Dear Ellis Team:

Dear Ellis Team - Your Real Estate Questions Answered

Q: I’ve been paying my mortgage but slipped behind on my HOA fees. I didn’t want the bank to foreclose. I was surprised to learn that my homeowner’s association filed foreclosure on me. Is this normal? Alex

A: Alex, sorry to hear about your dilemma. This however is a great question. We have been seeing more and more condo and homeowner’s associations foreclosing for non-payment. We always tell people, pay your HOA first as some of them will foreclosure faster than a bank will.

Q: My home has been on the market for 4 months and we haven’t had a single showing. Are agents lazy? How come nobody wants to show my home? I didn’t want to pay a commission in the first place and I didn’t like my agent’s price. I told her if she wanted that much we’d have to raise the price for her to get it. I guess she didn’t want it that bad! Anonymous

A: Well anonymous, where to begin? The seller sets the price and the market determines the value. If you’ve priced your home above where the market is, you may not receive any showings. Why would a Realtor deliberately show an over-priced home when they can show other homes a buyer might actually buy? Sellers often believe they can always come down but you can’t go up. This isn’t even true as we have several homes that sell above asking price. It sounds like you wanted what you wanted for the home regardless of what the market was bearing. The market doesn’t care what you want or need. The market only cares about value.I’m also concerned about 2 other things. You’re blaming your agent for your mistake. The agent isn’t to blame for you wanting more than the market will bear. I do blame your agent for taking the listing in the first place. Sometimes a home has few comparable sales to value properly, and sometimes you just have to bring it to the market and see how market responds. Your agent should be communicating with you about re-positioning your home in the marketplace. Your question doesn’t tell us anything about that. If she has, she’s doing her job. We really need more facts to answer this any better.

Q: I went on abc.com (we blanked out the actual website) and it said my home was worth $412,000. I go on every day and it changes wildly. One day it said $350,000 and another it was up to $475,000. How can the market vary that much in such a short time?

A: The site you are talking about is historically unreliable. In fact, in the fine print it used to say their data was intentionally off. I guess this made online viewers have to check back often, which increased viewership, and thus advertising rates. Some of those national sites are filled with bad data. To get a more accurate and reliable estimate, go to our site www.LeeCountyOnline.com Even then it is just a computer. For the most accurate, call us and have Sande or myself evaluate your property if you’re thinking of selling. 239-489-4042

Q: What are the qualifications to becoming an agent? Can anybody do it?

A: Just about anybody can. You must not have a felony. You do not need to be a college graduate at this time. Anybody can do it, but not everybody is the same. Anybody can play baseball, but it doesn’t mean everybody is good at it. The best practice every day, learn, take classes, and work all day at it. Real estate takes work, and for those that are prepared to out-work everybody else, you can do it. You can do real estate part-time, but you won’t be great at it. It takes years of learning about property, people and situations. There’s always a place for great people in real estate, and yet about 80% fail within a year. It’s all about you and what you’re willing to put into it.
If you have more questions, give Sande or myself a call. 239-489-4042. We love helping people.
Good luck and Happy Selling!

We hope you enjoyed our answer.  If you’d like to ask more questions, simply write Dear Ellis Team and we’ll be glad to answer your questions.

Ready For a Yeti?

Are You Ready For a Yeti
Ready For a Yeti?

Find out how you can win a Yeti cooler.

View Ellis Team Featured Listings in 360 Virtual Reality

Paint the Town Red Open Houses this weekend:  Coming Soon

Perhaps you’ve read about virtual reality headsets and what it can do for the gaming industry.  You may not realize what 360 degree home tours mean for the real estate industry, until now.

360 Degree Home Tours
360 Degree Home Tours on Your Smartphone or Desktop

Until recently agents would provide a virtual tour in 2D, meaning the tour would consist of a series of photos, and perhaps video walking through the home.  This was great but it didn’t provide perspective and the consumer was forced to look at what the photographer wanted you to see, exactly when they wanted you to see it.

Now the technology has grown such that savvy agents can now provide more perspective and the consumer is in control.  They get to control the scene, view each scene as long or as little as they like, and see how rooms and objects relate to each other.  It’s very spatial and the best way to view a home without actually being there.

We’ve had buyers buy homes sight unseen before simply from photos and videos we’ve taken from a home, and now buyers will be able to feel like they’re in the home.  Showings will go way up because now people are viewing the home on their computer, or on their mobile device.

