April 4, 2017 marks a big day in the real estate industry and we hope brokers, agents, buyers, and sellers are up on the changes.  There are big changes to real estate sales contracts, notably the financing clause that will change the way contracts are negotiated and processed.

Big Changes Coming to Real Estate Sales Contracts

In the past, most finance contingency contracts had a clause that said buyer had a certain number of days to obtain a loan commitment.  Lenders rarely use the commitment word any more, so it was changed to loan approval.

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts

Something else changed as well.  The buyer now has 30 days standard to obtain financing.  If they do not obtain it, they should notify seller or seller’s agent in writing because seller can cancel the contract.  If buyer fails to request an extension or terminate the contract, it is assumed they have loan approval and their escrow deposit could be in jeopardy.  I am writing this article prior to the April 4th unveiling, so we haven’t seen the entire clause yet.  There has been a flurry of activity on Realtor websites informing agents of the upcoming changes, so hopefully agents are aware.

We are not attorneys and we are certainly not giving legal advice.  Readers should be aware that there are big changes to real estate sales contracts in Florida and pay attention to timelines.

The agent you choose to work with as a buyer or seller will become even more important than it has in the past.  Not only will your agent need to be aware of these changes, they’ll also need to have systems and assistants to track and monitor timelines, and communicate with your lender.  A buyer can put themselves in legal jeopardy by simply not adhering to deadlines or communicating in writing as to the progress of the loan.

Hire a Full-Time Agent

Hiring a full-time agent is more necessary now than ever.  Part-time agents cannot keep up on market changes and inventory, nor have the skill, expertise, experience, and systems to keep up with contract changes that can place your escrow deposit in harm’s way.  We suggest you take a hard look at the agent you’re going to work with and ask questions about their knowledge of these contract changes and what systems they have in place.

Keep in mind, ultimately, it’s your responsibility.  You’re the buyer.  It’s your money.  You could lose the house and/or your escrow deposit by failing to timely communicate the process of your loan.

This may affect buyers in other ways too.  Let’s say a seller finds a buyer willing to pay more for the home.  The seller does not have to extend the financing clause if the buyer cannot obtain in the specified days.  If the seller has received no notification at all, the seller can cancel the contract within a 3-day window period after the buyer’s Loan Approval period has expired.

The seller seems to have picked up some rights and the buyer now has more responsibility to notify the seller about the loan process.  This places more responsibility on the lender you choose because now timelines are more important than ever.

Choose the Right Lender

Our team works with several lenders.  We work with lenders who not only offer great rates but also are known for service and meeting timeline commitments.  Interviewing lenders and evaluating their performance reputation will now be more important than ever.  Each buyer’s situation is different. Talk with a lender who has experience with the type of loan you’re going for and a track record of working with buyers with similar income and circumstances as yours.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in SW Florida, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  Knowledge and experience matters more than ever and we can refer you to lenders who can get the job done.  If you’re a seller, it pays to work with an agent who understands the market, has the muscle to market your home, and can help you evaluate which buyer’s offer is the best one to take.  You don’t have to accept an offer simply because it’s the only one you’ve got. Don’t forget our Free MLS search site www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Call us 239-489-4042 and let’s talk.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Sunday 1-4 PM

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts Gulf Access Waterfront Pool Home
Gulf Access Waterfront Home

1516 SW 43rd St Cape Coral

Pool Home

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

$560,000

SW Florida real estate agents were expecting big numbers this real estate season, and so far, we’ve seen SW Florida home sales flat this season.  The real key going forward will be March and April numbers when they are released over the next two months.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season

We have a crystal ball that tells us how sales numbers might come in.  Pending listings leads to closed sales.  While not all pending sales close, we can generally track future closings by the level of pendings.

Pending inventory is down 5%, so it’s logical to believe that we won’t see a major increase in future closings unless many more homes go pending at the end of March.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season Summary

Inventory levels have risen 6.1% from last year and month’s supply of inventory has risen 11.1%  While SW Florida is a large and diverse market, overall this tells us the market has cooled a bit as inventory is growing with fewer pending home sales.

We can’t judge a book by its cover.  The cover may say we have a healthy, slightly cooling market, and that’s OK.  This book however has many chapters, and each chapter tells a different story.  Collectively all the chapters combined give us the overall figures.

