I kind of feel bad posting this given the blizzard that’s hitting the Northeast this weekend.  While others will have to deal with so much fallout from the blizzard, I want to offer a solution to help those in need.  Just take a look at our weather as provided by NBC-2 here in Fort Myers. Chamber of Commerce Weather in SW Florida!

Chamber of Commerce Weather in SW Florida
SW Florida 7 Day Forecast


I remember weekends like this back when I lived up North.  I longed for the days I could one day call Florida my home.  I didn’t know much about Florida only that it looked great on TV and that I was cold and miserable up North in the winters.  One day back in high school I got the chance to travel to Fort Myers and visit my great grand-mother.  From the minute I arrived I knew SW Florida was my home.  I just needed to convince others that’s where we were going.

I graduated from college on a Saturday and within 2 weeks I was in Florida.  My mind was made up a few years prior, and that’s how it goes for so many that call SW Florida home.  It seems everybody comes here from somewhere.  When you visit here they call you a snowbird.  When you move here you’re instantly one of us.  I say that like I’ve lived here all my life when the truth is I used to be a snowbird too.

And this is where the power of choice comes in.  When you’re sitting at home snowed in, or in an airport stranded feeling badly about missing work remember one thing.  Where you live is a choice.  The pay scale is less in Florida and many can’t afford to move right now because of their jobs.  Some don’t want to leave family.  There are lots of reasons not to move.  Moving isn’t right for everyone.

Many of you are saying I will someday.  Bear in mind we each have a set amount of time on this earth, and there is a cost associated with wasting days  in places we don’t want to be.  So I ask you, how long do you want to live somewhere you don’t want to be?  For me the answer was not a day longer than I needed to.  It was easy as I didn’t have roots yet of my own, and my family coincidentally had just taken jobs in Florida.

Many decisions go into a move, and housing is just one of them. Work, schools, lifestyle, etc. all play into the decision.  Maybe your time to enjoy paradise isn’t today.  You can at least dream of paradise and ponder what if.  What better time to search for properties in paradise than in the middle of a blizzard, assuming Internet and the power is still on.

So sit back and view some homes.  You can search the MLS for free or view our Virtual Tours

Fort Myers Beach Sanibel Island Video

January 2013 SW Florida Market Update:


Official sales numbers are out for December and by all accounts the market looks in pretty good shape.  Now that we have 12 months of data we can calculate year end sales numbers.  I will say upfront my calculations differ from the Board of Realtors numbers.  We’re both using the same numbers so I have a call into them to see how they’re calculating numbers.

2013 SW Florida Real Estate Market Headed in Right Direction

2013 SW Florida Real Estate Market Headed in Right Direction

For the record, I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference.  They are reporting, media sales prices rose 29.9% from $97,000 in 2011 to $126,000 in 2012.  We are reporting sales prices rose 24.31% from $105,469 in 2011 to $131,108 in 2012.  I used a methodology used by the Florida Association of Realtors.  The Board must be using another methodology.  I’m not saying either is right or wrong.  In fact I have a call into the Board to look at their method, and if that method makes sense we may restate our numbers.  Keep in mind both methods are based upon same set of monthly numbers so that’s not in doubt.  The difference is in the calculations, and both tell a similar story.

SW Florida Distressed Sales Versus Traditional Sales

Another newly released chart I like to look at is the breakdown of traditional sales versus distresses sales and prices.  While traditional sales remained at 64% for the 4th qtr of 2012, prices for those traditional sales rose $12,500 to $162,500. Foreclosure sales rose in price $15,000, and short sale prices rose $7,000 in the 4th qtr.

Back in 2009 approximately 70% of all single family sales we distresses, and today that number is down to 36%.  This is one reason we see rising prices, and as prices rise more and more SW Floridian’s can afford to sell.

In quarters past we’d see price movement in one type of property but now we’re seeing it across the board.  Inventory rose just about 400 homes in the 4th qtr however we’re still at a 4.0 month supply of homes on the market which is fairly low.  Buyers coming for season will have a harder time finding properties and there will be more multiple offer situations.

Look for 2013 to be the beginning of builders getting back into the market.  Prices probably aren’t high enough for a full onslaught of building like we saw in the early 2000’s but we should see an uptick just the same.