Many mobile devices today are better than computers were a few years ago.  They displays are crystal clear, and they have sensors like gyroscopes that allow a consumer to place it in motion view or 360 view and literally move the phone around and see the entire room.  Sure, you can still move around the room by touching your screen, but now the phone or VR (Virtual Reality) headset will do it for you.  All you have to do is look a certain direction and now you’re moving the scene, 360 degrees.

360 Degree Home Tours


We’re creating a new website www.SWFL360hometours.com which will showcase our listings in full 360 virtual reality.  You don’t have to have a VR headset to do this.  As we said, many smartphones will do this.

Facebook and YouTube already allow 360 photos and videos.  We’ve been adding 360 photos to our fan page www.facebook.com/Ellisteam Not only is this one of the most fun things we’ve done, it’s also one of the most useful things for consumers.  We’ve been hosting live events on FB as well as utilizing 360 photos.

We love 360 videos too, however when you shoot a home in 360 video consumers need to pause the scene if they want to view it for longer than what the videographer chose.  That’s OK, but why make a videographer choose a length or the consumer have to take extra steps?  With a 360 photo the consumer can see everything for as little or as long as they choose, then move to another scene.

Every person we show 360 degree home tours to sees the big WOW.  Sellers realize instantly what it can do for their home.  Marketing matters.  Pricing is important, but it’s not the only thing that sells a home.

More Online Showings

Imagine you have an item and you place it in an online auction.  Do you think you’ll sell your item for more in you have 1,000 bidders or just 1 bidder?  Of course, more bidders bring a higher price for anything, including real estate.  This is why marketing is critical in getting Top Dollar.

Adding 360 degree home tours to a home brings more online showings to your home, and there is no limit as it’s online and shareable via social media.  We have the ability to target buyers by income, price range, age, geographical area, recreational interests, habits, and much more.

We’re listing a home in an over 55 community.  We can place ads to only people 55+ We can place ads to golfers, boaters, people likely to move, have certain incomes, etc.

Marketing today isn’t what it was 10 years ago.  If an agent tells you marketing doesn’t work, seek another opinion.  Remember the formula.  Proper Pricing x Targeted Marketing= Successful Sale.

If you’re thinking of selling, Always Call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search the MLS or find out what your home is worth.

Ready for a Yeti?

Are You Ready For a Yeti
Ready For a Yeti?

Find out how you can with a Yeti cooler.  Simply pickup your Ellis Team koozie at one of our open houses or stop by our office.  Simply post a picture of our koozie with your favorite beverage and use hashtags #Ellisteam and #readyforayeti and like our Facebook Page.

Ready for a Yeti
Post our Ellis Team Koozie Photo Online

 

Perhaps you’ve been reading about the shift in the local and national real estate market. Some experts haven’t noticed a shift while others have predicted dire results because they have noticed. The real experts are aware of the shift and realize this appears to be a minor correction as the market just got ahead of itself. Markets often chug along until one day it does get ahead of itself, both on the way up and the way down. Today we talk about how the market responds as sellers heed advice from agents.

Back in 2009 we said the market had over-corrected and was due for gains. It did. This past February we sounded the alarm and said the market may be ahead of itself, and it was. Sellers have heeded the advice of agents and are actually selling homes.

You see, homes will always sell, even in up, down, and sideways markets. It’s a matter of marketing and price, and the sellers that market properly and price properly win the selling game. Owners that fail at either of the above may not win. Sometimes the best team on the field doesn’t win the game. Sometimes the best home on the block doesn’t sell. You have to be the best today to sell today. It’s not enough to be the best 6 months ago.

Buyers judge houses on features, size, location, age, and price among others. If you’re great in all areas except price, buyers will reject your home. You’re not the best today if your home is overpriced.

Market Responds as Sellers Heed Advice

We have good news to present however. In fact, I had to double check the numbers because I didn’t believe the numbers. Month’s supply of inventory is down to 5.07 months by my numbers. Official numbers by Florida Realtors shows 4.5 months however they calculate slightly differently than we do. In any event, and by any measure, we both have inventory coming down.

Market Responds as Sellers Heed Advice

You can see by the graph that inventory levels have come down in virtually all price ranges. This is because sellers have taken their agent’s advice and reacted to the shift in the market. The sellers who have not repositioned their home in the marketplace are still on the market or their listing has expired.

