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

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

Summer Great Time For Southwest Florida Home Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck and happy home selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Between McGregor and the River

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1281 Biltmore Dr

Priced to Sell!

Parker Lakes Pool Home

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

14941 Lake Olive Dr

Parker Lakes Pool Home

Waterfront Condo With Boat Slip Availability

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

1627 Beach Parkway Unit 208

Gulf Access with Boat Slip

 

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

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

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

Southwest Florida Real Estate Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Real Estate Bargains in SW Florida

See homes in Southwest Florida $300,000 and below

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

SW Florida Home Price Gains Remain Elusive Compared to Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck and happy selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Parker Lakes Pool Home $300,000

14941 Lake Olive Dr

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

13460 Marquette Blvd     3 Bed 2 Bath Waterfront Home

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

Artificial Intelligence Will Change Real Estate Shopping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Belle Lago

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

19790 Maddelena Cir

Daniels Park

Open Saturday 1-4 PM

14077 Danpark Loop

 

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

Southwest Florida Median Home Prices Rose 2% Past Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Belle Lago 4 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home

Belle Lago  19790 Maddelena Cir

Daniels Park Home Open Saturday 1-4 PM

Coming Soon

 

In February we reported that the housing supply in Southwest Florida stood at 5.48 months.  We are happy to report the Southwest Florida housing supply declines since February, down to 5.28 months.  This occurred for two reasons.

Active inventory fell from 5,705 homes for sale in February down to 5,552 in late April.  Closed sales in last 365 days back in February were 12,487.  Today that number rose to 12,612.  Both statistics helped reduce the months’ supply of inventory in SW Florida.

Southwest Florida housing supply declines

Sometimes sales are low because of rising prices, and sometimes they’re low simply because there isn’t enough inventory.  Inventory has grown in the last few years a bit.  Closed sales fell 2.7% in March from previous year. Closed sales in February were up 10.7%, and its possible closed sales in April are up too which affects that number.  We won’t have official closed sales numbers for April until late May.

In almost all price ranges housing supply fell except for the $200-$250k price range, which actually grew from 3.72 months’ supply to 3.85 months’ supply.

These numbers tell us our market is balanced and healthy.  Most experts agree that a balanced market is around 5.5 months supply. At 5.28 months we’re right there.

Of course, markets vary by neighborhood amenities, location, price range, and more.  The chart shows you how each price range is faring right now. Obviously, it you have a $1 Million plus home, it will take longer to sell on average than lower priced homes.  There just aren’t as many buyers as there are sellers.  The Ellis Team just sold a $1.1 Million condo in Gulf Harbour in 122 days.  It takes aggressive marketing and proper pricing to make that happen.  Currently there are 6 active listings in this building and no pending sales.

We’ve had a great season so far. Our sales have doubled over last year even though the Board of Realtors membership has only increased 4.3%.  I’ve spoken with a few other top agents who are also having a banner year. This tells us that experienced agents who spend money advertising and have been through up, down, and sideways markets are getting it done.  Experienced agents have the knowledge to navigate their sellers though any kind of market.

Listing your home with a family friend, neighbor, or relative can cost you thousands on your sale, and might cost you a relationship as well.  We don’t have the burden of trying to get the number you want or need.  We can objectively investigate what the market is paying for your home.  Then we target buyers online and through our networks to find that buyer.  The days of sticking a sign out front or placing it in MLS and hoping someone will sell it are gone.  To get Top Dollar you must go out and find the buyer.

If you’re a buyer, you want to know how prices are performing in a community, how fiscally solid the homeowners association is, and other factors that may be influencing the market.  Working with a skilled, full-time, knowledgeable Realtor is key.  You won’t realize how much it costs you to hire an inexperienced agent until you run into issues, and then it will be too late.

We’re keeping our eyes on interest rates in the coming weeks.  If they rise it will put pressure on buyers to make a move this summer.  They’ve already risen, and we believe there is room to rise much more over the next few years.  Waiting to buy or sell will cost buyers and homeowners with higher rates and will put pressure on affordability.

