We were having a one on one training session with one of our agents this week and the conversation came up about summer home sales.  He was excited because he thought this summer was going to be good for home sales.  And yet, so many agents out there talk about spending summers up north and taking time off because sales are slow in the summer.  Their perception becomes their reality.  Read on to find out why summer great time for Southwest Florida home sales.

If they believe sales are slow and take the summer off, sure enough, their sales will be slow to non-existent.  And they will be right, and their decision to take the summer off will have been justified.  Over the years my mother Sande and I would just laugh, as we raked in sale after sale in the summer.  For us, year-round sales were good, and summer was better.

Summer Great Time For Southwest Florida Home Sales

I went back and looked at MLS sales stats from 2000-2003.  As you can tell, home sales would begin climbing in Feb and generally peak during the summer.  After 2005 we began a steep decline in prices which ultimately led to the foreclosure crisis.  This article isn’t about all that.  We have plenty of other articles on our Blog about that.  During the recovery, the typical home buyer changed.

We see signs that we’re returning to the normal home buyer process.  It would be too easy to assume that all home buyers relocated from up north.  For a period, it seemed that way, but things are not always as they seem.

Traditionally Southwest Florida homeowners made their moves in the summer.  They owned businesses or worked in the service industry and were quite frankly too busy in season to think about moving.  Kids were in school, work was busy, and buying or selling a home couldn’t be the top priority, until summer came.

Keep in mind, summer is the busy selling season up north too, so any relocations were dependent on that sale up north.

After the housing correction, many SW Florida homeowners were trapped in their homes.  They couldn’t make a move.  They lost so much equity they couldn’t afford to sell, and they were busy working on their businesses too that may have suffered.  As years have progressed, we’re seeing signs now that many homeowners are choosing to make a move.  They finally have equity back in their home.  Their incomes have returned to normalcy.

Some wish to downsize, while others have growing families.  Many homeowners wish to change lifestyle or prefer a different location.  Whatever their reason, summertime is the best time for locals to address their situation.

Our agent was correct.  Summertime is a great time for home sales, if you’re present and working the market.  The numbers don’t lie.  Sales are happening in the summer.  The only real question is who’s going to make them.

I remember hearing an agent say years ago that nobody wanted to buy in Lehigh.  Really?  I looked in MLS and found there were lots of sales in Lehigh, so clearly somebody was buying there.  The truth is, that agent didn’t want to sell in Lehigh because they didn’t know the market, it was too far out, or they didn’t like the price point.  The reality is that agent found a way to justify why not to sell.  It’s like the argument that nobody buys in the summer.  If you want to tell yourself that, then indeed sales will be down for you, and you’ll be right.

Many sellers need to sell in the summer.  Realize that home sales occur all months of the year, and really any month is a good time to sell if your home is priced correctly and marketed heavily.  Sure, a hurricane might disrupt a month here or there, but overall, we have a pretty stable and steady market.

To shop for your dream home, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com  If you have a home to sell, call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  And don’t forget to vote us Best Real Estate Team in SW Florida in the News Press poll.  www.bestswfl.com

Good luck and happy home selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Between McGregor and the River

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1281 Biltmore Dr

Priced to Sell!

Parker Lakes Pool Home

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

14941 Lake Olive Dr

Parker Lakes Pool Home

Waterfront Condo With Boat Slip Availability

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

1627 Beach Parkway Unit 208

Gulf Access with Boat Slip

 

April was a strong month in the Southwest Florida real estate sales market.  Closed sales were up 23% over last year, and that’s not all.  Not only were the number of sales up, so were the prices.  The median price was up 5.4% in April to $262,500, up from $249,000 the previous year.  The average sales price was up 8.1%

Because the number of homes closed was up, and prices were up, naturally too was the total volume of sales.  Total volume this April was $545 Million, up from $410 Million last year.  That’s a 32.9% increase.  We’ve mentioned in previous articles that top agents across SW Florida are reporting an increase in their business this season over last.