Selling your home is a pretty easy math equation. mm x cp = ss Mass Marketing times Correct Pricing equals Successful Sale. If your home isn’t marketed to the entire market it may not sell. I’ve seen homes priced correctly that have not sold. We’ve come in and upped the marketing and watch them sell.

An overpriced home will not sell. No amount of marketing can cure an overpriced listing. If you’re willing to follow the formula, success will follow. If you deviate from the formula, you won’t get your desired result, so you have to ask yourself the question, “Which is most important? Selling my home or staying because I want or need too much money?”

Unfortunately, the market doesn’t care what you need, and Mick Jagger explains beautifully that you can’t always get what you want. The answer lies with you. Are you willing to price your home where the market is? Are you willing to hire the best agent to sell your home?

Owners mistakenly believe all Realtors are the same and MLS will sell the home. It doesn’t work that way. There is a lot of expertise that goes into negotiations and the best way to present a property to the market. Some Realtors don’t know these tips because they’re not experienced enough. If Realtors in the business don’t all know, how is a seller supposed to know?

You have to interview agents with experience and a track record. If you’re thinking about selling, or perhaps have tried it yourself to no avail, give us a call. We’ve got some new ways to reach buyers we think you’re going to like. Call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 and find out what’s new and how we’re reaching today’s buyers. We think you’ll be amazed, and most importantly, on to your next home. Feel free to search the MLS at  and get an automated free estimate of your home’s value.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Open House Saturday and Sunday 1-4 PM

waterfront home whiskey creek open houose
Whiskey Creek Open House

Open Saturday and Sunday 1-4 PM

1388 Landmark Ct

Waterfront Gulf Access

Stop by and pickup your Ellis Team Koozie and chance to win a Yeti

 

 

Are You Ready For a Yeti?

Are You Ready For a Yeti
Ready For a Yeti?

All you have to do is like our Ellis Team Facebook page and post a picture of our koozie with your favorte beverage online with the hashtags #ellisteam and #readyforayeti The most creative picture wins.  You can post online at Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google +

Ready for a Yeti
Post our Ellis Team Koozie Photo Online

Stop by our open house and pickup your koozie, or stop by our office.  You can always call us at 239-489-4042 to see where we’re going o be.  Some lucky winner is going to win a Yeti 45 and it might as well be you.  Contest ends November 30, so you’ve got some time.

Suffice it to say marketing real estate has come a long way in the last decade or so.   Gone are the days when you could just put a sign out front, an ad in the paper, and upload it to MLS and expect it to sell.  Oh sure, it might sell, but what if that doesn’t work?  The Ellis Team and other top agents are finding SW Florida real estate buyers using advanced marketing techniques.

Finding SW Florida Real Estate Buyers Using Advanced Marketing Facebook Audiences
Online Audience Demographics

Sure, we still use the newspaper, signs, and the MLS.  All marketing works to a degree, and any one of them could sell the home.  We can’t just sit back and hope the buyer finds us.  We have to go out and find the buyer, and that’s exactly what we do.

Finding SW Florida Real Estate Buyers Using Advanced Marketing

Through the power of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook we’re able to lock in on the buyer and bring a home to them, instead of praying the buyer finds us.  We can search for buyers who are likely to move, who make a certain amount of money, have a certain degree of education, just entered new relationship, or have a level of equity in their current home.

Finding SW Florida Real Estate Buyers Using Advanced Marketing Facebook Behaviors
Behaviors Likely to Move
Finding SW Florida Real Estate Buyers Using Advanced Marketing Income
Online Lead Income Level Selection

 

Home Ownership Characteristics Finding SW Florida Real Estate Buyers Using Advanced Marketing
Home Ownership Characteristics

We can drill even further.  We can target doctors, people up north, and hundreds of other attributes.  Real estate is a people business.  The best agents learn a lot about their clients because they ask questions.

Today there is a database that has all this information.  When you put a sign in the yard you’re limited to just those that drive by the property, and you have no idea if they need a home or could even afford one.  When you know which people make a certain amount and are likely to move and are looking for a 2nd home in SW Florida it makes it easy.  Sure, you have to know what you’re doing and how to reach these people, but the time invested in targeting the right people more than offsets targeting the wrong people.

