We’ve seen a lot of scams and misinformation this past week so we thought we’d pass along some useful SW Florida real estate hurricane news and information.

SW Florida Real Estate Hurricane News and Information Rumor Control

If your property insurance was cancelled leading up to the hurricane, executive order 17-235 issued by Governor Scott provides that cancellation is now rescinded for 90 days.  Furthermore, all rates are frozen for 90 days, and the order allows policyholders 90 days to provide requested information from their insurance company.  In other words, this will give policyholders time to either renew or shop around for coverage in the wake of the storm.  Great job Governor Scott.

FEMA is available to assist people with housing and emergency needs.  From what we can gather, you must prove losses and damage and in some cases, show hardship.  It looks like they’ll issue credits off your tax return in some cases.  FEMA says it will provide some coverage that your insurance company may not.  It may be worthwhile applying at www.disasterassistance.gov  We did hear of somebody receiving $500 on the spot for their business.  FEMA will send out claims adjusters to view your damage.  This is especially helpful if your property has been flooded or is uninhabitable.  There is some housing assistance for those people.

There are rumors that FEMA, the Red Cross and FPL will reimburse you for lost food, but this turns out to not be true.

We’ve heard FEMA will not reimburse you for lost food on the news, and yet we’ve seen a checklist for you to itemize your food losses.

You hear so many things online and in the news and it’s difficult to know what’s true.  It’s especially difficult in times of disaster, limited power, internet, etc.  Beware of scams.

Mortgage Relief

Mortgage forbearance is a hot topic.  Across social media everyone is advising you to apply and the banks must automatically grant you 3 free months of no payments.  Let’s clear up a few things in this regard.  Lenders are forgiving and offering assistance.  If you have a government backed mortgage through FNMA or Freddie Mac you may be able to postpone payments up to 12 months.  FHA loans may extend up to 90 days.  In some cases, they will go longer depending on circumstances.

It’s best to contact your lender yourself.  Be wary of online scams.  There should not be a fee charged to you for this help.  If someone is charging a fee, this might be your first red flag.  These payments are not waived, they are tacked on to the end of the loan, so if you don’t need the assistance, it might be best to pass on the idea.

We’re seeing contractors going door to door looking for work.  Again, be wary.  If you pay them money upfront you may never see them again, and you always want to see their license and insurance.  God forbid they get hurt on your property, or claim they did.  You could be out some cold hard cash and have legal worries. Be wary of offers and possible strings attached.  Evaluate the source of the help.You don’t need permits for everything.  We’ve heard things like fence repair and replacement in a storm doesn’t need it.  Be sure to check for yourself before completing or hiring repairs.

Buyers Are Looking

The good news is we have buyers contacting us looking to purchase.  People up North haven’t given up on Florida either as they are signing up at www.LeeCountyOnline.com and searching for property. If you have a home to sell, we have buyers.

While we’ve been busy this week delivering generators to those in need, we’ve also been scurrying to fix damaged listings impacted by Irma.  We’ve secured contractors to repair and replace items so our sellers can be on their way and buyers can move into their new home.  Buying and selling real estate is more complicated than ever.  It’s wise to hire a professional to help you with all the details.

If you’re buying or selling and need a professional Realtor, please call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042.  We’re here to help.

More Resources:

Best Hurricane Irma Computer Model

FEMA Hurricane Irma Page

American Red Cross Hurricane Irma Page

Hurricane Irma came and passed, and we survived.  Thank God it wasn’t as bad as it was predicted.  It’s been irritating and people are suffering, but we’re thankful for all we have and preservation of life.  So, let’s look at what we learned and talk about Southwest Florida real estate after hurricane Irma.

Many people didn’t realize flood insurance is affordable.  I spoke with some who thought it would be several thousand dollars per year and because their mortgage company didn’t require it, they were safe.  We learned that people in Houston thought the same thing.  Flooding in parts of Lehigh are horrific.  This flooding was not due to storm surge but rather rainfall.  Other areas like Island Park, Old Burnt store Rd, and several other communities experienced flooding like never before.  If flood insurance is affordable, go get it whether the mortgage company requires it or not.