As we build more and as the economy improves the SW Florida real estate market is poised to takeoff.  All the numbers line up for a market headed for much higher ground.  The only variable holding us back is the overall economy.  Once that improves, watch out.  This market will be all green light Go.

Buyers from up North have been buying the past year.  They knew prices were headed higher and they’ve reacted.  Buyers this year still have much opportunity ahead of them but prices are rising currently so the sooner you find your dream home the sooner you’ll lock in today’s prices.  If you’re in a solid financial position to purchase I’d say buy now and then pray the economy improves versus the other way around. Waiting could really cost you money.

If you’re a seller looking to trade out of your property keep in mind that as your property goes up in value so does the one you’re looking at buying.  Talk to a real estate professional about your particular needs.  You can always call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042 if you need help.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

January is one of my favorite months.  Not only is January a new month, but it’s the beginning of a new year with fresh goals, resolutions, and outlook on the future.  It also happens to be the month the CyberStars meet each year.

Cyberstars Top Producing Realtors Technology

Perhaps you’ve never heard of the CyberStars.  They are a group of top producing agents who are on the cutting edge of technology and learn ways to apply those ideas and techniques to their already successful real estate practice benefiting their clients in any market conditions.

The CyberStars are 225+ agents from the US, Canada, and as far away as Australia. I love attending the Summit held each year because the information shared is so incredible.  For years the Ellis Team has innovated and brought new ideas to SW Florida, but one person or one team can’t know it all.  Sure, we’ve gladly shared what we’ve developed with Realtors from across the country, and we do so with CyberStars as well.  The real treat in attending this conference is it’s a chance to sit back and listen to what other innovative top producing agents are doing to help their clients.

Top Realtors Meet for 3 Days of Sharing Marketing Strategies
CyberStars Discussing a Hot Topic

Believe me, if an idea works in California, Texas, or Australia, it’ll work in Florida.  Sometimes we just need to get out of our little sandbox and see what the rest of the world is doing.

This year on the 2nd day there is a session on using video in your real estate business. This is an advanced session and I’m excited to get some new ideas in this area.  Most people locally know we produce a show on the Internet.  It can be found at www.YouTube.com/brettellisfl  It currently has about 108,000 views so anything we can do to add to the content and value to the public will benefit our team and the local real estate market.

There is another section on Virtual Tours.  Again, we do this and they can be found at www.TopAgent.com, but I’m thinking there will be some new and neat tips on bettering our tours.

Mobile marketing is a big topic today as more buyers are using their mobile phones and tablets to search for properties.  I’ll be teaching a session on this along with a few other agents, but I have a feeling I’ll be taking lots of notes as well.  I believe mobile marketing is only going to get bigger and bigger and we want to lead, not follow if that’s where buyer’s eyeballs are headed.

Social media is another topic we can all learn tips on.  We use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, our Blog, Pinterest, and several more.  These are time consuming and I’m hoping to pick up tips on how to be more effective and more efficient with our social media strategy.

In addition to 3 days of learning sometimes the best ideas are shared at lunch or dinner strategizing with other forward thinking agents.  Sometimes I go out there with an idea and an agent points something out that would really improve that idea.  It’s so nice to hang around agents who use technology and see the vision.  These people are truly the creators and they love to share.

So if you bump into us next week chances are we’ll be all pumped up with new ideas to bring back to SW Florida and implement here locally.  If you’re thinking of buying or selling your home, give us a call.  We’ll be glad to show you how we’re reaching today’s buyers using traditional marketing and today’s technology, CyberStar style!  We can be reached at 239-489-4042 or on the web at Topagent.com

If you are in the real estate industry you were influenced by Howard Brinton whether you knew him or not.  Howard was the founder of Star Power Systems, the most powerful training organization in the real estate industry.  Real Estate Industry Loses a Legend!

Real Estate Industry Loses a Legend Howard Brinton
Legendary Trainer

Howard was a top producing agent selling around 500 homes per year in his prime.  Howard burst onto the scene nationally as an instructor for CRS (Certified Residential Specialist).  Howard always believed success leaves clues so he set out to interview Top Agents throughout the country and identify what they did that worked.