So, does this mean the market is shooting up?  If you read the headlines, you would think so.  Pockets of the market are doing well and other pockets not so much.  We believe May numbers could be good too when they are released next month, only because our numbers are better than last years.  That doesn’t mean a good April and May will translate to the whole year, nor to every neighborhood and price range.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Sales

One thing the latest numbers show us is new listings are up 19.8%.  Inventory is up 5.1%.  This is one of the reasons you’re seeing more sales, because we finally have more property available for buyers.  The hottest segment of the market is below $400,000, and some would say lower than that.  If you look at the chart, we’ve seen a tremendous increase of new listings in that affordable range.  When that happens, sales increase.

Homes priced over $400k are just not as hot right now.  Sure, we had some April sales because it was season.  Those closed sales occurred in February and March.  Since then we’re not seeing as many.  We are seeing sales across all prices ranges for homes that are priced correctly.  Because the market is shifting right now, it’s sometimes hard to get a fix on what is priced correctly and what isn’t.

Showings in May are down.  And yet, many homes are still selling.  If your home is getting lots of showings, it’s probably priced close to the market.  If not, you’re probably priced over the market.

Last week I went out to preview new builder inventory.  As a Realtor we see the incentives the public doesn’t always see.  Home builders want to get as much money as they can for their homes.  However, home builders are less emotional and react quicker to market changes than regular sellers.  Home builders are not emotional like a home seller is.  They have no ties to the property.  It’s just a number to them.  Granted, they want that number to be the highest it can be.

I was amazed at some of the prices I saw.  Builders are not lowering because they’re kind.  They’re lowering because they are seeing changes. New construction pricing and incentives affects resale pricing.

Sellers need to know that buyers don’t just look at one home.  They look at 20 or more, and online sometimes it’s hundreds.  They learn the market.  They’re using sites like www.LeeCountyOnline.com and seeing all the listings in real-time.  Fairly quickly they can see what’s going on and make decisions.  Sellers tend to set a price and forget about it.  They get mad at their Realtor, mad at their neighbor who just reduced their price, and mad at the market when it doesn’t sell.  Instead of getting mad, we’d like to see you have success.  When your price matches the market, it will sell, assuming it’s marketed correctly.

If you’re looking to sell your home, please call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  We can help you purchase too.  And don’t forget to vote for us as best real estate team in SW Florida.  We’re going for a 3 peat and could use your vote.

Top Real Estate Bargains in SW Florida

See homes in Southwest Florida $300,000 and below

Home prices in Southwest Florida have been stagnant for the better part of a year now, but nobody believes it because headlines tell us how wonderful homes are appreciating in Florida. We were waiting to see how season went to see if that trend would continue.  What we found is more of the same, SW Florida home price gains remain elusive compared to Florida in general.

SW Florida Home Price Gains Remain Elusive Compared to Florida

The Cape Coral- Fort Myers MSA median home prices increased .6% in the 1st quarter compared to 9.7% statewide.  Our condos and townhouses showed no price change whatsoever from last year, compared to 7.8% gain for the state.  Cape Coral-Fort Myers is the 6th largest MSA in the state, and yet each of the 5 larger MSA’s all had gains of 4.8% or better.  Some much higher.

We go on listing appointments where the seller believes their home has appreciated 9% in value each of the past few years.  Unfortunately, if you interview enough agents you will find one that agrees with you and takes the listing.  Getting the listing isn’t the end of the sales process, it’s simply the first step.  The seller sets the price and the market determines its value.

If a seller sets the wrong price, one thing happens, doesn’t it?  You guessed it, it sits on the market like a lonely school child watching all the other kids play.  Oh, it may have some friends.  Misery loves company.  They hang out with all the other kids who have overpriced their home too.  The strange thing is, nobody really wants to be in this club.

So, they turn on each other, and start lowering their prices to get out of the club.  Each watch what the other is doing, looking over their shoulder each time they make a reduction.  The only problem is, they’re looking the wrong direction.  They should be looking at all the kids playing.  Wherever that group is, that’s where they should head.  While they’re busy looking over their shoulder at where they’ve been, their eye still isn’t on the market.  It’s looking backward instead of forward.

