Remember all that talk about rising rates in 2019 and how it would impact buyers and sellers?  Rising rates absolutely impacted buyers in 2018 in a negative way, but we’ve gotten a reprieve of sorts in 2019 for various reasons.  The US-China trade war benefits home buyers and sellers, and we’ll explain how.

US-China Trade War Benefits Home Buyers and Sellers

Rates slipped back in the 1st quarter of 2019 because economic conditions didn’t warrant rising rates, and because inflation had been tame.  Back in April we wrote about rate drops as everyone speculated how long they might last. Rates are affected by economic news and wildcards, and a wildcard just happened.

As soon as China announced retaliatory tariffs on the US last Monday there was a flight to quality, which means investors put money into the safety of 10-year US treasury notes.  This drove the yield curve down quickly.  As we know, most 30-year mortgages are pegged to the US 10-year Treasury note so this trade war became an instant boom to buyers and sellers.

How long will this window last?  Your guess is as good as anybody’s.  If the trade war becomes protracted, it could lead to inflation as goods and services become more expensive.  Or perhaps companies will find suppliers in other countries and the effects will be minimal.  Because this could cause a global slowdown, it could tame inflation worldwide.

Some have suggested the US could devalue the dollar which would help trade imbalances and really put pressure on China.  To do this we could lower interest rates.  There are a lot of strategies in play right now, and nobody can predict what will happen with certainty.

Our best advice would be taking advantage of the low rates while they last.  They could be here for a little while or they could vanish like a blip on a radar screen.  With rates around 4%, buyers’ purchasing power is about 11% more than it was last year.  This opens more buyers for each home, and let’s buyers stretch higher if they need to.

Lower rates should also help the housing market.  Last year there was downward pressure on prices because of rising rates.  With rates lower again that pressure has abated.  Job growth has been stellar, so if rates stay this low, we could have a pretty good run with increasing home sales.

We’re not sure buyers understand the opportunity they have right now.  Sellers have the same opportunity, because when they sell, they usually buy another property.  Those sellers that sell and buy now will save big money on their next mortgage, if they act soon enough.

We’re not trying to be the expert and tell you how long this will last.  We are telling you there is an opportunity for those in a position to take advantage.  Borrowing costs can make a huge difference in the long-term success of your financial well-being.

There is more inventory for buyers now.  Many sellers couldn’t sell before because there was no place for them to go.  That may not be the case now.  Go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com and look around.  You’ll see more homes on the market than last year, and there are some excellent buys if you know where to look.

This website allows you to see all the homes on MLS in real-time.  No more waiting for days or weeks for new listings to appear on those other sites.  If a seller reduces their price, you’ll be the first to know.  Our website produces listings in real-time so you have a definite advantage.  The best listings go before they even hit those other websites, so you can beat out other buyers to hot new listings.

Our agents are out showing daily, so we know the best homes.  Give our agents a call at 239-489-4042 and we’ll be glad to help you.  If you have a home to sell, ask for Sande or Brett Ellis.

Let’s find you your next home before rates go up again.  We’ve got a window.  All we know is it’s open.  We don’t know for how long.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Which is more valuable, your home or your data?  iBuyer Programs Steal Your Home and Your Data so let’s investigate what an iBuyer program is and what its goals are.

iBuyer Programs Steal Your Home and Your Data

iBuyer programs offer an easy button to sell a home, with a catch.  These are investors looking to scoop up homes at a large discount.  Essentially you sell your home so far below market value it becomes lucrative for an investor to buy and flip your home.  They make all the profit.  In other words, you’re giving your home equity over to them.

iBuyer programs are nothing new.  Investors have been posting those pesky road signs all over the place offering to pay cash for your home or buy ugly houses for decades.  Today’s iBuyer program is different, because they have another motive.  They want your data.

iBuyer programs realize once people see their offer then subtract fees, closing costs, and repairs after their inspections, over 90% of sellers become disgusted and turn them down.  By then, it’s too late.  They’ve captured all your data.  They sell that data and make millions.  Their goal is to make billions.

