read this article, those arguments may already be settled. Regardless, one of these days, if not already, rates will begin to rise and it will cost buyers more to borrow. It will begin a process, and one day sellers may look back at today and say “I wish I had sold my home back when rates were lower and inventory was lowest.”

If I had a dollar for every time a seller said they should have sold back in time I’d be a rich man.

Let me be clear, we think we’re going to have a good market in 2016. Prices may rise. We’re not saying we have a Top to the market. All we are saying is it’s a lot more fun to sell when you have little to no competition from other sellers. You place all the competition onto buyers to compete. These days won’t last forever. You’ll still be able to sell when you’re competing against other sellers. It’s just won’t be as much fun.

Imagine if you played poker and you were dealt the hand of your life. You’d probably bet that hand differently than a normal hand. And you surely wouldn’t fold. If you’re thinking of selling, play that winning hand while you got it.

Call us if you’d like to talk 239-489-4042 or feel free to search the MLS at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Featured Property of the Week

8740 Banyan Bay Blvd

3 Bed 2 Bath Pool Home- Former Model

The number one complaint we hear from sellers is that they listed with a Realtor and never heard from them again.  The number one complaint we hear from buyers is that either the Realtor doesn’t return their calls or their Realtor is out of town and can’t show them properties.

Buyers and sellers aren’t being unrealistic.  They need help and that’s why they go to a real estate agent.  Because buyers and sellers have questions, it’s not enough for the agent to know the answers but keep the knowledge locked up in a vault.  That knowledge and information must be communicated with the customer.

Communication the Key to a Successful Real Estate Transaction

In the old days we provided each of our clients with a communication binder where they would store all the reports, ads, and feedback we’d send them through the mail or personal delivery. We would discuss the reports with the clients, but there was a delay because of they way they were sent.

Communication the Key to a Successful Real Estate Transaction

Today communication is better and immediate.  Our sellers receive a communication portal which is essentially a website we setup for each of our listings with private access by each seller.  They login and see the marketing activities, the showings, and the feedback.  They see the timelines and what is left to do on the checklist and what our team has already completed.  There are links to the PDF of their ad in the newspaper.  They can view each ad just as it’s printed. We can also post links to websites all over the Internet.  When we list a property we place it on dozens of websites.  The seller sees as we post these ads.  They can preview their ad on Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, Craigslist, News Press, LeeCountyOnline.com, REMAX.com, and all the other websites we place it on.

Sellers love viewing their printed newspaper ad online.  They can send it to friends, or just have it for their records.  All communications between sellers are stored there as well for easy reference.

When the property goes pending, the transaction gets another website.  Inspection reports are posted along with progress on buyer’s loan if applicable, timelines, etc.  When we speak with clients they can actually see what we’re talking about.  It really helps make our sellers a more educated seller, and that’s a good thing.

We have systems for buyers as well.  While they’re shopping for a home we have a client portal.  In that portal they can store favorites, take notes, and be alerted when matching properties enter the market or change price immediately.  This helps buyers get a leg up on other buyers who are shopping for the same thing.  The early bird gets the worm.

When the buyer finds a property and goes under contract, we also setup a web portal where they can log in and check their progress.  We are in constant communication regarding their loan, inspections, insurance, HOA or Condo Association deadlines, etc.  We’ve taken a complicated process and made it easy to follow along and understand.

It all starts with communication.  When buyers and sellers understand the process and know ahead of time what to expect, they begin to trust.  They trust their agent and they trust the process.  When buyers and sellers trust the process, they’re not surprised and they can make adjustments when necessary without freaking out because they were caught off-guard.  Yes, unexpected surprises can happen in a real estate transaction, but being prepared and proper communication upfront goes a long way to solving surprises later on.

Many transactions have few if any surprises, and that’s the way it should be.  Each Realtor has their own systems they like to use.  When selecting a Realtor, just make sure you ask about communication so you know what to expect.  Have them show you their systems.  Selecting a Realtor based upon communication systems and skills might be the single best criteria you could use to determine which Realtor to work with.

You can always reach us at 239-489-4042 or search the MLS at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Good luck and Happy Selling/Buying!


Closing coordinator Ellis Team is hiring

Our team is growing again.  We need a closing transaction coordinator.  Full-time position.  Call us at 239-489-4042 if you are looking for a job and have real estate, mortgage, HOA or title experience.

