From time to time we like to take a snapshot in time and evaluate what’s going on in the local real estate market.  It’s been awhile since we’ve posted our Lee County 7-day real estate market watch, so we decided it’s time.

Lee County 7 Day Real Estate market Watch 9-21-19

As you can see from the chart,  the Lee County 7 day real estate market watch shows pending sales outpaced new listings 359 to 299.  If you add back in the 82 back on market listings, you’ll notice that inventory slightly outpaced pending sales.  It’s fairly normal to have fallout on pending sales for various reasons.

Buyers have inspections and sometimes try to use that as an additional negotiation point which results in contract fallout.  Sometimes a buyer’s financing falls through, or occasionally a property might not appraise.  Any number of things can cause contract fallout.

The other thing we noticed this 7-day period is the price decreases.  There were 305.  This tells us 305 sellers overpriced their home.  The sellers are still motivated to sell and they’re doing what it takes to find the market for their home.

We’ve got a pretty good market right now, and you don’t want to miss it.  Don’t worry, plenty of sellers will miss this market.  We see homes fail to sell in all kinds of markets.  Remembering back to 2005 there were tons of sellers that didn’t sell because they thought the market would keep going higher and their investment was their lottery ticket.

The thing is, lottery tickets expire.  They don’t last forever.  Real estate markets don’t stay the same forever either, both on the upside and the downside.  We’ve got a pretty good market going, and we haven’t seen a lot of appreciation in Lee County the past several years, so they’re no reason to believe our market is in jeopardy, unlike 2005.  The key term here is sustainability, and we have that barring any wild cards.

You’ve heard the term perfect storm before.  Usually this refers to a market that’s over valued and one or more events triggers a fall.  What we have today might be a perfect opportunity.  There is no storm.  We’ve had a boring market locally the last few years.  We didn’t participate in any great upside, and if there was a downside, we might not see as much of that compared to other areas because of this fact.

Low interest rates are creating the opportunity for a seller to sell and re-invest in another home at low rates.  Today rates are around 3.25%  A seller could hold out for home prices to go up another 5-10%, but at what cost?  Chances are the home they’re moving to will also go up 5-10%.  If that weren’t enough, chances are the mortgage rate will go up too.

A 1% rise in rates could cost a borrower tens of thousands of dollars in interest.  It also costs a borrower buying power as they qualify for less.  If you’re a seller and have been eyeing a move, now might be the time to talk about your options.

We’ve got some good lenders that can sit down with you and go over your options.  The Ellis Team can evaluate your property and tell you what it should sell for today.  We can even calculate how much you’d net out at the closing table after all expenses, so you know how much you’d be working with for the new home.

Times like this are exciting, and they only come around once or twice in your lifetime.  Can you remember when mortgage rates were 3.25%?  When I first got in the business in 1988 interest rates were about 11-12%  I bought my first home in 1989 with a 10.5% rate and thought that was great.

We may never see 3.25% again.  We don’t know how long this will last.  All we can do is help as many as possible while we can.  If you’re thinking of selling, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4

Of course, we can help you purchase too.  Visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to find out what your home is worth.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

See last week’s article Prospective Home Buyers Have Difficulty Finding Right Home

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

Finally, Lee County 2019 real estate prices rise slightly.  For the past two and a half years, prices haven’t moved much, and they still haven’t.  However, we did see a small break-out to the positive side in July.  This could be due to lower interest rates and lower Florida taxes compared to high tax states up North.

Lee County July 2019 Real Estate Prices Rise Slightly

Real Estate Prices Rise Slightly

Median home prices were up 2.0% over last year and average home prices were up .8%.  This may not sound like much.  Because we have a balanced market, we’re looking more at the direction than the rate of change.

Inventory is up slightly over last year, but that is offset by the fact that the number of home sales closed was up 8.2% in July.

Agents are still feeling the pinch because the total dollar volume of sales in Lee County year to date is off about 5%.  However, total dollar volume was up 9.1% in July, so we’re closing the gap.  We’ll keep an eye out and see how inventory numbers, closed sales, and prices fare in the coming months.

New pending sales were up 4.5% in July, so there is reason to believe sales in the future could increase as well.  It’s hard to have a closing without a pending first, although you can have a pending and not eventually close.

The Ellis Team is getting renewed interest from buyers all over the country. It’s not just the high tax states, although many are.  People who have been on the fence about when the best time to move may be swayed by these low rates.

How long will this last?  There’s no reason to believe this can’t go on for a while unless something funky happens with the economy.  SW Florida really didn’t participate in the upswing of the past few years, so we may not have any downswing to contend with if things change.  With interest rates this low, it could fuel home sales further nationwide, and certainly in SW Florida.