Here’s how it works.  First, you get an offer.  It’ll be low, perhaps 10% or more below market value.  It gets even better.  They tack on fees, typically in the 5-7.5% range.  Then they add closing costs in the 2-3% range.  Then they do inspections, because up until this point they haven’t even seen your home.  It’s all been done using data points and algorithms.  The report comes back, and they decide you need $15,000 in repairs plus your kitchen needs updating, so tack on another $20,000.  At this point, the seller is furious.

The seller says no, and the deal is off.  The iBuyer program knows how much you owe on the home, how old your roof, appliances and air conditioner are, what improvements are needed to the home, where you’ll be moving once you sell, and much more.  How? Because you answered their questions to continue through the process.  You didn’t like the ending, but you were curious through the process to see what number they would give you.  They had you at hello.

So, you say, “I’ll sell my home with a broker and keep the profit yourself.”  That’s ok, because they refer you to “top brokers” in the area.  You guessed it; they collect a referral fee from agents they recommend.  They may not be the best agents, but surely, they are agents paying them a fee.

Have you seen ads on TV promising to find the best agents in your neighborhood?  HomeLight is one that comes to mind, and they are also an iBuyer.  Contractors, remodelers, home improvement stores would all be interested in the age of your appliances, or what your kitchen and baths look like.  Same with flooring.  Now they have pictures, because you guessed it, the inspector took pictures during the inspection period.

Outside mortgage companies have your info too because they bought your data.  They know your phone number, email address, how much you owe, where you’re going, and more.  The simple offer you were curious to get has become a treasure trove of data.

If you sell your home to the iBuyer, they win big.  If you refuse to sell, they still win big.  The only loser is the poor seller who was just curious to use the easy button and sell their home if the price was right.

Keller Williams is coming out with an iBuyer program to prevent this.  We have no intention of selling the data.  We’re not going to refer it out to other agents.  If the seller doesn’t like the cash offer, they’ll use one of our agents to get full market value.  We have our own mortgage company that offers a zero-lending fee loan.  So, we’re not selling to other mortgage companies.  We’re not selling to contractors or home improvement stores.  We simply want to provide the iBuyer option so people don’t go to other places that will sell your data.

Our program is rolling out to 8 markets this year and more after that.  If you’re thinking of selling your home and want full market value, Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty Fort Myers & the Islands 239-489-4042 Ext 4 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 12-3 PM

Eagle Ridge Home

The number one question real estate agents get asked is “How is the market?”  Often, people wish to know what it means, and how we’re doing against other parts of the state, especially nearby counties.  Today we’ll look at Fort Myers-Cape Coral home sales versus Naples and Florida real estate sales to get an idea.

Fort Myers-Cape Coral Home Sales Versus Naples and Florida Real Estate Sales

In March, Florida home sales were unchanged and median prices were up 2% over last year.  Year to date numbers tell a similar story.  In Fort Myers-Cape Coral, home sales were down 4.4% in March while median prices were down 3.7%.  These are continued signs of a shift occurring in our market.  Year to date numbers show home sales down 8.5% while median prices rising 1.4%, but we think median prices will reflect lower numbers going forward.

Naples homes sales were down .4% in March while median home prices were down 7.9%.  Year to date numbers show closed sales up 1.1% and median prices down 7.7%

Because these numbers reflect year over year numbers, many customers, and agents alike don’t understand what’s been going on in the market.  When a market begins to shift, it takes up to a year for people to see it in the numbers, even though the trend has shifted.

Market Shift

For instance, the Fort Myers-Cape Coral market began shifting last Fall, but because we compare year over year numbers people didn’t see the negative numbers until now.  Agents felt it as sales slowed and listings began to expire.  Seasoned agents knew and adjusted.  The sellers that listened to their seasoned agents got out and the ones that didn’t listen, or weren’t working with a seasoned agent who’d been through a shift before could still be on the market or expired.