New Listings:

31 Lagoon St

31 Lagoon St North Fort Myers– 5 Bedroom 3 Bath home on the water seconds from the river with pool.

31 Lagoon St Single Property Website

Virtual Tour 31 Lagoon St

31 Lagoon St North Fort Myers on Instagram

12724 Aston Oaks Dr

5 Bedroom 3 Bath Home in South Fort Myers

12724  Aston Oaks Dr Single Property Website

12724 Aston Oaks Dr Virtual Tour

7479 Twin Eagle Ln

Eagle Ridge 5 Bedroom 4 Bath Golf Course Home

7479 Twin Eagle Ln Fort Myers  Single Property Website



This past week I attended the joint Fort Myers Beach Town Council and Lee County Commission workshop to hear a bold proposal by developer Tom Torgerson that was dubbed an opportunity of a lifetime at Fort Myers Beach.

After viewing the presentation I would concur that is indeed true.  There were some things that I liked and a few things I didn’t like. I still have a lot of questions. The presentation was an overview.  It was not complete.

I did not see renderings of Crescent Beach.  It looks like some open space remains but perhaps not in its current form.  Like Commissioner Mann, I wonder how adding 700 hotel rooms would reduce trips on the road.

The four new hotels will be a Holiday Inn Resort at the South end of the property.  Next to that will be the Marriott AC property, followed by the Hilton Resort which will have a Hampton Inn inside the Hilton Resort.  The parking garage will connect to the Hilton Resort.  The Holiday Inn Resort will hold 200 rooms, while the Hampton Inn would hold 85 rooms and the Hilton Resort 76 units.  I couldn’t write fast enough to get the Marriott number. All told I’ve read we’re looking at about 476 new rooms at the beach.

I can see how the new traffic flow would be a big boost to traffic snarls at the beach.  Traffic impacts quality of life and improvements there would go a long way to allowing me to make compromises, but we need more facts.

Last year I took a road trip to Siesta Key in Sarasota.  What I didn’t like was that the Gulf views were obscured by businesses and hotels.  I fear that Fort Myers Beach will go the same route.  I hate to lose that beautiful beach access.

Oh, the developers have opened up access points to the beach.  I’m talking about the views.  It will look more like a downtown shopping district in front of these hotels and businesses until you go in back on the boardwalk.

I’d like to see a virtual reality rendering of what this all looks like.  I’d like to see the access to the beach and see how closed off it really is.

I also worry that the trend would continue further down the beach and we’d add more high-rise hotels, further blocking beach view access.  If we do this project, is there a way to make it stop?  This is a CPD (Commercial Planned Development).  Is there a way to restrict further CPD’s?

Opportunity of a Lifetime at Fort Myers Beach Boardwalk
Proposed Boardwalk

For the most part, driving over the big bridge would afford similar views to what we have now.  It’s when you’re at street level that you begin to feel like you’re boxed in.  It almost feels like First Street Village in Downtown Fort Myers.  There are arches in the renderings that looks like it could open up to beach views at street level.  And of course, there is the boardwalk.  I just want to make sure there is enough open space to not feel boxed in and lose that beach feel. As opposed to downtown, the beach is the draw, not the businesses.

Opportunity of a Lifetime at Fort Myers Beach Parking Garage
Proposed Parking garage and Pedestrian Walkway

There are parking benefits.  I’m not sure I like valet parking versus self parking.  If Lee County residents are going to give up so much, I’d like to see residents be able to buy parking passes like Collier County does.  This may bust their revenue budget, but everything is a negotiation at this point.  The developers know there will be some give and take.

I can see benefits to traffic flow, storm water improvements, parking, and tax revenues.  There are a lot of plusses to consider.  It’s just that we’re being asked to trade-off and lose that small town feel and some views for the sake of development.

Traffic flow would benefit in a number of ways.  Pedestrians would not be crossing Estero Blvd at choke points anymore.  They’d be using the elevated walkways.  Left turns from Estero onto side streets would also be done away with.  Traffic would also be diverted away with the use of the round-about and behind the garage area.  The traffic plan actually does look like a well thought out plan.

Opportunity of a Lifetime at Fort Myers Beach View Looking up Beach
View Looking Up Beach

Like I said, it’s complicated, and it is a opportunity of a lifetime at Fort Myers Beach.   Nobody knows how much they’re asking the state and county to contribute.  They make mention of tax revenues exceeding what is needed.  That is code for asking for tax dollars, and of course some land swaps.  They propose giving the county the parking garage in exchange for Seafarer’s Village Property, Crescent Beach, and some right of ways.