The market rarely sits idle.  It is moving.  While they’re looking over their shoulder, the moving target in front of them just moved someplace else.  Wouldn’t it save so much time to just find that group of kids on the playground and get right in there?  Skipping a half mile behind them means you did spend time on the playground, but when recess is over, you never had any fun.  If you’re going to the trouble of placing your home on the market, you want results.  The quicker you get there, the more fun you have.  If the market is on the move, you never want to get caught chasing the market.

Chasing will not only wear you out, it can cost you money.  When all the overpriced homes figure it out and finally make their move, you now have more competition.  Setting your home price correctly upfront and reacting quickly if it doesn’t sell is a recipe for faster to the fun.

If you’re thinking of selling in the next year, check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com You’ll be able to get approximate current values for your home.  Of course, to be most accurate, always call Sande or Brett Ellis and we’ll be happy to come out and view your home and tell you what we think it would sell for.  You might have some questions about how the process works, timing, or where you would move to.  We’d be happy to sit down and discuss all this with you.  You’re more than a transaction to us.  We’re interested in getting you to your next destination safely.  Hopefully you’ll have some fun on the playground while we sell your home for you.  Call Brett or Sande at 239-489-4042 Ext 4

Good luck and happy selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Parker Lakes Pool Home $300,000

14941 Lake Olive Dr

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

13460 Marquette Blvd     3 Bed 2 Bath Waterfront Home

Unbelievable changes are coming.  I remember having a conversation the other day.  I told my wife that our kids would freak out if we told them we didn’t have Internet growing up as kids.  The Internet today just seems fundamental, and certainly to a Millennial, they wouldn’t understand the concept of its absence.  Just as the Internet changed our lives, so too will artificial intelligence.  Artificial intelligence will change real estate shopping and everything else too.

Artificial Intelligence Will Change Real Estate Shopping

I just watched a live video whereby you take out your smartphone and open the camera.  In your screen is a lamp.  Your phone will show you other accessories that match that style, so you could shop for and put together a room that matches.  I watched another video where the camera showed a woman in an outfit.  Artificial intelligence scanned billions of images and within a second pulled up where you could buy that outfit, along with other similar outfits, and prices.

So, imagine walking down the street and noticing a home that looks good to you.  It’s not for sale, but you like the look.  Your phone could instantly find other homes on the market right now that look just like the one you love, show you the price, and even setup a showing appointment to see it.  Sound futuristic?  Perhaps, but it is coming.

Keller Williams has already been working on this for its agents.  Currently I can ask our artificial assistant Kelle many things, and instantly she will give me results that used to take hours.  Let’s say I have a client moving to Bowling Green, KY.  I whip out my phone and tell Kelle, “show me Bowling Green agents with the CRS designation.”  Kelle spits out agents with their CRS designation.  There is a ton of activities I can ask Kelle to do while I’m in the field and Kelle only gets smarter.  As we ask her to do things, she learns and becomes capable of more.

Google held its I/O conference this week and announced some amazing things.  Companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc are all working on artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence offers the ability to ask, scan, analyze, and deliver billions of pieces of information instantly.  Our military is scanning and analyzing photos on video and delivering results with over 90% accuracy.  It used to take people days and months to scour video.  Now our defense department can search for and do things in minutes.

Our company is working on analyzing photos in MLS.  Let’s say you like a certain kind of counter-top, or a certain color cabinet.  We’ll be able to ask, show me all kitchens with Black Quartz priced below $450,000.  Having the ability to scan photos and deliver results would save an agent or consumer many hours perusing photos of listings.

We use big data to search for buyers for our listings.  When we list a home, we serve up ads on that home to consumers that match certain criteria.  For instance, we just listed a nice 4-bedroom pool home in Belle Lago.  We’ll be holding it open this Saturday from 1-3 PM.  We’ll serve up online ads for buyers looking to purchase in the Estero area.  Big data allows us to target specific buyers.  It helps us sell homes faster and for more money for our clients.

