Lately you’ve probably heard a lot of news and buzz surrounding Facebook and other online companies and their use of private data.  Specifically, your private data.  Let’s talk about your online digital footprint and how social media marketing privacy concerns affects you.

Social Media Marketing Privacy Concerns

When a person goes online they are tracked, both by what they search for on sites like Google and Bing along with what they do on other sites.  You’ve probably shopped online for an item and later seen ads for that product.  Recently I did a search for hotels in Key West.  Not long after I started seeing hotel ads for Key West online, and one caught my eye and made me check it out.  This is called search targeting and re-search targeting.  I didn’t mind because it was something I was interested in.

The Ellis Team uses targeted marketing online for two reasons.  It provides a better experience for consumers and serves up ads you’re interested in.  If they must serve up ads, I’d at least like them to be about things I’m interested in.  Secondly, it helps us target potential buyers for our listings.  The buyers love it because they sign up on our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It is a voluntary choice and they choose to do so.  This tells us they appreciated the online ad and it was timely for them and pertinent.

What is not OK is what happened with 3rd party companies at Facebook.  They allowed 3rd party companies to take information from your profile, like your birth date, hometown, age, etc.  Later on we may find that some companies received your email address, phone number, etc.  As a consumer, I don’t mind if they serve up relevant ads I’m interested in.  But please don’t sell my private information to 3rd party companies who could use that to track much more.

The Ellis Team uses Google, Bing, Facebook, and others to serve up ads of interest.  We do not receive any information on these people.  Facebook for instance creates audiences.  We can target specific audiences.  For instance, if we list a home on a golf course community with mandatory golf fees, we can target golfers.  Now if Facebook sold us users names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. that to me would be an invasion of privacy.  I’m guessing 99% of what Facebook did was for legitimate purposes.

It’s that 1% we’re hearing about that concerns us all.  Be careful about which 3rd part apps you use online.  Be careful about the apps you install on your phone.  Make sure these 3rd party apps are trusted, and you know what they’re doing with your data.  Like it or not, we are all tracked online.  We just want it to be on the up and up.  Data must be used in a responsible way.  Everyone wants our data.  Most times it’s for good use.  Imagine what private data could mean for scammers, foreign countries, politicians, terrorists, etc.

Innocuous, unidentifiable audiences or people who search on specific items are fair game for targeting and re-targeting.  I’m glad this debate is happening now.

If you’re thinking of selling, call the Ellis Team and find out how we can use today’s advanced and legitimate techniques to reach the right people at the right time for your home.  Marketing can be the difference between selling for Top Dollar and below market.  Marketing also helps you sell your home faster.

If you’re a buyer, please check out our website too.  LeeCountyOnline.com is updated constantly, so you’re assured of finding the latest listing and price reductions instantly.  No more calling on homes that aren’t on the market, or missing homes that are.

Your Privacy Matters to Us

The Ellis Team never sells your data.  Your phone number, email address, etc. stays with us.  That’s not true with companies like Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, etc.  They sell your info to agents and mortgage companies.  Be sure to read their privacy statements.  Rest assured, we will not sell your data to anyone!

Feel free to call us at 239-489-4042  Good luck, and happy house hunting!

Experts have been predicating interest rate increases in 2018 and 2019 and already we’re seeing rates on the move.  Last time we checked 30-year mortgage rates are up to 4.625%.  The Fed has signaled they expect to raise rates two more times this year and three times next year.  We’re telling our customers to purchase, and lock interest rates now before big rate increases later in April.

 

Lock Interest Rates Now Before Big Rate Increases

I just watched Barry Habib, one of the financial experts we listen to lay out three reasons rates could tick higher at the end of the month.

