Lee County closed home sales were up 8.2% in July over last year signaling buyers are taking advantage of historically low rates while they can.  Prior to May the Lee County housing market had been trending under 2018 levels.  We officially broke out of that in May and haven’t looked back since.

Lee County July Closed Home Sales up 8.2%
Lee County Closed Home Sales up 8.2%

Last year Fall rates shot up about 1%.  That can and will happen again someday.  When they shot up, it limited price gains, and it dampened home sales because affordability was an issue when rates rose.

Buyers felt it instantly.  Sellers didn’t feel the pinch until they saw there were fewer buyers for their home.  More sellers placed their home on the market, and inventory began to build.  For sellers, rising rates is a lagging indicator because it takes them a few months to feel the pain the buyer feels today.

Fast forward to today.  Home prices have begun rising again, if only slightly.  Successful homes closed have risen, and new pending sales were up 4.5%.  New listings fell by 5.7% with the latest numbers.  It’s only a matter of time before the active inventory levels fall.  Currently they’re still 1.8% higher than last year, but if these trends continue, we expect those numbers to fall.

What we don’t know is how many new sellers will decide to enter the market given recent strength.  Market forces shape the entirety of the local real estate market.  It’s not as simple as supply and demand.  This is because supply and demand is the end result.  What influences supply and demand ultimately influences the market and that is what we attempt to flush out for you each week.

If you want to know where the market is headed, you must first know where it’s been, where it is now, and what is influencing it.  It sort of reminds me of Hurricane Dorian.

For days experts told us where they thought it was going. It was being influenced by high pressures in multiple locations, upcoming troughs and ridges, all of which were the steering currents.  Hurricanes don’t steer themselves.  They are just bundles of energy doing what they do.  External forces steer them.

Steering currents are like supply and demand.  Everyone knows that’s what drives the hurricane, or the market.  But knowing what drives the currents is critical to knowing where things are going.  Luckily, the computer models did a pretty darn good job with the storm.  They told us it would stall out and sit there until other forces decided to move it out.

Real estate markets sometimes stall out until a new force enters the market and drives the thing.  Right now, our market is being driven by low rates and tax advantages.  Underlying currents are global trade, foreign currencies vs the dollar, jobs, the economy, the availability of money, and a handful of other factors.

We don’t control these external forces.  All we control is how we react to them.  People are reacting by making purchases because it saves them money.  Consumers sense a real opportunity now; one they don’t want to miss.  Savings on a 30-year loan add up.

We’ve got some great lenders that can help you take advantage of these low rates.  We just had a buyer get a 3.3% fixed 30-year loan.  Some buyers need help, and we have lenders that can help with that too.  Give our team a call and we can put you in touch with a lender.  If you need help with your credit, they can tell you what you need to do to qualify.  Many buyers are surprised that they qualify now.  Others just have a little bit of work to do and will qualify in a month or two once they take an action step.

Call our office at 239-489-4042 and speak to one of our buyer specialists or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com   If you’re thinking of selling, ask for Brett or Sande at Ext 4 or visit www.swflhomevalues.com .  We may be able to make your dream a reality, and at low, low rates.

See last week’s article Lee County July 2019 Real Estate Prices Rise Slightly

Southwest Florida housing inventory fell in August to a 4.37-month supply of homes on the market.  This has turned our local market into a seller’s market from a balanced market.  Most experts state that anything around 5.5 months is considered a balanced market.

Southwest Florida Housing Inventory Falls in August
Southwest Florida Housing Inventory Falls in August

Market Influences

What influenced our market to change?  Markets rarely stay the same for long as they are subject to influences.  We believe two things are influencing buyers today.

The first is interest rates.  One of our loan officers we work with just got a buyer a 30 year fixed rate loan for 3.3% That’s an incredible rate and it makes it hard for buyers to pass up buying opportunities with rates that low.

Secondly, people are migrating from high tax states to Florida.  We don’t have a state income tax.  There is a $10,000 deduction limit known as the SALT deduction on federal income taxes.  SALT stands for state and local taxes.  High tax states like New York and New Jersey have both high property taxes and a state income tax.  People are tired of the high taxes to begin with, and now they face higher federal taxes on top of it.  Sellers are bailing from California too to places like Texas.

