Agents have been complaining that this season has been a softer season than in years past.  Buyers don’t seem to be as motivated.  Southwest Florida real estate listing inventory hits 4 year high in February and sales prices have been flat since last year.  So why is it that top teams are having a fantastic season?

Southwest Florida Real Estate Listing Inventory Hits 4 Year High

The Ellis Team has lots of pending sales, plenty of closings, and before it’s all over March and April should be excellent months. Other large teams are selling well too, so how can it be both a fantastic market and a slow market?

The answer is it’s a great market if you know what’s really going on and you advise your clients accordingly.  Listing at a set price and forgetting it won’t do your seller’s any good if the market is on the move in that price range.

Statistically we have a balanced market.  It has shifted from a seller’s market to balanced, or slightly favoring the buyers right now.  Just like not all Realtors are the same, it’s also true with price ranges.  The below $300,000 market is doing well right now and the above $400,000 has slowed a bit.  However, there are sales in all price ranges.  We have a sale on a listing at $1.3 Million right now. You must know what range you’re in and adjust.

Aggressive marketing is critical in a changing market.  As more sellers compete for fewer buyers, you want your listing to stand out.  Every buyer will not purchase your home, we know this.  You want as many buyers to be exposed to it as possible.  Sellers mistakenly believe putting it on MLS and adding to a few online sites is all that’s needed, and all buyers will know about it.  This is not true and a costly mistake.

At the time of listing you set a listing price.  This price needs to be evaluated.  New listings may enter that market as competition.  Existing listings may reduce their price, making your home less attractive.  Remember, the seller sets the price, and the market determines the value.

Lastly, as homes sell, new comparable sales set the market.  Appraisers use these new sales as the best data sets for determining market value.  These new sellers won the home selling game.  Existing listings have not yet, and there is no guarantee they will either.

We know this much.  Homes that are marketed aggressively and priced correctly will sell.  If a home is unfairly overpriced, it will not sell no matter how much marketing is used.  Conversely, a home may actually sell below its fair market value without aggressive marketing.

This is where a true professional comes in.  To get Top Dollar, you need an agent to help you set the right price, continually monitor the market in case adjustments are needed, and market your property to actual buyers.  Preferably your Realtor will have a large database of buyers from past marketing efforts, combined with finding new buyers with ads targeting buyers for your home.  Together, that’s a winning combination.

We have a large database of buyers because we have a popular, easy to use listing website that helps buyers find homes they’re looking for right away.  Unlike other websites, it updates every minute or so, so hot new listings and price adjustments are seen in real-time by buyers.

Sellers can even get an idea of what their home is worth too.  Simply go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search for homes or find out what your home is worth.  If you’re thinking of selling, call Sande or Brett at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  If you’re looking to buy, our team of friendly and helpful buyer agents can assist you as well.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-4 PM

2403 SW 53rd Ter

SW Cape Coral Pool Home

 

The value of your home is determined by what able buyers are willing to pay for your home and what the appraiser will appraise it for.  It is not determined by what your neighbor down the street is asking for their home.  Today we’ll explore the dangers of pricing homes compared to neighbors listing.

Dangers of Pricing Homes Compared to Neighbors Listing

Often, we go out on listing appointments and we give our opinion of value after studying the property and the comparable sales.  It’s not unusual for a seller to say “But the home down the street is listed at X and my home is much nicer.”  Then we hear the list of upgrades, and the routine maintenance items the seller has made, like trimming the bushes last week, new light bulbs, new AC in 2005, and new roof 10 years ago.

All these details are important for the MLS sheet, and some are important as selling features, so don’t forget to bring anything up you feel might be important. Just don’t expect extra value for routine maintenance on your home and even some upgrades don’t provide value.  It may make the home stand out against another.

Some upgrades do add value.  Most upgrades don’t add 100% of the cost though.  I blame TV shows for painting the picture of putting $50,000 in upgrades into a home and expecting an increase of $200,000 in value.  This isn’t how it works, unless you somehow bought the property for way under value.