The Ellis Team attended sessions Howard did at national conventions, CRS classes, and Star Power conferences.  The information Howard and the Stars shared worked.  It was proven on the street.  The Ellis Team was so influenced by Howard and the Stars over the years that brought back many of the ideas to SW Florida.

The Ellis Team was the first true real estate team in SW Florida.  Many agents worked as loose partnerships, but none as a true team until Howard taught the systems to make it work.  We ran an ad in the early 90’s that we picked up from Star Power that read “By the Year 2010 All Agents Will Operate as a Team .”  This was quite controversial in its day, and many agents called up and complained.

Several years later teams spread across the country and a large volume of business was handled by teams.  Not every agent works as a team, but Howard sure changed the landscape.

Get out of Judgement Get Into Curiosity

Howard also taught Realtors how to effectively price homes, answer objections, and how to listen to uncover needs.  He called it “Going 3 Deep.”  I hear agents complain “Buyers are liars.”  Howard taught us they’re not liars, you just didn’t ask enough questions.  Buyers will tell you everything you need to know if you just ask the right questions and listen.

Howard taught us the concept of getting out of judgment and into curiosity.  I recall hearing ideas early in my career and thinking, “I can’t do that, or that won’t work in my market.”  The truth is, those were judgment statements.  By suspending judgment we learn to listen and say “What if?”  If we stay in curiosity chances are more answers will come to us than if we just dismiss them at first glance.

We were fortunate to grow and become a top team in the country because of Howard.  In 2001 Howard asked us to become a Star and share our knowledge with Realtors across the world.  It was truly an honor.  A few years later Denny Grimes was selected to become a Star based upon many practices he put into place from Star Power.

When you went to a Star Power conference you’d hear ideas coming at you a mile a minute, almost as if it was shot out of a fire house.  You couldn’t implement all of them at once, but you knew if you didn’t, someone else at the conference would.

The Ellis Team was the first in SW Florida to incorporate many things, but not everything.  Denny actually beat us to the punch with a moving truck for clients, an idea presented at Star Power.

This is why I say even if you never heard of Howard you were influenced by him because you were either implementing ideas or your competition was and you were forced to react.

We know that by sharing our ideas to Realtors across the world that many would be copied here locally, but that’s OK.  Howard always said, you can innovate faster than people can copy, and most people won’t copy all your ideas anyway out of fear.  Many ideas cost money, and we had the vision because of Star Power to know the idea would work.  People copying didn’t have that vision, they only saw what you were doing.

One page isn’t nearly enough to describe Howard.  He was generous, a leader, humorous, and a true friend.  We’re so privileged to have known him and worked with him.  Whether you knew Howard or not, please say a little prayer for his family.  Chances are Howard paved the way and made your work or personal life better because of his ideas, and to that we can all be thankful.  God reclaimed a good one.  I’m sure he was needed up there.  And I’m sure he has them laughing and learning!


This past week I attended a training session at the Board of Realtors for a newly updated product used by the MLS called Realist.  While I’ve used the product in the past, I must say I was blown away by the new reports and functionality.  The usefulness to Realtors just multiplied exponentially. New Tool Assists Realtors Value Property!

There is a lot to the program and it will take agents some time to learn how to use it effectively, but it will be an investment well worth it.  I’ll attempt to show snippets of a few of the reports, but it won’t do it justice.

New Tool Assists Realtors Value Property
Map of Comparable Sales

Once Realtors get the hang of the program it will save time and produce some amazing research results.  The program not only identifies and provides a multitude of information about a subject property, it also helps identify comparable properties, market trends, and useful neighborhood information.  The trick to providing accurate valuations has been and always will be interpreting the data.

One of the things I was impressed with was the AVM (Automated Valuation Model).  The AVM identifies provides a range of value along with an estimated value.  It comes with a degree of confidence and a Standard deviation, the higher the confidence and the lower the deviation the greater its accuracy.  Let’s say it determines a property has a AVM value of $200,000 with a degree of confidence of 87% and a standard deviation of 8%.  What it’s really saying is they feel the property has a 87% chance of selling 8% +/- of $200,000.

The system does a nice job of identifying comparable properties through both MLS and tax data and mapping them as well as a grid format complete with details.  It makes it easy to select the best comparables.