Perhaps we’ll do another story about invisible inventory.  Invisible inventory refers to the old saying that if your home is priced over the market then it’s not really on the market.  It’s overpriced and won’t sell.  It’s invisible to buyers because it’s attracting the wrong buyers.

So, what are sellers to do in a shifting market?  They could wait it out.  Some sellers decide to wait a few years until the market recovers to a price they like.  The thing about that is they miss out on low interest rates today if they’re financing their next home.  And, while they wait for their home to go up in value, their next home is probably going up too, so they don’t gain anything, only lose.

Sellers could try to sell themselves and save the commission.  This rarely works out as only 4% of lookers can actually buy now.  We have a free report on how to sell your home without an agent should you like to try.  It’s packed with helpful tips, so just email me and let me know Brett@topagent.com

Sellers could try a discount broker.  Problem is, you can’t save your way out of a shift.  I can’t tell you how many homes we’ve listed and sold after a seller has tried the discount route.  You might as well try it yourself than pay an agent for little to no service.

Marketing Matters

Marketing matters now more than ever.  Like we’ve said, just listing a home on 100 websites isn’t marketing.  We have a database of thousands of buyers because we market so much.  Call us and we can see if we have a buyer right now looking in your neighborhood.  Chances are we do, and we can do an instant search to see who they are.  If not, our marketing creates buyers specifically for our listings.  Let us show you how we use cutting edge technology and marketing muscle to market your home.

Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 You’ll be glad you did.  Or go online www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get an instant estimate of your home’s value.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

You might wonder how a successful real estate team who just had breakout sales this 2019 season could call this year’s season a bust.  The market wasn’t terrible, it just didn’t live up to many sellers’ expectations.  This is the exact reason why the market had so many expired listings and fewer closings this season.

2019 SW Florida Real Estate Market Officially a Bust

In fact, of the 12 market measures we track each month, all 12 went negative in March.  This is the first time in as long as we can remember that every single measure went negative.  Earlier this year we pondered whether season was going to mask the shifting market we were experiencing going into season, and the answer is in.

Sellers generally want to list their home with a Realtor that is confident and positive.  There is a difference between being positive and knowing the market.  The Ellis Team is positive in any market.  We know marketing sells homes, and when the market shifts that becomes even more important.  Sellers can’t discount the commission away enough to make up for what’s going on in the market.

Sellers often think if the market is slow, I’ll just list with a discount broker and that’ll enable me to sell.  The reality is they’re giving up marketing, which is the precise thing you need when the market shifts. Saving a few commission dollars can cost you thousands on your sale price due to lack of marketing and limited buyers.  Some Realtors hold a few open houses, place the home in MLS and a few hundred websites and call that marketing.  That’s not marketing.  Every home is on a few hundred websites. That part is automated by the MLS.

If you go back and read our Blog http://blog.topagent.com you’ll see we’ve been discussing the market for months and what’s really going on.  There is a fine line between hiring a Realtor that is positive and one that is real.

For instance, our team has been though several market shifts.  The average Realtor hasn’t.  We know what it takes to sell a home when the market shifts.  The first thing you must do is identify the 12 market measures, then identify where we are today.  You can’t counsel a seller on how to market their home and where to price it unless you understand where the market is and all the factors influencing it.

This is the silly season for Realtors.  Many Realtors didn’t accomplish their goals this season.  Total dollar volume of sales was down 13.6% in March alone.  This means Realtors are hurting too, and they’re going to be making moves now that season is over.

Some agents will move to less costly brokerages in hopes of a higher commission split.  They’ll receive fewer benefits for themselves and their clients. It will be a last-ditch effort to cost-cut and save their career.  If you’re interviewing agents to list your home, ask them if they plan on making a move.  If they do, can you get out of your listing contract?

Other agents will seek to join a team, or move to a company where the technology is better, or pays for more things like marketing, photography, brochures, assistants, etc.  Sellers need to know who they’re listing with and exactly what services will be provided.  Remember, the broker owns your listing, not the agent you sign with.  Be sure to get clarity and in writing whatever you agree to.