Southwest Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma Older Pool Cage
Older Pool Cage

Much of the damage came from trees.  Large beautiful trees are a hazard in storms.  I don’t know what the solution is.  Perhaps cutting and trimming trees would help keep some of the weight down far from the trunk and save some of these trees from hitting homes and blocking streets?  Trees caused down power lines and were probably the number one reason power was out for so long for so many.

Southwest Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma Newer Pool Cage
Newer Pool Cage in Reflection Lakes

Make sure your subdivision clears its drains regularly.  This helps alleviate street flooding on private roads and can make the difference whether your street is passable after storm or not.  People in Cypress Cay in Gateway among others were stranded for days.  I’m sure there were other reasons, but anything that helps drainage is good.

Gas lines were long.  Whether you’re running generators or just trying to get to work having some extra gas around ahead of storm is a good thing.

Living close to restaurants and super markets is a good thing after a storm.  While many were slow to open, it was a huge relief when they did.  If you can walk to either, gas isn’t an issue.  If you can’t, at least you won’t burn much gas.  Cash is king.  A few restaurants were cash only because they didn’t have internet.  With banks and ATM’s closed, having cash ahead of storm is good.

Newer homes fared better.  We saw some older homes lose shingles.  Presumably this could be due to newer building codes, although we did see some homes missing tiles on the newer homes.  I saw some pool cages down built to older codes and some untouched built to the newer codes.  Of course, wind direction could affect these too.

The bottom line is SW Florida was lucky.  We are grateful.  Property damage was not as bad as expected and there was limited loss of life in Florida.  Southwest Florida real estate after Hurricane Irma will be just fine, if not better.  We will have a few weeks of rebuilding and repair but overall, we did well.

We have buyers.  If you’re thinking of selling, let us know.  Hurricane damage and flooding may wipe out some inventory for a while so we may be able to plug a buyer into your property soon.

If you’d like to search for your piece of paradise, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com or call us at 239-489-4042  Power is not on at our office yet as of day we wrote this article, however we are taking calls remotely when we can.

Additional Resources:

We found a neat NOAA website that allows you to track damage to your Fort Myers property.  Click on the Hurricane Irma Imagery and zoom in to the area.  NOAA is updating this with new flights and sensors so new maps will be posted regularly.

Lee County Schools will not reopen until Sept 25th.

Hurricane Preparation Tips- 3 Yr old video while we were still with RE/MAX.  Tips still good though

Fort Myers Beach Sunset 1 Month Before Irma

This past week the over-riding question we get from customers and realtors alike is how will Southwest Florida hurricane affect local real estate market?  The answer is, it depends.

How Will Southwest Florida Hurricane Affect Local Real Estate Market

First off, we’ve been telling clients that the storm isn’t even here yet.  We’ve been focused on protecting life and property this week.  Buyers aren’t in the mood to house shop this week.  As Realtors, we’ve been assisting clients removing signs, lowering hurricane shutters, closing homes, and evacuating.  Our staff has postponed their own plans simply to help others.

Charley hit our area back in 2004 and bolstered our market.  It brought reconstruction and attention to our area.  You would have thought all the negative publicity would have hurt us, but it didn’t.  Renters were sometimes forced to find new rentals and it helped drive the resale and rental market.

One of the things I think about today is the used car market.  I hear there were 1 Million flooded cars in Houston area.  As insurance companies replace these cars for policy holders I can’t help but think it’s going to drive used car prices higher.  Much like the cash for clunkers program, the hurricane may raise used cars prices simply by taking supply out of market.

I’m writing this article days before Irma is scheduled to arrive.  Who knows, maybe Irma will shift east and not even hit SW Florida.

Charley was a small storm in size and we did not receive much flooding.  It was for us mostly a wind driven event.  Houston is primarily a water driven event, and in my opinion, that’s even worse.  Not only is flooding water more dangerous, it’s also more damaging over wide spread areas.

We have a low inventory market, so I’m not real excited about a hurricane eating up existing inventory.  Already rents are high, and if a tenant is displaced by the storm finding alternatives may be difficult if not impossible to find.

