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

 

The past few weeks we’ve talked about rising inventory and a shifting real estate market.  Are you ready for some good news? The SW Florida real estate market is in full swing this season.  We still have rising inventory levels.  New listings are outpacing new pending sales this past week, but we see signs of encouragement.  Welcome to the Southwest Florida real estate opera.

Season is like an opera with several acts and a crescendo near the end.  Season builds.  The first act is the arrival of the listings.  Then comes the showings in the second act, followed by new pending sales in act 3, and lastly the closings in act 4.  We’re in act 2 right now, and we’re seeing great activity.

Showings are Up

Southwest Florida Real Estate Opera

We pull up showing reports for the MLS to compare how our listings are doing against all activity in certain price ranges.  If one of our listings is receiving less activity than the average, we know the market may be rejecting the price and it’s time for an adjustment.  The average showings per listing in February is 2 in the $195,000-$445,000 price range.  We can adjust the report by zip code and price.  So if we have a $300,000 home in the 33919 zip code, we can run a showing report for that zip code and the $275,000-$325,000 range and see how we’re doing.

When inventory is increasing it’s important to size up your competition, so you don’t get left further behind.  In addition to proper pricing, aggressive marketing becomes more important than ever as well.

The good news is act 2 is a good one.  Showings are up 100% versus the end of the year and about 50% since the beginning of the year.  Lookers are here and they’re interested.

Ellis Team Website Visitors by State

Ellis Team Website Statistics Visitors by State February 2019

Analyzing our website statistics confirms this as well.  We’re getting a lot of visitors from New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan.  It’s no small coincidence that high tax states have visitors moving to Florida, and our website reaches them well.  The cold weather up North doesn’t hurt either.

So, what does it take to get lookers off the fence and convert them to purchasing?  This is where seasoned pros come in.  Obviously, a looker must have some interest.  Chances are they’ve been thinking about this awhile, perhaps years.  A good agent paints the picture for them.  People don’t change until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change.  That’s a mouthful, but it’s true.

People get tired of high taxes, cold winters, and dark grey skies.  They’re depressing, and Florida is always fun!  It’s warm, bright, sunny, and cheery.  It’s hard to not have a good time while playing golf, enjoying the beaches, and a cocktail at sunset in your shorts.

Drunk Monkey

Then that drunk monkey sets in.  The drunk monkey is that alter-ego that sits on your shoulder and tells you why you can’t do something.  We can’t leave the family behind.  All our friends are up North.  What about the grand kids?  The list goes on, and year after year they take no action, yet resent that they’re not living the good life like some of their friends.

Those that take action find a way.  Perhaps they purchase and live here seasonally.  Many times, the family follows them down. And if they have a spare bedroom, they might see their friends down in Florida more than they do up North.  This is so true that quite often people downsize after several years so they lose those spare bedrooms.

Whatever the case, a seasoned agent can help a looker through the pros and cons of purchasing.  We’ve seen and heard a lot, and buyers take comfort in finding out how others before them made their dream a reality.

If you’re thinking of living the Florida dream, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. 239-489-4042  If you’d like to search for your slice of paradise, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  And if you’re considering selling, call us and ask for Sande or Brett Ellis Ext 4.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Saturday 12-3 PM

17673 Acacia Dr

3809 26th St SW

Sunday 12-3 PM

13076 Sail Away St

13 High Point Cir N #302

908 SE 21st PL

Last week we reported early signs point to a Southwest Florida real estate market shift.  The article went on to state that we’re noticing changes in the market, but nothing alarming.  It’s not alarming because real estate markets are constantly in a state of change. Southwest Florida real estate inventory rises in January.

7 Day Market Watch 2-1-19 Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises in January

One definition of a balanced market is 5.5 months’ supply of inventory.  We’ve seen others that state 6-7 months is the standard.  If we go with the Florida Realtors standard of 5.5 months, then officially we just transitioned over to a buyer’s market, but just barely.  Last month in December we had a 5.43-month supply.  In January it stands at 5.98 months.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises in January Months Supply of Inventory

Lee County available listings shot up to 6,542 in January, up from 6,004 in December.  That’s a 9% rise in just one month.  That’s typical in January as more people put their homes on the market in January than December.  The difference this year is that more people than usual also put their home on the market in November and December.

Home sales are picking back up again.  This past week the Ellis Team put 4 of our homes under contract in one day.  In fact, 314 homes went under contract this past week in the MLS.  We tell people sales usually pick up after the middle of January, and they have.

