Not a day goes by that we don’t receive a call or talk to someone who’s frustrated by the rental situation in SW Florida.  Renter frustration mounting for several reasons.

Rents are sky high in SW Florida.  Many times, it’s less expensive to buy than to rent.  When you add back potential appreciation along with principal reduction, many renters realize they’re just throwing good money down the drain.

Renter Frustration Mounting

This past week was Uncle Sam day.  Renters miss out on nice tax deductions too on interest, and this time of year it bothers them.

The renter has no control over their home.  Many times, the owner decides to raise the rent, move back in, allow a family member to move back in, or sell the home.  This displaces the renter.  It’s not a fun place to be in when you can’t plan where you’ll be living next year.

Rental inventory is hard to find.  Your best bet is to call the agent who has the inventory, but how do you do that?  You can call an agent who has access to MLS.  Here’s the problem.  Many rentals are listed on MLS, but the compensation to an agent might be $50-$100.  That’s hardly worth an agent’s time and gas running a prospective tenant around town looking for a rental.  Add in the fact the tenant may not pass the landlord’s background check, credit report, or pet restrictions and you’ve got the potential for showing many more days.  Agents have bills to pay too and simply can’t work for free, or less.  These force renters to work with the listing agent of the rental.

Scams are rampant in Florida.  Many times, a tenant thinks they’re talking to the owner and they’re not.  It could be a scam.  If the rent seems like a great deal it might be a scam.  If they tell you to just drive by and send money to hold the unit if you like it, it’s probably a scam.

Renter Frustration Mounting

So what should a tenant do?  First, working with an agent to rent a property is probably safest.  If they are licensed and working for a broker there are some extra protections for you.

Check out large apartment complexes.  You may not like them, however there is little risk the owner will decide to sell next year.  They may jack your rent, but at least you can stay where you are if stability is important to you.

Check out your credit.  Good lenders can get you in touch with people who can help get derogatory credit off your report.  Late payments on credit cards and past due medical bills hurt the most but they don’t have to.  If you can get these cleaned off your report, you may be able to buy a house sooner than you think.  It all starts with a little planning.

We work with lenders who can help.  Buyers are simply amazed what can be done for them and they’re so grateful when we get them into a home they can call home.  They don’t have to worry about where they’ll be living next year.  Statistics show people who own their own home end up with a lot more financial freedom than those who rent.  Stop making your landlord rich.

The Right Lender

Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042.  We’ll put you in touch with a lender that can either approve you or help you improve your credit.  Feel free to search the MLS www.LeeCountyOnline.com  You might find some homes that interest you.

We received a call this past week from an older couple who’s being displaced.  They want to find their forever rental.  Unfortunately, nobody can guarantee that.  We know they’re tired of moving and just want to rent one place.

Let us help.  Perhaps you can buy today.  If not, get help working on that credit.  Even if you never buy a home, better credit will lower the cost of borrowing on cars, credit cards, etc.  There’s no reason not to look into it.

Good luck and happy searching!

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Posted by Ellis Team – Keller Williams Realty Fort Myers & The Islands on Monday, February 23, 2015

There are several indicators to judge the real estate market in SW Florida.  A few of the things we look at are Inventory levels, pending sales, closed sales, and price changes. Real estate inventory levels grow in SW Florida.

Real Estate Inventory Levels Grow in SW Florida

A neutral market is considered to be 5.5 months.  When we last calculated month’s supply of inventory back in December 2016 the overall market supply for single family homes was 5.65 months.  That number has grown to 6.29 months.  That’s still a healthy number, however it is growing.  This could be an indication of a shifting market.

Market shifts are entirely normal.  They are as guaranteed as the weather changing, so it’s nothing agents fret about one way or the other.  Experienced agents are accustomed to dealing in shifting markets.  The way you market and sell does change as the market changes.  In fact, just last September the average supply was 5.07 months.  We warned months ago we’d be keeping an eye on these numbers to see if the trend continues.

Real Estate Inventory Levels Grow in SW Florida

Since September we’ve seen an increase of more than 1 month supply of homes on the market.  Because this index includes active listings plus pending sales with contingencies, we won’t get too excited because we have many pending from season that may close and help bring these numbers up.

So, what’s the take-away from these numbers?  Sellers have increased competition from other sellers.  The buyer is not your enemy.  Other sellers are.  Increasing inventory supply puts a damper on price increases.  At some point, it can stall price gains altogether.

