Over the holidays, I had the chance to speak with several Realtors at various parties and get togethers and find out what are other agents saying about SW Florida real estate market.  We work with other agents every day, however there is something about getting a bunch of agents together in one place and discussing what they’re seeing in the market.

Agents Saying About SW Florida Real Estate MarketAgents Saying About SW Florida Real Estate Market

Each one that I spoke with had similar observations.  Buyers and sellers seem to share an anger.  When both are angry this is an indication the market is in flux.  Each side has certain expectations and neither are being met.

If you’ve ever watched American Idol, some of the best episodes in the beginning of the season are when they show singers who think they are good.  They’ve been told all their life how wonderful they sing by friends and family.  Nobody wants to disappoint them, so they don’t tell them the truth.  It may help their ego for a while, but secretly people are laughing at them because their talent doesn’t match their perception of themselves.

The real estate market can be like that sometimes.  Most people know what a seller’s market is, and most know what a buyer’s market is.  Imagine being a seller believing wholeheartedly it’s a full-blown seller’s market and buyers are just beating down doors to buy any home they can.

And imagine a parallel universe where buyers believe it’s a full-blown buyer’s market and sellers are practically giving homes away.  When you merge these two universes together, each one begins to realize their expectation of what the market is, or what they think it should be collide.  And when these universes collide, each side becomes frustrated.

Therefore, now more than ever buyers and sellers need agents.  When either side is confused about reality, or angry, or sometimes both, transactions do not get done without the help of a professional.  In 2016 transactions were down about 15% or more.  We’ll wait for year-end calculations on that.

Anger shows up when it shouldn’t, and it kills deals.  Regular inspection items become mountains, because the buyer has fear, or doesn’t feel like the transaction has been fair to them.  Rational or not, buyers bail.  Or sellers refuse to fix the most basic items; items they’d fix if they were staying in the home anyway.  If the seller is angry or doesn’t feel like they’ve won, sometimes they turn off and tune out and kill deals.

What neither side fails to realize is that winning is the culmination of attaining a goal.  The goal was to either buy a house or sell a house.  Anger gets in the way.  They judge wins and losses by who got the better of the deal, not whether the deal closes.

Now many items are important.  We’re not making light of that.  Agents work tirelessly every day to bring a transaction together, and lots of things must happen to make that reality.  We’re talking about the silly things that shouldn’t rise to deal-breaker status but do because of emotions.

When you’re in a transaction, you can convince yourself of anything, and you’d be right.  Most buyers and sellers appreciate having a professional guide them.  They can bounce ideas off their agent, and an agent can give them a professional perspective on how to handle it, and which items are worth arguing about.

Imagine 4 siblings fighting over a toy.  Or arguing about who started the fight.  You’ve all heard “But she started it”.  As a parent, you know the kids can’t see the big picture because they’re caught up in the emotion of who is getting the fair shake.  They don’t realize that the parents aren’t necessarily picking a favorite, they’re just arbitrating what is fair this time, until the next argument 10 minutes later.

We don’t see buyers and sellers as children.  However, children and adults alike are people, and emotions take over.  It’s human nature.  To combat emotions, we like to use facts, data and logic.

We study the market and counsel buyers and sellers to actual market conditions.  We help get you from Stuck to Sold.  Call the Ellis Team  239-489-4042.  Let’s make your next transaction in 2017 a success.

Feel free to search for homes www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Our data is updated every 5 minutes, so you’ll get the latest listings when seconds count.

Seller’s Club December Video

Test out our Neighborhood Market Reports  You’ll find useful information about listing and sales activity for dozens of neighborhoods.  If you don’t see your’s listed, you can create your own and save it.

The Southwest Florida real estate inventory supply increases in the 4th qtr.  All price ranges except two increased with the most pronounced increases occurring in the $400,000 and up range.