Inventory Falling?

We could begin to see inventory shrink if this keeps up.  Unless there is pent-up inventory from home sellers, these low rates could fuel price gains, especially in SW Florida.

Of course, there are the wild cards.  You know, the China trade war, fuel prices, conflict with Iran, North Korea, etc.  Right now, the economy is doing well.  Getting trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, and Japan is huge.  The only thing bigger would be a deal with China, then it could be off to the races.

Where is the best place to shop for homes on the Internet?  Definitely www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has all the homes, and the data is updated every few minutes.  There is access to pending and sold data too, and it’s all current.  There is nothing more frustrating than inquiring on a home that sold years ago.  Well, maybe missing out on a great deal because it wasn’t there.  With our website, it will be there, and you don’t need to miss out.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling, head over to www.SWFLhomevalues.com You can get an instant value on your home, and if you’re really interested in getting Top Dollar, call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.

Some sellers wait until season to sell, but that could be a mistake.  In season, a bunch of other sellers also come out to test the market, so you have lots more competition.  And, we don’t know how long these ultra-low rates will last.

Sure, rates may stay low into 2020, but they may not stay this low.  If rates rise 1%, and they will one day, it will cost you 11% more to purchase your home.  Waiting can cost you thousands. And, it’s always more fun to sell when real estate prices rise.

The Ellis Team is here to help.  If you have questions, we have agents here to answer them for you.  Our website is the best if you just want to shop around and research the market.  Our agents are best if you’re serious and would like some guidance about the best way to approach the process.

Good luck, and hope you had a happy Labor Day weekend!  Thank you Hurricane Dorian for not raining on our parade!

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!

This past week we’ve experienced large fluctuations on Wall Street. Wall Street fear may spark Main Street opportunity.  Financial markets are fearful trade wars may carry over and harm earnings, which would put a damper on company valuations.  Everyone agrees the United States must confront China, as most agree the best time to do it is when we’re at our strongest economically.  Just the same, it does create worry amongst our farmers, companies, and investors as they need a road map of where it’s safe to invest.

Main Street Opportunity

Enter Main Street.  In financial turmoil’s past, there’s always been a flight to quality.  Right now, it’s U.S. treasuries, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down to 1.62%.  It simply can’t go much lower.  Europe has negative interest rates, which means people trying to protect their money choose to lose money invested in government bonds, because they feel that’s their safest bet.

Main Street Opportunity

Money always moves.  We saw money this past week move into Gold and oil, and then it moved back out.  Investors are seeking safety and return if they can get it.

Real estate may become the preferred investment once again.  Wall Street fear may become Main Street Opportunity. Money is practically free.  The Federal Reserve has been forced to cut interest rates to protect against the dollar becoming too strong.  A strong dollar means foreign countries will buy less of our stuff because it’s too expensive.  In this case, the trade imbalance widens, so we weaken the dollar by lowering interest rates to remain competitive.  There is no inflation right now, so it’s safe.

Lower rates have helped propel the Southwest Florida real estate market.  Going into 2019 we were experiencing a shift.  The feds had just raised rates about 1%, and the market responded.  Buyers couldn’t afford as much as in the past and the market cooled.  Inventory built up.

Fast forward to today.  The feds are fixing their mistake.  It’s not the feds job to prop up the stock market or housing market.  It is their job to manage our monetary policy to keep us competitive, and they are responding.

The advantage real estate brings is it’s tangible.  If the stock market collapses, investors lose money.  If the real estate market falls, homeowners can still live in the property and investors can still rent out a property.  Real estate can still provide income.  Buying gold or silver provides no income, just a tangible asset. Real estate is both.

Most Americans believe the best long-term investment is real estate by far.  It might surprise you to know that millennials prefer real estate as an investment more than any other generation.  This is surprising because many millennials put off home buying compared to predecessor generations.

Right now, home sellers have an interesting opportunity in front of them.  They already own a home, and perhaps they’ve considered a move.   They’re not sold on the idea though, but they are considering it.  These lower rates help sellers in two ways.  The most obvious is, when they pay off their mortgage and buy another home, they’ll save big-time when they purchase their next home.

Secondly, lower rates help more buyers qualify for homes today than last Fall.  More buyers create more competition for the listings.  Listing inventory begins to fall, and this helps raise home prices.  Or, at the very least, it stalls out price declines.  June inventory numbers were lower than April.  We’ll be pulling August numbers soon to compare.