We encourage you to check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com where you can search for all the homes on MLS.  Or, you can call us at 239-489-4042.  Ask for Sande or Brett Ellis if you’re thinking of selling.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Whiskey Creek Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1455 Claret Ct

Reflection Lakes Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

South Pointe South Open Sunday 1-3 PM

9721 Deerfoot Dr 3 Bed 2 Bath Home

9721 Deerfoot Dr

 

We’re hearing from a lot of sellers who are concerned that their home has been on the market awhile and it didn’t sell this season.  They’re calling asking how we market homes and what they can do to get their home sold before their listing expires.  This article includes tips on how to sell your Florida home out of season.

How to Sell Your Florida Home Out of Season
Win the Beauty Contest

We get it.  Sellers who weren’t successful are frustrated.  The sellers who listed and sold are happy, and the ones who listed and sat are not.  Putting your home on the market is a lot like entering a beauty contest.  Even though your home is beautiful, it may get skipped over by other beautiful homes that compete more favorably.  The other contestants take the prize.  Two weeks pass by and another bevy of beauties hit the market before you get the chance to reduce your price.  Your beautiful home never really got the chance to be the new beauty on the market.

Sometimes a new beauty comes on the market and it attracts multiple offers.  Before you know it, it sells for full price, maybe even more. It’s frustrating to watch other homes take the crown while yours is left standing on stage.  The good news I guess is that there’s a new beauty contest upcoming, but you’ve got to make some changes, or you’ll suffer the same fate as the last contest.  After awhile they’ll start asking what’s wrong with you, why are you still here?

We’d like to help you avoid this madness.  Before we begin, let’s just state that we too have some homes that occasionally don’t sell.  When sellers take our advice, their home sells.  You have to want to be the winner.  Here’s our formula to win the next beauty contest.

  1. Hire the right Realtor.  Not all Realtors are the same.  They don’t advertise the same, have the same number of leads, or have the experience necessary to lead you through the process.  You’ve seen very talented teams lose the big game due to coaching mistakes.  Hiring the right coach can make all the difference.
  2. Price your home correctly. If the market doesn’t respond, adjust.  The market doesn’t stand still, and neither does your competition.  New homes enter the market, and existing homes make price adjustments. If you list a home and never change, you may get left on stage.
  3. Make sure your home looks as good as it can. You don’t have to remodel.  Simple things can make a big difference.  Talk to us and discover how certain minor changes can make a big difference in the judge’s eyes.
  4. Listen to your Realtor. If you did the research and hired the best Realtor, it’s crazy not to take their advice.  If you’re not going to listen to your Realtor, I guess it doesn’t matter who you hire.
  5. Listen to the market. The market speaks to you.  If you’re getting lots of showing but no offers, a small price adjustment may be necessary.  If you’re not getting showings at all, you either have a large adjustment to make, or something is off with the marketing.  Perhaps there is a field wrong in MLS.  Is your home being advertised in the paper, online, and to other Realtors?  Perhaps a highly advertised open house may be necessary.
  6. Don’t be afraid to make a change. Sometimes owners list with a friend or relative.  This is dangerous because they often want to please you.  They may be afraid to tell you the market has shifted, or they may miss it because of their love for you.  Listing with a friend or relative can destroy your relationship.  If that is your situation, give us a call.  We have a way of handling this for you and getting your home sold without offending your friend.

If you have a home to sell, we’d love to help you.  Simply go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com and enter your address.  We’ll provide you with a free online market evaluation.  If you’d like to go to the next step, we can schedule a time to meet your and view your home.  Or, you can always call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Always Call the Ellis Team!  We’ll get your home Sold!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Reflection Lakes – Open Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

14016 Shimmering Lakes Ct

Colony Lakes – Open Sunday 1-3 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

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

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Colonial Country Club

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Paseo

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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!

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2403 SW 53rd Ter

SW Cape Coral Pool Home