Southwest Florida real estate inventory supply increases in 4th Qtr

In December, the $400k-600k range shot up almost 2 months from 9.34 months in September to 11.15 months currently.  The $600k-$1 Million shot up from 12.57 months to 14.69 currently.  That’s over a 2 month jump.  The biggest jump occurred in the $1 Million+ range where there was a 17.03 month supply back in September.  Today that number stands at 21.04 months.  That’s almost a 4 month jump in supply just since September.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Supply Increases

It pays to know where your home stands in the supply chain.  It tells you how aggressive you must be when selling your home.  The overall market stands at 5.65 months which is a healthy number.  People read headlines and hear there is a 5.65 month supply, so homes must be selling fast.  They figure with homes selling so fast it’s probably easy to stick a sign in the yard and sell it.

Even at the lower price ranges there are still many homes that do not sell, because they are over-priced.  If they were priced correctly and properly marketed, they would sell.  The demand is there, at the correct price.

As we go higher in price the demand is still there, it’s just that the supply is even greater.  Recently more homes are coming to the market than are selling, hence why we have increasing supply.  We can’t look at the overall market and assume all homes are selling the exact same.  Just as we can’t assume that all cities in Florida are behaving the exact same.  Real estate is local, and it is segmented.

Certain cities or neighborhoods sell better than others.  This can be due to economic factors, or perhaps location.  The closer to beaches, or top schools can affect values.

Lee County is getting ready to change how children are selected for schools starting in 2018.  This may put an end to the zoned system and busing system as we know it.  Children will go to schools closer to where they live, and this could affect values.

Segments also affect the market.  Sometimes the low end is red-hot, and other times the mid to upper markets make a comeback.  Generally speaking, the lower the price the greater the demand as more people can afford lower prices.  Not everyone can afford high-end real estate.  Just because Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Supply Increases in some price ranges doesn’t mean it increases for all ranges.  In fact, a few decreased.

Right now we have an affordable housing crunch in Southwest Florida. Rents are high, and so are median sales prices relative to what the average working person can afford.  It makes it difficult to find housing close to where you work.   We saw this back in the housing boom too.  This doesn’t mean our market is over-inflated.  It just means there is a cap to how much more and how fast it can rise until incomes pick up.

The big price gains may be over, unless the economy comes roaring back.  Our US economy has essentially had free money for the past 8 years and it’s done nothing except help the stock market.  If jobs and economic activity return like it’s believed they will post-election, our real estate market  could be in for more good times.  If nothing changes, we could be in for flat to modest gains.

We think 2017 is going to be a year of change.  Home sales may pick up even though rates will continue to rise.  Proper pricing and aggressive marketing will become even more important, and the people who act quickest will save the most money when rates rise.

You can search the MLS for Free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com.  Our database has all the homes, and it’s updated every 5 minutes directly from the MLS.  It will even notify you of new homes or price changes if you save your search.  You can always call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll be happy to discuss your buying or selling options.

 

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

December 2016 Ellis Team Seller’s Club Report

 

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Southwest Florida listing inventory rises in October to 5,157 units, up from 4,829 in September.  That is a 6.79% rise in just one month.  We went back to last year and noticed listing inventory rose 6.09% those same months, so inventory is rising a bit faster this year.

Home inventory was up 16.64% this past September over 2015 and in October it’s up 17.42%.  We’ve been mentioning all year 2016 has been a leveling off and balancing market, so rising inventory isn’t surprising.  In fact, it was predicted.

November statistics won’t come out until next week.  We’ve been studying preliminary numbers and from what we can tell, median and average sales price are going to be fairly even.  Perhaps a small gain on median price and small loss on average price.  However, we can only track Lee County numbers submitted to our MLS.

If our numbers are correct we may see an uptick in number of closed sales in November.  Also frustrating is the fact that they go back and adjust last year’s numbers, so that can influence predictions as well.

Southwest Florida Listing Inventory Rises

Southwest Florida Listing Inventory Rises

We searched active homes on market on December 13th and we found 5,104.  If we add back in the pending and contingent listings we have 5,955. We’ll be watching the official November stats when they are released next week.  As you can tell from the chart, the trendline is up slightly.