The fact that sellers win in two ways creates an opportunity for home sellers.  Usually home sellers have questions, because there are many pieces to the puzzle that must be answered before deciding.  The most obvious would be, where do we move to?  How do we accomplish this logistically?

A seasoned real estate professional can help answer these questions.  Call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  We’ll guide you through the maze and help you decide if a move is right for you.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

Thank you, News Press readers, for voting the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty the Best in Real Estate for the 4th straight year.

Good luck, and happy house hunting.

See last week’s article Total Volume Down 7.15% Year to Date in Lee County

One of the ways to measure the health of the local real estate market is to look at total dollar volume.  Because total dollar volume consists of the total number of sales multiplied by the cumulative sales prices, it’s a good indicator of the overall strength of the market.  Sometimes sales prices are up but home sales are softer, and other time home sales are strong and prices are down.  Each component affects the total volume of closed sales. Total dollar volume down 7.15% year to date in Lee County.

Obviously if prices are up and sales are up, total dollar volume will be up.  And vice versa if both are down.  Because it’s not always both up or down, this measure is a great tool to quickly identify what’s going on.

Total Dollar Volume Down 7.15% Year to Date in Lee County

Upon further inspection, total dollar volume in Lee County Florida is down 7.15% year to date.  Perhaps this is why inventory has grown just a bit and agents are feeling the pinch.  Combine this with a lot going on in the industry right now, and it’s no wonder agents are jumping around switching companies.  When business is down for an agent, they begin to look at why, and whether another company might be the answer.

Monthly dollar volume Lee County Florida real estate

If you look at the monthly trend, you’ll see it was worse January through April.  The last two months have reduced the imbalance, but agents are still jumpy.  There are two truths consumers and agents may want to consider.

Interest rates have really helped spark the market.  Buyers are seeing some of the lowest rates we’ve seen in decades and they don’t want to miss this opportunity.  If rates stay low, this could help wipe out losses compared to last year.

Disruption Coming to Industry

Even with sales coming back agents are jumpy.  There is an uneasy feeling amongst agents, because things are changing, and they don’t know what to do about it.  The balance of power is shifting.  In a few months, agents will be hit with more disruptions they don’t even see coming in the industry.  When you’re an agent and bogged down in your own business, sometimes you don’t pay attention to external forces that will influence your industry.

You’ve heard the “too close to the forest to see the trees” saying.  I think agents think things have always been a certain way, so they believe these changes they’ve heard about for so long won’t affect them.

We hosted a seminar this past week and agents from other companies came and listened.  When they saw some of the changes coming, most of them immediately went back and acted.  Change is coming whether we’re ready for it or not.  Most were just blind to what is coming until their eyes were opened.

Questions Consumers Should Ask

Consumers should really ask their agent how business has been for them in 2019 versus 2018.  Is that agent thinking of making a move?  A consumer would want to know that before listing.  If their business is down, they may need to make a move and not even realize why.  If the agent does need to make a move, let them do it first before listing with them.  There is nothing more frustrating than listing with an agent and finding out they just moved.  The broker may or may not release the listing, and you could be stuck with an agent you didn’t choose, and you don’t know.

You holding out may spur your agent to act now versus waiting too long.  If you’re an agent and you’re curious as to what the big changes are, send me an email at Brett@topagent.com  Big change is coming whether you face it or not.

If you’re looking to sell your home, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. 239-489-4042 Ext 4  Ask for Brett or Sande.  Or visit www.swflhomevalues.com to find out what your home is worth online, instantly. Our sales are up, and we’re on top of the changes, so you will be too.  This can be a fun market if you’re prepared.  Let us show you how to take advantage of the opportunities.

See Last Week’s Article: 2019 SW Florida Real Estate Market Officially Balanced

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Sat 12-4 PM

Riverfront Home- Priced to Sell This Weekend

8471 Casa Del Rio

Riverfront Home Open House Sat 12-4 PM

Open House Sat 12-3 PM

Eagle Ridge Home-Spacious and Gorgeous

7904 Eagles Flight Ln

Eagle Ridge Open House Sat 12-3 PM

Open House Sat 12-3 PM

Cape Coral Waterfront Home

2653 SW 29th Ave

Cape Coral Waterfront Open House Sat 12-3 PM

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

4 Bedroom Golf Course Home

21529 Windham Run

4 Bedroom Golf Course Home

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

Sailboat Access Home Cape Coral

914 El Dorado Pkwy E

Sailboat Access Pool Home Total Dollar Volume Down

 

Open House App

We have an app that will show you all the open houses nationwide.  Check it out at www.SWfloridaopenhouse.com and download for Free

Ellis Team Open House App

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.