If 5.5 months supply of homes is the cut-off between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market, we’d say we’re fairly balanced at 5.98 months.  However, the market is moving and if you’re selling a home you need to know the trend.  This trend could change back again by end of season as homes start flying off the shelves and new listings taper off.

In any event, hiring a real estate professional who understands the market, and brings significant experience in all kinds of markets is critical.  You don’t want to hire an agent to sell your home who has never experienced a shifting market.  This is the quickest way to becoming an expired listing, and the process isn’t quick.  Why wait to sell your home when you could have just sold it correctly the first time?

We don’t have a bubble market like we did back in 2006.  If we did though, you sure wouldn’t want to hire the wrong agent and get caught chasing the market down.  There’s an old adage that says, “If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, when in the world are you going to find the time to do it right the next time?”

There’s another adage that says, “If you think hiring a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur!”   Most people want to hire the least expensive agent they think they can get away with.  The thinking goes, if I pay less, I’ll probably net more in my pocket at closing.  That stands to reason, except for the fact that it isn’t true.  Sometimes you get what you pay for, and in some cases, you get much more than you pay for.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty has a history of selling homes faster and for More Money! The agent you select really makes a difference.  We hope you find our market updates informative. We believe knowing the market is helpful to make the best financial decisions for you and your family.  Knowing that your agent cares about you, knows what’s important to you, and knows how to get you there is key as well.

If you’d like to chat about selling your home, always call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 Get your home’s value for Free at www.SWFLhomevalues.com If you’re looking to buy, you can call us too, or feel free to search the MLS like a pro at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Houses Saturday 12-3 PM

15212 Palm Isle Dr    Parker Lakes

17673 Acacia Dr         Sabal Springs Golf and Racquet Club

Open Houses Sunday 12-3 PM

1742 Ardmore Rd                     Edison park Historic District

9291 Central Park Dr #104    South Fort Myers Condo

 

Ellis Team Featured Property of the Week

We don’t want to alarm you as 2018 turned in some impressive stats in the SW Florida real estate market.  Closings were up for the year, as were prices and dollar volume.  You would think with increased closings and prices, Realtors would be reporting the market is fantastic.  4th quarter numbers suggest there may be some chinks in the armor. Early signs point to a Southwest Florida market shift.

Early Signs Point to Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Shift Home Sales

Closed home sales fell 15% in December over last year.  We can attribute some of that to increased closings last year in December due to Hurricane Irma.  However, we’re seeing new pending sales down 10.9% in December, which will lead to lower closings in January and February of this year.

The median sale price rose 3.1% for the year and ended at a year-end average of $251,000.  The average sales price rose 5.6% to $351,200 year-end average.  So, if prices are rising, why are we sounding the alarm?

Early Signs Point to Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Shift Inventory Levels

Inventory rose 8.8% for the year.  However, inventory shot up 19.8% over last December and the month’s supply of inventory was up 11.8% in December.  While sales for the year may be up, we’re seeing declining sales in the 4th quarter, rising inventory, and a decrease in new pending sales.

Not Time to Worry

All this leads to worry amongst real estate agents that we may be in the middle of a shift.  This isn’t a time to worry though.  Experienced agents know how to handle a shift.  If you’ll remember, our article back in October warned of a possible upcoming shifting market, and we recommended sellers put their home on the market before January to beat the predicted rush of listings.

People listened, and the rush began sooner than January.  We talked about how selecting the correct listing agent is critical when the market shifts in our December 1st article. To read past articles, visit http://blog.topagent.com

When the market shifts, it’s critical you select an agent with experience.  For instance, lower priced homes are still receiving multiple offers.  Other homes take more marketing and experience to sell properly.  Of course, you not only must select an experienced agent, you must listen to them.

Sellers do not like to hear that the market has shifted, and they hold onto what their home used to be worth.  Markets move up and down, and just as a seller expects a buyer to get over it when the market moves up, buyers expect sellers to get over it when it moves down.

Sellers point to the fact prices went up 3.1% in 2018.  Yes, but not in all sub-markets, and not all year.  Prices may have gone up slightly in first 3 quarters of the year and pulled back in last quarter.

What’s Causing a Shift?

Some say it’s rising interest rates.  Interest rates peaked in October around 5%.  They’ve since slid back a bit.  Rising rates rob home buyers of purchasing power.  As this occurs, there are fewer home buyers available in each price range.

Keep this in mind.  Inventory levels stand at a 5.7-month supply of homes.  A balanced market is 5.5-month supply.  So, we’ve barley crossed the threshold, and it varies by price range.