In many price ranges it’s slim picking for buyers, and it could get even slimmer.  It could force buyers to buy whatever they can after the storm, much like shoppers at Publix looking for the last truckload of water before the storm.

We’d much rather natural forces drive the real estate market.  We don’t need a natural disaster to create demand.  Demand is already pretty good.  Supply is already limited too.

We suspect it may take a week or two for life to return to normal, and that’s if the storm moves east and does minimal damage here.  If the storm were to hit the East coast of Florida hard, you could see many displaced people coming over here and paying cash for homes.  Not everyone can do that, but enough can that it could swallow up a lot of our inventory.  For years people from Miami have been coming over here and buying property.  If they were hit hard by a sudden event, it could spur more to move right now.

How Will Southwest Florida Hurricane Affect Local Real Estate Market?

We could write for days on possible scenarios and how the storm could affect the local real estate market.  So much of it just depends.  I think for now, we should all just focus on staying safe, executing our evacuation plans or hunkering down, and watch out for each other.

Hurricanes bring out the best and worst in people.  We witnessed so many wonderful people helping in Charlie and Wilma.  And we saw what stress can do to people as well.  Remember, stress manifests itself in many ways.  If you see someone lashing out or easily angry this next week or two, it may just be the stress of the storm piled up on other things going on in their life.  Lend a helping hand, be kind to one another, and watch out for your neighbor.  You’ll feel better knowing you did, and you just might need a helping hand yourself when you least expect it.

If you need help, don’t be too proud to ask.  We’re all in this together!  We’ll get through this.  If you’re looking for the best real estate website, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com Or call us at 239-489-4042  Most of all, stay safe!  Real estate can be replaced.  You cannot!

This past week agents have been calling us asking how we see the local SW Florida real estate market.  Agents are complaining that their closings are down in August.  This was predictable because recently released data shows SW Florida pending real estate inventory dropped 9.6% in July.  July pendings are an indicator of what will close in August and September.

We saw a dip in average and median sales prices in July from June, however median prices were up 2.5% over last July 2016 and average prices were up 5.9%.

SW Florida Pending Real Estate Inventory Drops Sales Prices

All year we’ve been tracking homes closed and we’ve said it’s been tracking between 2015-2016 numbers.  2016 closed sales were down against 2015.  We are close to tracking down against 2016, and if this occurs we’ll keep an eye out for potential changes in the market.

SW Florida Pending Real Estate Inventory Drops Homes Closed

Last year, as evidenced by the graph, sales numbers increased in August, so if July’s pending inventory is an indicator, we might not reach those levels.  The Ellis Team has sold some quick close cash deals that went pending in mid-August and are scheduled to close at end of August that might add to the July pendings and help, but will it be enough?

We’ve been telling sellers throughout the year, now may be a good time to sell.  You have less competition from other sellers and interest rates are scheduled to go up as the Fed is pulling back its $4.5 Trillion bond assets.

If pending sales continue to decline, it will add to more time on the market.  This may be a blip on the map as we’ve recently sold 9 properties in less than 2 weeks.  The market could heat up again just like that.  As we enter the Fall and Winter, more listings typically enter the market.  Sellers will have more competition.  Who you choose to market your home will be more important than ever, as marketing matters when inventory rises.

If you’re a buyer, you might like to search all the homes for sale at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Our database is updated every few minutes, so it has the latest data.  You won’t be frustrated with seeing homes that sold years ago and no longer on the market.

Free Home Valuations

If you’re a potential seller, you’ll love the website too as it has Free home valuations in addition to valuable neighborhood data, market reports, and photo galleries of nearby active, pending, and sold properties.  There is no substitute for talking with the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty, but if you’re going to research on your own, www.LeeCountyOnline.com is your best bet.

We have a database of buyers we can search when we list a property.  We can then call all buyers that are searching for homes matching that listing.  For instance, let’s say we’re listing a property in Paseo.  I went into our database and we have 190 leads looking for homes that match Paseo.  They might be looking at other areas too, but definitely considering Paseo.  We can do this for any neighborhood or price range.

