Is the SW Florida Real Estate Market Changing? Listing inventory rose slightly in Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate markets in February from 6,192 single family homes on the market in January to 6,271 last month. Listing inventory typically peaks in January and declines slightly in February before Declining rapidly in March due to so many seasonal sales occurring. This year inventory actually rose in February and internal numbers we’re tracking in March show they’ve risen slightly again.

SW Florida real estate market single family home inventory

This may be a sign that sellers have been a little too ambitious pricing their home and buyers have backed off bidding up prices. Prices typically peak in season then level off or decline a little bit the rest of the year. This is because most of the higher priced sales occur when we have the most visitors, but if that trend is peaking it will be interesting to see where the market heads from here. New pending sales in February are down 10.6% from last year. New listings are up 5.4% over last year. So we have increasing inventory and declining pending sales in the height of season. We’ll be tracking March numbers very carefully. It’s still possible March and April could be great as Easter is late this year but the pending numbers we’re looking at don’t bear that out plus we see rising inventory.

SW Florida real estate market new pending sales and Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers Beach single family

SW Florida Real Estate Market Prices

Prices did rise in February up to a median price of $185,000 from $180,000 in January. Average prices rose from $301,035 in January to $311,536 Has the market peaked? Markets rarely stay constant. It’s possible the market is taking a break until it figures out where it wants to go. Properties in the $250,000 or less range are still flying off the market. Homes priced higher than $400,000 really need to make sure they’re priced competitively in the market as inventory begins to build the higher the price. Interest rates are rising again and it has put pressure on buyers. We just received some good news on flood insurance which will help the SW Florida real estate market compared to what we could have seen had the President not signed HR 3370 into law this week. New buyers will receive the same flood rates as existing homeowners do. Rates may still climb, but there are caps to how much and how fast, and before the new law was signed, there was no grandfather clause when a purchaser bought a property. This should provide some stability to costs for buyers which does affect their purchasing power. We’ve had some excellent weather down here and the weather up North has been dreadful. 2014 might be the year many will vacation down here and put plans into place to move here in the coming months. A few companies are also bringing jobs to SW Florida in the next few years. If the economy improves, our real estate market has more room to grow. If it doesn’t, our market may stagnate and remain at these levels. Like I said, the market rarely stands still. Forces affect the real estate market. Rising interest rates affect it negatively. Jobs and the economy do affect the market as well. We’re not sounding the alarm that we’re at risk of a downturn. We are saying we’re watching the numbers and we have a few things to keep our eye on going forward. The continued trend of rising prices may still occur, or it may subside and take a breather.  If your plans depend on one outcome or the other this is information that may be useful to you. Nobody knows where the market is going exactly, or exactly when it will get there. If you’ve got a property to sell, give us a call and we’ll guide you through the market. If you’re a buyer, it pays to know what areas are hot and where inventory is building. We have the information. Let it work for you. 239-489-4042 or search the MLS at Good luck and Happy Selling/Buying! If you’re considering buying or selling in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Ft Myers Beach or anywhere in Lee County Florida, give us a call. 239-489-4042 or visit our website Search the MLS View Larger Map Feel free to view our Virtual Tours . Visit our Google+ Business Page  

Ellis Team Buyer Specialist Fort Myers real estateThe Ellis Team is growing once again.  We are proud to announce Ellis Team buyer specialist Dan Goczeski has joined our team as a buyer specialist. Dan was our Customer Care Specialist and Listing Coordinator up until last week, and we’re certainly going to miss him in that position.  Dan has always had a passion for helping people and he certainly went the extra mile in his role at the Ellis Team.

Dan has been a resident in Fort Myers for the past 30 years and is very knowledgeable about the area.  He has witnesses first-hand what SW Florida has grown into today and he looks forward to helping others find their piece of paradise too.  Dan has an extensive professional history from being a licensed financial advisor to a General Contractor in SW Florida. Dan has worked with clients in many fields, but customer satisfaction was always his top priority.  All of these qualities are what makes Dan uniquely qualified to find just the right property for you.

Dan saw how many buyer leads were coming into the team and it caused him to think about becoming a Realtor in SW Florida.  He’s always been in a position advising clients in the building and financial services sectors, but he developed a sense of helping others in real estate through his experiences with the Ellis Team at RE/MAX.  Once he saw how we help so many people it made an impact on him and he wanted in.

So it is with welcome arms we welcome Dan Goczeski to our team of buyer Specialists.  Congratulations!
If you’re considering buying or selling in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Ft Myers Beach or anywhere in Lee County Florida, give us a call. 239-489-4042 or visit our website

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Each day we talk to customers that want to move to SW Florida to enjoy our year round sunshine and all we have to offer, like boating, fishing, shelling, golf, tennis, and more.  Often times customers find themselves buying expensive real estate on a golf course or waterfront homes with a dock in the backyard.