Another feature I liked was the market conditions in the neighborhood, zip code, and the city.  It showed graphs of median list prices over time as well as median sale prices over time.  At a glance an agent and seller could see market trends which would be helpful in pricing a home.

Financial Health of Neighborhood Graph

There is even a distressed property section which shows foreclosure rates and identifies the percentages of homes in pre-foreclosure, sold at auction, and in REO (Real Estate Owned) status typically by the lender.

I ran a sample report on a property after studying the comparables and it generated a very nice and informative 25 page report.  I talked to some agents this week who didn’t go to the class.  They felt since they worked more with buyers than sellers it wouldn’t benefit them as much, but I would argue it would.

Buyers can benefit from these reports too.  There is a neat report that shows all the neighbors, how long they’ve owned, what they paid, and quite a lot of information on each house.  It provides this all in a map format along with a neighbor report.  What a great way to show stability, or find out who the neighbor is with the barking dog.  If you see they’ve lived there since 1988, chances are they might not be moving anytime soon.

The system provides walking and driving distances to schools, businesses, restaurants, etc.  It will even rate the schools with a 3rd party rating service.  The software incorporates census data too and combines all this in an easy to digest format.  I particularly like the section that shows MLS data and tax data and points out where they differ.  The system makes no attempt to explain which is correct.  It’s possible the owner added on to the house without a permit, or perhaps there is an error on the listing.  Either way you’re miles ahead of potential problems at a glance.

If you’re a Realtor in the Greater Fort Myers MLS, you’ve got to spend some time with this product.  If you’re a customer, you’ll be amazed at the results.  And the best part is, Realtors in the Florida Gulf Coast MLS have access to every county in Florida.

It’s so exciting to live in the age of useful technology.  One day soon we’ll wonder how we ever lived without programs like this.

Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!!!!


I recently read an article in Florida Realtor Magazine which is a trade magazine for Realtors that showed 14% of Realtors are using video.  The article focused on the fact that video is now the number one Internet activity even surpassing emailing.  They recommended using YouTube Analytics to verify the reach of the video audience. Realtors Using Video!

Because the Ellis Team has used video for awhile I decided to look at the analytics and see if the results the magazine touted matched what we were seeing.

Realtors Using Video
Ellis Team YouTube Channel Video Statistics

In the past 30 days our channel www.Youtube.com/brettellisfl has received 4,471 video views. 71 came from a Google search about SW Florida. 33.9% came from mobile apps which may explain why Facebook is concentrating so much on the mobile platform.

The YouTube search pulled in 691 video looks so one could argue YouTube is a bigger search engine than Google is, at least for video.

Video Statistics by Country for Ellis Team at RE/MAX Fort Myers
YouTube Analytics by Country for Ellis Team YouTube Channel

Recently we’ve sold homes to buyers from Germany, Canada, and Dubai, so I wanted to see if video is helping us reach those markets.  Sure enough, Germany and Canada scored very high at #2 and #3 right behind the United States.  United Arab Emirates came in at #15 with 23 video views.  The buyers said they were on our website and found us on the Internet, but I guess the next question should be where on the Internet?

Did these buyers find us on our MLS property search page www.AllswflRealestate.com or www.LeeCountyOnline.com ?  Did they find us on video first which led them to other areas on our site?  When a buyer says they found us on the Internet, maybe watching a video is the sum total of what they meant and they looked no further?


The International list goes on for pages so we just showed the top 25 this past month.  I’m amazed that there were 13 views from Turkey, 14 from Kuwait, and 95 from Saudi Arabia.  Could it be that we’ll sell a luxury home to a Prince from Saudi Arabia in the next month?

The answer is it’s possible.  Buyers from all over the world are finding Realtors through video.  These views we’ve provided don’t even count the virtual tours we use. Last month our virtual tour site link which can be found at www.Topagent.com received 4,125 views in addition to the YouTube video views.  Throw in our MLS property search sites, our Topagent.com site as a whole and views, our Blog and the numbers grow substantially.

The point is, only 14% of Realtors are using video now and more should be.  If Realtors knew the staggering number of people using video to find homes and research areas more would reach out and learn.  The trouble is video is hard to do on your own.  Sound quality is an issue and production costs are high.  With today’s modern technology those costs are coming down.