Not only do sellers receive benefit of our current marketing, they also get the benefit of our past marketing.  For this reason, marketing matters!  When you’re interviewing agents to sell your home, ask for detailed marketing plan and how many buyers do they have right now that match your home.  This will tell you the marketing muscle they bring to the table.

Whether looking to buy or sell, professional advice matters.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042.  We’re here to answer your questions and help you accomplish your goals.  Not our goals, your goals.

Good luck and enjoy the Labor Day Weekend!

Have you noticed lately everywhere you look another commercial is advertising how they can help you select the best real estate agents?  I sure have.  Everyone from Glenn Beck, Dave Ramsey, Sean Hannity, Homelight, Zillow, and on and on and on.  It doesn’t stop.  So why are all these companies and celebrities springing up and throwing in their two cents about real estate agents?  Because it’s lucrative.

Picking Best Real Estate Agents a Dangerous Business

Picking Best Real Estate Agents Dangerous Business

Do these companies really pick the best real estate agents?  Probably not.  Over the years we’ve been approached by nearly all of them.  What they don’t tell you in the ads is that the agents selected pay either a hefty monthly fee to be recommended or a hefty referral fee on the transaction.  This is money that could be used to market a seller’s property instead of being spent to secure a listing lead.  If a listing agent pays 30-40% off the top to these referral companies, they lose money unless they don’t spend much to begin with.  And if they don’t spend much money marketing the seller’s home, are they the best?

If you’re an agent who spends a lot to market homes, why would you take listings guaranteed to lose the agent money?  Some would say marketing doesn’t sell homes, the MLS does and price does.  I can tell you that we just sold one of our listings for full price cash directly from a newspaper ad.  In fact, we’ve sold 7 homes in the past 10 days and many came from advertising.  Advertising still works, and it always will.  The question is, as a seller, do you prefer an agent that pays to advertise your home or pays to advertise their name?

Some people ask, is it legal for people who are not agents to advertise who they say best agents are and collect advertising fees or referral fees?  That’s a tricky question.  Many of these people setup a real estate company in another state so they can legally collect a real estate commission referral.  Others just charge a monthly fee for TV or radio time.  Some would say recommending a real estate service requires a license, even if only in advertising.  We’ll stay out of the legal realm as we don’t know that answer.  This article focuses on the practicalities.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams is proud that we were voted Best Real Estate Team in SW Florida by News Press readers.  In full disclosure, we paid some advertising to announce that fact.  We are proud that we were voted best.  We don’t pay the newspaper a referral fee to be listed.  They are a trusted partner and they help us advertise our homes for sale, both in print and online.

Are These Paid Recommendations Really Accurate?

The next time you turn on the TV or the radio, pay attention to how many services are advertising how to pick the best real estate agent.  I bet you’ll be astonished.  Then ask yourself, why are they taking up valuable airtime for this?  Follow the money.  It’s always the money.  Hey, this is America.  We’ve got no problem with people paying to stand out.  We’ve paid to stand out over the years ourselves in various ways.  The real question is, are they truly recommending the best, or recommending the agents they can get to pay to be on their service?

Our team has a list of handymen, plumbers, electricians, roofers, pool companies, inspectors, etc. that we recommend to our clients.  We don’t recommend them because they pay to be on our list. We do so because they’ve proven to us they give good service to our clients.  Isn’t that what a recommended list should be?

Call the SW Florida Real Estate Experts

If you’d like to talk to us about selling your home, call Brett or Sande at 239-489-4042 Ext 4  if you’d like to get a preliminary value of your home go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com Or, if you’d just like to search the MLS like a pro and see what’s available, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Either way, we’d love to talk to you about your real estate needs and help you accomplish your goals.

I recently read an article in USA Today about how the housing inventory shortage nationwide reached 20-year low and how it’s affecting the market.  While every market is local and is influenced by its own factors we do not work in isolation of other markets.  Therefore, national stats are also of interest to us.