  1. The Fed is ramping up its QT (Quantitative Tightening) policy.  In other words, the Fed is buying less mortgage bonds and treasuries.  This puts pressure on the bond market and causes rates to rise.  Combine this with raising interest rates the Fed controls, and you’ve got a double whammy for the market.
  2. Watch the stock market, particularly the S&P 500. The S&P has taken a hit and just passed it’s 200 day moving average and appears to be in position to bounce higher. When stocks do well it usually hurts bond prices which cause rates to rise.  So watch stocks and see how they do from this point forward.
  3. Watch inflation. If inflation rises, it erodes the value of bonds.  Bond prices have an inverse relationship with interest rates.  As bond prices sink, rates go up.  March inflation numbers should be reported near the end of April.  One of the components of inflation the Fed uses is the PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditure).  At the end of April this number will come out for March 2018.  They report the last 12 months, so March 2017 will fall off.  The March 2017 PCE was an abnormally low number and will be replaced by a much higher number this year.  It will push inflation to at or above 2%.  It will push the core rate of inflation close to or at 2%.  The Fed’s target is 2%.  The bond market will freak out because they’re used to PCE being 1.5% and now it’s 2%.  This will raise inflation fears and put additional pressure on bonds.  Voila, you’ve got an interest rate storm in the making, and it’s all set to unfold later this month.

What can you do to protect yourself?  Propertyowners looking to refinance, do it now!  If you’re looking to buy a home, do it now!  If you’ve got a home to sell first, call us immediately.  Not only will your next mortgage cost you more, but higher rates will affect your buyer too.  The sooner we get your home on the market the better off you’ll be.  Imagine a pool of buyers for your home.  Let’s say with heavy marketing there are 100 potential buyers right now for your home.  Keep in mind, there may be 130 homes on the market for this same pool of buyers, so not every home will be bought.  When rates go up, that same pool dwindles to 89.  Now there are 89 buyers for 130 homes.  The math just changed, and it doesn’t favor you on the sale.

Because there are fewer buyers, you potentially take less.  Maybe not if you sell now, but if you wait, eventually the over supply wears on sellers and there could be price corrections.  By waiting you have a lower down payment for the next home.  Your payment is higher because rates have gone up.  Through no fault of your own, waiting has cost you money on your sale, and a higher payment on your next home.

Higher interest rates are coming.  Call us to do something about it.  They won’t stop either.  We expect them to go up throughout 2018 and 2019.  The sooner you act the more you’ll save.  Call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and ask for Brett or Sande, or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search the market.  It is updated instantly, so you’ll beat other buyers to hot new properties.  It’s great for sellers too.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Colonial Country Club

Colonial Country Club Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

9611 Hemingway Ln Unit 3909

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Paseo

Paseo Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

11204 Adora Ct

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

18 NE 17th Ave Cape Coral

Cape Coral Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

 

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

 

Year end statistics were recently released and reveals that Lee County Florida real estate 2017 home prices rose while sales remain steady. Considering the fact Southwest Florida encountered Hurricane Irma and much of the area was without power for a few weeks, the sales numbers are impressive.  2016 showed 12,538 sales while 2017 produced 12,356.  We’d call that dead even.

Lee County Florida Real Estate 2017 Home Prices Rose

Home prices rose 7.1% from $227,400 in 2016 to $243,500 in 2017.  While median prices rose 7.1%, average price only rose 4.3% We also like to look at total dollar volume to judge the market.  2016 saw $4.0 Billion while 2017 came in at $4.1 Billion.  That’s a 2.8% increase and puts it in the healthy gain category.

Lee County Florida Real Estate 2017 Home Prices Rose Home Sales

Overall, we’d have to judge 2017 as an excellent year. It started off well beginning in February and did well until September.  That’s when the numbers started falling off, as to be expected.

So how is 2018 shaping up?  What can we learn from 2017?  If we’ve learned anything through the years, it’s that markets don’t stay the same forever.  Market forces tug at the margins, and eventually sway the market’s momentum in varying directions.

Momentum might be the key word for 2018.  We seemed to lose our momentum.  That doesn’t mean we can’t get it back.  To do that we’d need some market forces to swing back.  The tax reform bill goes into effect this year and some elements will propel the market and some will not.  Interest rates are rising and that is not helping.  If the economy picks up from the tax reform, that could swing momentum back to the real estate markets favor.