When we list a $1 Million property, we want to find million dollar buyers.  It does us no good to find $100,000 buyers for that Million-dollar home.  And vice versa.  When we list a $200,000 home, it doesn’t matter how many $5 million buyers we have.

We sell what we list.  Sometimes sellers will ask how many homes have you sold in his price range, and that might be the wrong question.  The best question is how will you reach qualified buyers for my home?

We’ve sold properties in our career anywhere from about $5,000 to over $15 Million.  Of course we need to price the property correctly because no amount of marketing will sell an over-priced listing.  Proper pricing isn’t enough however.  We’ve got to go out and find the buyer, we can’t expect the buyer to find us without proper marketing.

We not only have a database of buyers in all price ranges ready to make a move, we go out and look for more buyers as we list each property.  This expands our database, so it’s quite possible we already have the buyer for your home.  When new properties hit the market, our buyers are alerted each day of new listings that match their criteria.

If you’re thinking of selling and not sure how an agent will find a buyer for your home, give us a call.  239-489-4042.  Ask for Sande or Brett.  We’ll be glad to show some advanced marketing techniques we’re using to sell our listings.  It not only works, it’s kind of fun.  Feel free to use our website to search the MLS or find out what your property is worth.  www.LeeCountyOnline.com Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams.

 

Good Luck and Happy House Hunting!

New Listing Coming Soon

1338 Landmark Ct-Whiskey Creek Waterfront Pool Home

You’ve probably read headlines recently that the real estate market shifts have occurred . Not only is it true, it’s been predicted by those that study the numbers. However, the shift doesn’t tell the whole story.

Real Estate Market Shifts
Current Inventory

Just as we’re counseling sellers about the shift we see an uptick in listing calls and buyer contracts.  So if the market is shifting, how can it be that business has really picked up in last few weeks?

Perhaps you’ve noticed in just the last week the roads have gotten busier.  I sure have.  And I went to one of those large warehouse stores over the weekend and it was packed.  My wife and I both said “They’re back.”   That’s not why we’ve seen an uptick in sales these past few weeks however.

Real Estate Market Shifts new pending sales
New Pending Sales

We believe there is some pent-up demand. Buyers are desperately seeking homes in the $300,000 or less category, and we’re also seeing good activity in the $400,000+ range as well. We know the market as a whole isn’t as strong over $400k, so activity in this range is a good sign.

Real Estate Market Shifts

We’ve been watching official numbers and we are seeing declining closed sales, precipitated by declining pending sales, and increasing inventory. The numbers don’t lie and are indicative of a shift. Combine this with falling average sales prices and declining market volume and you know the shift is real.
So now that we know the shift is real, what can a seller do? Now more than ever it’s important to do 3 things.

1. Hire Experience- Agents who have worked and thrived through shifting markets are better able to guide through the experience.

2. Price it Correctly- You never want to get caught chasing the market down.  Not all price ranges are going down.  In fact, some are still going up.  Knowing where your home stands against the competition is critical.  Knowing where the demand from buyers is as well.

3. Marketing-Some agents say you can’t market your way out of a shift and it all comes down to price.  While it’s true that if you over-price a home, no amount of advertising and marketing will sell it, sometimes correct pricing alone isn’t enough.  This isn’t a bad market.  We’ve seen those before and this is nothing like that.  However, if it were a bad market, marketing becomes important because you have to do everything you can to reach the few buyers available for so many homes.

This is a shifting market, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The market is fairly healthy.  Nothing goes up or down forever, and shifts along the way is a balancing act.  It keeps both buyers and sellers equal where neither becomes too powerful, but it can be scary if you’re on the wrong side of the shift.

Knowledge truly is power.  Knowledge leads to correct pricing.  Marketing is power too.  Marketing alone won’t sell your home, but it sure beats limited marketing.  Think of it as a sporting event. Shifts are won or lost by great coaches.  The talent on both sides are fairly equal.  Each side (Buyers and Sellers) has their set of strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to the coach to guide the team to a win.  The coaches right now are the full-time agents, and the agents with the most experience and winning track records are the ones to hire.

There’s a reason certain coaches win multiple Super Bowls. The top coaches are in demand, and teams pay them more money than first year coaches. It’s because they win, and if you’re a seller wanting to sell in a shifting market, you want to win. Hiring experience is the answer. So when the real estate market shifts, always go with experience.
We have a graphic in our listing presentation that reads “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” If you’re looking to buy or sell, call the pros at the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 or visit our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search the MLS like a pro.