Some people believe we’ll see more homes hit the market as interest rates rise.  Others believe we may see less as sellers may decide to stay in their low-cost mortgage.  I can tell you one thing.  If you currently own and your home no longer works for you, the time to list is now.

We need to get your home sold and you into your new home before rates rise again.  They’ve already risen about .75%.  This will cost you more to finance the same amount, so waiting will cost you tens of thousands over the life of your new loan.

Did you know you can search the entire MLS from our website?   It has all the homes, and it’s updated every 5 minutes, so you’ll be the first to know about new homes as they enter the market or change their price.  You can even save your search, and have multiple saved searches in case you’re looking at different options.  We even have a free tool to find out what your home is worth online.

The Ellis Team is also busy meeting with potential sellers.  We counsel sellers on how to get top dollar for their home and how their home should be positioned and marketed in the marketplace.  Sellers are finding out there is a difference and listing with the wrong Realtor can cost them thousands.

Don’t list with a Realtor that doesn’t bring you top dollar.  You might ask, what’s our secret for getting top dollar?  We’d love to show you.  It’s not by accident, it’s by design.

Let us sit down with you and show you how our 30+ years in the market combined with today’s latest technology and aggressive marketing is making a difference for our sellers.  If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.

Our team is growing.  We have thousands of buyers in our database looking to purchase.  If you’re an agent looking to grow your business, give us a call.  If you’re a potential seller looking to sell before rates go up, give us a call too.  Put our experience and wisdom to work for you.

We’ve been through changing markets before.  Rising rates change the game and knowing how to help buyers and sellers can be the difference to keeping your deals together and saving everybody money.  You can call us at 239-489-4042.  If you’re considering selling, ask for Sande or Brett Ellis.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update December 2016

We’ve been warning all year that rates are set to rise.  The fed has signaled that it was ready to raise rates at their December meeting after the election.  The markets didn’t wait, and rising interest rates affecting borrowers has risen faster than people expected.  Since the election rates have risen about .6%.

Rising Interest Rates Affecting Borrowers

It’s complicated, so let’s just say the Fed sets short term rates and rates banks use to borrow from each other.  The mortgage market works off the 10 Year treasury note, and that is market driven.  The price for 10 year treasury notes has fallen, meaning the yield is going up.

Rising Interest Rates Affecting Borrowers

What does rising rates mean for the SW Florida real estate market?  We’ve mentioned ad nauseam that a 1% rise in rates robs a buyer of 11% purchasing power.  Since the election rising rates have made the average home price about $16,400 more expensive.  Unfortunately for sellers this won’t be going in their pocket. If the market would have beared $16,400 more for each home it would have already done so.  Rising rates just stole $16,400 from the seller.

The question now becomes, can the buyer afford that?  If they can’t, it will cut demand.  If the buyer was maxed out before, they will have to pay $16,400 less today for the same home they could have paid more for a few weeks ago.  The only thing that changed was interest rates.

Rising rates may spur the market to move.  It should.  Buyers who were on the fence should buy now!  We’ve been warning them and this day has finally come.  It costs buyers to wait.

We may see more sellers enter the market as well.  Sellers are getting hit at both ends.  Not only are buyers losing purchasing power to buy their home, the seller is also losing purchasing power on the next home they buy if they’re getting a mortgage.  Waiting has cost sellers, and when they realize this day is finally here more will act.  As more homes enter the market, there will be more competition amongst sellers for buyers.  It becomes a triple whammy for sellers.

Hire Experience

What can sellers do?  I wouldn’t wait for all the other sellers to figure this out.  I’d get my home on the market now before rates go higher and before listing inventory increases.  Inventory has already been increasing this past year, and it could increase.  Getting ahead of this is always better.

Hire the Top Marketer in Your Area

Secondly, I’d hire the best agent I could who advertises a lot.  Some agents have gotten by without a lot of advertising, but that all changes in a rising interest rate environment and increasing inventory. With rising interest rates affecting borrowers like it is today, time is of the essence.  You need an aggressive agent who’s been through a changing market before.  Some of the newer agents haven’t.