Buyers are buying right now.  They are being selective and going for value.  It’s almost like a stock pickers market.  You know, where investors will buy certain stocks but they’re not buying the broader indexes.  Southwest Florida real estate buyers are buying individual homes that are priced well.  They are not buying every home with multiple offers just because it’s on the market.  They are selective and do their research.

We are seeing more research being done by buyers on our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com  They are viewing properties the minute they come on the market and performing more searches than ever.  It’s not uncommon for a buyer to view over 100 properties online before deciding to go see a home.

We are in final stages of releasing the 2018 State of the Market Report.  Our report shows you how Southwest Florida fared in 2017, latest inventory supply numbers, sales activity, and which areas are Hot in Southwest Florida.  If you’re a buyer or seller, you can’t afford to miss out on this research.  We’ll release this on our website when it’s complete, so stay tuned and check back for updates.

All Realtors are not the same.  It pays to work with a team that understand the market dynamics and can guide you with your needs.  Put our experience to work for you.  If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, just wait until you hire an amateur. You could lose thousands in the deal, or your deal could blow up and not happen at all.  We’ve seen almost everything, so we can guide you through and help you every step of the way.

If you’re looking to sell your home, ask for Brett or Sande. 239-489-4042  If you’re looking to purchase, one of our friendly agents will be glad to help you.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Top 5 Lee County Florida Proeprties

Since October 2017 listing inventory in SW Florida has risen over 25%, while at same time closed sales have fallen slightly.  This has caused the months supply of inventory to rise to 5.48 months, up from 4.31 months last October.

It’s important to know this information as it’s an indicator of the health of the market and which way prices are headed.  It also tells us if we’ve gotten a little ahead of ourselves in either direction.

Southwest Florida Listing Inventory Rises 25.44% Since October

Much like the stock market, the real estate market also fluctuates.  The market is always testing limits and boundaries, and when it finds them it reacts.  This is true in boom markets, bust markets, and normal variations in between.

When inventory levels got too low back in 2009 we knew the market was headed for a steady rebound, and we sure got one.  It didn’t happen overnight and not all prices ranges reacted simultaneously.  Nonetheless, it happened.  2005 and 2009 were extreme examples.

More realistic are the normal market gyrations most people don’t even see unless they study the numbers.  If you’re a seller and you notice lots of homes in your neighborhood are on the market, and none are selling, you know what this is like.  It’s possible the neighborhood just got ahead of itself compared to other neighborhoods.  A simple market adjustment can usually fix this unless there is a bigger underlying issue.

While not all price ranges react the same, we can tell you all price ranges in SW Florida gained monthly supply.  Not one price range fell, so this was across the board.  We can say the hardest hit ranges begin at $400,000 & up.  The $400-600k range shot up from 6.99 months in October to 9.20 months now.  The $600-1 Million rose from 10.29 months to 14.49 months now.  The $1 Million+ market rose from 14.62 months last October to 19.59 months now.

These are important numbers to know.  Sellers in particular price ranges need to know how their range is doing.  In a rising market you can price just ahead of the market, and if you’re wrong, the market will catch you.  However, pricing too high doesn’t work in a rising inventory market.  The market won’t catch you.  If anything the market is leveling out or could be in for a slight reduction.

Nobody is calling for a market correction here.  The fundamentals are just too strong, and nothing like what we saw back in 2005.  We have end users and renters hoping to buy.  Rising inventory levels can be a sign that sellers have out-priced buyer’s ability to pay for the increases.  Home prices have risen, but wages may not have kept pace.

Rising interest rates can dampen a buyer’s ability to purchase as well.  We stated many times how a 1% rise in rates takes away 11% purchasing power from a buyer.  Do that to enough buyers and you can affect a market.  We’ve seen rising rates, and we expect them to rise more.

Bottom line, if you’re a buyer, get in soon.  Rising rates rob you. They’re like a thief in the night.  If you’re a seller, price your home correctly, and hire the best agent you can find to market it.  You have more competition now.  Exactly 25.44% more to be precise.   The market has stabilized.  A neutral market is defined as 5.5 months supply.  Anything more is a buyer’s market; anything less is a seller’s market.  At 5.48 months supply, we’re about as balanced as you can get, which means prices aren’t going to move up until we work down supply.