Living the SW Florida Dream Affordably

Living the SW Florida Dream Affordably Freedom Boat Club Fort Myers Beach Carefree Boat Club Fort Myers
Fun For the Whole Family

Some potential buyers dream about buying in SW Florida but are just shy of having enough money to buy that expensive golf course home or waterfront property without exhausting too many reserves to pull it off, so they do nothing and give up.

If buyers knew of cost saving alternatives to enjoy the SW Florida lifestyle we believe many would act, so we looked into affordable boating and found some answers.

Boat club costs versus owning a boat in SW Florida

You’ll see many ads for boat clubs on TV and in the newspaper and there are all kinds from local clubs to national companies.  We decided to focus on national companies because we’ve seen some local companies close shop leaving their customers out in the wind.  National companies may be more secure and offer ways to enjoy boating while traveling as well.

We focused on the two best known national companies to us, Freedom Boat Club and Carefree. Both have local and national locations and costs vary by location.  Each club works similarly in many aspects in that there is a buy-in and a monthly cost.  Freedom Boat Club has some seasonal options in addition to the yearly plans, so you can save money if you only want to use a boat during certain months.

Carefree Boat Club has the lowest buy-in at $3,500 with a 5 year rate lock and $4,500 with a 3 year rate lock. Freedom Boat Club has lower monthly fees and a $5,500 buy-in and the rate is locked in for life.

Carefree Boat club advertises that members save 40-60% compared to owning their own boat.  Freedom Boat Club provided a chart that compares the cost buying a new boat and maintaining for 3 years versus being a boat club member and saving for 3 years.  There is no doubt joining a boat club is more cost effective.

You do give up the convenience of having your boat in your back yard and using it anytime you want, but both boat clubs agree that availability is plentiful because they keep their membership numbers at certain ratios.  As they increase members they add more boats to the fleet.

Gone are the days of paying for insurance, towing services, costly maintenance,  boat payments, storage if you dry dock it or rent a slip, tax, title, and licensing, and all the headaches of owning a boat.  Don’t forget to mention the cost of selling and buying newer boats as time goes on.

For a one-time investment and low monthly fees you can have it all, and save on real estate too.  The hard core boater or fisherman will probably not be attracted to such an idea, but the casual boater who would like to enjoy the water without all the cost and headache of boat ownership will be attracted.

Snowbirds from up north who are casual boaters will be too as they won’t have to tie up hundred’s of thousand’s of dollars in expensive waterfront property just to house that boat that will also cost them.

There is a saying that goes, “The two best days in a man’s life is the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.”  Not sure why it wouldn’t apply to women too.

By joining a boat club you take away that last day where you’re relieved to sell the boat because it cost you bunches to keep it.  Now you have an affordable alternative.

Whether you need to look for an expensive waterfront home or condo, or a more laid back parcel you can retire in, Always Call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042

Good luck, and Happy Boating, no matter how you get out there!

If you’re considering buying or selling in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Ft Myers Beach or anywhere in Lee County Florida, give us a call. 239-489-4042 or visit our website

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The beautiful thing about advertising is that you’re free to choose which venues work for you.  Some people complain that newspaper advertising is dead and costly, so they quit years ago.  Others complain that Yellow Pages are dead and costly, so they quit that too.  Many brokers are in a fight to get their website ranked as highly as possible to avoid paying advertising. SW Florida Real Estate Brokers Find Buyers in new ways.

SW Florida Real Estate Brokers Find Buyers

We believe getting your website ranked highly is fantastic, and we’ve strived for that for years with good results.  In fact, we’re changing over our website right now in hopes it will achieve even higher rankings.  Mostly we want it to work for the consumer.  You can check on the progress at 

Online Advertising Report for CNN USA Today New York Times Search MLS Fort Myers

While getting ranked is important, search engines are adding more paid content to their front page, effectively squeezing out the free search results.  There are fewer and fewer spots left on front pages eaten up by paid advertising.

For those that believe newspaper advertising is dead, we can look no further than 2 weeks ago.  I wrote an article entitled “Thinking of Selling” That weekend we had over 130 sellers sign in to our website to find out the value of their home.  That’s quite a response.

People believe we’re foolish to take out full page ads in the Yellow Pages.  Yet each week we receive calls from buyers and sellers from the Yellow Pages.  Some are visiting in hotel rooms.  Others still use it at home.  The real advantage may be the online component of Yellow Pages.  Dex is a large advertiser that gets ranked on the first page of Google and Bing.  If you’re an advertiser in print, you’re an advertiser online.

The same goes with the Newspaper.  You’re not just advertising here locally as Gannett covers many papers across the US.

Our advertising philosophy can best be described as “Cornering the Market.” We use print, TV, Internet, radio, mail outs, etc.