Call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 and Sande or I will be happy to determine your market value and discuss your options.  Or, you can go on our website www.LeeCounyOnline.com and search the MLS or get an idea what you home might be worth with our Free online home estimator.

Rising rates isn’t all bad.  It’s a sign the economy may heat up.  Wall St is bullish on a better economy and better jobs here in the US.  I stopped in an investment house the other day and asked them their outlook.  They are bullish in 2017.

Many Realtors are bullish too.  We think we’ll see more transactions as more sellers decide to sell.  A good economy fuels more buyers, even if rising rates tempers price gains.  We could still see rising prices, or stable prices.  The jury is still out.  For the past 11 months prices have not risen a dime.

2017 will bring change.  Buyers and sellers need to know what that means for them.  Unfortunately, plan on increased borrowing costs.  Expect to see increased inventory, and more sales.  Sales have been off this year, and with increased inventory comes more opportunity.

Buyers, now is the time to talk with your Realtor and your lender.  You can call us at 239-489-4042 and we can help you with both.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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Watch our December 2016 Seller’s Club Video

Recently the Ellis Team has sold a few For Sale By Owners in addition to our normal sales and it got us to thinking.  What if we could help more For Sale By Owners sell their home?  We thought about it and we came up with the Ellis Team For Sale By Owner Assisted Listing Program.

We’re creating a special website of For Sale By Owner listings.  Sellers  can still market their property on their own and if they find a buyer, great.  They also get some additional marketing by the Ellis Team and a chance to open their home to a larger audience.

For Sale By Owner Assisted Listing Program

Sometimes For Sale By Owners just want to try selling their home themselves.  They want to save the commission, and they don’t personally know a great Realtor, so why not try selling themselves first?

If I had a house to sell and didn’t know the real estate business like I do, I’d probably try to sell my home on my own too.  Who can blame an owner from trying to put the most money in their pocket from the sale of their own home?

We’ll put the For Sale By Owner in a special section of our website. This informs our database of buyers that we have other listings not in MLS that might suit the buyer.  Many buyers are leery of working with a FSBO because they feel at a disadvantage. Buyers don’t have someone guiding them through the process, writing the contract, organizing inspections, financing, etc.

All of the listings in the For Sale By Owner Assisted Listing Program offer guidance to the buyer so they can feel more comfortable purchasing one of these homes.  It also opens up the inventory to homes they might not have seen otherwise.  Most For Sale By Owners are hard to find and not well advertised.  They rely on for sale signs and inexpensive websites and social media to sell their home, so buyers could miss out on opportunities.

For Sale By Owner Assisted Listing Program

All listings in the For Sale By Owner Assisted Listing Program have agreed to work with an Ellis Team agent should we find a buyer.  This is a win/win for the seller and buyer. The owner can still attempt to sell on their own and they receive benefit of working with us to an expanded group of buyers.

Statistics show over 90% of For Sale By Owners give up and hire a Realtor.  All we ask is that if the owner gives up and later on decides to hire a Realtor, they agree to interview the Ellis Team for the job at that time.  They don’t have to hire us, just give us a shot.

The Ellis Team has brought thousands of buyers and sellers together over the years and this program just expands on that.  We can even work out a program if the seller finds the buyer we’ll help for a nominal fee.

Check out the Ellis Team For Sale By Owner Assisted Listing Program online.  We’ll be adding For Sale By Owners and information to the website in the coming weeks.  Buyers can check out these upcoming by owner listings too in case it meets their criteria.

We Find the Buyers

This new program is in addition to our full blown, cutting edge marketing system of our listings.  The Ellis Team sells homes 19.7% faster than the average agent and we sell our homes for more money.  Our marketing goes out and finds the buyer instead of waiting for the buyer to find your home.  We put more money in our seller’s pockets, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

If you’re thinking of selling, give the Ellis Team a call.  We’d love to sit down with you and interview for the job.  And if you’d like to try it yourself first, give us a call anyway.  We can be your backup plan if the home doesn’t sell.  As long as you’re interviewing Realtors, you might as well interview the best!