To sell your home, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  To research the market, find your home’s value, or get neighborhood updates, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com If you’re looking to buy, one of our happy agents will be glad to assist you. 239-489-4042

Good luck and happy selling!

This past week we’ve seen some wild fluctuations in the stock market, so we thought we’d answer some questions people have.  One question we’ve heard recently is does stock market volatility affect real estate values?

Stock Market Volatility Affect Real Estate Values Stock market volatility
Stock Futures Suggest Volatile Open

The simple answer is, not really.  There is a general correlation between stock market values and real estate values.  As the economy does better, both markets tend to do better.  However, we’ve seen instances where people pull money out of the stock market and place it into the real estate market.

Interest rates tend to affect sentiment in both markets.  Rising inflation leads to rising interest rates, which both markets dislike.  Investors will sometimes pull money out of stock market and into bonds for the yields.  Therefore, the stock market doesn’t like rising rates.  Rising rates also hurts borrowers as it zaps purchasing power from buyers in the real estate market.

Stock Market Volatility Affect Real Estate Values Housing vs stock market

However, we’ve seen inverted yield curves whereby sort term rates are higher than long term rates.  This breaks most of the rules as usually long-term rates carry more risk, so investors want more yield in a longer security.  Therefore, we have to look at the reasons for interest rate and stock market volatility before drawing conclusions as to its effect on consumer sentiment and real estate prices.

On Friday February 2 jobs data came out and showed wages climbed 2.9% from the previous year which was the best gain since 2009.  This spurred inflation fears and concern that the fed would hike rates unexpectedly, which naturally draws volatility from the stock market.

The bottom line is not much has changed in the economy in the last week or so.  The only thing that has changed is stock volatility, and the realization that rates will go higher.  We’ve been talking about it for a few years, and reality is finally here.  Everybody knew this day was coming.

The tax reform has spurred wage growth.  We expect to see a tight labor market.  Some jobs are moving back to the US, while some jobs will be lost as business reorganizes.  Retail stores and banks may continue to come under pressure as online wins the day.

I wouldn’t put much attention into the stock market other than seeing how it affects your retirement savings.  The smart money is watching interest rates.  Rising rates don’t necessarily kill the stock or real estate market, but it can stifle or limit its growth.

Wage growth will dictate how far real estate prices will rise.  The stock market doesn’t go one direction forever, and neither does the real estate market.  Wages must eventually rise if you want continued rise in prices.  Rising rates stymie price growth, and rising wages can offset some of that. Unfortunately, rising wages is correlated to rising rates as they can be inflationary.

The stock market did well 2008-2016 due to free money.  It did even better in 2017 due to rising expectations in the economy.  Free money is over, and it must be.  We’re heading into a period of normal market conditions controlling the markets.  This is healthy and a good thing.

We’ll be watching inflation, interest rates, oil, and the overall economy.  We’ve got a balanced real estate market here in SW Florida. Buyers are scooping up properties now to beat those rising rates, however they’re not over-paying either.

Buyers want to buy, but not overpay.  They’re being careful and doing their homework.  Inventory is rising, but still low.  Research and market knowledge wins the day whether you’re a buyer or seller.

One of the best websites to keep up with the market is www.LeeCountyOnline.com  The database is updated every few minutes.  It not only has all the listings, it also has sold data in our market reports section.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty for professional real estate advice 239-489-4042.  If you’ve got a house to sell, ask for Sande or Brett.  Our team stands by ready to help you buy or sell, and educate you on the market.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Danforth Lakes

9103 Falcon Pointe Loop

4 Bed 3 Bath  $330,000

9013 Falcon Pointe Loop

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Parker Lakes

14811 Crystal Cove Ct Unit 1102

2 Bed 2 Bath lakefront  $225,000

Parker Lakes Condo

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Island Park Village

17813 Port Boca Cir

2 Bed 2 Bath Lakefront  $215,000

Island Park Village Condo

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Olde Hickory

9071 Old Hickory Cir

3 Bed 3 Bath Golf Course View  $360,000

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