If Lee County is going to be doing some land swaps, perhaps there is an opportunity to acquire more land down the beach adjacent to one of the parks.  This way the County could expand an existing park more like Lynn Hall Memorial Park but down the beach.  Then locals would have a quiet place with parking if they wanted to escape all the hustle and bustle of the new project.

It will be interesting to see what the Town of Fort Myers Beach thinks as well as Lee County residents.  I see some positives, and if I were in charge I’d be willing to let go of a few tings in return for some assurances on others.  Both ways it’s a quality of life issue, and we need to make sure we get this right.

Fort Myers Beach Proposal
View Looking Up Old Estero Blvd

Plans are ambitious.  They would like to start sometime between October- December 2106.  They would need FEMA approval for the seawall change which they believe they could get within about 4 months from application.  That seems pretty fast for FEMA.

Good luck to the Town of Fort Myers Beach and Lee County.  We’ve got some work to do.  To search the Fort Myers Beach or Lee County MLS, visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com

What are your thoughts on the Fort Myers Beach proposal?  Is it a opportunity of a lifetime at Fort Myers Beach or a bad idea that will destroy the way of life as we know it?

More renderings below:

Fort Myers Beach Proposal Skyline with scale
Proposed Fort Myers Beach Skyline with Scale Drawings
Proposed Fort Myers Beach Master Conceptual Plan
Master Conceptual Plan
Fort Myers Beach Proposed Roundabout
Proposed Roundabout
Looking Up Island Toward Roundabout
Looking Up Island Towards Proposed Roundabout
Once in a Lefite Opportinity Back View of Proposed Parking Lot
Back View of Proposed Parking Lot

Public input upcoming at December 14 meeting on Fort Myers Beach

Average sales prices rose 20.4% in Lee County while median sales prices rose 14.0% in October over last year’s numbers.  This tells us there is some strength in the higher end of the market pulling the average figures higher.

SW Florida Real Estate Prices Rise as Does Inventory

If we dig a little deeper we notice that average sales prices don’t usually bump up until December.  In 2015 we started seeing the climb in September, about 2 months earlier.  The average numbers are a little more pronounced and help identify the trend in the median numbers when they occur over time.

SW Florida Real Estate Prices Rise as Does Inventory

We’ve also been telling readers that listing inventory has been down, and this has led to a rise in prices.  We know from history that inventory begins rising about October, and this year kept the trend.

SW Florida Real Estate Prices Rise as Does Inventory

Listings rose over September 8.13%, however they fell 10.3% from last year’s numbers.  So we’re seeing the typical rise in inventory we usually see this time of year, however the bar is lower and listings are down from last year.

What does this tell us?  The SW Florida real estate market should be in for a good ride.  Of course, this is predicated upon interest rates remaining affordable and the job market remaining stable.   All signs point to both.  Interest rates will climb, but forecasts by FNMA and Freddie Mac suggest modest rises.

Rising rates will affect some home buyers, but it shouldn’t disrupt the market as we have more demand than supply.  Rising rates will hurt individual buyers more than sellers overall.  If we had a high inventory market, it would affect sellers more.

Rising rates will help curtail 20% rises in prices.  It may not change the direction but it may slow the speed of increase.

We think season should be good again this year.  The weather is already brutal and we haven’t even touched December yet.  SW Florida has enjoyed rather warm weather and that is attractive to buyers who’ve just about had it with snow and blizzards.  This winter could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and sends people our way.

Sellers, this could be your time.  All signs point to a perfect time to sell.  Low inventory and rising prices combined with a decent economy spells success.  It’s the perfect storm, but perfect storms don’t last forever.  Yes, we expect a good market going forward, but one day you won’t be holding All the cards, just some of the cards.

It’s always fun to play cards when you’re holding all the good ones.  It really comes down to skill when the cards are evenly distributed, and it’s no fun at all when you’ve got no cards.  Buyers feel like they have no cards right now.  If they wait, they’ll have better cards but prices and rates may both be higher, so waiting isn’t the best option.

Sellers may wait, and prices may be higher.  But it may take longer to sell and buyers will have more choices.  Your home won’t be the commodity it is now.  Really, we can honestly say that now is a good time for both buyers and sellers.  Waiting may cost buyers more money due to rising rates.  The banks keep that money, not the sellers.  And if a seller waits, they may not enjoy the fruits of having little to no competition.

If you’d like to search the MLS, feel free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Our database is updated every 5 minutes, so you can beat out other buyers to hot new listings.

Sellers, if you’d like to take advantage of this Hot market, call us at 239-489-4042.  Put our marketing and “Secret Sauce” to work for you.  We can even help you find your next home. Call us and let’s talk.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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