Florida International real estate sales rise 21% of total dollar volume and 15% of total sales in 2017.  Both numbers were up versus 2016 numbers.  This tells us that foreign buyers are here purchasing, and because the total volume is higher, they are purchasing higher than average priced homes.

So where are these Lee County foreign buyers coming from?  According to the Florida Realtors profile of international real estate activity, Lee County saw the largest amount coming from Canada, followed by Germany and United Kingdom.

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise Where Lee County Foreign Buyers Come From

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise

Just this past week the Ellis Team placed a property under contract with a Canadian buyer, and we just completed a transaction with a German owner.  Over the course of time, these countries fairly well describe who buys in Lee County from overseas, but there are fluctuations.

Two factors that influence foreign buyers are the changes in currency valuations, and the home price growth from the foreign country.

The Canadian dollar hasn’t moved much against the US dollar, so you might wonder why the increased interest.  Canadian home prices have been sky-high.  They have equity. Some say they’ve risen so high the bubble might burst as there is no rational basis for why their prices have grown so high.  But then again, there never is in Canada.  They have their own economic forces.  It’s like gravity is different up there.

Canada was number 4 in the world for real price growth behind the Philippines, Hong Kong, and New Zealand.  This confidence and equity has spurred opportunities for Florida as Canadians love visiting our sunshine and beaches.

72% of foreign buyers pay cash. But Canadians only finance 14% of the time. United Kingdom buyers finance 23% of the time.

Ellis Team markets to Foreign Buyers

The Ellis Team markets to foreign buyers as well as US buyers.  In a market like Florida you have to market to reach the entire universe of buyers.  Especially given the fact that 21% of Florida’s sales volume comes from foreign buyers.

While this report covers all of 2017, there can be shifts. We study our website traffic over the last year and compare to the last month and week. We see some recent changes.  This past week Canada still led the way, followed by Germany and Sweden.  United Kingdom is at #9 for the year and not even in our top 10 for the last week.  Brazil slipped to #9 in the past week.  They’ve been in the #6 spot for the past year.

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise

Changes in currency, political environments, and home prices abroad can affect our market here quickly.  We can monitor on a week to week or even day to day basis.

The bottom line is, if you’re only marketing to local buyers you’re missing out on a large portion of the market.  In addition to 21% of the volume from international buyers we sell many homes to US citizens from other states.

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise Website Visitors By State

Over the past year Illinois lead the way in property searches on LeeCountyOnline.com followed by New York and Michigan.  It’s no wonder we’re working with so many buyers from IL right now.  The Ellis team is working with buyers from all 10 of these states.  They are searching for property in Southwest Florida and we are helping them purchase it.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking about selling your SW Florida property, it pays to work with a Realtor that markets across the US and internationally.  Have them show you how many buyers they’re generating and from where.  If they can’t show you, they either aren’t marketing there or don’t focus on it.

The Ellis Team will be glad to sit down with you and see how we can help you get top dollar for your home.  Call 239-489-4042 and ask for Sande or Brett.  Or feel free to search our SW Florida MLS Search Site  The rest of the world does.  You might as well too.

 

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As sure as the sun comes up each day in Southwest Florida, two things are certain this time of year. Sellers consider placing their home on the market in January and November begins the Southwest Florida real estate agents year end ritual.  Real estate agents consider their career options.  It is predictable and certain.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Agents Year End Ritual

January 2016 saw an increase in listings of 20.34%.  This past January we saw a rise of 12.1%, and it’s not uncommon to see more in February as well.  Sellers must all decide “season” is the best time to put home on the market.  The smart sellers place their home on the market before season as they have less competition from other sellers.  There are lots of buyers out there right now and getting a jump-start on them can help sellers win the selling game before others come on market in a few months.

December is also the season when real estate agents decide if they’re going to stay in the business, join a team, or change brokerages.  People are surprised to learn that the average real estate agent completes less than 1 deal per year, and thousands of agents don’t do any deals throughout the year.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Agents Year End Ritual

Board dues and MLS fees are due December 31 and total $725.  That’s a lot of money if you’re selling less than 1 home per year.  Everybody thinks real estate is easy and fun, so they jump in thinking they’re going to make a fortune and get to see a lot of nice homes.  What they find is acquiring customers is costly and time consuming, and people are hard to work with when you don’t know the business.

Real estate customers need to be led.  They come to an agent with experience in solving problems and advising on their best move.  The fact is, they don’t come at all though unless you go out and prospect for them.  Advertising is expensive, and most people just aren’t financially capable of shelling out the kind of money it requires.