We’re watching a few neighborhoods right now where sellers are pricing compared to their neighbors.  There are no sales in the last 4 months and yet there are 5 new listings within 4 months and 1 older than 4 months.  None have gone pending either.  We see price reductions, but they are all still significantly over priced.  A few came on the market in the last 2 weeks and they are overpriced as well.

Each seller is convinced that previous sellers have set the market.  The reality is the first few sellers are like lost beacons in space, and each new seller follows their light.  The problem is they’re going in the wrong direction and their buyers are in another galaxy.

As soon as a seller puts their home on the market at the correct price, it will sell, if marketed correctly. All their neighbors will tell them they priced it too cheap, because they all want a higher price.  This is human nature; however, it doesn’t help anybody.  Just because everyone is overpriced, and no homes are selling in your neighborhood doesn’t mean a buyer will come along and overpay.

After a while, buyers begin to ask what’s wrong with the neighborhood.  All these homes are on the market and there are no sales.  We’ve got a decent market here in Southwest Florida.  If a home is priced correctly, there is a market.

Unlike towns where a plant closing affects the market, we have buyers.  The market has changed from last year.  Buyers are ready, willing, and able, but they’re cautious.  They don’t want to overpay.  This is a sign that our market is fully recovered, as much as it’s going to, and that prices have leveled out.  Now market forces take over, like interest rates, incomes, consumer confidence, etc.

We are not in jeopardy of crashing like back in 2006.  We will not see rapid price gains either.  SW Florida has a balanced market dependent on market forces, and that’s an awesome thing.

When you’re putting your home on the market, you must ask yourself.  Am I pricing my home at today’s value, or pricing it compared to what my neighbor down the street is asking?  We’d better go find some actual sales and base it off those who have won the home selling game versus those who want a certain number, or think their home is worth a certain number because that’s what their neighbor is asking.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  We’ll give you the straight scoop.  We’ll get you Top Dollar, and we’ll get it Sold. You’ll be moving on while your neighbors wonder if their house will ever sell.  You can visit our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com to see all the homes in MLS.  Call Brett and Sande and start packing!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

1465 Arglye Dr

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1281 Biltmore Dr

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

Reflection Lakes Gated Community

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

18 NE 1th Ave Cape Coral

Cape Coral Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

Most people know that you need decent credit to buy cars, homes, or things on credit cards.  Not everybody knows good credit helps renters and buyers.

Good Credit Helps Renters and Buyers
Good Credit Score

The first thing that happens when you purchase a home is the lender pulls up your credit report.  If it meets certain criteria, you’re credit approved on the spot.  FNMA and Freddie Mac have direct underwriting standards, and if you fall within those standards you’re basically approved.  There is far less documentation needed by the underwriter in these cases.

Some people rent because they haven’t saved the down payment for a home, or they don’t have the credit necessary because events have happened in their life.  Other people just make bad choices with credit and have low scores to show for it.

Good Credit Helps Renters and Buyers

Regardless of the reason, good credit can help renters too.  Most landlords do credit and criminal background checks before renting.  Increasingly, condo and homeowner associations do the same before approving a tenant in an association.  Even insurance companies are using credit reports to determine eligibility and rates for insurance.  Like it or not, landlords, banks, and financial institutions have found that credit is an excellent way to judge risk and future behavior.

Whether renting or buying, good credit increases your chance of getting approved.  Good credit also helps with the terms of the deal too.  For instance, better credit means a better rate when borrowing.  It can also mean savings on rent and deposits as well.

Utility companies sometimes waive deposits for people with good credit.  This can add up, especially if you need water, sewer, electric, cable, etc.  If the landlord charges first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit, and the utility companies charge deposits, it can get very expensive to move.  Having good credit can help you negotiate all these things.

When shopping for a mortgage, it pays to shop around.  Some of the bigger banks have what they call overlays.  Basically, they are extra requirements they place on borrowers over and above basic standards.  They do this because their institution is being extra cautious.  Perhaps they’ve had to buy back faulty loans in the past, or they’re worried about their standing with the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).   Whatever the reason, you don’t need extra hoops to jump through to get a loan.