Homes priced below $300,000 are on fire, and even many homes priced higher are receiving multiple offers.  We have a good market and demand from buyers.  Prices have risen steadily in recent years and there is a cap to this.

Home sellers many times price ahead of the market.  In a rising market, each new seller prices just higher than the last sold and it seems to work, until one day it doesn’t.  This tells us either the market is taking a pause, or the market has capped relative to the income typical buyers have to qualify for that bracket of home.

Rising rates also influence home affordability and can cap prices.  We’ve seen a few rate hikes by the Fed with more coming.  On balance, we have a healthy market and I like where we’re sitting.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season

As in any market, it’s imperative to price your home where the buyers are.  In a shifting market advertising and marketing plays a larger role as well.  Full market exposure brings the highest possible price, so don’t settle for inexpensive or non-existent advertising.

If the agent you interview tells you advertising doesn’t sell homes, it’s probably because they don’t advertise homes much.  Perhaps they prefer to advertise their public image, or perhaps they just don’t have the budget to market listings.  In any event, it pays to interview agents that do advertise so you get full market exposure.

We’d be happy to sit down with you and cover all the ways we advertise homes.  You’d probably be surprised at the difference, and this might explain why certain agent’s homes sell faster and for more money than others.

If you’re a buyer, we can help too.  Our market knowledge and monthly market statistics help you make the best decision possible.  When competing in multiple offer situations you need an agent that knows how to help your offer compete.  If the chapter you’re looking in happens to be a cooling market, you don’t need to stretch too much and overpay.  Let a seasoned professional from the Ellis Team help you.

You can search the MLS like a pro.  Our database is updated every 5 minutes and contains the latest listings, price changes, and information you need to compete.  If you’re a seller, you should check it out too.

Always Call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042 and ask how we can make your dreams become reality.  It pays to work with professionals that know the market.  If you think working with a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Open House

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

15047 Balmoral Loop

Gated Community

3 Bed 2 Bath Pool Home

$317,000

Rising mortgage rates motivates home buyers in position to buy to do so sooner rather than later.  In a rising rate environment like we are in right now, It costs home buyers in two ways.

First, their purchasing power goes down about 10-11%.  Let’s say a buyer picks out a home at their max budget of $1294/mo.  This is the figure their lender approved them for based upon their income of $51,765  Not long ago rates were at 3.625%  Today they are at 4.25% and according to Ruben Gonzalez, staff economist at Keller Williams, rates should gradually increase throughout 2017.

Rising Mortgage Rates Motivates Home Buyers

If they go up another .4% or so, we’ll have had a 1% increase in a relatively short period of time.  Nothing has changed for the buyer.  If they were maxed out for a home at $200,000 a few months ago, they are now maxed out at $180,000.  Their job didn’t change.  Their finances didn’t change.  The only thing the changed was interest rates, so they just lost 10% purchasing power by waiting.

Rising Mortgage Rates Motivates Home Buyers

If the selection of homes didn’t look enticing at $200,000, it will look even worse at $180,000.  Waiting may have just cost this buyer a chance to buy a home at all.

Secondly, if this buyer was not maxed out at $200,000, buying the same home will now cost about $50 more per month.  Over 30 years that equates to $18,000 in extra interest payments simply because rates went up.

Rates are still historically low.  Many people remember back to double digit rates or even worse.  To think that we’re even warning people about rates in the 4’s is comical, except for the fact that it’s real money.  Home prices are much more today than they were when rates were in the high teens.  So many things cost much more today, like gas, health care, groceries, etc. than they did decades ago.  Even though rates are low by historical standards, we now have to stretch that money further because everything else has gone up so much.

It’s hard for young people to scrimp and save money for a down payment.  Add in homeowner’s insurance, rising rates, and high costs of everything, and we see the pressure on first-time homebuyers today.  First-time home buyers are a springboard to move-up buyers, so if we eliminate first-timers we one day won’t have move up buyers.

Don’t think that rising rates only affect first-timers.  It affects all segments of the market.  It may help cash buyers in that rising rates pay greater returns on savings, but it still affects all price ranges as it trickles up sooner or later.

If you’re a seller, you’ll notice someday there are less buyers for your home than there once was simply because less qualify at the higher rates.  Less buyers can be a drag on home prices.  If rates keep rising it could take some steam out of the housing market.  If you’re waiting for higher prices later, you may be sorely disappointed if they don’t rise at the pace you’re expecting.