Study the market measures.  Ask your agent to show you how the market is performing.  You’ll want monthly updates on new pending sales, time on market, median and average prices, inventory supply and market absorption to name a few.  If the agent you’re interviewing can’t provide this, interview another agent.  This market is changing, and you want a Realtor that will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.  This market has enough sellers that listened to what they wanted to hear. They still own their home, which is not what they really wanted.  Ask for our Free Report on which agents had the most expired listings in the past year.

You can call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 to talk about selling your home or go to SWFLhomevalues.com to get a free online report of your home’s value.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

SW Florida real estate inventory drops in April.  Back in February we calculated 6,677 listings from MLS and today we have 6,283.  Either more homes are selling to cause this drop, or homes are expiring and have not re-entered the market yet.

SW Florida Real Estate Inventory Drops in April

So, let’s dig deeper, find out what is causing this, and look at the opportunities.  We run a 365-day moving average tracking the SW Florida home sales.  Back in February we tracked 13,083 sales compared to 12,986 today.  What this tells us the inventory levels are not coming down from increased sales.  In fact, sales have lightened up a bit.  The other thing it could be is increased pending sales taking inventory off the market, but they haven’t closed yet.

Official pending numbers for March will be released next week, so we’ll study those.  We watch the expired listings hitting the market each day and we noticed a large number at the end of March.  With listing numbers down almost 400 we can assume some sellers gave up when they didn’t get their price.

We can also assume that many of those same sellers would like to sell.  Perhaps they have another property they’d like to move to.  Perhaps they’re tired of the HOA or condo fees where they live now.  Maybe it’s just time.  In any event, there may be a way to get your property sold.

Sometimes sellers just hire the wrong Realtor.  They assume all Realtors market the same, therefore they will all fetch the same price for their home.  Reality tells us this isn’t true.  Some Realtors practice the 3 P’s of marketing.  1.  Put a sign in the yard. 2.  Place it on MLS. 3. Pray that another Realtor sells it.

Placing a home on 100 different Internet sites is not marketing.  Anybody can do that.  It’s easy, and I’ll show you how.  The real marketing is finding buyers for your home.  This entails calling a database of buyers looking in your neighborhood.  That’s right!  We have a database of buyers looking for homes in your neighborhood.  If you doubt me, I’ll show you the database.  I’ll show you the buyers.

Secondly, we want to create new buyers not already in the database.  We target buyers online who are looking for a home or condo just like yours.  You can’t wait for the market to come to you.  You must go and get the market.  This is why so many homes expire and never sell.  The Realtor didn’t go and get the buyer.

Sellers do not want to reduce their price until they’re satisfied that all the marketing is being done.  They only want to reduce the price when they’re convinced it is the price, not the marketing.  When you hire marketing gurus when you list the home, you’ll know.  Hiring the wrong Realtor can cost you valuable time on the market with no sale.

Lots of people call us the 2nd or 3rd time around.  Why not call us 1st?  If you’re thinking of selling, or tried to sell and failed, give us a call.  It might not be the price.  You might have simply selected the wrong Realtor.

Open House App 

We have an app that will show you all the open houses in your area, no matter where you live.  It even works up North.  Simply go to www.SWfloridaopenhouse.com and download the app. Sellers like it so they can explore the competition.  Buyers love it so they can see today which homes will be open house next weekend.

Ellis Team Open House App
Ellis Team Open House App

Free Home Value

You can also check out your home’s value online for Free.  Go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com This site does a pretty good job of estimating your home’s value.  It’s scary how accurate it is many times.  Of course, if you’re thinking of selling, always call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be glad to visit your home and verify its value.  We’ll show you how we go out and find the buyer.  We don’t wait for the buyer to find you!

Happy Easter, and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses


Boosting your credit score can reduce borrowing costs, and we’ve got some tips to help you do that.  We’ve found three new products to help you achieve a higher credit score.  One is approved for home mortgages, while the other two will help with all other types of loans.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may accept the other two in the future.