Because Texas and Florida have managed their money better it’s an attractive option.  Not only are property taxes lower, there is no state income tax, and their federal tax is lower too.  That’s a win on three fronts.  Add in the weather, and you’ve got a deadly combination to high tax states.

There could be other reasons, but these seem the most logical to us.  Boomers will still keep retiring and places like Arizona and Florida are natural destinations.

Sellers Benefit

The real question is, how can these factors help you?  If you’re a seller locally, you now have more buyers qualified to purchase your home due to lower rates.  You also have more buyers from up North looking to move here.  You’re going to want a Realtor with national reach.  We get a lot of referrals within our company from agents in these other states to us in Florida.  That’s a fantastic way, because they trust their agent up North to find them a great agent here.

We also have a large digital footprint online.  I’m not talking social media.  Everybody has that.  We target and advertise to buyers in those areas most likely to move to Florida.  Because we know where buyers are coming from, we can target ads directly to them.  Of course, you can’t target everyone in a state.  You must reach the residents likely to move, and we have ways of doing that.

I’m not going to announce all our trade secrets publicly as every agent in town would attempt to copy if they knew the strategy.  Suffice it to say it takes a lot of money, and a lot of know-how to pull this off and it’s something we’re good at.  We enjoy it actually.  It’s fun to watch the leads roll in and see all the sates they come from.

Sellers also benefit on their next purchase.  If they sell now at top dollar, they get to enjoy a low interest rate on what they are purchasing.  It’s absolutely win-win for a seller, not solely the buyer.

Buyers Resources

If you’re thinking of selling, please call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get a good idea on what your home may be worth today.

If you’re looking to buy and not sell, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has all the homes on the market.  We even have pending and sold data there too.  If you’re looking to do both, start out at the home values site.

Of course, we’d love to sit down and talk with you.  Together we can come up with a plan to make a possible move reality.  Sometimes the biggest block people have is the logistics.  How can they time a sale and a purchase?  We can help with all those questions.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Hurricane Dorian Tips

Old Video Still Has Good Hurricane Tips

SW Florida Hurricane Tips From a Top Agent

You’ve probably heard of those instant offers programs whereby a company offers to buy your home instantly for cash.  Closing takes place in a short period of time.  No getting the house ready to show, no hassles with showings, no hassles period.  Sounds great, doesn’t it? What do these instant offers programs cost sellers?

Instant Offers Programs Cost Sellers 15% Equity or More

Except there’s one catch. They don’t offer you full market value.  Not even close.  A recent study showed that the typical instant offers programs cost sellers around 15% equity.  That’s a big price to pay, and costs much more than selling your home even after paying a real estate agent commission.

Going For Top Dollar

Most sellers are afraid they may have to drop their price if their home doesn’t sell.  Homes in SW Florida typically sell for around 95% of list price.  Some much more than that depending on the price range.  What this is telling us is those sellers were about 5% over the market, and when they came down to where the market was, their home sold.

Imagine selling 15% below that number.  You don’t have to imagine because it’s reality.  These instant offers companies don’t tell you that.  They also don’t tell you the final price when they make their original offer.

To date these national companies haven’t come to SW Florida.  We have spoken with people who have used them in other markets, and they’re not happy.  First, it starts with an offer, typically 7-10% below fair market value.  Seller accepts the offer, and inspections are setup.  Then the instant offers company amends the offer to account for major renovations needed.  That could total $30,000 or more depending on inspection results.

If the seller’s biggest fear was having to reduce asking price, it was just realized by accepting an instant offer.  The only difference is the process sped up, and the reduction was severe.  Had the seller priced their home upfront to meet today’s market, they could have sold quickly and put much more money in their pocket.

These sellers’ biggest regret was using an instant offers company.  Sometimes the fear of the process overrides the financial loss, until the financial loss becomes real.  We can help with this.