We Can Recommend a Lender

We know lenders that do not have extra overlays.  This will save you time and worry when applying for a mortgage.  Our parent company just came out with a new program that offers a low rate, and some fantastic benefits.  In addition to the low rate, borrower pays no origination fees, no underwriting fees, zero processing fees, and gets $1,000 closing credit.  This is a significant savings to a buyer.

So, what’s the catch?  To get all this, a buyer must either work with an agent from our company or buy one of our company’s listings.  Essentially, they’re forgoing profit to help our sellers and our buyers.  Whatever the reason behind it, I like it.

We’ve shared with you a great way to save some serious money.  The other way to save is to improve your credit.  If you’d like to talk to a loan officer and see where you stand, call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll put you in touch with someone.  Some buyers are surprised to find out they qualify now!

Other buyers have work to do.  It’s frustrating to find a home only to discover you can’t buy now.  We’d rather identify potential issues and begin working on them now, so we can find you a home you can purchase.  Many credit fixes can be done in 6 months.  Other fixes might take a year, so the earlier you identify and fix the better.

If you’d like to search the MLS like a pro, visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com  To sell your home, call Brett or Sande at 239-489-4042 Ext 4

Happy St Patty’s Day.    We look forward to saving you some of that green stuff!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

Colony Lakes

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

12011 Champions Green Way Unit 706

Gateway Golf & Country Club

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

17752 Indian Island Ct

Island Park Village

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

5691 Kensington Loop

Bell Tower Park Open House

We used to tell sellers that open houses weren’t a good way to sell a home, and for the most part that used to be true.  Realtors who didn’t spend a lot of money advertising liked doing them to pick up customers.  They were basically free customers.  Oh, they rarely bought the open house they visited, but they might buy something.  In fact, the National Association of Realtors did a study and said that about 1% of the time a buyer found the home they bought from an open house. Now the Ellis Team uses open houses tool to sell homes.

Open Houses Tool to Sell Homes

Times have changed.  Here’s where it gets spooky, in a good way.  Companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and others know lots of things about you.  They know if you’re planning on moving soon, having a baby, about to retire, if you’re into boating, golf, beaches, or tennis.

Open Houses Tool to Sell Homes

The Ellis team has a way to target specific people and tailor ads to them.  Many times, we’ll do this for an open house.  Let’s say we list a property in a golf community.  We can target golfers and send them ads about the open house.  We can do the same with properties at or near the beach, 55+ communities, waterfront homes, etc.  Whatever the home has we identify some interests a buyer might have for that home and target ads directly to that buyer.

The buyer doesn’t have to be from here either.  Realtors often ask us how we drive so much traffic to our open houses.  That’s a good question, but the better question is how do we sell so many of our open houses?  Sure, our marketing drives a lot of traffic to our open houses.  That seems like a miracle to other agents.  The real miracle is the fact we drive buyers for that home to our open houses, not just traffic.

Traffic looks good to a seller.  If we drove 100 people to a home but none could buy it, the seller would be impressed that our marketing was able to do that.  However, the home wouldn’t sell because it was not the right traffic.

Back to the spooky part.  Online companies do not share with business the personal identities of their users.  They do open up portals for astute businesses to create targeted audiences, and the Ellis Team spends a lot of time studying these options.

Not only do we spend a lot of money advertising our listings, we also spend hours setting up these targeted audiences for each home.  Often we’ll advertise a home to several audiences, because the buyer may have multiple interests.  We can even target people who earn a certain amount of money or have a certain net worth.

Whiskey Creek Home Sold in 13 Days

We had a $825,000 listing that we sold in 13 days.  We targeted people who made over $125k per year because the average Joe wouldn’t be buying that home.  Sure enough, our listing sold even though there were other listings on the street.