 

16585 Wellington Lakes CIR, Fort Myers, FL 33908    13685 Wellington Lakes Cir

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

 

Daniels Preserve Open Jouse
12494 Country Day Cir Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Future of Real Estate September 2016 Market Update

 

Hopefully everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.  The Ellis Team household celebrated with friends and family with a cookout and football party.  Good times were definitely had by all, and that’s the way it should be.  Beating the post Labor Day real estate stall isn’t rocket science, but more on that after we tell you about the stall.

I started cooking the day before.  I made all the sauces, put the rub on the meat, and eventually placed the pork on the smoker at midnight.  The plan was to smoke the meat at 225 degrees for about 17 hours.  The meat must reach a certain temperature, but inevitably the temperature gains stall out at about 160 degrees for a period of 5 hours or so.  This frustrates many who are not accustomed to the stall.

The stall is that period where temperature gains cease for a long while.  This is because at 160 degrees the meat begins to sweat and cool itself.  Juice go from the center to the edges during this time period.  One way to beat the stall is to wrap meat in aluminum foil at 160 degrees and keep the heat on.  By doing so you can retain some of the moisture and cut the heating time down.

Beating the Post Labor Day Real Estate Stall

So you might ask how does all this relate to real estate?  Each year after September the SW Florida real estate market reaches a stall.  If you know it’s coming there are things you can do to shorten the time-frame of the stall.  You must power through it as buyers and sellers are counting on you.

Beating the Post Labor Day Real Estate Stall

Knowing it’s coming is half the battle.  The other half is preparation.  Just as most of the work to cook the meat was done the day before, so it is true with the real estate market.

We continue to list and sell properties.  In fact, we’re cranking some sales now at a time when county-wide sales are down.  We don’t stop advertising, and we don’t stop prospecting for buyers for our listings.

In fact, much of the work we’ve done the past few months helps us with sales during the typical “Stall” time.  Some Realtors take off in the slow months, but this is the time to put the real work in.  Championships are built in the off season.  This was opening weekend and you can tell which teams put in the work as they were the most prepared for week 1.

When we list a home in September it’s very possible we already have the buyer we obtained in July or August.  We have a database of thousands of buyers we’ve worked hard to build up.  Some are buying today, some are buying tomorrow, and some next month.  We don’t control their time frame, we only control our efforts to obtain buyers for our listings.

Often times sellers will ask us if we have a buyer for their home.  Quite often the answer is yes.  When we take a listing we bring it back to our team of agents who cross-check our database to see if we’ve got someone for that home.  Perhaps we have someone flying in on October 2nd who matches perfectly.  Perhaps we have someone now.

In any event, we market the home too, because even though we may have 3 buyers for our listing the market may have one ready, willing, and able to buy it today.  And you never know which buyer will pay the highest price.

Don’t Sweat the Stall

It’s the hard work we put in year-round that enables us to sell homes every month of the year.  So we don’t worry too much about the “Stall”.  We advise our clients on what the market is doing, and if we’re doing our job at the highest level, perhaps we can shorten our client’s time-frame and power through it for them.

If you’ve got a home to sell, we should probably talk.  It’s possible we have a buyer for it, and either way our marketing attracts buyers.  If you’re a buyer, we’ve got some great new listings coming to the market in the next few weeks.  You can search at www.LeeCountyOnline.com or call us at 239-489-4042

We look forward to working with you!  Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

Join us for Two Great Open Houses

Reflection Lakes Open House
Reflection Lakes 3 Bedroom 2 Bath $215,000

13971 Lake Mahogany Blvd Unit 2623

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Gate 4 Reflection Lakes

 

 

 

 

14154 Danpark Loop Fort Myers, FL
Open House Daniel’s Park

14154 Danpark Loop

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Daniel’s Park

Affordable Living in Great Neighborhood

 

Watch the Future of Real Estate September 2016

One of the things we like to study is the SW Florida real estate market velocity. In a snapshot it tells us several key indicators about the state of the local real estate market.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Velocity
SW Florida Real Estate Market Velocity

We used this graphic at a recent filming of our Ellis Team Seller’s Club video shoot. Each month we dive deep and share key factors we’re looking at and how they’re affecting various segments of the market.