Choices

In the near future we’ll bring an iBuyer program to SW Florida.  You’ll be given the choice.  Take the instant offer or go for top dollar with us.  Logically most will choose the top dollar, but we’ll have the choice for those looking for the instant sale.

If you’re in a situation where you need to sell fast and you’re fearful of the process, a simple sit-down meeting can answer many of your questions.  We can look at what fair market would look like and discuss insightful ways to get your home sold fast, and not for bottom dollar.

Anyone can give away a home.  That’s easy, and costly.  We can help you sell fast and put more money in your pocket.  We’ve been working on a few solutions to help sellers that are exciting.

We have an instant repair bid program.  Basically, we take the home inspection and upload into our system.  Within 48 hours we have bids to repair anything on the report.  This makes it easy for buyers and sellers because almost instantly they know the price of the repairs.

Many times, deals are lost because a buyer believes the repair cost is just too expensive.  By having instant bids, they know the cost upfront.  Often, the repair cost isn’t as bad as they think.  Sometimes sellers blow up because they believe the repairs the buyer is asking for will add up too.  Having an instant repair bid shows the seller the true cost of the repair.  Perhaps buyer is asking too much, and now the seller will know.

The instant repair bid is a nice tool which can give both buyer and seller peace of mind.  It’s also much less expensive than giving your house away to a greedy iBuyer program.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re looking to sell, talk to Brett or Sande at the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  239-489-4042 Ext 4  We can show you how to net more at closing and make the process easier for you.  Don’t let fear of the process let these companies take advantage of you.  A solution is often just a face to face conversation away.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a quick idea of your home’s value.  If you like that price, we can talk further.  If you think it’s off, we can sit down and discuss that too, because it could be.

See last week’s article “Wall Street Fear May Spark Main Street Opportunity

Good luck and Happy Selling!

All indications show the 2019 SW Florida real estate market officially balanced.  Homes closed is mirroring 2018 levels.  We started out a little slow but picked it up in May and returned to just above 2018 levels in June.  Interest rates have certainly help spark the SW Florida real estate market.

2019 Real Estate Market Officially Balanced

Closed sales were up 1.0% in June from last year.  Median sales price was up 2.0% over last year and the average sale price was up 2.7%.  New pending sales were up 9.3% this year compared to last.

Agents we talk to are busy.  Title companies are having a big July, so we expect July numbers to be good as well when they are released next month.  We are seeing first time home buyers in this market as well as move-up buyers.  For nearly a decade we didn’t see much move-up buyers, so this is an encouraging sign.

The Ellis Team will be hosting home buyer seminars soon, so stay tuned or call us to find out when the next one will be.  We partner with a local lender and together we bring you the steps you’ll follow to purchase a home.  Our lender is a credit repair specialist as well.  Many people think if they just pay off a debt it helps their credit, but this isn’t always true.  At the seminar, we’ll help you improve your credit score, and explain all the steps on how to purchase a new home.

We also compare renting versus buying.  Many don’t realize they could own their own home for less money that they’re paying in rent.  We have low to no down payment options as well, so that takes away that worry for some home buyers.

Move up buyers have different needs.  First, they need to know how much their home would sell for, and how much money they’d end up with in their pocket.  Secondly, they need to know how much they’d qualify for in the new home, and what’s available in that price range.  What repairs need to be done to make current home sell-able?  Lastly, it becomes a logistics exercise.  How do they time the sale with a new purchase?

The Ellis Team can answer those questions. The Ellis Team has vendors that can help with repairs to get your home sellable and maximize value.  We have the best technology to alert you to new listings in your current neighborhood as well as pendings and solds.  We can also alert you to new opportunities where you’re moving to as well.

The neatest thing is we can now do this nationwide.  If you’re thinking of selling here in SW Florida and moving out of state, we have the data to show you right here, right now what your options are out of state.  This new data essentially turns the Ellis Team into nationwide agents.  We’re not going to show you a home in Maryland or Iowa, but we can sure give you the information at your fingertips on the spot.

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, a move-up buyer, or moving out of state, we can help.  If you live somewhere else and love SW Florida, call us and we can help you too.  Not only can we get you neighborhood and home data where you live, we can find the top agent in your neighborhood at the click of a button.  It’s pretty neat, and it will change the way people buy and sell real estate.

