At last week’s Ellis Team meeting we asked our buyer specialists how they did the past week and what they were working on this week. One agent just sold 3 homes that week, and another sold 2, and another sold 1.  Each agent was working with 3-4 buyers that were going to purchase in the next week to 10 days.  Suffice it to say, home sales are heating up in SW Florida just like the weather.

It is mid-March, so home sales should be heating up.  If they weren’t, we’d have a problem.  This is peak season after all.  For the past few weeks we’ve noticed pending sales outpacing new listings.  As we write this article, we notice new listings outpaced new pending sales again.

By our count we see about 6,625 listings in Lee County.  This is down from the 7,100 we saw in January, however there may be a few more when official numbers are released because listings from outside agents in other MLS boards can increase this figure.  Believe it or not, sometimes a Miami or Jacksonville agent will list Lee County properties in their MLS and not here.

So, what is all this telling us about the market?  Overall, we’ve got a good market.  If you price it right and market it correctly, homes should sell.  Is it still a seller’s market?  No.  Is it a buyer’s market?  Possibly, but maybe it’s shifted back to neutral.  We won’t know until numbers come out next month.

For us, it really doesn’t matter.  A buyer’s or seller’s market is just a term.  It’s close either way.  What’s more important is how buyers and sellers are reacting to the information available.  All real estate is local, and usually hyper-local.  If the overall market sits at 6.18 months supply of homes, and the home you like is in a neighborhood with 2 months supply, it changes the dynamic.

Numbers are constantly changing.  Buyers who fail to recognize this may find themselves missing out on great homes.  It’s frustrating to miss out on home after home.  If this keeps happening to you as a buyer, you need to take a step back and evaluate the advice you’re getting and your reaction to it.  Perhaps you’re listening to family members or friends, and while their advice is well intentioned, it could be bad.  Or perhaps your search online isn’t considering up to the minute trends.  Is the agent you’re working with full-time?

Sellers, you too always need to know what’s going on.  The market can change in an instant. New listings enter the market, or current sellers drop their price.  Far too often sellers set their price and believe they’re done.  The seller sets the price and the market determines the value.  If the home doesn’t sell, constant monitoring is required to see what your competition is doing as well as sales activity.

Lee County Florida March Home Sales Heating Up

One way buyers and sellers can study a neighborhood is using our Neighborhood Market Reports Site.  http://www.leecountyonline.com/sw-florida-market-reports/ This site provides data for active listings, pendings, and solds.  No other site can do all that.  But wait, there’s more.  It also has the photos and key data buyers and sellers like.  And of course, our Blog has weekly articles going back years.  http://blog.topagent.com

In the end, your success is determined by the agent you work with, the research you do, and the advice you listen to.  Consumers mistakenly believe all agents are the same, so it doesn’t matter who they work with.  Are all doctors the same?  How about attorneys?  Of course not, and neither are Realtors.

Making any of these common mistakes could cost you thousands, or worse?  It could cost you a sale.  Your dreams are too important.  Life is too short.  You don’t want to wait for the next market cycle to make that move.  The time is now.

We hope you find this information helpful.  If you need to talk to us, call us at 239-489-4042.  We’re experts at listening, and offering ideas based on your goals.  We look forward to speaking with you.

Happy Selling!

This past week I was having a conversation with an agent who just lost a listing to an agent from another company.  They said I wish the seller knew that over half that agent’s listings expire and never sell.  That statement got me to thinking, that is a great topic to write an article on.  We’ve created the real estate agent expired listings ratio database.

Real Estate Agent Expired Listings Ratio

On TV and radio, you hear about all these rating services that want you to contact them as they rate real estate agents by production and sales.  Presumably they want to get in the middle and collect an advertising or referral fee for their service.  Rating agents on sales is one thing, but has anybody ever looked at how many of their listings sell versus expire?

Well, we just did it.  I downloaded 11,280 expired listings in the past year in Lee County from the MLS.  I imported all listings into a sortable database. We searched for expired, terminated, and withdrawn listings as some agents try to skirt the system and withdraw them, so they don’t show as expired.  After running the numbers, we found some astonishing numbers.  One agent had 88 such listings.  Other agents had 76, 69, 52 and so on.  Wouldn’t this be information sellers would want to know about?