For instance, the market doesn’t all move at once. Certain segments may lead and others follow. Because it’s a video we’re able to illustrate more than just a graphic or two and 700 words. We can really explain each force and its effect.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Velocity

One of the numbers we look at not on this graphic is Total Dollar Volume. Total dollar volume is down 27.7% in July. Last year Realtors sold $420.4 Million dollars worth of residential real estate. In 2016 was $304.1 Million in July. Two factors contribute to this decline.

First, closed sales were down 17.3% Secondly, average sales price was down 12.6%. That’s a double whammy to the market. While these two numbers aren’t on the velocity graph, it does confirm a few trends on the graph.

Listings are up and new pending sales are down. Now you might ask, if new listings are down 2.5% how is it that overall active listings are up 15.5%? This can be for a number of reasons. Older pending sales could have fallen out and come back on the market. These would not be new listings. And even though new listings entering the market declined, new pending sales are roughly equal to the new active listings. So if any pending contracts fall out, and some always do, it adds to the listing inventory.

Lastly, inventory has been rising. It’s actually down from where it’s been in the last few months, but definitely up over last year.

When you hear the market is up, down, or sideways, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The headline tells one story, but the market may have several stories to tell. Right now there are 3 distinct markets with a possible 4th developing. We have the buyer’s market, the neutral market, and the seller’s market.

In our Seller’s Club video we dive into which segments are in the buyer’s market, which ones are neutral, and which ones are seller’s markets. Knowing where your home stands is important to know. And if you’re a buyer, this is also important information as it dictates how much you can gamble in your negotiations. We’ll be starting up a Buyer’s Club soon so buyers too can see in-depth information.

Whether you’re buying or selling, it pays to understand where the market is today, and where it’s headed. Interest rates and economic events can also influence the markets and we bring you our analysis on those as well.
If you’re a buyer and would like to search the MLS or view neighborhood reports, simply go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com

If you’re a seller, you can find out what your home is worth online, or view the same neighborhood reports. Neighborhood reports show you all the homes for sale, pending, and sold in particular neighborhoods. It also shows you time on the market for each listing, dollar per sq ft calculations, sold dates, and photo galleries of each listing.

Of course there’s no substitute for working with experienced agents who know the market. Our website is for those that wish to do their own research before speaking with a Realtor.

If you’d like to be added to our Buyer’s Club or our Seller’s club, send me an e-mail at Brett@topagent.com and let me know which one. We’ll get you on the list and on your way to receiving these great in-depth monthly video reports.

If you have a home to sell, please call us at 239-489-4042. Ask for Sande or Brett and we’ll be glad go over our marketing and show you why our homes sell faster and for more money!

Good luck and Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Most people do not know that last year’s sales prices have recently been revised down, so when this year’s numbers are reported the gain looks better than it would have been had they been left alone.  This means the reported real estate numbers not what they seem.  For example, the official median price reported back in January 2015 was $190,000.  2016 median price was reported at $227,000, which was a 19.47% increase.  Not too shabby.  However, January 2015 numbers were revised down earlier year to $185,748.  This now makes the gain 22.21% instead of 19.47%

Real Estate Numbers Not What They Seem

That’s all well and good when the numbers are spectacular, but what happens when the market begins to tighten?  We reported back in February that the market was in a Shift.  Few people realized it at the time as we were still reporting 20%+ gains.

Real Estate Numbers Not What They Seem

In May the gains were down to 4.65% and that’s with the benefit of revisions.  If they went with original numbers, the median single family home price was only up 3.57%.

Earlier this year I questioned the numbers.  Back in March the local Board of Realtors received information about the changes.  Most of the changes affected listing counts and under-reported listing inventory in previous years due to date errors in their database.  We’re all for cleaning up errors, however we haven’t seen any rationale as to why prices have been adjusted.  We’re not saying there is anything nefarious with the changes, it’s just that by doing so they’re making the market this year look better than it is.

July numbers are due to be released at any time.  We believe average prices may level out while median prices may still advance, albeit at a slower pace than years past.  The reason we see median prices holding steady is because currently the median price is $230,500 in June.  Homes in that price range usually attract multiple offers and quick sales.  It’s the homes priced over $300,000 that are taking longer to sell.  It would take quite a decline in homes over $300,000 to filter down to that $230,000 range.