Are All Agents the Same?

Customers think all agents are the same and they’re just sitting around waiting for the phone call.  They’re quick to ask for commission reductions not knowing the agent they hired may not eat next week.  Customers just don’t see all the costs associated with the real estate business, and neither do agents, until it’s too late.

Agents are much like consumers.  They seek the lowest cost place to work thinking that if they control costs, more will fall to the bottom line.  For Sale By Owners have a similar belief.  The less you pay the more you’ll receive.  This isn’t true for sellers and it’s not true for agents either.

Real estate agents shop brokers for highest commission split, lowest desk fees, etc. Sounds a lot like sellers shopping for a Realtor sell their home.

If you’re a seller, you should check out your agent’s sales for the year.  Ask them if they’re considering moving brokerages, joining a team, or leaving the business altogether.  This might influence whether you hire them, wouldn’t it?

Agents will want to reflect on 2017.  Was it a good year?  Are you at the best place for you? If you had only a handful of sales or less, what could you do differently in 2018?

Real estate is a tough business.  There’s always room for great people.  I wish people did more homework before getting licensed, jumping in and selecting a place to work.  I wish buyers and sellers did more homework on selecting the right agent.

Experience Matters

Experience matters when you’re competing against other buyers and sellers.  It certainly matters how your agent advertises.  If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042  Or search online for Free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  If you’re thinking of getting into the business, call Sande or Brett Ellis and we’ll talk about how you can succeed in real estate, and things to think about Before you make your decision.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

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Can you believe it’s 2017 and we still receive phone calls from people who say “I want to buy a foreclosure in Southwest Florida?”  It’s true.  Short sales too.

Who wouldn’t want a bargain, especially when prices have risen so much from the bottom of the market back in the housing crisis?  People also watch those TV shows and see how others flip houses for unbelievable profit with little to no work.  Other TV shows illustrate how buyers can buy a property, put some sweat equity into it, and flip for amazing profits.

Want to Buy a Foreclosure in Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida isn’t that market.  In September there were exactly 2 short sales and 13 foreclosure sales in Lee County.  As we know Hurricane Irma slowed down sales, so we went back to August and found there were 8 short sales and 41 foreclosure sales.  Short sales and foreclosures combined came to about 4% of the total sales in Lee County in August, and about 2% in September.  There just are not many short sale and foreclosure listings out there.

Want to Buy a Foreclosure in Southwest Florida

We get it, everybody wants a deal.  However, the thing people need to know is when a bank agrees to take less to allow a short sale, they still do an appraisal.  They may consider taking less if the owner is a default risk and the property’s value is truly below market value.  What they will not do is give the property away just so a new buyer can keep the equity.  If a bank is going to take a loss, they want to minimize the loss.

When a bank sells a foreclosure, they typically want as much money as the market will allow for the property in its present condition.  The banks often even spent money to fix up homes to increase their value.

There are good values in Lee County, you just need to know how to find them.  Wasting time searching for 2% of the market will leave buyers frustrated.  It all depends on your definition of a good value.  Homes priced at or near fair market value are a good value.  Homes priced well over are not and will probably not sell unless the seller makes changes.

There are two ways to find value.  First is pick a website that has all the listings and is updated instantly.  Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com has all the listings and it’s updated every minute.  So when a Realtor inputs a new listing, or makes a price change, our database will know about it and display the new information.

In a race to beat out other buyers to the best listings, speed wins.  Having perfect knowledge of the market back in 2007 will not help you buy a house today.  And having day old MLS data from yesterday will not help you either.

Secondly, you need an agent on your side that understands the market.  Agents with experience know how hurricanes, interest rates, new schools, company headquarters, new roads, hospitals, etc. affect the market.  Numbers are great, but having an expert helping you can make all the difference.

 

The Ellis Team has been around for 30+ years in Southwest Florida.  We’ve done thousands of transactions, and some people think we’ve seen everything.  We haven’t, as we see new things all the time that still amaze us.  What hasn’t changed is people.  People still want the same things for their family today.  They still use the same negotiating tactics.  They may have different tools, but the tactics are the same.

We can help you navigate the maze of real estate.  From selecting the property, to negotiating, to inspections, and closing, we help coordinate it for you.  You don’t have to worry as we handle the process.  If not the Ellis Team, make sure you’re working with an experienced team who will be there for you.  It’s all fun and games until somebody gets poked in the eye, then the name calling begins.  We’ll help you avoid all that.  Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042.

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