If you have a home to sell, contact Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or email us at sande@topagent.com or Brett@topagent.com We also have a team of buyer specialists ready to help you.  And don’t forget, we have upcoming seminars on the home buying process.  We’re also available to meet one on one.  That’s what we enjoy most.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.

Find Out What Your Home is Worth Online for Free

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See last week’s article: Should I Refinance My Mortgage at Today’s Rates?

 

With interest rates below 4%, many homeowners may be asking the question, should I refinance my mortgage?  The answer may be easy, and it could be complicated.

Should I refinance my Mortgage?

Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

With rates around 3.75%, it may make sense to refinance anything over 4.5%, depending on how long you want to stay in your current home.  In the old days, experts used to tell people you’d better save 2% or more on rates because the refinance costs were so high.  Keep in mind you will be asked to pay for a new title policy for the new lender, appraisal in most cases, and other closing costs.  It’s not free to refinance, so you’d better save money by doing it.

If rates today are 3.75% and you take out a new 30-year loan on $250,000, the principal and interest portion would be $1,157.19.  If you had a loan at 4.5% on $250,000 the P&I payment would be $1,266.71  So the savings would be $109.52/mo or $1,314,24/yr.  Closing costs might be $4,000-$5,000, so that could take 3,8 years just to break even on the deal.

Does Your Home Suit Your Needs?

The other question you must ask yourself is, does this home suit my needs?  If so, for how long?  Is my family growing or shrinking?  Might my job take me somewhere else?  How is my health?  Will the property be too much to take care of 5 years from now?

If your situation could change in the next 5 years, it probably wouldn’t make sense to refinance.  It might make sense to make the move now while rates are low.  If you wait 5 years to make the move, rates could go up a few percent.  Each percentage point rate gain costs a buyer 11% purchasing power, so essentially you could qualify for 22% less home.  Or, it could cost you a lot more in payment per month.

If you’re 1-2 years away from making a move, is there a way you could make that move while rates are this low?  It’d be a shame to spend all that money refinancing for a home that won’t suit you in a few years and miss the low rates on the next home.

If You Did Move, Where Would You Go?

Many people in SW Florida are contemplating this very decision right now.  What makes it complicated is they’re not sure where they’d move to, and how they would pull it off.  That’s where a real estate consultant comes in.  A consultant isn’t there to sell you anything.  They’re there to present you with your options, and let you choose what’s best for you.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty are consultants.  We want you to make the best decision for you.  We know about inventory you might not know about, like homes hidden from MLS or new construction.  It may make sense for you to make a move now, and it might not.  Until you know the cost of where you’re going, and how much you’d net if you sold your home, it’s impossible to make a fair decision.

You can’t base your current home’s value off those online valuation models.  They can be wrong, and they don’t figure in how much you’ll net in the end.  We can help you with that.  Making a good decision is like putting a puzzle together.  You must identify all the pieces, turn them right side up, and put them in their correct position.  Only then does the picture become clear, and your decision gains clarity.

Call Sande Ellis or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  We’ll help you get a fair value of your current home, make some suggestions on where you could go based on your needs, and figure up what it will cost to do it.  You’ll have the best advice, and you might just make that move you’ve been talking about.  Or, you might decide you love your current home and it’s the place for you.

We look forward to speaking with you.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!  And remember, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.

Be Careful Which Sites You Sign Up On

Consumers and agents may not understand the difference between real estate platform versus bolt-on technology, but they soon will.  Let’s discuss why it matters to both consumers and agents.

Real Estate Platform Protects Your Privacy

From a consumer perspective, information about your home, your finances, and your preferences is worth a lot of money to big companies and could cause aggravation if in the wrong hands.  Data security is important now more than ever.  Uploaded contracts, disclosures, inspection reports, agreements, and other reports aren’t always encrypted.    Who owns that data?  What if your data were released without your knowledge?