Buyers and sellers probably need to pay attention to interest rates.  When we get close to an election the Fed’s usually hold off on making big changes.  This year they’ve indicated they’d like to raise rates and recently they signaled next month may be the month.  In other words, they may not wait until after the election.  This is the time of year we watch the tropics.  It also may be the time of year to watch rates, because rates may affect people’s personal lives.

For every 1% rise in rates it eats away a buyer’s purchasing power by 11%.  A buyer that qualifies to buy a $300,000 home today may only qualify for a $267,000 home tomorrow.  It can happen fast.  When rates move the markets can move even faster.  30 year mortgage rates are best associated with the 10 year note, and that can move faster than whatever the Fed’s set the discount rate at.

This is a problem for buyers.  It also becomes a problem for sellers when the buy pool shrinks.  Instead of receiving 4 offers on a home the seller may only receive one because the other three just went down a price bracket.  This halts upward pricing pressure, which affects sellers.  Many $250,000 sellers are move-up buyers, and if they can’t sell their $250,000 home for as much or quickly, they may not be able to move up to the $400,000 home they were looking at, which puts further pressure on homes priced above $300,000.

It starts a domino effect.  If you’re on the fence, right now is a good time to buy or sell.  Through no fault of your own, you will pay more to buy a home once rates change.  You’ll either buy less home for the same money or you’ll pay more each month for the same loan you could get today.  Most sellers buy another home somewhere when they sell, so waiting for a few extra dollars can cost you tens of thousands on the buying end.

If you’d like to search the MLS, or get an idea of what your home is worth, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  If you’d like to talk to us about options, call us at 239-489-4042.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

If you’re thinking about selling, be sure to get into our Seller’s Club.  Our Ellis Team Seller’s Club provides more detailed insight exclusively for people who request to receive this information.  Simply call or email us.

September SW Florida Real Estate Market Report

Agents use the SW Florida Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to search for homes for their buyers but what about searching for buyers for agent’s listings?  The Ellis Team has found that having a searchable buyers database helps sell homes.

Searchable Buyers Database Helps Sell Homes
Ellis Team Client Search Screen

There is no MLS for buyers.  That would be weird.  There is one for sellers but it does not include personal information like seller’s name, phone number, email address, search preferences, etc. because nobody would want that kind of information out to the public. The same is true for buyers.  No buyer would want a seller searching and contacting them. And it wouldn’t be just sellers.  You’d have every retail store, financial planner, lender, etc. calling these buyers if that data were out in the public.

There may never be a true MLS for buyers as buyers for the reasons stated above however, we do have a large database of buyers we can search upon when we list new properties.  One of the advantages we offer buyers is our MLS search site is updated every 5 minutes, so they can beat out other buyers to hot new properties.  It’s also consumer friendly, speedy, and easy to use.

Because the buyers benefit so much we’re able to capture crucial search data.  The system will email them property matches if they desire, and they can target exactly what they’re looking for.

Searchable Buyers Database Helps Sell Homes buyer search screen
Buyer Search Screen

Searchable Buyers Database Helps Sell Homes

Sellers often ask us if we have buyers looking for a home like theirs.  The answer is usually yes.  We can go into our database and search for buyers that matches our seller’s criteria.  We spend a lot of money on advertising each month.  We create a lot of buyers.  It’s possible the money we spent last month or 6 months ago has already created a buyer looking for a home just like the one we’re listing.

One of our databases has created about 1,407 leads in the past year.  Let’s say we’re on a listing appointment and the property is worth $250,000.  If I search our database, we currently have 304 leads searching in that $250,000 range.

Let’s say we’re listing a Million dollar property.  I just conducted a search and our database contains 58 people searching for properties.  Our agents can tag buyers, so we have the ability to pin it down to features like golf course or waterfront, or neighborhoods.

Each time we list a property we create marketing designed to find a buyer in that price range.  It does us no good to list a Million dollar home and create $200,000 buyers.  Our marketing never stops working.  Not only are we marketing today for a million dollar buyer, our past marketing may have already created the buyer.  Likewise, just because we didn’t have a $4 Million dollar home for sale in last 6 months doesn’t mean we don’t have some $4 Million buyers waiting for the right property to enter the market.  We create marketing for what we list.  If we list a $70,000 condo we’ll create some $70,000 buyers.