Many sellers replace their current home with another home, and if they’re getting a new mortgage on that home they may be in for some sticker shock when they get that new loan.  It can cost you buying your next home, and selling your existing home.  Rising rates are no fun for buyers or sellers.  Low rates are one of the factors that have propelled the real estate market.

We feel the SW Florida real estate market is fairly valued.  We don’t see risk of decline like we had back in 2005.  However, rising rates may damper future gains.  Even though wages may increase, rising rates may offset those gains and help keep prices steady instead of rapidly rising.  In other words, if you’re waiting to make a move, be warned.  Whether you’re a buyer or seller, the risks are the same.  It will cost you to wait!

Feel free to search the MLS like a pro at www.Leecountyonline.com for your next home, or just get an idea of what homes are selling for.  To talk with a real Pro, Always call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042  We’ll advise you so you can make a great decision for your family.

Don’t panic if your home hasn’t sold yet.  There’s still time.  Besides, season isn’t the only time homes sell in SW Florida.  Years ago, home sales peaked in the summer.  The last few years they’ve been higher in season and just after season as it takes a while to close a home once it goes pending.

Don’t Panic if Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet

As you can see, closings tail off after June but there are still sales.  There are more eyeballs here in season so there is more potential however some are just lookers exploring opportunities for years in the future.  If you have a home you’d like to sell and it’s not selling, we offer some tips on getting it sold now.

  1. Hire the best Realtor you can find.  You want one with pro-active marketing.  One that advertises where the buyers are.  Targeted online advertising is a must these days.  If the agent you interview doesn’t understand this, keep shopping.
  2. Stage your home. No, you don’t have to hire a professional stager.  You do have to follow some simple guidelines.  Consulting with a Realtor or stager knowledgeable in bringing a home to market so it shows its best will help.
  3. Professional photos are a must. With so many buyers shopping online, having bad photos will simply turn them off.  Hire an agent that either hires a photographer or one that takes great photos and has a graphics design department touch up each photo.
  4. Fix repair items. Buyers imagine problems ten times worse than they really are.  Fixing a few simple items will go a long way to getting that contract.
  5. Make home easily available to show.  Nothing turns off a busy Realtor more than making your home hard to show.  Things like 24 or 48 hour notice reduce showings significantly.  Place your home on lockbox and allow your Realtor easy access and watch your showings multiply.
  6. Curb Appeal-Look at your home and see how it compares to the neighborhood. Does your home need paint, landscaping, or de-cluttering on the outside?  If so, an investment here can increase showings.
  7. Talk to your neighbors. If a neighbor has an un-kept yard or a boat in the yard, chances are it will affect the value of your home.  Sometimes working out a deal with the neighbor can pay big dividends.  If that doesn’t work, consider code-enforcement or the HOA.  No buyer wants to come in and inherit a mess of a neighbor.
  8. Price it Right. Don’t price it by what you need out of it. Price it as if you were a buyer.  Would you buy your property at your price?  If you over-price your home, you’re essentially buying back your property for the price you’re offering.  Being overzealous leads to you keeping your home because you value it more than the public does.  If that’s the case, maybe you’re not ready to move yet emotionally or financially.  If you really want to move, you can’t love your home more than the market does.  Price it at today’s market value and move on to your next home.
  9. Be gone for showings.  Nothing hampers a potential home sale more than a seller sticking around trying to help.  Buyers extract motivations and information from sellers that can only hurt.  As a seller, you don’t know what’s important to that buyer and saying the wrong thing can lose the sale.  Be gone if possible, or be invisible if not.  Let your Realtor answer any questions. If you don’t trust your Realtor to do this, then you’ve hired the wrong Realtor.  If no Realtor will ever be as good as you, then the Realtor accepted the wrong client.

You can always search for your next home at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It’s updated every 5 minutes and it has the best photos available from MLS.  If you’d like to talk to experienced agents who know how to get homes sold, always call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042.  We’d love to help you make your next move!

Ellis Team Open Houses

Gorgeous Pool and Spa

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

15830 Beachcomber Ave  $360,000

 

4 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home on Lake

Reflection Lakes

13795 Bald Cypress Cir    $420,000

 

Pool Home on Golf Course

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Olde Hickory

14381 Hickory Fairway Ct    $450,000

 

Pool Home Close to Beaches

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Iona Area

15271 Thornton Rd   $290,000

 

 

It’s that time of year again folks.  SW Florida home sellers begin reducing prices as season drags on.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In season, homes fly off the shelves, but not all homes.  Each year some sellers get greedy and hope that an out of town buyer will overpay for their home because they just love it so much.  What’s different this year is that inventory levels are higher and the monthly supply of inventory has grown. Market data shows price decreases amid growing inventory.