As a consumer, who you do business with matters.  The same is true with brokerages and agents.  Does your brokerage have agreements with 3rd party vendors on who owns data and what can be done with it?  Does your brokerage own its own real estate platform, or do you employ bolt-on technology by outside companies to run your business?

Bolt-On Technology

CEO’s of national brand companies say they’re going with bolt-on technology as opposed to real estate platform technology so as not to disrupt agent’s business.  They say they want to give agents the freedom to choose whatever software they prefer using.  The truth is, agents prefer not to change, so they stick with who they’ve used for years, even if it’s not great.  Agents tailor their business around what their software can do, not what is ideal for their business.

If agents could design the perfect software, it would look and work much differently than what they have now.  Most agents don’t have the time, money, or expertise to do this, so they stick with the status quo, even though it’s holding them back.

Currently, when consumers sign onto apps and real estate websites their data becomes free game.  Consumer search preference data is valuable for advertisers and as a result, consumers are being bombarded with calls and emails from all kinds of companies.  Consumers don’t like it.  They just didn’t realize what they were giving up to get real estate information.  Agents who advertise on those sites fund this behavior because they want the leads.  Ironically, agents are purchasing the very data consumers hate giving up.

A Better Way

There is a better way.  Consumers will give you everything you want if you give them everything they want and agree not to sell or give away their data.  If you can protect the consumer, they don’t mind if their agent emails them with real estate information they care about.  Consumers information to be relevant to them., and they don’t want to be spammed.

This is exactly why our company has been developing its own platform for a few years now.  We don’t want to be reliant on outside companies with ulterior motives.  We want to control and own the data so that consumers can trust they won’t be bombarded with offers from companies they don’t know.  However, the consumer experience must be first class and offer things consumers want and nobody else has.

Real Estate Platform Local Data

The Consumer Experience

It’s all about the consumer experience.  We’ve studied the items consumers like best.  For instance, we tested over 1 million consumers and found that they like neighborhood information better than at the zip code level.  In fact, they spent on average over 4 minutes on site per neighborhood versus a zip code.  Consumers want information like the home’s DNA score, commute times to places they choose, and more.  Because we’re developing our own platform, we can deliver all these consumer preferences, and more.

Real Estate Platform Versus Bolt-On Technology

 

Keller Williams’ Realty consumer mobile app is in testing pending release.  Currently Google employees are testing out the platform for us and providing feedback before we release to the public.  It will not only be best in class; it will offer privacy and confidence to the consumer.  Our desktop websites are working now, and we’re still tweaking and improving those.  If you’d like us to send you our app or provide you a local neighborhood website, we can do that.  Just email me at Brett@topagent.com and we’ll get you started.

It’s a work on progress, and we believe it’s one the consumer will love and appreciate.  In fact, we believe it’s the Future of Real Estate.  We’d love your feedback.  Try it out and let us know what you think!

Check out this weekend’s open houses on our current mobile app which will be upgraded automatically when we release the new app.

 

Buckle up, it’s about to get very interesting in the real estate world!  The real estate consumer experience will forever change the real estate industry.  We’re about to experience more change in the next year than the last 20 years combined.  That’s a big statement, and we’ve seen it with other industries.

This may lead to fewer agents in the business.  Some experts predict National Association of Realtors membership may decline from 1.2 million members to around 700,000. That’s about a 42% drop.  Even a 20% drop will put pressure on real estate companies.  We may see mergers and we may see brands closing.  There are just too many unprofitable companies.  Independent brokerages will either close or merge into larger companies with more consumer tools.  Publicly traded real estate companies will face increased pressure from shareholders to return a profit, which could affect commission splits to agents.  All these spell big change for the industry.

What will drive these changes?  The consumer experience will, and that’s about to change in a big way soon.  We’ve already seen rival companies gearing up with new updates, and we’ve seen sites like Realtor.com losing their CEO and losing brokerage accounts right and left.

A Better Real Estate Consumer Experience

In the past, search was where it was at.  Companies competed on search to gain consumers, but retaining consumers is another story.  Consumers are always in search of a better experience.  If you’re looking for places to vacation in Hawaii, you may use search.  However, if you frequently visit Hawaii and a company came along and provided a more in-depth and customizable experience, you might go from search to being loyal to the online experience.