For instance, if the economy is down nationwide chances are it’s affecting us here in SW Florida.  Additionally, if snow birds have a hard time selling their properties up North, they may not all be able to purchase down here.

Housing Inventory Shortage Nationwide

The article mentions there is a 4.3 month supply of homes on the market nationwide.  Locally we calculate the supply to be 4.22 months, so we’re pretty similar to national statistics.  One of the reasons mentioned in the article for the tight supply is that baby boomers aren’t likely to move in the next year.  78% of baby boomers are happy with where they live, and baby boomers own about 33 million homes.

While many baby boomers would love to move to Florida or Arizona, some are reluctant to leave family and friends behind.  While this is mentioned in the article, it’s not a trend we’re seeing locally.  It appears to us now more than ever baby boomers are eager to move and family isn’t holding them back.  Of course, we tend to deal with those that are contemplating making the move versus those that never would.

Millennials have started purchasing recently which will add to tight supplies.  We believe as baby boomers age they will begin to think about smaller homes, homes in warmer climates, or homes that meet their needs due to health reasons.  Not every baby boomer will appreciate a 2 or 3 story home up North.  Once they decide a 2-story home is no longer their best option, they may consider whether staying up North is too.  It opens the whole gamut once a move is considered.

Thankfully builders are building again.  Unfortunately, most buyers don’t know all the building developments available to them, nor which ones are offering incentives and discounts.  Most buyers don’t realize they get a better deal through a realtor than they do walking in on their own.

If they walk in and ask that question the answer will be it’s the same price whether you’re represented by a Realtor or not.  They may not tell you about incentives, and they certainly won’t tell you about competing builders in other neighborhoods.

We’re getting early word that the Fed will scale back it’s $4.5 Trillion in bonds beginning in September.  This will raise interest rates.  If rates go up we could see a buying frenzy followed by a reduction in the rate of growth in home prices.  Nationwide the S&P Core Logic  Case Shiller home price index was up 5.6% due to low inventory.  Rising rates could curtail that growth.

Either way we need more homes.  The economy is doing better and people are buying.  If you’re thinking of selling, you might want to cash in before the stream of sellers enter the market.  You can see from the chart inventory is lowest in the summer and picks back up again starting in September/October.  Why compete with all the other sellers next season when you can have them all to yourself now?

If you’d like to talk about selling your home, please call Sande or Brett at 239-489-4042 Ext 4  Or you can go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com and find out your home’s value for free in minutes.

If you’d like to search for your next home check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Our team can help you find your next home and sell the one you have, making it a smooth transaction.

Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty!  We’re here to help.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-4 PM

1339 Longwood Dr

4 Bed, 3 Bath, Waterfront Pool Home Between McGregor and River

Waterfront Pool Home-Minutes to River

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

4351 Pine Rd

4 Bed, 3 Bath Plenty of Room for RV or Boat on Property $325,000

Estero Home Perfect for RV

 

Let’s start with what we know and work backwards.  Homes priced $200,00 or less are flying off the shelves with multiple offers.  Homes up to $250,000 are as well in some neighborhoods, but not all.  This assumes the home is in good condition and priced correctly.  So, you might wonder why we’re asking the question, are changes brewing in Southwest Florida real estate market?

Buyers are still buying; however, we’re noticing they’re price sensitive now.  Prices have gone up so much perhaps it’s testing the limits of what buyers can or will pay.  Sellers are counter-offering offers and buyers aren’t just accepting that.  They are negotiating back and forth until both are happy. Some buyers are walking from counter-offers.  We’ve seen this over the years and it appears it’s no longer a seller’s market across the board.

Changes Brewing in Southwest Florida Real Estate Market median time to contract

The numbers from June seem to bear that out as well.  The median time to contract jumped 7 days in June from May’s numbers, and 9 days from last year.  It’s taking longer to get contracts on houses.  It’ll be interesting to see July’s numbers in a few weeks.

Changes Brewing in Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Median time to sell

Median time to sale also jumped to 117 days.  That’s a 11.4% increase from last year.  New listings are up 5.8% and new pendings were down 1.6% from last year.  Could these be leading indicators for sales in months to come?