Market Data Shows Price Decreases Amid Growing Inventory
SW Florida Market Watch

Motivated sellers are finding out that they cannot overprice a home and expect it to sell.  It’s been a seller’s market in years past.  This year it’s more of a balanced market.  We have perhaps one of the healthiest markets we’ve had in a decade.  By that we mean neither seller nor buy has an advantage.

When the market shifts like this it’s an opportunity for educated sellers to use their knowledge and jump ahead of other sellers before they figure out what’s going on.  It’s not that hard to do.  Many sellers are reluctant to hear the truth, so they tell themselves the market is better than it is.  They study neighbors asking prices and add some more simply because their home is nicer.  Never mind the fact their neighbor’s home has been on the market for over a year.  They judge their competition by asking prices instead of sold prices.

Market Data Shows Price Decreases Amid Growing Inventory Listings
Listing Inventory

The educated seller looks at other sellers who have won the home selling game.  It’s kind of like asking a group of fishermen how the fish are biting today.  You wouldn’t ask the ones going out in the morning who haven’t caught anything yet.  If you truly want to know how they’re biting, you’d ask the ones coming in at end of day with fish in their boat.

Market Data Shows Price Decreases Amid Growing Inventory Months Supply
Month’s Supply Inventory

The same is true with the real estate market.  We must look at actual sold data and compare to the subject property.  And we should look at what the conditions were at the time of those sales versus today.  If a home sold 5 months go back when we had less inventory to compete with we may have to discount that a bit now that we’re competing with many more homes.  We must take all conditions into account.  Otherwise we may misjudge the market, and that only hurts the seller in the long run.  Sure, they’ll feel better about themselves for a month or so until they realize the price they thought their home was worth was just pie in the sky.

Sellers may blame the market. They may even blame their Realtor for not selling it.  We’ve been through shifting markets before.  Many times, we’d call a seller and talk to them about market conditions.  Some just do not want to hear they need to reduce their price.  No Realtor enjoys that conversation anyway, but ignoring changing conditions can be at your own peril.

We have a good market right now.  Chances are if your home hasn’t sold yet it’s due for a pricing checkup.  Marketing becomes more important as inventory grows.  Pricing is equally important.  It could just be that you were a little too aggressive initially and re-positioning your home in the marketplace could do the trick.  As you can see, a lot of sellers are selling, and the one’s that aren’t are reducing their price.

If you need to get your home sold, call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams for expert pricing and marketing 239-489-4042.  If you’d like to shop and educate yourself online first, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has all the listings and it’s updated every 5 minutes.  No more looking at homes that sold months ago, or old prices.

If you’re looking to buy or sell, our team can help!  We make the process easy and we handle all the details.  Let us help you with your next SW Florida transaction.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Everybody knows fish tend to swim in schools.  The same is true with buyers.  93% of buyers search online, so knowing where they are and how to reach them is integral today. Targeted marketing attracts schools of online buyers.

This past month we’ve held some open houses.  We had one 3 weeks ago and 45 people showed up.  Last week we held one and 40 people showed up.  The lender who agreed to sit with us and help pre-qualify buyers who might need assistance was amazed.  He said he’d never seen anything like it.  He went to 6 open houses last weekend and none had that kind of traffic but ours.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers
Last Week’s Open House Ad Online

We’ve developed a particular set of skills that finds specific buyers and brings them to your door.  We are targeting buyers, and they love it.  We asked each buyer who came through how they found us.  Many said the open house popped up on their phone, while others said they saw it online.  Were they mad they saw one of our ads?  Heck no, they were glad, and they acted and showed up.

In any advertising, you must target the right people, with the right message, at the right time.  If you fail at any of the three, you’re missing opportunities.  It’s not about how much you spend.  While it is true we spend more than other agents, spending alone won’t bring buyers.

There is blanket advertising and targeted advertising.  Advertising in the Super Bowl might cost $5 Million and blanket the US.  Sure it would attract attention for about a minute.  Targeted advertising hits the right audience, when they’re ready to purchase, with the right message.