We went one step further and created an expired ratio category.  Imagine if you were drafting a basketball team and a guard was available that averages 20 points per game.  Sounds pretty good, that’s roughly 10 field goals per game plus or minus free throws and 3-point shots.  Assuming he or she makes 10 shots per game, would it alarm you to know they took 50 shots per game to make 10?  That would be only a 20% FG%, or put another way, an 80% fail rate.

Therefore, we created the Expired ratio. We know these agents have a ton of listings expire, so let’s look at their expireds compared to their successes.  The agent with 88 expired listings had a 46.81% expired ratio.  Not good!  The agent with 76 expired had a 56.30% expired ratio, even worse.  The worst ratio we saw in the database of top expired agents was 84.21% That’s horrific.  Imagine if you were interviewing agents and they told you over 84% of their listings never sell?

Agents will never tell you this information, and chances are they don’t even know the number.  It’s bad, and they know that, but they don’t know their numbers.  I didn’t until today.  For the record, ours is very good.

I also looked at company data.  Not surprisingly, many of the limited service brokers were high on the list.  Limited service brokers do a lot less, and for that they probably charge less, but who knows?  Sometimes you only get a sign and your listing syndicated to the national data aggregators.  Showing agents may have to contact seller directly to negotiate offers, setup showings, etc.  Showing agents aren’t compensated for the extra work.  It takes extra time and skill to educate both the buyer and seller, negotiate through inspection issues, etc.

I’m not going to publish this list publicly.  We’re not here to put anybody down or call agents out.  We do feel however that sellers should be armed with this information.  It should be part of the decision process.  Sellers are making a large financial decision, and they want honest information in which to evaluate agents in that decision.

If you’re thinking about selling and are interviewing agents, email me Brett@topagent.com with your address and the agents you’re considering and I’ll look them up and let you know how they stack up.  This way, you’ll know if the agent you’re considering has a good track record of actually selling their listings, not just listing them.

You can always call us 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Ask for Sande or Brett, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get an idea of what your home is worth for Free!

Good luck and happy selling!

See Last Week’s Article- Blame it on the Marketing

At a time when real estate markets across the US and Florida began to shift, the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty began to shine.  Nationally, home sales began to slide in the 2nd half of the year.  Locally, home sales began to slide in the 4th qtr. of 2018.  Ellis Team sales rose 55% in 2018.

Ellis Team Sales Rose 55% in 2018- Marketing to Blame

So why do some agents shine when others begin to fail in a changing market?  Successful agents who’ve been through many cycles know one thing.  You don’t stop marketing in a shift.

Typical Agents

The typical agent cuts back on everything in a shift.  Sales begin to slow, and it proves their point that the market isn’t what it used to be, and sellers just need to get more realistic.

The Ellis Team has been called in many times after a home has expired and sold it.  We’ve had several already this year, and we’ve already closed on them.  Price wasn’t the issue.  Let me say that again.  Price was not the issue.  We did not lower the price. It was the marketing, and experience in handling negotiations to get it done.

While pricing is important, marketing is the other single most important thing a Realtor can do to get your home sold.  Sellers are tempted to hire a Realtor with lower commissions only because they believe they’ll end up with more in their pocket at closing. Naturally you would think that.  Pay less, net more, right?  The truth is marketing is what brings in more buyers.  When you have more buyers to choose from, you get a better selection of offers.

You must also think about the co-broke fee.  That is the fee a listing agent pays out to other agents in MLS.  If the co-broke fee is lower, you must wonder if agents will be as motivated to show your home.  We want the best agents highly motivated to show our listings.   Agents in SW Florida know the Ellis Team has been around for years and we’re professionals, so they like to show our listings.  It’s much easier to cooperate with a pro than a beginner or part-timer.  Some agents even have a reputation of being difficult to deal with, so agents don’t show their listings as much.

The Agent You List With Matters

The agent you list with matters.  Ellis Team listings net more on average than other agents. Source:  MLS Data  That’s why it can cost you to list with an agent that doesn’t market like we do.  Our listings sell Fast too, in fact about 20% faster than the average agent.  Source:  MLS Data

Pricing is the other critical step.  Sellers don’t want to reduce until they’re satisfied the home isn’t selling because of the marketing.  Only then will they reduce their price.  The question we have is this:  If you have to question whether it’s the marketing or the price, you’ve probably selected the wrong Realtor.