Feel free to search the MLS, get neighborhood market reports, and find out what your home is worth at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Or call us at 239-489-4042.  Ask for Sande or Brett.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update December 2016

Check out Ellis Team Featured Listings

 

Related For Sale By Owner Articles

For Sale By Owner Sales at All-Time Low  Nov 2016

For Sale By Owner Pitfalls  July 2014

By the time you read this article Thanksgiving will be a distant memory as attention turns to holiday shopping, upcoming family get togethers, office parties, etc.  We thought it might be an appropriate time to give thanks in SW Florida before the holiday rush.

Give Thanks in SW Florida

Give Thanks in SW Florida

I’m thankful the election is over.  I was over it months ago really and Election Day couldn’t get here soon enough.  Now that the election is over, we can reflect on what the results might mean for our real estate market.

Interest rates are rising.  This was the case regardless of who was elected president, so we have some headwind there that doesn’t help.  However, rates are still very low and shouldn’t pose a big problem anytime soon.

We are hopeful parts of Dodd-Frank will be repealed.  This would help the financing market as onerous regulations have made lenders cautious about lending.  The finance industry was to loose before the run-up and they’ve been too tight since.

Appraisal regulations are terrible.  We’d like to see these revamped as they don’t serve the buyers or the banks well.  They’re forcing buyers to lose homes to cash buyers or put more money down when the home doesn’t appraise.  It’s a shame because if the buyer loses out because the home doesn’t appraise and a cash buyer comes in and pays what the previous buyer contracted to pay, it proves the home was really worth it.  New regulations within the last few years prevent appraisers from reaching actual value, especially on homes that are highest in the neighborhood.  Just because there are not comps at that higher price doesn’t mean home isn’t worth it.  It just means a home that size perhaps hadn’t come on the market until now.

We’re already hearing Apple and Ford may build products in the US that were previously slated to be built out of the country.  This is good news.  We need manufacturing jobs to come back to the US.  Lowering corporate income taxes raises the tax base as more companies do business here, and they hire US job seekers versus lower paying jobs somewhere else.  It’s a win-win for the US.  More jobs mean a healthier real estate market.

We’d like to see the Affordable Care Act reworked so the coverage is actually affordable.  We talk to buyers who cannot afford to purchase a home because health care costs have gone up so much.  The Affordable Care Act didn’t do much to contain costs, only premiums on those that qualify for subsidies.  This didn’t address the problem.  We need to control costs, deliver a better product, and make it affordable to more people.  It is our hope that the president and congress can work together to solve this issue.

Right now many employers will not hire full-time workers.  Some small businesses cannot afford to pay under Obama Care either, so it’s a double-whammy.  Repealing and replacing that law could fix this and allow businesses to hire full-time people, which will help the economy and real estate markets across the country.

We’re not here to argue who would have made a better president, or whether the popular vote or Electoral College is best.  Now that we have a president, our focus is on what we can do to get the economy going again.  We’ve basically had free money for the last 8 years and that didn’t help like you would think.  Change is required, and change is on the way.

We think we have the potential to kick-start this real estate market.  It will only happen if the economy takes off.  Be thankful change is coming, and let’s all hope and pray that change will kick-start this economy.

You can search our website at www.LeeCountyOnline.com for some great bargains in SW Florida.  You can also find out what your home is worth online for Free!  If you’d like to talk to us, we can be reached at 239-489-4042

Don’t forget about our Ready For a Yeti promotion.  Enter to win a Yeti cooler.  Details available on our Ellis Team Facebook Page

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update December 2016

Only 8% of recent home sales were FSBO sales which indicates for sale by owner sales at all-time low for the 2nd straight year.

For Sale By Owner Sales at All-Time Low

Most for sale by owners want to try and see if they can save the commission, and who could blame them.  Everyone wants to save money. What matters most is how much is in your pocket at closing.

The average FSBO gives up after 2-3 weeks when they get no showings or so many showings and no offers that they get tired of the process.  They don’t know who they are letting in their home and what their motivation is.  If it’s risky for real estate agents’ security, just imagine how risky it is for a sale by owner.