First you must have a great page to send them to.  It must have compelling content, and either a call to action or a benefit to going there.  You can see from last week’s online ad there is compelling content with photos if you’re a buyer looking for such a home.  Our open houses generated 1,355 views of our two properties.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers

Secondly, we chose buyers looking to purchase with the exact interests of each home.  We separated the buyers into different audiences so we could tailor each creative ad to each set of buyers.  We ran ads to 5 separate groups, and each group performed well.   Our Click-thru rate was over 15%.  This means that over 15% of people that saw the ad clicked on the ad.  The ad itself was engaging and was worth customers spending their time on.  The industry average is less than 2%.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers Ad Performance
Ad Performance

Targeting worked.  I’ve heard people say they don’t like targeting.  We also put up open house signs on the road.  Those signs target people driving by.  Newspaper ads target readers for products and services.  Online ads are no different.  In fact, most people like it better because hey get to see ads for things they like or are interested in.

This is one reason why For Sale By Owners stand little chance of selling their own home.  They’re not reaching the whole market, and when you limit your market you limit the price you’ll get.  Imagine selling an item at an online auction.  If you have one bidder, you’ll get a certain amount.  What if you had 1,000 bidders?  Do you think you’d get a better price?

All Realtors are not the same.  It makes a difference which Realtor you hire.  We use both blanket marketing like newspaper, video, postcards, etc as well as online targeted ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and more.  We corner the market.  Hiring the wrong Realtor could cost you thousands!

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042 to get your home sold fast and for top dollar, or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com

By the way, we have two open houses this weekend in Reflection Lakes.  See our ad in News Press Homefinder, or find them at www.Facebook.com/Ellisteam

Good luck and Happy Home Selling!

Ellis Team Open Houses

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Reflection Lakes Condo

13971 Lake Mahogany Dr #2623

Reflection Lakes  $215,000

Affordable Living in SW Florida

 

Reflection Lakes Pool Home

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

13624 Gulf Breeze St   Pool Home  $275,000

Brought to you by your Reflection Lakes Experts

2017 SW Florida State of the Market Report

Welcome to the 2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report.  We love this time of year as we get to analyze how the previous year ended up and give our insights on what the future year may bring to us.

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Monthly Sales Prices

The headlines may read that 2016 ended with a whimper. We might disagree. All year we were saying sales were down and prices were kind of flat.  This was true.  2015 sales prices were revised downward in the latest official release so the 2016 numbers appear better than they were.  We eked out an 8.3% median price increase which is fantastic considering many months were flat.  December’s numbers really helped the year.  The last 6 months of the year showed median prices hovering between $225,000 and $230,000.  December’s shot up to $249,900.  Additionally, the number of homes closed shot up in December as well.

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Homes Closed

2016 sales numbers were down all year. Closed sales were down 6% for the year.  For the most part we were behind last year’s numbers except August and November.  This is not uncommon when prices rise.  As you can tell from the year end prices chart, we’ve come a long way back.  Would you rather be where we are today or 2007 which was a bit higher?

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Year End Prices

We’ve got a healthy market today.  We did not have that in 2005, hence the free-fall we experienced a few years later.  We have end users for our homes now.  Back in 2005 we had speculators flipping homes from one speculator to the next.  We had some cleaning up to do.

Southwest Florida real estate inventory supply increases in 4th Qtr

I remember as a boy my mom saying you can’t go out and play until you clean up that room.  That was Hell!  All a boy full of energy in the Midwest wanted to do on a sunny day was go out and play.  Being bottled up inside was no fun.  We didn’t have all the video games and Internet, so outside was where it was at.

SW Florida felt the same, only it lasted several years.  Our market was Hell for anybody who bought in 2006, 2006, or 2007.  We had some cleaning up to do.  2009 was the bottom of the market but it still wasn’t big fun.

Today almost everyone is outside playing, and most everyone has a clean room at home.  January started with a bang this year.  We think for the first time in a while there is genuine optimism about the economy.  This past election was fierce and gruesome.  People are glad that’s over and looking forward to lower taxes and a smoother mortgage process.  Both are in the works.

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Inventory Levels

Nobody knows how long this excitement will last.  All we can tell you is 2017 season has started off well, and we expect it to end well.  If a seller prices a home correctly, it will sell.  If a home is overpriced, it will sit.