While we do all this in-house, we have another provider that advertises our website all over the Internet seeking buyers.  That works too because we have thousands of buyers who have signed up and provided us their name, email, phone number, price range, and where they’re looking.  Our agents are working with and finding these buyers property every day.  The way agents attract buyers is different than it used to be.  What did not work years ago can work today if you add a twist to it.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty prides itself on being at the forefront of marketing and reaching today’s buyers.  If you’d like to search for your piece of paradise, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com. We think you’ll love the website and what all you can search for there.

Also you might want to check out our open houses this weekend. We will be holding 17655 Village Inlet Ct open Saturday 1-4 and we will be holding 16150 Bay Pointe Blvd open Sunday 1-3 and 11204 Adora Ct in Paseo open Sunday 1-4. See you there!

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling, please call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4  We’d be happy to show you how we can target buyers for your home and get your home sold Fast!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Paseo-Esperanza Neighborhood

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

Waterfront Condo North Fort Myers

January 2018 sales numbers for Lee County were recently released and for the first time in a while median home prices dropped.  Granted, the drop was only -.2%, however it underscores a larger picture.

Lee County Florida Home Prices Holding Steady

If you look at the home price graph for Lee County you’ll notice most of our price gains occurred in 2016.  Since December of 2016, home prices are down.  We had a few months better than others in 2017.  If you look at where we started 2017 at a median price of $245,000 and where we start 2018 with a media price of $244,500 you can see we lost about $500.  That’s nothing to worry about one way or the other.

The takeaway from all of this is that you can’t price ahead of the market if the market isn’t moving.  In a hot seller’s market, sellers could over-price today’s market and soon enough the market would catch the new price.  It might take a few months, but when it does, you have a sale.

In a declining market, you want to price ahead of the market as well.  You never want to get caught chasing the market down.  You price lower than the market and get out, because if you price at market and don’t sell the 1st week, you’ve missed it already.

In a horizontal market like we have now, it’s important to find the market, price it right there, and market the heck out of the property.  Only then will you know if you’ve properly priced it.  If the market doesn’t respond, it’s not the marketing.

People say price sells cars, and price sells homes.  This is true, however we’ve seen instances where a home was priced correctly and just doesn’t sell.  Adding aggressive marketing can make the sale.  The absence of marketing increases the chances a home will sell below market.  This is one reason For Sale By Owners sell for so much less than listed properties.  They don’t have the audience a typical Realtor has, and certainly not the audience of an aggressive Realtor that markets.

Because For Sale By Owners sell for so much less, they don’t save the commission.  It costs them to sell on their own.

When you’re interviewing Realtors, it’s important to note that all Realtors are not the same.  Not all Realtors advertise in newspaper, yellow pages, Facebook, Google, Bing, Yahoo, online newspapers all over the world, Instagram, Google+, Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, Homes.com, Instagram, and the list goes on.

Maximum exposure equates to a higher sales price.  Imagine you had an estate auction and 10 people showed up to bid.  You’d sell some stuff.  Now imagine you held the same auction, and 10,000 people showed up to bid.  You’d sell all or most of your stuff, and the prices would be higher on much of it.  Why?  Because you attracted more people to bid.  Full market exposure equals maximum market price.  Anything less than that does not.

And while the saying price sells homes is true, it’s only partially true.  Anybody can give a property away.  Only a few can sell it in record time at full market value.  It pays to know what the market is doing so you know how to price it, and it pays to select the Best Realtor you can find to market it for all your home is worth.

Buyers are doing their homework.  We don’t have a declining market.  We have a very stable market, and that’s always a fun time to buy and sell, if you do your homework.

If you’re buying or selling, call the Ellis Team.  We have the latest stats as we study the market.  We also have the marketing beef, so if you need your home sold fast and for top dollar, Brett and Sande are the ones to call.  239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to find your home in paradise, or find your home’s value.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-4 PM Island Park Village

Affordable Island Park Village Villa with Garage

17655 Village Inlet Ct  $120,000

Open Sunday 1-4 PM  Paseo

4 Bedroom Paseo Home

11204 Adora Ct  $529,000

Esperanza Neighborhood Paseo Gated Community

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

2 Bed 2 Bath Condo With Marina

16150 Bay Pointe Blvd Unit B208 $175,000