We know that 92% of all sales go through an agent.  Most sellers don’t realize that only 4% of buyers viewing their home are qualified to buy it.  Some don’t have the income.  Others don’t have the credit necessary to purchase.  A large percentage has locked equity, meaning they must sell something before they can purchase.  This requires an agent to solve that problem.  It is very frightening to sell and buy simultaneously and to coordinate financing on both properties and all the closing details when you don’t know what you’re doing.

Buyers and sellers have fears and all these must be met.  A for sale by owner can’t do it.  Buyers don’t trust sellers because they have fears, just like the seller does.  Somebody with knowledge and people skills must manage all this.

Quite often we get sellers who contact us telling us they’ll pay us a certain percent to sell their home.  They mistakenly believe they’ll save part of the commission doing this, essentially becoming their own listing agent.

First off, they won’t have an agent representing them.  Secondly, they won’t have an agent marketing their home.  We go out and create buyers for each of our listings.  We target buyers online by the inventory we have.  When we don’t have the sale by owner in inventory, we aren’t out creating buyers for that home.

Real estate today isn’t like the old days where you put up a sign, placed it in MLS, maybe took out a generic ad in paper, and hoped someone else would sell it.

We Target the Buyers

Reaching buyers today is more sophisticated.  We buy the data and target the buyers.  We have the ability to search for buyers based upon their income, age group, lifestyle, whether they’re likely to make a move, etc.

Let’s say we list a property in a 55+ community.  It would do no good to target 30 year olds when they can’t live there.  We can target 55+ yr old buyers.  Or perhaps we list a property with tennis courts.  We can target buyers who are interested in playing tennis.  The same is true for waterfront homes, golf course homes, gated communities, etc.

We go out and find buyers based upon our seller’s needs.  If a for sale by owner thinks they’re going to save part of the commission by offering all agents a fee to sell their home, they’ll be missing  on the prime benefit of listing with an agent.

For Sale By Owner Sales at All-Time Low

Two separate studies show for sale by owners receive 16% less than properties sold with an agent.  By giving away 16% are they really saving anything?  No, it’s costing them not to use an agent.

If you doubt us, go ahead and try it for a few weeks.  Then call us at 239-489-4042.  Or just call us upfront.  If we put a lot more money in your pocket at closing because we attract more buyers, we don’t cost you anything.  Imagine selling in an online auction.  Do you think you’ll receive more if you have 1,000 qualified buyers versus only 1?  Let us open the door to finding good qualified buyers for you.

Visit our website and search for your dream home www.LeeCountyOnline.com or find out what your property is worth.  Good luck and Happy Home Selling!

See Also:  FSBO and Discount Broker Sales at Record Lows

The Ellis Team now marketing Useppa Island Homes

The last few weeks we’ve been bringing readers up to speed on prices and where they’re headed as well as closings for 2016.  This week we decided to focus on listings.  We’ve been reporting that listing inventory rises slightly for months and here is the latest graph to illustrate that.

Listing inventory is seasonal.  For some reason, more sellers decide to list in season than other times.  I don’t know if they perceive there are more buyers here in season or perhaps they come back to SW Florida and decide to list.  For whatever reason is does go up in season which makes using the trend line a little complicated.

Listing Inventory Rises Slightly

We did add the trend line which does show a rise in inventory going forward.  Year over year numbers are up each month so this is accurate.  The real question is going to be, with slowing sales, rising rates, and stagnant home prices, what will happen in 2017?

Listing Inventory Rises Slightly

The amount of inventory in 2017 will most likely affect home prices as much as interest rates do.  We’ve seen rising prices up until this year partly because listing inventory has been so low for so many years.  As new construction and existing home inventory begins to rise, we’re seeing prices level off. We’re not sure if it’s the chicken or the egg.  Does listing inventory rise because prices stagnate or do prices stagnate because inventory is rising?

We think they go hand in hand and affect each other.  The SW Florida real estate market is totally balanced right now.  You might say it’s a perfectly healthy market.  Buyers and sellers are at an equal advantage right now.  In the lower price ranges, it’s a seller’s market and in the upper ranges it’s a buyer’s market.  The mid-market is balanced.