Big data is great, but artificial intelligence is what will tie it together.  The pentagon can have all the videos it wants, but what good is it when it sits in a vault and is too big to work with?  The same is true for real estate.  Being able to ask and analyze data is key.  Many sellers interview agents and ask which one can save them 1%.  The real question should be, which agent can sell my home for 3% more and 20% faster.  Saving 1% doesn’t save anything if they sell it for less and take longer.

If you want to search the MLS like a pro go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com.

If you’re thinking of selling, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 and find out how Today’s systems just might help sell your home faster, and for more money.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Belle Lago

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

19790 Maddelena Cir

Daniels Park

Open Saturday 1-4 PM

14077 Danpark Loop

 

Official sales numbers are out, and Southwest Florida housing median home prices rose 2% past year.  March 2018 median home price came in at $260,000, up from $255,000 last year.  All year we’ve been saying home prices have been flat since about June, so this was a nice rise albeit a moderate rise.  Average home prices were up 4.1% to $375,895, up from $361,082 last year.

Southwest Florida Median Home Prices Rose 2% Past Year

The number of home sales were down 2.7% in March versus last year.  So, what is the takeaway from these numbers?  Statistically we have a balanced market neither favoring the buyer or the seller.  Of course, certain price ranges and neighborhoods can vary.  These are what we call sub-markets.

All real estate is local.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in Pittsburgh PA, Peoria IL, or, Cleveland OH.  What’s true in one market can be different in another.  What’s true in one market can be different in a sub-market of that same market.  Therefore, it’s important to work with a seasoned Realtor with experience in the market you’re looking.  While I believe the Ellis Team are some of the best agents around, we wouldn’t be in another town like Pensacola or Jacksonville.  Sure, we’re licensed Florida agents and can serve you anywhere in Florida, but is that wise?

By the same token, national websites cannot help you like a good local one can.  www.LeeCountyOnline.com is the best local SW Florida real estate website for several reasons.  It has all the listings, and it’s updated instantly.  Other large national websites don’t have all the listings, and many of the listings they do have offer incomplete or inaccurate data.  We’ve had calls on our own listing and the condo or HOA fee is completely wrong on the national sites.  It’s correct on our website.

We’ve had calls on a property that wasn’t on the market from one of the national sites.  Turns out the property sold three times since the listing they found.  We have no idea how they could have a listing from a decade ago on their site.  You’d think they’d at least get the last listing, not three before it.

Selecting the wrong agent to work with you can be a costly mistake.  Sometimes people choose to work with a friend or relative to purchase a home.  When you find out you bought the wrong home, or paid too much for it, it can be frustrating.  Or worse, when you lose the home over an inspection issue that could have been handled with a little experience and know-how.  There’s no substitute for hard work, and experience.

Choosing the right lender is important too.  Some lenders have high fees, while others are notorious for rigid underwriting requirements and not getting loans closed.  Experienced Realtors know which lenders perform what they say, on time, and where the best rates are.  Did you know most lenders have extra requirements they place on buyers?  They’re called overlays.  We work with lenders that offer little or no overlays, so the buyer can be approved almost instantly.  Buyers hate all the documentation and hoops banks make you jump through just to get a loan.

Insurance is another big issue.  A large homeowner’s or flood premium increases your monthly payment.  This can alter how much home you can afford.  Remember, you’re approved for a total payment amount.  Why let insurance eat away at your purchasing power?  We know a few good insurance agents we keep in our pocket.  It helps our buyers beat out other buyers to the best properties.

Between having the most accurate and timely information, getting the loan the easy way, and best prices on insurance, we turn the home buying process into fun!  This way you can concentrate on shopping for a home which is the fun part.  We’ll handle all the other details, so you can get your loan, save money, and enjoy that great house you just found.  And you’ll be smiling because you got it and the other buyers didn’t.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Belle Lago 4 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home

Belle Lago  19790 Maddelena Cir

Daniels Park Home Open Saturday 1-4 PM

Coming Soon