Mortgage Credit Score Tool

Let’s start with the tool that helps with mortgages.  CreditXpert Wayfinder works like this.  With your lender, you determine how much of an improvement you need to qualify for a loan, or to reduce your rate.  The higher score you have the lower rate you qualify for.  A lower rate means you either save money on your payment or qualify for more home.  Why pay more for less of a loan?

Boosting Your Credit Score Can Reduce Borrowing Costs

The software comes up with options and a plan to achieve a higher score within 1-2 months.  The average credit score goes up about 27 points on this program, which can save you lots of interest on the money you borrow.

In the promotional video for this program, it shows you which credit cards to cancel or pay down and by exactly how much to improve your score. Sometimes cancelling a credit card can lower your score.  It’s always been a complicated business figuring out exactly what credit bureaus are looking for.  They look at available credit, credit history, credit utilization, etc.  The consumer had no good way of figuring what methods would help their score.

This plan comes with a fee of about $15-$18 at each of the credit bureaus plus a rapid re-score fee by an outside vendor when it’s completed, but the fees more than pay for themselves in lower borrowing costs.  Check with your lender to see if they offer this service, and if you need it.  Borrowers are sometimes surprised to find out they can borrow with their existing credit.

We Work With Several Lenders

We just got a buyer a home with a 550-credit score on a FHA loan.  Actually, we didn’t do anything.  The lender did.  We have great lenders with a proven track record of closing loans.  There is nothing more frustrating than picking the wrong lender and finding out your deal is dead after spending money for appraisal, inspection, etc.  If you’re working with an Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty agent, we can recommend lenders with proven track records.  We know who they are.

Another option is Experian’s new Boost product.  It imports your utility and phone bills history into your score.  If you’re paying those bills on-time, this can raise your score in a majority of cases.

FICO Ultra Score is a new product rolling out soon.  It imports your banking, savings, checking, and money market accounts into your score.  If you pay your bills and have some extra money in the bank somewhere, this may help your score.

So far mortgage loans are not utilizing Experian’s Boost program or FICO’s Ultra Score program yet, but other consumer credit like auto and boat loans, credit cards, and revolving credit might.  Who knows, perhaps in a few months mortgage loans will benefit from these programs too.

It pays to know your options, and work with people who know their stuff.  The first step in the home buying process is picking which resources can help you.  We offer 3 great resources, so you’ll never have to wonder.

Always Call the Ellis Team

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. 239-489-4042.  We can help you find the right lender and find the right homes.  Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com is another great resource.  It has all the homes, has neighborhood data, and home value data.  It’s updated every few minutes unlike some of the other online search places.  Getting bad and outdated search data is as frustrating as picking the wrong Realtor or wrong lender.

Give our team a call.  We can help, and you’ll notice the difference.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update March 2019

Open House App

See where the open houses will be this weekend anywhere in the country.  Download our Open House app at www.SWfloridaopenhouse.com

Ellis Team Open House App
Open House App

 

At last week’s Ellis Team meeting we asked our buyer specialists how they did the past week and what they were working on this week. One agent just sold 3 homes that week, and another sold 2, and another sold 1.  Each agent was working with 3-4 buyers that were going to purchase in the next week to 10 days.  Suffice it to say, home sales are heating up in SW Florida just like the weather.

It is mid-March, so home sales should be heating up.  If they weren’t, we’d have a problem.  This is peak season after all.  For the past few weeks we’ve noticed pending sales outpacing new listings.  As we write this article, we notice new listings outpaced new pending sales again.

By our count we see about 6,625 listings in Lee County.  This is down from the 7,100 we saw in January, however there may be a few more when official numbers are released because listings from outside agents in other MLS boards can increase this figure.  Believe it or not, sometimes a Miami or Jacksonville agent will list Lee County properties in their MLS and not here.

So, what is all this telling us about the market?  Overall, we’ve got a good market.  If you price it right and market it correctly, homes should sell.  Is it still a seller’s market?  No.  Is it a buyer’s market?  Possibly, but maybe it’s shifted back to neutral.  We won’t know until numbers come out next month.