It also pays to know where your home stands in the food chain.  For those that have a million dollar plus home, you realize there is almost a year and a half supply of competing homes on the market.  If your motivation is to sell, you have to price your home to best compete against all those other homes.

If you have a home in the $300,000-$400,000 range, you too need to watch the market as your price range is above the average.  Homes, $300,000 or less, are doing better than the overall market as there are more buyers fighting to purchase these homes.  Not everyone qualifies for the higher priced homes.

When bringing a home to the market you must ask yourself, what is your motivation?  Where are you going when you sell, and when would you like to accomplish this?  Look up your home’s price in the chart and evaluate it objectively.  Pretend you’re a buyer.  Would you buy your home right now for the price you’re asking?

Hire the Best Agent

If you don’t like the category your home is in, it’s imperative that you hire the best agent who has experience working in a shifting market, and brings serious marketing for your home.  The more buyers who are exposed to your home, the more your home will fetch at the sale.  In some cases, it may be the difference of selling at all.

The other thing you must do is price it correctly.  Your number can’t be what you’d like to get, or what you need to get.  It has to be what the market will bear.  The market has no sympathy.  It doesn’t care if your home is your retirement nest egg, or you owe a lot on it.  The market sizes up all the homes for sale and ranks each one.  The home’s that show the most value relative to their price sell.  Even if a home is super nice, if it is overpriced relative to its value, it will sit.

Think of a pro football player.  A team only has so much money to spend.  They have a budget.  If there is an all-pro quarterback available in the free agent market whose value is $10 Million per year, but he wants $30 Million because he’s special will a team pay it?  Probably not if they can get another all-pro quarterback in the $10 Million dollar range.  They’ll save that $20 Million and spend it on other players they need to fill out the team.  Tony Romo just retired because his value dropped.  He wants top money and while teams would love to have him as a backup, he’s not the franchise player anymore.  It’s sad, but it’s reality.

It doesn’t matter how nice a home is or what it has in it.  If you overprice it relative to the market, it won’t sell.  You can search the MLS like a pro for free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com Please call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042.  We’ll help you price it fairly, and market it aggressively.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Sunday 1-4 PM

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts Gulf Access Waterfront Pool Home
Gulf Access Waterfront Home

1516 SW 43rd St Cape Coral

Pool Home

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

$560,000

April 4, 2017 marks a big day in the real estate industry and we hope brokers, agents, buyers, and sellers are up on the changes.  There are big changes to real estate sales contracts, notably the financing clause that will change the way contracts are negotiated and processed.

Big Changes Coming to Real Estate Sales Contracts

In the past, most finance contingency contracts had a clause that said buyer had a certain number of days to obtain a loan commitment.  Lenders rarely use the commitment word any more, so it was changed to loan approval.

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts

Something else changed as well.  The buyer now has 30 days standard to obtain financing.  If they do not obtain it, they should notify seller or seller’s agent in writing because seller can cancel the contract.  If buyer fails to request an extension or terminate the contract, it is assumed they have loan approval and their escrow deposit could be in jeopardy.  I am writing this article prior to the April 4th unveiling, so we haven’t seen the entire clause yet.  There has been a flurry of activity on Realtor websites informing agents of the upcoming changes, so hopefully agents are aware.

We are not attorneys and we are certainly not giving legal advice.  Readers should be aware that there are big changes to real estate sales contracts in Florida and pay attention to timelines.

The agent you choose to work with as a buyer or seller will become even more important than it has in the past.  Not only will your agent need to be aware of these changes, they’ll also need to have systems and assistants to track and monitor timelines, and communicate with your lender.  A buyer can put themselves in legal jeopardy by simply not adhering to deadlines or communicating in writing as to the progress of the loan.

Hire a Full-Time Agent

Hiring a full-time agent is more necessary now than ever.  Part-time agents cannot keep up on market changes and inventory, nor have the skill, expertise, experience, and systems to keep up with contract changes that can place your escrow deposit in harm’s way.  We suggest you take a hard look at the agent you’re going to work with and ask questions about their knowledge of these contract changes and what systems they have in place.

Keep in mind, ultimately, it’s your responsibility.  You’re the buyer.  It’s your money.  You could lose the house and/or your escrow deposit by failing to timely communicate the process of your loan.