So, what’s the takeaway here?  Sellers need to take a good hard look at their price and make sure they’re competitive.  If your home has been on the market awhile, it may be time to re-evaluate where you stand.  New listings could have come on the market and become instantly more attractive than your home, or other sellers may have reduced their price.  Both events can affect you.  Sometimes as little as $2,000 in some sub-markets can be the difference between selling and sitting.

We are in a price sensitive market, primarily because prices have risen and stretched home buyers thin.  They simply can’t purchase as much home as they could have a year ago.  We warned buyers this would happen.  And we’re warning sellers not to get too greedy now.

Prices are good.  Buyers are buying.  We don’t have a runaway market where the seller gets to dictate all the terms.  Buyers and sellers are on even ground right now, and price matters.  Sellers, you’re not in competition with the buyer.  You’re in competition with all the other sellers out there competing for your buyer.

Buyers, same thing.  You’re not in competition with the seller.  You’re in competition with all the other buyers out there for the best properties.  The best valued homes always sell fast. You don’t want to be late to the table and eating scraps when you could have had the best.  Be prepared. Get your financing in order so you can jump when that property hits the market.

To take advantage of opportunities in this market we’d suggest sitting down with us and going over your objectives.  As a buyer, we can show you the best homes and eliminate the rest. Wasting time on the junk takes away time looking at the good stuff.  That can be the difference between success and failure.  Let an Ellis Team professional work with you and save you time.  We have some other tips for you as well that we’ll save for when we meet.

Sellers should have the same sit-down with us.  We’ll educate you on the market, look at your competition, and show you how we market better than anybody.  This can be the difference between selling and sitting on the market.

Feel free to search homes at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Our database comes directly from the MLS and is always up to date, unlike some of these other sites with bad or outdated data.

You can always call us at 239-489-4042  We’d love to help you buy or sell your next home in paradise!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Sat 1-3 PM

13812 Lily Pad Cir Gate 2 Reflection Lakes

Reflection Lakes

13812 Lily Pad Cir

3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1,474 SQ Ft 2 Car Garage-Gated Community

$250,000

 

Open Sat 2-4 PM

Lakefront Condo with 2 Car Garage

Fisherman’s Cove

10081 Lake Cove Dr Unit 101

3 Bed, 2 Bath 1,564 SQ Ft 2 Car Garage

$227,500

 

Open Sun 1-4 PM

Daniels Park 3 Bed + Den

Daniels Park

14011 Danpark Loop

3 Bed, 2 Bath 1,830 Sq Ft Gated Community

$275,000

Some agents say the number of home sales is up.  Some say it’s down.  The data show 2017 SW Florida home sales trending between 2015-2016 levels.  As you can tell by the chart, home sales fell off the 2nd half of the year the past two years.  Home sellers wishing to sell now might get a little nervous reading this chart, but don’t be.

In fact, this can be good news for home sellers.  We’ll let you in on a little secret.  There were 2,001 fewer listings last August than there were this February.  Some sellers make the decision to sell in season because an agent told them there were more home sales in season.

2017 SW Florida Home Sales Trending Between 2015-2016 Levels Homes Closed

It’s true, there were more home sales in season.  However, there were more homes to sell too.  When inventory goes down home sales go down.  Not because there isn’t demand, but rather because product isn’t there to sell.

If you’re a home seller contemplating selling, the end of summer and fall can be an excellent time because you’ll have less competition from other sellers.

2017 SW Florida Home Sales Trending Between 2015-2016 Levels Median Sales Prices

The median sales price is up 7.6% in June over last year, and the average sales price was up 6.1%. Not too shabby.  You can wait until season to sell your home, and there might be more lookers for your home.  There will also be more competition from other sellers for those lookers.

We’re seeing new construction coming in and competing now too, which is good in a way for sellers because many local sellers don’t want to sell until they know where they’re going.  Local sellers just couldn’t find an appropriate home to move into even though they’d like to make a move.

We can help with that.  Our team knows about several new communities and builders the public doesn’t always know about.  Why?  Because builders don’t advertise like they used to, so buyers don’t know where to find them.