For us, it really doesn’t matter.  A buyer’s or seller’s market is just a term.  It’s close either way.  What’s more important is how buyers and sellers are reacting to the information available.  All real estate is local, and usually hyper-local.  If the overall market sits at 6.18 months supply of homes, and the home you like is in a neighborhood with 2 months supply, it changes the dynamic.

Numbers are constantly changing.  Buyers who fail to recognize this may find themselves missing out on great homes.  It’s frustrating to miss out on home after home.  If this keeps happening to you as a buyer, you need to take a step back and evaluate the advice you’re getting and your reaction to it.  Perhaps you’re listening to family members or friends, and while their advice is well intentioned, it could be bad.  Or perhaps your search online isn’t considering up to the minute trends.  Is the agent you’re working with full-time?

Sellers, you too always need to know what’s going on.  The market can change in an instant. New listings enter the market, or current sellers drop their price.  Far too often sellers set their price and believe they’re done.  The seller sets the price and the market determines the value.  If the home doesn’t sell, constant monitoring is required to see what your competition is doing as well as sales activity.

Lee County Florida March Home Sales Heating Up

One way buyers and sellers can study a neighborhood is using our Neighborhood Market Reports Site.  http://www.leecountyonline.com/sw-florida-market-reports/ This site provides data for active listings, pendings, and solds.  No other site can do all that.  But wait, there’s more.  It also has the photos and key data buyers and sellers like.  And of course, our Blog has weekly articles going back years.  http://blog.topagent.com

In the end, your success is determined by the agent you work with, the research you do, and the advice you listen to.  Consumers mistakenly believe all agents are the same, so it doesn’t matter who they work with.  Are all doctors the same?  How about attorneys?  Of course not, and neither are Realtors.

Making any of these common mistakes could cost you thousands, or worse?  It could cost you a sale.  Your dreams are too important.  Life is too short.  You don’t want to wait for the next market cycle to make that move.  The time is now.

We hope you find this information helpful.  If you need to talk to us, call us at 239-489-4042.  We’re experts at listening, and offering ideas based on your goals.  We look forward to speaking with you.

Happy Selling!

This past week I was having a conversation with an agent who just lost a listing to an agent from another company.  They said I wish the seller knew that over half that agent’s listings expire and never sell.  That statement got me to thinking, that is a great topic to write an article on.  We’ve created the real estate agent expired listings ratio database.

Real Estate Agent Expired Listings Ratio

On TV and radio, you hear about all these rating services that want you to contact them as they rate real estate agents by production and sales.  Presumably they want to get in the middle and collect an advertising or referral fee for their service.  Rating agents on sales is one thing, but has anybody ever looked at how many of their listings sell versus expire?

Well, we just did it.  I downloaded 11,280 expired listings in the past year in Lee County from the MLS.  I imported all listings into a sortable database. We searched for expired, terminated, and withdrawn listings as some agents try to skirt the system and withdraw them, so they don’t show as expired.  After running the numbers, we found some astonishing numbers.  One agent had 88 such listings.  Other agents had 76, 69, 52 and so on.  Wouldn’t this be information sellers would want to know about?

We went one step further and created an expired ratio category.  Imagine if you were drafting a basketball team and a guard was available that averages 20 points per game.  Sounds pretty good, that’s roughly 10 field goals per game plus or minus free throws and 3-point shots.  Assuming he or she makes 10 shots per game, would it alarm you to know they took 50 shots per game to make 10?  That would be only a 20% FG%, or put another way, an 80% fail rate.

Therefore, we created the Expired ratio. We know these agents have a ton of listings expire, so let’s look at their expireds compared to their successes.  The agent with 88 expired listings had a 46.81% expired ratio.  Not good!  The agent with 76 expired had a 56.30% expired ratio, even worse.  The worst ratio we saw in the database of top expired agents was 84.21% That’s horrific.  Imagine if you were interviewing agents and they told you over 84% of their listings never sell?