Year End Sales Numbers

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Year End Sales Numbers

Buyers are competing to win a home.  If a home is priced at market, it may attract several buyers.  We have a balanced and healthy market.  Sure, we’re not back to the height of the market, and that’s OK.  Those numbers were not supported by end users or income.  Today’s demand is supported by people needing a place to live, not a speculative get rich scheme.

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Video

We have a full State of the Market  video on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/Ellisteam or watch below.

Be sure to search the MLS at www.LeeCountyOnline.com or get neighborhood reports here too.  If you’d like to talk to us about the market or how we could sell your home and find you a better home for you, please call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Brett and Sande are easy to talk to and we’re never pushy.  We present you with your options and we’ll help you accomplish them!

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Additional 2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Graphs

Money in Motion

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Money in Motion
Market Intensity

Active Inventory Rising

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report Active Inventory rising

New Pending Sales

2017 Southwest Florida State of the Market Report New Pending Sales

One of the common question real estate agents get from sellers centers around a home’s Zestimate on Zillow. Deep down sellers know what homes are selling for in their neighborhood and how their home compares.  Often, they just want to try a much higher price simply because Zillow says their home is worth more.  We attempt to answer the question, Are Zillow home value zestimates purposely inflated?

The buzz amongst real estate agents is they can’t believe how far off many Zestimates are these days.  Agents laugh anytime the words Zillow and home values are mentioned in the same sentence because they know they’ll have to explain how inaccurate these things tend to be.

Last weekend I had a conversation with one of our sellers.  She brought up her Zillow Zestimate.    Within 15 minutes after that conversation I went outside to work in my yard and my next-door neighbor asked me about his Zestimate.  He noticed it went up over $100,000 last month and wondered if the real estate market was that good right now.

Zillow Home Value Zestimates Purposefully Inflated

Of course, his value didn’t change $100,000 last month.  Perhaps you’ve heard the story of Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff.  His home was valued at $1,750,405 on March 1, 2015.  The funny thing is, it sold 1 day earlier for $1,050,000.  That’s a difference of $700,405.  Put another way, Zillow was off over 40% on their CEO’s own home.

Are Zillow Home Value Zestimates Purposefully Inflated?

So is Zillow’s data that bad, or could there be another motive?  Let’s remember where Zillow gets its revenue. Zillow charges agents, property managers, and lenders to appear on their website.  They are gathering leads to sell to agents.  Some agents pay several thousand dollars per month for these leads.  Zillow takes MLS and public records data and assembles them and markets that data to the public in the hopes of attracting eyeballs to its site.

To increase revenue and charge more to agents, brokers, and lenders Zillow must increase visits to the site.  One way to do that is advertise more on the Internet and TV.  Another way is to change up the values frequently in hopes of getting repeat viewers to come back often and see what’s going on with their value.

We get it.  The market changes every day.  It doesn’t typically change $84,000 in one day.  So, either Zillow’s algorithm for calculating values is off, the underlying data are off, or they are trying to create a buzz by getting people to check back repeatedly.  In the news business, they call it Click Bait.  Click bait is when editors write a sensational headline to get readers to click on the article.  It could be fake news, doesn’t matter.  If the headline works, it attracts readers which ups the hit count.  The higher the hit count, the higher the advertising rates.  Most reputable news organizations don’t utilize this tactic.  They don’t have to because they have valuable content.  Tabloids on the other hand use this with perfection.

Agents are paying top dollar presumably for new leads not realizing Zillow is stoking the fire by attracting the same old leads repeatedly.  Consumers may be unaware that Zillow now has data on everyone who has checked their home value, and they are selling data like that.

Zillow Admits Errors

Zillow says that nationally their Zestimates are off by 7.9% on average.  That’s a lot!  However, in Seattle where their CEO’s former home is located, they claim to be more accurate at only 6.1% off.  Can we really trust their numbers when they were off over 40% on their own CEO’s home?

If you’re thinking of selling, we have an automated valuation tool that may be more accurate.    More importantly, we will never sell your info to other agents and brokers.  Why would we?  We want your business.  We’d love to earn your business.

If you’re thinking of selling, call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042 Ext 4  Let us show you how we put more money in your pocket at closing than other Realtors and how we sell homes Fast!  And, we’ll show you what true Top Dollar is for your home so you can make accurate decisions.