This may affect buyers in other ways too.  Let’s say a seller finds a buyer willing to pay more for the home.  The seller does not have to extend the financing clause if the buyer cannot obtain in the specified days.  If the seller has received no notification at all, the seller can cancel the contract within a 3-day window period after the buyer’s Loan Approval period has expired.

The seller seems to have picked up some rights and the buyer now has more responsibility to notify the seller about the loan process.  This places more responsibility on the lender you choose because now timelines are more important than ever.

Choose the Right Lender

Our team works with several lenders.  We work with lenders who not only offer great rates but also are known for service and meeting timeline commitments.  Interviewing lenders and evaluating their performance reputation will now be more important than ever.  Each buyer’s situation is different. Talk with a lender who has experience with the type of loan you’re going for and a track record of working with buyers with similar income and circumstances as yours.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in SW Florida, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  Knowledge and experience matters more than ever and we can refer you to lenders who can get the job done.  If you’re a seller, it pays to work with an agent who understands the market, has the muscle to market your home, and can help you evaluate which buyer’s offer is the best one to take.  You don’t have to accept an offer simply because it’s the only one you’ve got. Don’t forget our Free MLS search site www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Call us 239-489-4042 and let’s talk.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Sunday 1-4 PM

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts Gulf Access Waterfront Pool Home
Gulf Access Waterfront Home

1516 SW 43rd St Cape Coral

Pool Home

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

$560,000

SW Florida real estate agents were expecting big numbers this real estate season, and so far, we’ve seen SW Florida home sales flat this season.  The real key going forward will be March and April numbers when they are released over the next two months.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season

We have a crystal ball that tells us how sales numbers might come in.  Pending listings leads to closed sales.  While not all pending sales close, we can generally track future closings by the level of pendings.

Pending inventory is down 5%, so it’s logical to believe that we won’t see a major increase in future closings unless many more homes go pending at the end of March.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season Summary

Inventory levels have risen 6.1% from last year and month’s supply of inventory has risen 11.1%  While SW Florida is a large and diverse market, overall this tells us the market has cooled a bit as inventory is growing with fewer pending home sales.

We can’t judge a book by its cover.  The cover may say we have a healthy, slightly cooling market, and that’s OK.  This book however has many chapters, and each chapter tells a different story.  Collectively all the chapters combined give us the overall figures.

Homes priced below $300,000 are on fire, and even many homes priced higher are receiving multiple offers.  We have a good market and demand from buyers.  Prices have risen steadily in recent years and there is a cap to this.

Home sellers many times price ahead of the market.  In a rising market, each new seller prices just higher than the last sold and it seems to work, until one day it doesn’t.  This tells us either the market is taking a pause, or the market has capped relative to the income typical buyers have to qualify for that bracket of home.

Rising rates also influence home affordability and can cap prices.  We’ve seen a few rate hikes by the Fed with more coming.  On balance, we have a healthy market and I like where we’re sitting.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season

As in any market, it’s imperative to price your home where the buyers are.  In a shifting market advertising and marketing plays a larger role as well.  Full market exposure brings the highest possible price, so don’t settle for inexpensive or non-existent advertising.

If the agent you interview tells you advertising doesn’t sell homes, it’s probably because they don’t advertise homes much.  Perhaps they prefer to advertise their public image, or perhaps they just don’t have the budget to market listings.  In any event, it pays to interview agents that do advertise so you get full market exposure.

We’d be happy to sit down with you and cover all the ways we advertise homes.  You’d probably be surprised at the difference, and this might explain why certain agent’s homes sell faster and for more money than others.

If you’re a buyer, we can help too.  Our market knowledge and monthly market statistics help you make the best decision possible.  When competing in multiple offer situations you need an agent that knows how to help your offer compete.  If the chapter you’re looking in happens to be a cooling market, you don’t need to stretch too much and overpay.  Let a seasoned professional from the Ellis Team help you.

You can search the MLS like a pro.  Our database is updated every 5 minutes and contains the latest listings, price changes, and information you need to compete.  If you’re a seller, you should check it out too.

Always Call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042 and ask how we can make your dreams become reality.  It pays to work with professionals that know the market.  If you think working with a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Open House

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

15047 Balmoral Loop

Gated Community

3 Bed 2 Bath Pool Home

$317,000