The Ellis Team advertises our listings online in sites like USA Today, CNN, Trulia, New York Times, Fox News, and many more.  Relying on search engines is great if you’re looking to pick up a few buyers here and there on the cheap, but if you really want to market your seller’s property it’s worth spending money to reach buyers everywhere.

Advertising isn’t expensive if it works.  The newspaper still works.  It costs money, but if you’re consistent and don’t try to cram too much into a small ad it’s effective.  Yellow Pages work.  Radio, TV, Internet; they all work.  The trick is learning what’s effective.  Certain ads work.  You can’t blame the advertising medium if you post a crappy ad and nobody calls.

So when you hear an agent say they don’t advertise in the newspaper, or Yellow Pages, or whatever because it costs too much, ask yourself this question “If I buy a cheap cup of coffee and it tastes bad, did I really save anything by buying cheap coffee?”

When you’re interviewing real estate agents you have to ask pointed questions about where your home will be advertised and how often.  It’s not rude.  It’s your home and you’re paying the commission.  If the commission includes advertising it pays to find out how much exposure your home will have versus other brokers.  Many sellers assume all agents are the same when in reality brokers advertise differently.  The brokers who advertise more may be better negotiators too because they’re spending more money on your home and they need to be.

If you have a home you’re considering selling in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Ft Myers Beach or anywhere in Lee County Florida, give us a call. 239-489-4042 or visit our website

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It’s season again and it’s not uncommon for listings to rise during season which is usually a good thing except for those sellers that decide to “Test” the market.  There’s an old saying that goes “If your home is over the market it isn’t really on the market.”

Perception Vs Reality in the SW Florida Real Estate Market

Perception Vs Reality in the SW Florida Real Estate Market

Sellers overprice homes in all kinds of markets; good, bad, and sideways.  Overpricing is nothing new, but it seems to be gathering steam these days as sellers read headlines that the market is improving and prices are on the rise.

It is true, the market has continued to heal itself, and prices have been rising for many homes.  Some price points have a shortage of homes on the market while some price points have as much as 3 year supply.

The other day I noticed the following post on Facebook from a Bonita Springs agent who I’m friends with “Well, I see we’re back to listing properties based on list prices, not sales prices again.”  Several local SW Florida agents chimed in and agreed.

Personally I’ve been on dozens of listing appointments in the past several months.  Some we’ve taken and many we have not.  Some sellers are interviewing as many as 8 agents trying to get an agent that will agree with their price.

I’ve gone back and tracked several of the listings where we recommended a true market price and the seller chose to list with another agent at a much higher than market price.  Some have even listed just slightly higher than market and they all have one thing in common.  Their homes are still on the market.  They have not sold, and they will not sell because they are over-priced.

Oh, sellers can justify about anything.  Perhaps the Germans or the Canadians will come and fall in love with it and buy it.  We do extensive marketing to foreign buyers but one thing I can tell you is they research the market and don’t want to overpay either.  Imagine if you were traveling to another country, or even another state.  You’d research the market before you felt comfortable buying wouldn’t you?  Germans, Canadians, and Snow Birds from here in the States do the same thing.  Nobody wants to overpay.  They don’t care how much you need for the property, only what it’s worth.

Pricing your home correctly is only part of the battle.  So much more goes into effectively selling and successfully closing the sale.  Many owners and agents can get the contract, but closing it is another story.  This is where the real expertise comes in.  Notwithstanding this fact, overpricing the home negates the experience it takes to close a sale because you rarely even get that chance.

And if you are lucky enough to over-price and find a buyer, the appraisal will trip you up when the property doesn’t appraise.  Even many cash buyers are putting in contingencies that property must appraise.

A lot of sellers like to overprice in season then get serious when many of the high end buyers go home.  Why would you want to do that?  Again, if you’re over the market you’re not really on the market.  Why not have your home on the market when the most higher end buyers are here?

Sure, many of these seasonal buyers come back and visit in the summer, but some buy on impulse while they’re enjoying the weather and good times here as well.  Especially when they see how bad the weather is up North.

Sellers don’t like when buyers have erroneous perceptions about the market.  Buyers don’t get what they want when that happens and the seller just sells to a buyer with correct perceptions.  The same is true for sellers.  If you have erroneous perceptions, buyers will pass you by and work with a seller that perceives the market correctly.

Agents don’t control prices, the market does.  I don’t care if prices go up $10,000 or $20,000.  I can’t.  It’s my job to research and interpret the market for our clients so they can be successful.  I can’t make the market anything it’s not.  If I could, I’d start with my own property.

If you’re thinking of selling, give us a call and we’ll work with you to get the best price.  You might find other agents who will list it higher, but ask yourself this question, “Am I looking to sell my property or just list it and waste my time?”

All those other listings we walked away from are still on the market.  Our listings are selling. Things that make you go hmmm.  Call us at 239-489-4042 or stop by our office at 7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr Fort Myers, FL 33907


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