There should never be a question if it’s the marketing.  Of course, when there isn’t much marketing, it’s always a question.  Here’s a little tip.  Simply placing a home on Zillow, Realtor.com, MLS, Homes.com, and placing a sign in the yard is not marketing.  A for sale by owner or discount broker could do all that, and 92% of for sale by owners give up and hire a Realtor to sell their home anyway.

The Difference Can Cost You Money

There is a difference between a full-service Realtor and a full-marketing Realtor.  The truth is, most Realtors don’t do all the marketing we do, or even know about some of it.  And they certainly won’t pay for it.  You see, our broker doesn’t pay for our marketing.  We pay for it out of our own pocket, so we know it works.  And we do a lot of it, so it Really works.

Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042  Ext 4 and let us show you how our marketing is different.  Don’t forget to ask about our new secret weapon too!  We look forward to helping you.

Thinking of selling?  Find out what your home is worth for Free www.SWFLhomevalues.com

We’ve been studying the 2018 National Home buyer and seller profile as it reveals some interesting information.  We have knowledge about what buyers and sellers look for in an agent, how often they use an agent, and what they’re expectations are.

Today we’ll focus on two aspects of the report: The methods seller’s use to sell a home and information sources buyers use to purchase a home.

Methods Used to Sell Home

2018 National Home Buyer and Seller Profile Method Used to Sell Home

In 2018 home sellers used an agent 91% of the time. 1% sold their home to a home buying company, and 7% were successful selling their home on their own.  Whether they netted more at the closing table is another story.  Many sellers attempt to sell their home on their own but give up typically after 3 weeks.  They quickly learn that selling a home isn’t easy, and they essentially become a Realtor when they chose to try it on their own.

Only 4% of the lookers can purchase a home.  The rest are unqualified, out of their price range, or must sell something first.  They have a problem that the Realtor needs to solve.  The problem is, they won’t tell the seller what the issue is, and even if they did, the seller can’t solve it because they don’t have the knowledge or resources to deal with the buyer’s issue.  They can barely deal with their own issue and quickly feel in over their head.  The seller says it’s not my problem, it’s the buyers.  The problem is, it becomes the seller’s problem if the seller can’t solve the buyer’s issues because there is no sale without doing so.  There are only so many cash ready to go buyers, and they want a deal if dealing directly through the seller.  So, the seller has few buyers, and the few that are ready and able want a deal.  Both the buyer and seller can’t save the same commission, and therefore sellers give up and hire an agent.

Information Sources Buyers Use

2018 National Home Buyer and Seller Profile Information Sources Buyers Use

When looking at information sources buyers use, we see that 93% use an online website and 86% use a real estate agent.  You can see that these two sources haven’t changed much in the last few years. Yard signs have fallen significantly since 2004.  About the only two things to rise in recent years are open houses and online video sites.

88% of both buyers and sellers hire the 1st or 2nd agent they speak with.  The number one thing buyers want from their agent is help finding the right home. This tells us they love searching on their own, but they want an agent to help decide and confirm which home is best.

In other words, both buyer and seller like to do some of the research on their own, and both realize it’s a large investment and ultimately consult with a Realtor when it’s time to buy or sell.  The average buyer searches 10 weeks before making a purchase.

Buyers and Sellers Love to Do Their Research

We have a complete list of features buyers love in online property websites. Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com is a real winner with buyers and sellers alike.  Research also shows more online features buyers and sellers would like to have about the neighborhood and about their home.  Therefore, we’re releasing an upcoming app that will show community info with news about the neighborhood, local parks, schools, businesses, home values, events, etc.  It will be a personalized feed for each person, not a generic page about a neighborhood.  We’ve tested over a million consumers and they absolutely love the new app. We can setup as a web page right now until the app is released, so you have flexibility to use on mobile or desktop.

Home buyers love it because we use artificial intelligence to identify features a buyer likes but may not have specifically asked for.  For instance, a buyer may say they want a specific area, specific square footage, and specific price, and yet the system picks up that they also love light colored kitchens.  They never said that, and didn’t even know it themselves, but that’s what they like.  Our new system can pick-up on that and make suggestions.  If you’d like an invite for the new system, send me an email to brett@topagent.com

If you’re looking to buy or sell, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

7152 Reymoor Dr  Riverfront Home

Riverfront Home Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

6980 Saint Edmunds Loop Brookshire

Brookshire Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

17561 Cherry Ridge Ln  Timberwalk

Timberwalk Open House Sunday 12-3 PM