Each week we have a team meeting and we inform our agents the properties we’re listing soon.  Many times we have a buyer waiting for one like that to come to market.  I remember a few years ago we listed a property in Moody River Estates.  The seller asked me if we had buyers for his home.  I answered I don’t know, we could.  I went back to office and sure enough, one of our agents was writing an offer on another property a street over from the one we just listed.  I asked him to hold up and go show our home.  A day later our home was under contract with a buyer we already had.

No agent can promise you they have a buyer.  And even if they did, you don’t know what the buyer will pay or how they will like it.  The goal is to produce many buyers for the home.  If you’d like to check out our site go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com Buyers and sellers love the site.  Or call us at 239-489-4042  We’d love to help you buy or sell your piece of paradise in SW Florida.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

14457 Cypress Chase Ct Fort Myers Florida
Open Sunday 11-2

14457 Cypress Chase Ct Fort Myers, FL 33919

3 Bedroom 3 Baths

Located in South Fort Myers

 

 

 

 

San Carlos Park Open House 3 Bedrooms 2 Baths
Open Sunday 1-4 PM

17225 Johnston Dr, Fort Myers FL 33967

3 Bedrooms 2 Baths Home in San Carlos Park

Call Today-Will sell this weekend

Today we have some good news to report on how the domino effect will help real estate market here in SW Florida and nationwide.

Domino Effect Will Help Real Estate Market

For years Realtors have complained that financing was not as easy to obtain for condominiums as it is for single family homes.  For various reasons FHA would not lend in most condo projects unless the association jumped through exhaustive and costly hoops.  I’m sure FHA had good intentions and wants to protect consumers and the government, but the hoops were so burdensome and arduous that condos could only be financed by FNMA or Freddie Mac secured loans.

While FNMA has 3-5% down loans, many buyers prefer using FHA financing and were forced to buy single family homes under this program.  This all changed now that H.R. 3700 was signed into law this past week.  More than 140,000 Realtors lobbied Congress in support of this bill and it passed the House and Senate with Unanimous votes.  Imagine getting anything done in Congress with unanimous votes!

Many argue that first time home buyers do well in condominiums because the budgeting for repairs, lawn, maintenance, roofs, etc are often times built-into the condo association fee.  Homeowners are sometimes surprised by unexpected expenses that come with owning your own home.  So this new law will really help spur first time home buyers to buy condos that are often times more affordable than single family homes.

Domino Effect Will Help Real Estate Market

What this legislation does is create a domino effect which could really help the real estate market.  By opening up the condo market to more buyers you free up those current condo owners to sell and buy other things.  And prices could go up as there will be more demand for condos going forward.

Getting more people into home ownership has its advantages, and financing is always key to providing a healthy real estate market and economy.  What really hurt the real estate market and overall economy back in 2006-2011 was banks over-tightening lending practices.

Changes needed to be made because loans like the “Liar Loans” and no documentation loans that President Clinton initiated to open up financing to minorities created a monster and the real estate crisis.  What started with good intentions led to everyone getting free money with no documentation and we all know what followed years later.

Now we have Dodd-Frank which is equally disastrous and overly regulatory and caused many homeowners to not be able to live the American dream.  So wins like H.R. 3700 becoming law loom large and are good for the real estate market and economy.

If it were me I’d repeal Dodd-Frank but you can’t just undo that without having a plan in place.  I’d also undo Obama Care, but again you can’t just undo something without having a better plan to go into place.  Since I’m a nobody my ideas don’t matter. And some would argue they like Obama Care.

Where there seems to be unanimous agreement is in this bill, and to that end we’re all grateful.  FHA’s owner-occupancy requirement has been cut from 50% to 35% and transfer fees will be more tolerated under this new law.  These two new rules alone will open up more condos for financing, and the hoops they must jump through will be lessened.

If you’d like to search for condos in SW Florida, you can do so at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Or you can call us at 239-489-4042 and our team can help you decide whether a home or condo may be the best choice for you.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

We have 2 units for sale in Bella Casa in Fort Myers.  Passing of this legislation could help home values in Bella Casa and other condominium projects across SW Florida.

Find out what your SW Florida home is worth online.  If you’d like a more detailed analysis, please call us and we can help.

Problem With Real Estate Agents Find out what your home is worth