For instance, we produce our shows in-house and add our jingle and graphics.  While we have an advantage from doing TV shows and radio shows over the years, an agent without all this could hire a virtual assistant to create logos, music, and even edit videos.  An agent can even do voice overs if the initial sound quality isn’t good.

Doing video poorly isn’t good, but doing nothing can cost as well.  As you can see from the numbers, video is becoming one of the most important things.  Reaching the mobile buyer is critical.

More tablets and smart phones will be sold this year than PC’s.  More Internet traffic will occur over mobile than the office.  The sands are shifting, and Realtors have to be at the forefront.  The good news is, the real estate industry has always led, and will lead with video.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

We’ll attempt to answer a few questions we hear things buyers say:

Things Buyers Say

1. What did the seller pay for the home? What the sellers paid back in time really has no bearing on its value today. If a seller paid $300,000 5 years ago and it’s only worth $200,000 today you’re not going to offer $300,000 because that’s what the seller paid. Conversely if the seller paid $62,000 back in 1975 and it’s worth $300,000 today their not going to sell it for $90,000. Sellers should expect to sell at today’s current value and buyers should expect to pay that as well. What a seller paid or how much they owe has nothing to do with value.

2. If it’s meant to be it will happen- When a buyer says these words it’s typically out of fear of making a decision, so they sit back and let someone else make the decision for them. Let’s say more than one buyer is interested in a home. Buyer A doesn’t know what to counter offer in light of the news another buyer is interested, so they freeze. They essentially let another buyer make the decision for them. I’ve found in life that when you let others make decisions for you, you might not like the outcome. You are in control of your own destiny. If it’s a home that suits your needs and you really like it you have a chance to control your fate. Step up or you may be forced to offer on your 3rd or 4th best favorite. In this market there is limited inventory, so finding 4 homes you really like might be tough.

3. Is the Seller motivated?  If I am the listing agent I simply answer the buyer agent with yes, they are interested in selling or they wouldn’t have put it on the market. It’s in the buyers interest to find out what they can if a seller or seller’s agent will tell, but it’s not in the sellers best interest to do so. You can always ask the question, but don’t be offended if you don’t receive an answer. The buyer doesn’t get to know the seller’s private business just as the seller doesn’t need to know the buyer’s private business, other than if the buyer is qualified at the agreed upon price.

4. I heard you always offer 10% less on a home. We’ve had buyers say this is a rule where they came from. First off, there is no rule. Secondly, all real estate is local and certain areas may have customs, but I highly doubt asking 10% less in any market is a good idea unless sellers typically overprice homes in a certain area. Most homes in SW Florida sell for about 96-97% of asking price, so if you’re offering 10% less you’re probably losing out to other buyers who are more realistic. If a home is overpriced by 10% or more that’s another story, but those homes typically aren’t getting offers because they are so over-priced.

5. Will the seller do a lease-option? Most sellers wish to sell outright. Occasionally a seller wouldn’t mind leasing first, but they hate to lock in a price today at today’s prices in a rising market. Buyers typically have misconceptions about how the lender will finance the home at the end of the option. Rent money cannot be used for down payment money unless buyer pays over fair market rent as determined by the appraiser and then only that portion above fair market can be credited as down payment. Also, the buyer loses the option money if they don’t close for any reason. Many buyers ask this question because they don’t have good credit today and they may not have 1st month, last month’s rent and security deposit. Both buyer and seller should sit down with an agent and discuss their options first or a situation like this could turn out badly for both later.

The other day a seller was asking me the typical things I hear buyers and sellers say. That question sounds like good material for an article, so this week we’ll focus on the seller side. Things Sellers Say!