This happened to Blockbuster.  They had all the DVD’s you could ever want.  They knew which titles were popular because they had the data from their stores.  What they didn’t have was the data outside their stores.  Netflix did, and they ate Blockbuster’s lunch.  We call it getting Netflixed.

2019 will be the year some real estate companies get Netflixed.  This will only happen because other companies provide a unique customer experience. Some companies will focus on search, because it’s all they’ve ever known.  Search might attract a customer, but the experience will retain them.

Better Online Search

Real Estate Consumer Experience

If an agent today has a database of 1,000 past customers, they need to ask themselves one question.  Are any of these 1,000 past customers at risk?  Could I lose them if someone else came along with a wonderful consumer experience?  The answer is, you betcha!  Nobody owns a customer.  While they may love their agent, they’ll go to whoever provides the best consumer experience today.

Neighborhood Insights

Real Estate Consumer Experience Neighborhood Insights

And this is what’s changing right now.  In the next 60 days we’ll be rolling out our new customer experience. We’ll use artificial intelligence to match home buyers with properties they love.  It will shorten their search for a home time.  We’ll provide neighborhood information like never before.  The consumer will be immersed in a platform they won’t want to leave.

Other companies will try to copy, but it might be too late.  It would take over 3 years to copy what we’ve done, along with data.  Wall Street is impatient and won’t wait 3 years.  Already we’re seeing real estate company stocks of selected companies under pressure.  Agents are worried and beginning to shop around for a company that can compete with what’s coming.  No agent wants to be caught at a company that’s been Netflixed.

We’re not saying one company will survive.  There will be 2-3 main companies that make it through all this, and several fighting for 4th place.  4th place isn’t where you want to be.

You can download our consumer app at www.SWfloridaopenhouse.com  It will automatically change over to the new real estate consumer experience when it’s released, so you won’t have to do anything.  Today you can search open houses, find homes, rentals, and much more.  Soon, your whole new real estate experience will change.  We have a web version coming too if you’re not into smartphones.

We look forward to changing the way consumers experience the real estate market.  You can always email me at Brett@topagent.com if you have more questions, or call 239-489-4042 Ext 4

Current financial markets turmoil creates big real estate opportunity in SW Florida.  Just last year the Fed was talking about rising rates continuing though 2019.  They began the process in 2018 but abruptly halted once the world economy didn’t cooperate.  If we raise rates too fast, it not only slows economic activity here, but it raises the dollar to a higher level which isn’t what you want when you’re correcting a trade imbalance.

Financial Markets Turmoil Creates Big Real Estate Opportunity

Europe has negative interest rates.  Imagine putting $1,000 in the bank and getting $950 back when you withdraw your money.  That seems crazy to us, but Europe is in trouble.  Our fed wasn’t looking at the whole picture when they made decisions last year, but they are now.

They realize the trade tariffs with China will slowdown economic activity worldwide, so this week Fed chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed may have to step in and adjust as economic conditions warrant.  This is code word for interest rate reductions, which sent the stock markets higher on Tuesday when he made those comments.

All this has sent interest rates down about 1% since January.  This has raised buyer’s purchasing power by 11% on this fact alone, which is putting home buyers back into the market.  Nobody knows how long these trade negotiations will last and where they’ll end up.  Republicans and Democrats alike agree they’re necessary as China has been taking advantage of our companies for too long.  We must endure short term tariffs for long term gain.  Let us show you how low your payments could be with the current financial markets turmoil.

Because of this, it’s created a window of opportunity for home buyers.  With rates around 4%, buyers must seize this opportunity.  Four factors influence the affordability of a home, and that’s price, interest rates, taxes, and fees.  Interest rates can be one of the largest factors in the cost of a home over the time a homeowner owns their home.

Buyers today are also looking at the total cost of ownership.  They ask how much the condo or HOA fees are, if there are mandatory club fees, CDD’s, and if the taxes are in the city or county.