We’re here to help.  Always ask for Sande Ellis or Brett Ellis.

Read about Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Statistics to be released tomorrow.

Paint the Town Red

This weekend is the Keller Williams Paint the Town Red Event.  We’ll have around 100 homes open in a single day.  It’s the single biggest open house event of the year.  Check back as we’ll be posting the addresses here.

Ellis Team Featured Open Houses

Sunday 1-4 PM

Ellis Team Open House

6180 Winkler Rd

 

 

 

 

 13624 Gulf Breeze St Reflection Lakes Pool Home

It takes a team to win a Super Bowl. This weekend America will tune in and watch the two best football teams square off in the Super Bowl. Fans will be rooting for their team.  Others will be watching for the commercials, and others just love a reason for a party.  Super Bowl weekend is one of the biggest party gatherings of the year.  There’s just something in it for everyone.

It Takes a Team to Win a Super Bowl

It Takes a Team to Win a Super Bowl

Winning a Super Bowl is a lot like a winning real estate transaction.  All football teams start pre-season, endure a grueling season, and the most successful teams at end of year have a chance to compete for the grand prize.  Sure, you can make some mistakes along the way.  You don’t need a perfect record during the season, but you do once the playoffs start.  One setback will end your season and its game over.

In real estate, the pre-season is interviewing and selecting agents if you’re a seller.  Having the perfect agent doesn’t matter if your goal is to win some and lose some.  If your goal is the grand prize, which is selling the home, then you can’t make mistakes during the playoffs.

If you’re a buyer, the pre-season is casually looking for homes on various online sites or visiting open houses just to see if anything catches your fancy.  You’re not ready yet, and that’s OK.

But then something happens to buyers and sellers, and they decide now is the time to take that leap.  Not the Lambeau leap, the real estate leap.

Have you ever noticed that certain football coaches tend to win more Super Bowl’s than others?  In the last 15 years it tends to be the same coaches over and over.  Have you also noticed most NFL coaches never win the Super Bowl and they get fired?  It’s true.  That’s because they can’t bring home the trophy.  They might have a winning season, but lose in the playoffs when it matters.  This get’s us back to the original goal.

Is your real estate goal to have fancy brochures and a high price so you can tell all your friends what your home is worth?  Or is it to actually sell?  Brochures are nice, and they don’t sell homes.

Systems Key to Victory

Hall of fame coaches have systems in place that work.  Winning coaches exhibit the same common traits.

  • Accountability
  • Team of professionals coaching the players
  • Evaluate talent at a high level
  • Call the right plays when the situation demands it
  • Make the tough calls.  Calls other coaches are sometimes afraid to make
  • Study their opponent
  • Do their homework
  • Preparation
  • Work long hours

This is the difference between obtaining the goal and settling for just looking good. All coaches are not the same.  Neither are real estate agents.  The traits of a good coach listed above sound a lot like the traits of a great Realtor.

All Agents Are Not the Same

Agents do not advertise the same.  Many don’t have the experience to get your home from pending to sold.  Some agents never make it out of pre-season because they price the home wrong to begin with. Agents sometimes recommend taking the wrong offer, or not waiting for a better more qualified offer.  These are all mistakes agents make that can cost a seller thousands.  It can even cost you the sale.  You might say these are rookie mistakes, but not always.  These could be seasoned agents that are decent.  They’re just not trained as well as a Super Bowl winning coach. They don’t have that level of experience.

Experience matters when hiring an agent, just like it does when hiring a coach.  If you’re a NFL general manager and your owner wants to win it all next year do you hire a coach like Bill Belichick or Tom Coughlin, or do you pay less money for a less experienced coach?  Remember, the big prize is the goal, and anything less is not acceptable.

The cost of losing exceeds the cost of winning.  Losing can be life changing.  So can winning.  If you’re looking for experienced, world class Realtors who have been the Top agents in Lee County many times, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams.  You’ll be glad you did.

Ask for Sande or Brett. 239-489-4042 ext 4 or visit our MLS Search Site and find your dream home.  If you’re a seller, you can get market reports and home values for your home Free!  Now that’s a winning combination.  Enjoy your Super Bowl party!

And don’t forget, Spring Break is just around the corner.  We though you might enjoy watching the Cincinnati Firefighters put on their daily show courtesy of the News Press and the current Spring Break schedule for 2017.