Buyers, sellers, and agents alike complain when the market is skewed too far in any one direction.  It is not often we can say the market is perfectly balanced, but at the end of 2016 I think we can.  Our market is like a teeter totter and it is straight right now.

As you know, it doesn’t take much to alter a teeter totter and they don’t stay straight for long.  Our market has been slowly moving from a seller’s market to balanced.  It could go either way from here.  It depends on interest rates, consumer confidence, and the economy.

We think the election results will go a long way to resolving some of this.  Interest rates will probably rise in 2017.  Consumer confidence will be swayed by the economy and confidence in the election results.

Who holds the presidency?  Who controls the Senate, and the House?  Is the election in dispute?  Is the winner under investigation and facing indictment?  We don’t know how the election will turn out.  We don’t know how the winner and loser will react.  We don’t know who will control congress.  This election season is the craziest we’ve ever seen.

All we do know is we have uncertainty.  Uncertainty may hold back interest rates for a while, but it may also hold back the economy.  We don’t control any of this.  All we can do is advise our clients and help them make the best real estate decisions for their family.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, call the SW Florida real estate authority, the Ellis Team, 239-489-4042  or visit our MLS website.  While we may not be able to tell you who will win the election, we can advise you on your real estate decisions.  Use our website to find out how much your home is worth for Free or search the MLS.  You can also do neighborhood market reports for neighborhoods you’re interested in.

And be sure to buy some popcorn this weekend because next Tuesday will be must-see TV.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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Real estate shifts are the natural ebb and flow of the market.  The real estate market never stays constant.  It is affected by supply and demand, employment, the economy, interest rates, weather, political forces, and more.  Our world is in a constant state of shift, so why would the real estate market be any different? We’ll show you why the SW Florida real estate shift is real and it is in effect.

Nobody would expect the stock market to stay the same each day.  People know that it goes up and down, and many times it does so in the same day.

Currently the SW Florida real estate shift is on.  Last week we reported that sales prices have been flat all year.  Some prices ranges have gone up and some have gone down, and overall the market is flat.  If you didn’t read last week’s article on about SW Florida home sellers  we’d encourage you to go back and read it as the graphs show perfectly what is going on with prices.

SW Florida Real Estate Shift is On

SW Florida Real Estate Shift

Today we’d like to focus on closed sales.  As you can see from the chart, closed sales are down in Lee County versus last year.  In fact, they’re down 9.04% year over year.

We have rising inventory, declining sales, and stagnant home prices.  I’d call that a shift.  It’s nothing to worry about or blatant in the numbers, but something to be aware of going forward.

In a shifting market, marketing is more important than ever.  To get top dollar your home must compete and stand out.  It must do so in three ways.

Everyone knows if they wish to sell something it pays to have interest from more than just one party.  Imagine selling an item online.  Would you rather have 1,000 bidders or just 1 bidder for your item?  Of course, everyone would choose multiple bidders when selling.  The same is true in real estate.  You don’t necessarily need multiple bidders; however, you better expose the home to multiple parties.  Everyone would agree that 100% exposure equals top dollar.  Anything less may net you less than top dollar.

Secondly, while marketing is most important, no amount of marketing will sell an overpriced home.  We could spend a million dollars marketing a property.  If it is worth $500,000 and we price it at $1 million will it sell?  Of course not.

Thirdly, the agent you choose may be the most important factor of all.  You want an agent that will give your home the most exposure.  You want an agent with experience to know what price it should start at, and the wisdom and courage to tell you when it’s time to adjust.  Inexperienced agents may not know how to price, and they may not have the courage or confidence to tell you an adjustment is needed.

When I go to the doctor because I fear something is wrong I don’t want a doctor who will tell me what I want to hear.  Of course, I hope its good news and nothing to worry about.  However, if it isn’t I want a doctor to tell me straight-up so I can make quick decisions and rectify the bad situation.  The sooner you deal with a medical issue the less pain you may feel on the back end.  In life, the sooner you deal with issues the quicker they are resolved and the sooner you get back to living life.