Check Out Our App

A great agent can answer all these questions.  Websites typically show the asking price and photos, but they don’t always tell the whole story.  We have a mobile app that shows much of this information, and an automatic major update coming out within 60 days will provide you with information that you can’t get anywhere else.  It will simply blow you away.  It’s in final testing right now.

One way to get the app is go to www.SWfloridaopenhouse.com  or simply email me at Brett@topagent.com and I can email or text you the link.  Yes, you can search all the open houses on the app too.  The real power will be in the release 60 days from now.  Meanwhile, the app will show you what HOA or condo fees are in each property and we can verify if there are any other fees you might want to know about.

Of course, you can always call us at 239-489-4042.  We’ll be happy to discuss your options and how you can take advantage of these low rates for your benefit.  If you’re thinking of selling and would like to know how much we could sell your home for, and how much you’d net in your pocket at closing, ask for Sande or Brett at Ext 4, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

See Last Week’s Article: Lee County Florida Home Prices Have Been Flat For 2 Years

Good luck and let us know how we can help you make your next move!

The latest news release from Florida Realtors show Lee County Florida home sales down 6.8% in April but still up from 2016 and 2017 levels.  We are seeing increasing inventory and time on the market, and home prices are flat.  Total dollar volume of sales was down 12.3%, so we’re definitely experiencing a shifting market.

Lee County Florida April Home Sales Down 6.8%
Lee County Florida April 2019 Home Sales Down 6.8%

How you look at the market might just depend on your expectations.  If you look at it over the last 4 years, this is the 2nd highest rated market.  You can also look at it as down versus last year, and the fundamentals propelling the market are down as well.

So where do we go from here?  A lot of that will depend on the economy, interest rates, and consumer sentiment.  Right now, consumer confidence is fairly strong.  Interest rates have declined, and the economy is doing well.  The wild cards right now are the trade wars and their effects on the overall economy moving forward.

Trade between Mexico and Canada has a chance at improving significantly depending on if congress passes the latest revision to NAFTA.  Trade with China has the potential to increase drastically or go South in a hurry.  Long term it’s in our best interests to hold tight, but there is pressure on farmers and retail to wrap it up sooner rather than later.  There could be long-term winners and short-term losers in that deal.

We don’t control what happens in the future.  What we know is many want to buy here, and many want to sell.  As in any market, the trick is pricing homes at today’s market and then marketing the home so as many prospects as possible see it.

One of the best websites to search for properties is www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It’s great because it’s updated in real-time and includes all the listings.  Additionally, there are neighborhood market reports, so buyers and sellers can get an idea of what’s going on at the neighborhood level too.

Memorial Day weekend is a great weekend to enjoy the outdoors.  It’s going to be hot.  Perhaps you’re looking to purchase a home with a big back yard so you can entertain friends and family, play games, and enjoy some BBQ on the grill.  Perhaps you’re looking for a pool home in this hot weather.  Or you’re looking for a waterfront home or condo so you can go out on the boat right from your back yard.  We’ve got it all on our website.

And if you’re looking to sell, we can give you a free online estimate of your home’s value.  Simply go to www.SWFLhomevaues.com and it will show you instantly.  Or call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4  Many buyers need to sell their home first, and that’s where we can help.  We can time it, so we sell your home and find you a property to purchase as well.  All this takes coordination with the lender, title company, and the next home you’re purchasing.  We handle all the details for you so you can enjoy the process.

So, this weekend go out and enjoy the outdoors.  When you’ve had enough sun and heat, check out our websites and search for the next home that will meet your needs better.  We’ve even got boat clubs we can recommend, which might save you some money.  Some buyers elect to go this route and not buy a waterfront home and still enjoy the fabulous boating we have here in SW Florida.  Others want that boat right at their house.  Either way, we can help.

Stay safe, enjoy the weekend, and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

1742 Ardmore Rd

$273,240

Edison Park Home

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

3681 Gloxinia Dr

$225,000

Sabal Springs Home on Private Lot

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

914 El Dorado Pkwy E

$925,000

Cape Coral Waterfront Open House

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

14528 Aeries Way

$450,000

Eagle Ridge Home on Private Lot

 

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!