Agents will never tell you this information, and chances are they don’t even know the number.  It’s bad, and they know that, but they don’t know their numbers.  I didn’t until today.  For the record, ours is very good.

I also looked at company data.  Not surprisingly, many of the limited service brokers were high on the list.  Limited service brokers do a lot less, and for that they probably charge less, but who knows?  Sometimes you only get a sign and your listing syndicated to the national data aggregators.  Showing agents may have to contact seller directly to negotiate offers, setup showings, etc.  Showing agents aren’t compensated for the extra work.  It takes extra time and skill to educate both the buyer and seller, negotiate through inspection issues, etc.

I’m not going to publish this list publicly.  We’re not here to put anybody down or call agents out.  We do feel however that sellers should be armed with this information.  It should be part of the decision process.  Sellers are making a large financial decision, and they want honest information in which to evaluate agents in that decision.

If you’re thinking about selling and are interviewing agents, email me Brett@topagent.com with your address and the agents you’re considering and I’ll look them up and let you know how they stack up.  This way, you’ll know if the agent you’re considering has a good track record of actually selling their listings, not just listing them.

You can always call us 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Ask for Sande or Brett, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get an idea of what your home is worth for Free!

Good luck and happy selling!

See Last Week’s Article- Blame it on the Marketing

At a time when real estate markets across the US and Florida began to shift, the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty began to shine.  Nationally, home sales began to slide in the 2nd half of the year.  Locally, home sales began to slide in the 4th qtr. of 2018.  Ellis Team sales rose 55% in 2018.

Ellis Team Sales Rose 55% in 2018- Marketing to Blame

So why do some agents shine when others begin to fail in a changing market?  Successful agents who’ve been through many cycles know one thing.  You don’t stop marketing in a shift.

Typical Agents

The typical agent cuts back on everything in a shift.  Sales begin to slow, and it proves their point that the market isn’t what it used to be, and sellers just need to get more realistic.

The Ellis Team has been called in many times after a home has expired and sold it.  We’ve had several already this year, and we’ve already closed on them.  Price wasn’t the issue.  Let me say that again.  Price was not the issue.  We did not lower the price. It was the marketing, and experience in handling negotiations to get it done.

While pricing is important, marketing is the other single most important thing a Realtor can do to get your home sold.  Sellers are tempted to hire a Realtor with lower commissions only because they believe they’ll end up with more in their pocket at closing. Naturally you would think that.  Pay less, net more, right?  The truth is marketing is what brings in more buyers.  When you have more buyers to choose from, you get a better selection of offers.

You must also think about the co-broke fee.  That is the fee a listing agent pays out to other agents in MLS.  If the co-broke fee is lower, you must wonder if agents will be as motivated to show your home.  We want the best agents highly motivated to show our listings.   Agents in SW Florida know the Ellis Team has been around for years and we’re professionals, so they like to show our listings.  It’s much easier to cooperate with a pro than a beginner or part-timer.  Some agents even have a reputation of being difficult to deal with, so agents don’t show their listings as much.

The Agent You List With Matters

The agent you list with matters.  Ellis Team listings net more on average than other agents. Source:  MLS Data  That’s why it can cost you to list with an agent that doesn’t market like we do.  Our listings sell Fast too, in fact about 20% faster than the average agent.  Source:  MLS Data

Pricing is the other critical step.  Sellers don’t want to reduce until they’re satisfied the home isn’t selling because of the marketing.  Only then will they reduce their price.  The question we have is this:  If you have to question whether it’s the marketing or the price, you’ve probably selected the wrong Realtor.

There should never be a question if it’s the marketing.  Of course, when there isn’t much marketing, it’s always a question.  Here’s a little tip.  Simply placing a home on Zillow, Realtor.com, MLS, Homes.com, and placing a sign in the yard is not marketing.  A for sale by owner or discount broker could do all that, and 92% of for sale by owners give up and hire a Realtor to sell their home anyway.