We’re seeing buyer activity picking up right now.  We usually do after January 15th.  Buyers have more choices today, but the best homes are flying off the shelves.  The challenge to sellers is, you must be the best home, so buyers pick you.  An experienced agent can guide you.  Buyers see lots of homes, and it becomes apparent which is the best value for them.  Sellers must learn to think like a buyer.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling your home, always call the Ellis Team.  Ask for Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Put our decades of experience to work for you, along with the most aggressive marketing in Lee County.  There is a reason our homes sell faster and for more money.  If you’d like to learn more about the shift, call us for a confidential interview.  Experience matters! To get an idea of what your home is worth for Free online, visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Houses Saturday 1-3 PM

Parker Lakes

15212 Palm Isle Dr

14551 Daffodil Dr Unit 1808

Central Park South

9291 Central park Dr Unit 104

Open Houses Sunday 1-3 PM

Cape Coral

1004 SE 5th Terrace Cape Coral

2008 Bolado Pkwy

Naples

13 High Point Cir N Unit 302

Today’s home buyer loves to search online to find their dream home.  It makes them feel part of the process and gives them a certain sense of control, which makes sense because they are half of the process.  Without home buyers we wouldn’t have home sales. Home buyers demand 360 degree virtual tours and artificial intelligence.

Home Buyers Demand 360 Degree Virtual Tours and Artificial Intelligence

Home Buyers Demand 360 Degree Virtual Tours and Artificial Intelligence

Most buyers realize they can’t complete the purchase alone, they need help.  The one thing they can do though is search. And when they search, and search, and search the process can sometimes be overwhelming.  We’ve seen buyers bring in a stack of listings or email us daily with homes they feel they might like to look at.  Their frustration mounts when they see a few of these and realize they don’t match their criteria at all.

They’re also afraid they might be missing out on some listings because they can’t quite tell if the property meets their needs based on the photos.  The technology is here today to show them so much more, and buyers love it.

Artificial Intelligence

The Ellis Team is employing two sets of technology we believe will really change how buyers look at property, and how Realtors market their listings.  We’re introducing artificial intelligence that searches each photo in the MLS and keeps an eye on what a customer likes online.  Let’s say a customer is searching for homes 1800-2100 Sq. Ft of living area, with a pool, 2 car garage, and at least 3 bedrooms.  What the system notices is that they seem to be drawn to homes with wood floors, or white kitchen cabinets.  They didn’t ask for it in the search, but it’s clear they spend more time looking at homes with the two features.  We’ll be able to suggest homes that match what they’re looking for, even if they didn’t specifically ask for it.

Realtors, how many times has your buyer bought a home completely different than what they told you they were looking for?  Exactly!  Our artificial intelligence will be able to search neighborhoods for features like parks, recreation, proximity to shopping, restaurants, etc., in addition to photos.  We have neighborhood insights that causes buyers spend over 4 times looking at homes with these insights versus ones that don’t.

360 Degree Virtual Tours

The Ellis Team is adding 360 degree virtual tours on our listings.  www.SWFL360hometours.com By doing this the buyer gets a greater sense of the home in proximity to the neighborhood, and a sense of how each room looks and feels in the home.  A static photo can be shot in such a way as to make the room look different than it really is, and buyers don’t like that.  They feel like they’ve wasted their time when there aren’t enough photos of a home, or they feel deceived.  A 360 degree virtual tour puts the buyer in control of how they want to view the home, and they are much more likely to schedule a live showing because of that.

We had a home listed with static photos.  It wasn’t selling.  As soon as we loaded a 360 virtual tour, a buyer called us to schedule a showing.  They had a better sense of how they could use the property.  They bought it, and both buyer and seller are happy.  The static photos weren’t bad, they just couldn’t tell the buyer the whole story on how they could use the property.

This is all part of a greater marketing strategy.  Giving the buyer the tools to be more engaged in the buying process makes a Realtor’s listings stand out.  In an age of increasing listing inventory, Realtors need to do more and more to make their listings stand out.

The 360 virtual tours are live now and growing as we list properties. Artificial intelligence searches are set to go live in SW Florida by March.    If you’re thinking of selling and would like to see how all this works for you, give Brett or Sande Ellis a call.  239-489-4042 Ext 4  We’ll be happy to show you how the Ellis Team can make your home stand out, and how the new technology that will absolutely change how Realtors sell certain homes faster and for top dollar.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1742 Ardmore Rd

9291 Central park Dr #104

3703 SE 10th Ave Unit 7