Cincinnati Firefighters Show

College Spring Break Schedule

Feb 25

Michigan

March 4

Dayton

Ball State

Florida Gulf Coast University

John Carroll

Michigan State

Penn State

Queens

Stetson

Florida

Georgia

South Carolina

March 11

Florida Southwestern State College

Georgia State University

Indiana State

Indiana

Iowa

Iowa State

Ohio State

Purdue

Kentucky

Notre Dame

North Carolina

Minnesota

Valdosta State

March 18

University of Chicago

Miami of Ohio

Wisconsin

Ask to join our Ellis Team Seller’s Club.  Next week we’ll be releasing vital year end statistics for the 2016 Southwest Florida real estate market.  If you’re a buyer or seller, you’ll want this information before other buyers or sellers receive it.  We’ll email you the video when it’s done.

 

Southwest Florida December home sales were down 5.5% from last year and pending inventory fell 8.4% from last year, a worrisome sign to agents heading into 2017.

December 2016 may be an abnormal year as we just came off the most contentious election cycle I can remember.  January sales normally don’t start heating up until the 2nd half of the month.  Already we’ve seen strong buyer activity which may be a sign that consumers are now moving forward after a lull in 2016.  Potentially we have a lot of pent-up demand.  Consumer confidence seems to have increased post-election.

Southwest Florida December Home Sales

Single family home prices increased 8.7% over December 2015.  Many of these sales would have been in place before the election, so that is a positive sign.  Listing inventory declined slightly from November although it is up 11.4% from December 2015.

We’ll be keeping our eyes on inventory levels moving forward into 2017 as well as pending and closed sales.  One month does not make a trend.  So far we’re still seeing mixed signals but all indicators were pre-election.

The other thing we’ll watch in 2017 is interest rates and job creation.  Interest rates rose in 4th qtr of 2016 and the Fed has signaled more in 2017.  They predict 3 more Fed increases.  It’s impossible to know how the overall market would respond to that as the Fed doesn’t control bond prices or mortgage rates directly.

We hear great news on the manufacturing front.  Jobs returning to the US would be a boom for real estate.  Quietly we’re losing other jobs, like retail brick and mortar stores.  Macy’s, Sears, Kmart and others are closing stores as sales are off at malls and retail stores.  It may very well be that sales are not off, just a reformation of how people are shopping.  We believe more people are shopping online and less at malls, but that’s just our guess.

Real estate consumers are also researching and shopping online.  Last month our websites earned over 7,000 user sessions by over 3,700 unique users researching our market and searching for property.  This doesn’t include our social media sites.

Remembering back to life before the Internet, we never had 3,700 people coming through our team’s doors each month.  Sure, we had more than most as we have always been large advertisers, but no team had that many.

Online shopping has really opened how consumers access information.  To capture these buyers agents must have a website that serves timely and useful information, and presents it in such a way that is mobile and consumer friendly.

38.76% of our property search traffic is mobile and another 16.03% is tablet.  Combined that equals 54.79%.  More than half our traffic is mobile, which means less than half are searching on desktop.  Therefore having a team ready and able to respond to leads quickly is critical.  Statistics show buyers work with the first agent they talk to and build a trust with.  Communicating with a lead within first 5 minutes is key.  Agents are busy and can’t always call a lead immediately, but when they can conversions go up.

Buyers want to buy from somebody.  They just want to work with someone who can answer their questions and solve their problems.  Faster response times just increases your chances.

Buyers, if you’re looking to purchase or curious about the market, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has everything you need and database is updated every 5 minutes.  Hard to believe, but it’s true.  I’ve tested it.

Sellers, if you’re looking to sell, hiring an agent that will proactively market your listing and reach today’s online buyers is critical.  In addition, they must have a team in place to service these leads quickly.  Without these tools and the agents to work the leads, your home is just sitting on the market waiting for someone to possibly find it.  We don’t wait!  We market!

Agents, if your sales are coming up short because you don’t have the leads, maybe we should talk!

Always call the Ellis Team!  239-489-4042  We can sell your home!

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update January 2017

We’ll have an updated Seller’s Club coming out in next few days.  Until then, here is December’s Report.  Please contact us if you’d like to have this report emailed to you each month.

 

Ellis Team Open House

Ellis Team open house Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes Open House

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Reflection Lakes  Gate 2

13624 Gulf Breeze St

$285,000