Even when buyers do stumble on a builder or new community they don’t know if it’s a good deal.  That’s where a professional agent comes in.  Builders advertise to agents because they know we can bring in repeat business.  We find out about deals and incentives the public doesn’t hear about.

If you’re looking to make a move but you don’t know where, a free consultation with a friendly and informative Ellis Team agent might just do the trick.  We can show you how much we can sell your home for and what you would net out after sale paying all expenses and mortgages.  We can then calculate how much you’ll have to put down on the next home, and what you can buy for a similar payment.

Perhaps you’ve had a promotion, or perhaps a loss in income and you’d like to downsize.  Either way, you want a great home for the value.  We can help with that.

If you’d like to take your time and search on your own, try out www.LeeCountyOnline.com.  You can search all the homes for free and even find out what your home is worth.  If you’d like to sit down and talk to us, you can call us at 239-489-4042.  Brett and Sande are easy to talk to and we like to answer questions and solve issues.

We know buying and selling isn’t always as simple as picking up the phone and going shopping.  There are many factors to consider, and timing it all can be important.  We’re patient and helpful.  If you’d like to discuss your options, we’d love to talk.   Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty!  We’re here to help.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

3 Bed Home in Cape Coral

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

3835 Palm Tree Blvd, Cape Coral, FL 33904

$275,000

3 Bed, 2 Bath 1,771 SQ Ft Living Area

 

Did you know the average Realtor in Southwest Florida sells less than one home per year?  When you combine that fact with the fact that some realtors sell 25, 50, or 100+ homes per year you begin to realize that a large percentage of Realtors sell no homes at all. When looking at recent data I discovered Southwest Florida Realtors outnumber home listings, by a lot.

I called the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association which is the largest board.  It services Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, the Islands, etc.  They told me they have about 7,000 current members.  This doesn’t include all the members from Bonita/Estero or Sanibel/Captiva.  It does include some of them because some of them are secondary members.

Southwest Florida Realtors Outnumber Home Listings

So, we know there are 7,000+ Realtors in just one Realtor Board in  Southwest Florida.  Currently there are 5,364 single family home listings in Southwest Florida as of May 2017.  That breaks down to each Realtor having .76 listings.   When you factor in that many top agents who sell a lot of property have 10-20 or more listings, you realize a lot of Realtors have no listings.

You might be saying, what about condos and townhomes?  Good point. There were 3,417 of those on the market in May.  You’re still looking at a lot of Realtors with no listings.

To sum it up, the average Realtor sells less than 1 home per year and many sell none.  The average Realtor doesn’t have a listing, or 1 at best.  So how is a Realtor supposed to gain experience?

A Realtor might consider joining an established team with a mentor, leads, and listings.  You can only gain experience by working on deals.  You will make mistakes, and those mistakes will cost your customer a closing, time, or money, and sometimes all three.  By having a team that guides you through the process you can avoid making costly mistakes due to inexperience.

You also will want to join a company with a fantastic training program.  It is mandatory for success.  Lastly, you must have that drive, that indomitable spirit.  When people tell you that you can’t, you know you can.  You must be driven.  You are a leader, either today or in the making.  It is in you.

If you’re a seller, you want an established agent with lots of experience.  Sellers want agents who have seen everything, or enough to see problems coming before they arise and know how to avoid them or dig their way out of the problem to a successful resolution.  If you’re hiring a newer agent to sell your home you definitely want to know they have taken extensive training and have a mentor helping them always.  Your agent must have leads for your home.  They must have a database of buyers ready, willing, and able to buy soon.  Your agent must have marketing to sell your home.  If they have no marketing, how did they acquire all these ready, willing, and able leads?  Marketing and qualified leads go together.

Top Dollar

Experience matters!  If you want Top Dollar, you need a Realtor with leads, marketing, systems, drive, determination, honesty – to tell you the truth, and experience to put your deal together and keep it together.

If you’re thinking of selling, we’d love to talk to you.  Always call the Ellis team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042  The Ellis Team was Voted Best Real Estate Team by News Press Readers.