The same is true in real estate.  When making a real estate move, don’t call that friend who just got their license or that family member who needs help.  You want the best, and your financial success depends on it.  Especially in a shifting market.

When financial markets shift, you’ll hear the term “Flight to quality.”  This means a movement towards safety and dependability.  In real estate, sellers move towards experienced agents who can guide them through the shifting maze.  Now is when experience counts, and your future depends on the advice, expertise, and marketing from agents who can guide you.

If you go on a swamp buggy tour, you’ll know what I mean.  You want a tour guide who’s done this a time or two and won’t tip the buggy over in alligator infested swamp water.  We’ve done this a time or two, so feel free to call us if you’d like to buy or sell in SW Florida.  Visit our website at www.LeeCountyOnline.com to see all properties in the MLS or find out what your home is worth.

Watch our SW Florida Real Estate Shift Predictions Back in February 2016

Thank goodness we’ve been busy listing and selling a lot of property lately.  The 360-degree home tours and advanced marketing we’re employing to go out and create buyers for our listings is working.  We have noticed a trend recently we thought we’d try to clear up.  SW Florida home sellers are confused when they read headlines that home prices were up 11.3% in August.  They’re interviewing agents and they aren’t hearing the higher prices they were expecting, so they’ve called us out to verify what’s really going on in the market.

SW Florida Home Sellers Confused

We decided to present the chart in a different way.  Agents have been telling sellers there’s been a shift since we reported on it back on February 16th.  Sellers aren’t seeing it though because they read the headlines.  It is true, median prices are up 11.3% over last year.  However, they are down $5,000 from last month and down $2,000 from where they were last November.

Unless home prices rise in the next few months, we’ll be looking at essentially a flat line since last November.  In other words, home prices aren’t statistically rising right now.  The rise occurred last year up until November, so when you read that home prices are up over last year, they are until we get to November.  They are actually down month over month as much as they are up which is creating the flat line.

It is possible prices could start rising again.  Perhaps after the election consumer confidence will grow.  I think everyone can agree they’re tired of the political season and just want it over with as soon as possible so we can move on with our lives.

We see the Fed raising rates at their December meeting.  Interest rates have been quietly rising the past few weeks and we see more of that in 2017.  Rising rates typically do not help home prices rise because it steals affordability from the buyer.  Basically, when rates move up 1% it robs the buyer of about 11% purchasing power.

In other words, a $400,000 buyer putting 10% down could finance $360,000.  If they lose 11% purchasing power, for the same payment they can now finance 320,400.  They lose $39,600 in purchasing power.  Their payment remains the same as if they were financing $360,000 and paying $400,000 earlier before rates went up.

This is why rising rates does not help home prices.  Rising rates can spur home buyers who have been on the fence to buy now so they will save money on payments, but it doesn’t help prices long-term.

This is one reason choosing the right Realtor to list your home will become even more important.   You need a Realtor who has sold during a rising rate environment.  I venture to guess that over 80% of agents today have not been in business long enough to experience that.

How you sell in a rising rate environment is vastly different than in a stable or lowering interest rate environment.  Marketing becomes more critical as well.

If you’re a buyer, I would seriously consider buying now.  It will cost you to wait.  Prices may still rise, just not as fast.  Or they may remain stable.  The only advantage to you might be more inventory to choose from.  The disadvantage will be that it will cost you more to buy the same house next year, simply because of rising rates.

If you’d like to search the market, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  You can beat out other buyers to hot new listings as our database is updated every 5 minutes directly from the MLS.

SW Florida home sellers, if you’re  considering making a move, you should call us now.  239-489-4042.  Or visit LeeCountyOnline.com and get a free computerized estimate of your home’s value.

Please call us if we can help.  Good luck and Happy Home Buying!

Our Paint the Town Red event was a success.  We had over 35 properties open in one day and produced several interested buyers for our properties.  Be on the lookout for our next open house extravaganza.

Don’t forget to enter our contest so you can win a Yeti Cooler.