The Difference Can Cost You Money

There is a difference between a full-service Realtor and a full-marketing Realtor.  The truth is, most Realtors don’t do all the marketing we do, or even know about some of it.  And they certainly won’t pay for it.  You see, our broker doesn’t pay for our marketing.  We pay for it out of our own pocket, so we know it works.  And we do a lot of it, so it Really works.

Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042  Ext 4 and let us show you how our marketing is different.  Don’t forget to ask about our new secret weapon too!  We look forward to helping you.

Thinking of selling?  Find out what your home is worth for Free www.SWFLhomevalues.com

We’ve been studying the 2018 National Home buyer and seller profile as it reveals some interesting information.  We have knowledge about what buyers and sellers look for in an agent, how often they use an agent, and what they’re expectations are.

Today we’ll focus on two aspects of the report: The methods seller’s use to sell a home and information sources buyers use to purchase a home.

Methods Used to Sell Home

2018 National Home Buyer and Seller Profile Method Used to Sell Home

In 2018 home sellers used an agent 91% of the time. 1% sold their home to a home buying company, and 7% were successful selling their home on their own.  Whether they netted more at the closing table is another story.  Many sellers attempt to sell their home on their own but give up typically after 3 weeks.  They quickly learn that selling a home isn’t easy, and they essentially become a Realtor when they chose to try it on their own.

Only 4% of the lookers can purchase a home.  The rest are unqualified, out of their price range, or must sell something first.  They have a problem that the Realtor needs to solve.  The problem is, they won’t tell the seller what the issue is, and even if they did, the seller can’t solve it because they don’t have the knowledge or resources to deal with the buyer’s issue.  They can barely deal with their own issue and quickly feel in over their head.  The seller says it’s not my problem, it’s the buyers.  The problem is, it becomes the seller’s problem if the seller can’t solve the buyer’s issues because there is no sale without doing so.  There are only so many cash ready to go buyers, and they want a deal if dealing directly through the seller.  So, the seller has few buyers, and the few that are ready and able want a deal.  Both the buyer and seller can’t save the same commission, and therefore sellers give up and hire an agent.

Information Sources Buyers Use

2018 National Home Buyer and Seller Profile Information Sources Buyers Use

When looking at information sources buyers use, we see that 93% use an online website and 86% use a real estate agent.  You can see that these two sources haven’t changed much in the last few years. Yard signs have fallen significantly since 2004.  About the only two things to rise in recent years are open houses and online video sites.

88% of both buyers and sellers hire the 1st or 2nd agent they speak with.  The number one thing buyers want from their agent is help finding the right home. This tells us they love searching on their own, but they want an agent to help decide and confirm which home is best.

In other words, both buyer and seller like to do some of the research on their own, and both realize it’s a large investment and ultimately consult with a Realtor when it’s time to buy or sell.  The average buyer searches 10 weeks before making a purchase.

Buyers and Sellers Love to Do Their Research

We have a complete list of features buyers love in online property websites. Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com is a real winner with buyers and sellers alike.  Research also shows more online features buyers and sellers would like to have about the neighborhood and about their home.  Therefore, we’re releasing an upcoming app that will show community info with news about the neighborhood, local parks, schools, businesses, home values, events, etc.  It will be a personalized feed for each person, not a generic page about a neighborhood.  We’ve tested over a million consumers and they absolutely love the new app. We can setup as a web page right now until the app is released, so you have flexibility to use on mobile or desktop.

Home buyers love it because we use artificial intelligence to identify features a buyer likes but may not have specifically asked for.  For instance, a buyer may say they want a specific area, specific square footage, and specific price, and yet the system picks up that they also love light colored kitchens.  They never said that, and didn’t even know it themselves, but that’s what they like.  Our new system can pick-up on that and make suggestions.  If you’d like an invite for the new system, send me an email to brett@topagent.com

If you’re looking to buy or sell, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

7152 Reymoor Dr  Riverfront Home

Riverfront Home Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

6980 Saint Edmunds Loop Brookshire

Brookshire Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

17561 Cherry Ridge Ln  Timberwalk

Timberwalk Open House Sunday 12-3 PM