Search the MLS for Free  You can also see what your home is worth and get neighborhood reports.  Best thing is database is updated every 5 minutes, and has all the homes.

Good luck and Happy House Selling/Buying!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Kelly Greens Golf Community

12871 Kelly Sands Way

$250,000

1,797 SQ Ft

Corner Lot

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

Provincetown in South Fort Myers

3284 Prince Edward Island Cir Unit 1

Affordable living with garage

That’s correct.  Your eyes aren’t deceiving you.  Southwest Florida home prices rose $100,000 since 2013.  We could end the story right there, and it would be a beautiful story.  As you know, there’s always more to the story.

We really like where this market is right now.  We would say it is fully valued.  By that we do not mean it’s headed down.  Our market is balanced.  It’s not all the way back for some homes and for others perhaps it is.  We do not see signs of distress we saw back in late 2005 that caused us concern.

Inventory across the US is down.  Inventory in Southwest Florida went down in May to 5,369 homes.  This was down from 5,719 in April.  The number of closed homes is slightly lagging 2015 and 2016.  This is partly because of limited inventory and partly because home prices have risen so much.  Inventory was down the last few years as well, so we can’t attribute it to that.

Southwest Florida Home Prices Rose Home Prices May 2017

Lower prices means more people can afford to purchase.  Let’s look back since 2013.  As you can see by the graph, the median price of a home in January 2013 was $140,000.  In May 2013, it was $176,333.  Fast forward to 2017, in January, our median price was $227,000. That is a difference of $87,000.  The May 2017 median price was $237,500.  That is a difference of $61,167. Going back 4 years and 4 months the difference is $97,500.  Pretty close to $100k in the headline.

Southwest Florida Home Prices Rose

When we look at average prices we see January 2013 came in at $215,873.  May 2017 official numbers came in at $346,559.  This is a difference of $130,686. Maybe this isn’t fair since it’s not the same months. May 2013 average prices were $288,547.  May 2017 numbers were $58,012 higher.

Southwest Florida Home Prices Rose Homes Closed

Either way you look at it, our market has done very well since 2013.  We’ve had a good run, and there’s no reason to believe we won’t have a good market a year from now.  We may not see $100,000 price gains going forward, and that’s OK.  Our market should move in lock-step with the general economy.  As incomes rise, so should housing.  If incomes were to fall or the economy falter, it could put pressure on the housing market.

So far 2017 has been off to a great start.  The stock market has done well and housing has done well.  Consumer confidence is higher and mortgage rates have remained low.  People have money and equity they didn’t have 4 years ago, or even one year ago.  More Southwest Florida homeowners have recently gained positive equity, such that they could now sell if they wanted to.  This wasn’t always the case.

As people’s lives change so does their housing needs.  When kids go off to college parents don’t always need that large home.  Growing families can’t stay in that tiny first home they bought, and so begins the housing cycle. Southwest Florida also has baby boomers buying 2nd homes for vacation enjoyment.  We also get people retiring from Northern states.  As America changes, so too can the Southwest Florida real estate market.  We are affected by local, national, and even world events.

You can search the Southwest Florida real estate market like a pro at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Our database has all the homes for sale and is updated every 5 minutes.  You won’t be bothered seeing homes that sold 8 years ago or missing new listings that just came to market.  In a low inventory market, it pays to use the best search site and ours definitely is the Best!

You can always call us too at 239-489-4042.  We’ll be happy to walk you through what it would take to buy or sell a home in SW Florida. Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty!

This past week I had the chance to visit properties on Fort Myers Beach.  I’ve included a Fort Myers Beach Home Search for you here.  Here is a Fort Myers Beach Condo Search as well.

We previewed Grandview at Bay Beach.  We’ve created a special page for Grandview at Bay Beach for you here.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Gladiolus Preserve 4 Bedroom Home

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

9800 Gladiolus Preserve Cir

$ Bedrooms 2 Baths 2 Car Garage

Gated Community

South Pointe South Home

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

9950 Vanillaleaf St

2 Bedroom, 2 Bath, 2 Car Garage