Things Sellers Say

  1. That house was a short sale– Sellers really don’t understand how other sales in area affect their value. A short sale is a compromise by the bank to allow a seller to sell their property at today’s current value. Banks aren’t in the business of taking a larger loss than they should, so the bank typically does its own evaluation to determine the seller has accepted a contract at or close to fair market value. If not, the bank typically counters what they’re willing to accept. Short sales became the new market. Some foreclosures sold too low, and some are in terrible condition. It’s important to compare condition to any sale, and a skilled Realtor or appraiser should take this into account.
  2. It’s only been on the market a week– We hear this when an offer comes in soon after it hits the market and it’s not quite full price. There’s an old saying that your first offer is usually the best offer. Believe me, this saying is not always true, but I could tell dozens of stories where a seller wish they had that first offer back months after its passing.
  3. We can always price it high and take less-Sellers think they’ll get more money by asking more, but this is rarely the case. In fact, they typically get less by overpricing it. The overpriced listing sits on the market and becomes stale. Buyers wonder why it’s been on the market so long and they become fearful. When they do eventually offer after several price reductions, they typically offer much less. It’s always best to price it at the market and hopefully attract one or more buyers. This way you avoid becoming stale and having that stigma that something is wrong with the home because nobody wants it.
  4. I don’t want a sign up because I don’t want my neighbors to know-Your neighbor is going to find out anyway. In fact, your neighbor might be glad to see you go and may know a friend who’s looking in the area. A sign call is always a good call because unlike an ad, a passing buyer knows exactly where it’s located and cared enough to call. The sign is an additional tool that sometimes pays dividends.
  5. We don’t need to sell– Very few people absolutely need to sell. Many make the choice to sell because a change better suits their needs. I think sellers say this to slow down the process. They are fearful and don’t want anyone taking advantage of them. They want to sell, but want some control over the process. Selling is a process no one party controls. It takes a buyer and seller, and the seller typically is not looking forward to that whole process. This is where a good Realtor can help alleviate that stress and counsel the seller. Sellers feel much better going forward once they understand the process and the true market value.
  6. If it’s meant to be it will happen– Actually buyers and sellers use this one a lot. To my way of thinking, this is a way of shielding the seller from the tough decisions, a defense mechanism so to speak. I’ve learned in life if you really want something you tend to get what you go for. If it’s to be it’s up to me. If you sit back and let someone else decide your fate, you might not like the outcome. It’s always best to look at all the facts and make a decision. This way you control your own destiny instead of relying on fate. This market is littered with people who put their head in the sand because they felt powerless.

It pays to sit down, look at all the facts, and weigh your options. Analysis paralysis isn’t good either, so after evaluation take action. If you need assistance weighing your options, we’re here to help. Always call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042

You can’t sell what you don’t have, and the SW Florida real estate market has much less inventory than it did a few years ago. We’ve been reporting for a few years how demand has outpaced supply and that is one reason why prices have gone up in the past few years. Keep in mind too that the year end numbers are an average of the year, so numbers at end of a year could be higher than the year’s average, which is especially true in a rising market.

Inventory Leading the Market SW Florida Real Estate Prices
Fort Myers Cape Coral Year End Prices

Inventory Leading the Market

Another phenomenon we predicted a few years ago was the “No-Man’s Land” market. We knew that one day we would exhaust much of the distressed inventory and traditional sales would once again have to fill the demand. Prices would have to rise, but they couldn’t rise enough to make certain sellers whole as so many are still underwater on their mortgages. They’re not in risk of default, but they’re riding out the market until prices rise enough to payoff the mortgage. Sellers would like to sell but don’t wish to harm their credit by doing a short sale, so they wait.

Prices are surely rising, but there is a limit. The economy isn’t good, so that caps the rise. Prices have to rise, but they can’t rise to 2005 levels because the job market and the economy won’t sustain those levels. We could argue that the 2005 economy couldn’t either and that’s why it collapsed.

The economy was running on borrowed money. Consumer spending was fueled by equity lines and other borrowed money. Everyone knew the clock would run out, and it did.

Southwest Florida Months Supply of Real Estate Inventory
Months Supply of Inventory

Going forward, most people view the market as a supply and demand market, and that theory works as long as economic conditions are the same or similar, but with a tremendous downturn in the economy, prices cannot rise quickly enough to make many sellers above water, so they will sit on sidelines unless something happens to their employment.

We see incremental listings hitting the market as prices rise. It probably won’t be enough to satisfy demand, so buyers should be prepared for multiple offer situations as soon as good properties enter the market.

As you can see we only have about 3.4 months supply of inventory on the market and current single family inventory is only about 3,730 heading into season. Interest rates are artificially low due to Fed policy of buying down interest rates trying to stimulate the economy.

Buyers who can purchase now will be crazy to wait as prices years from now should be higher, and borrowing costs will be higher when the Fed action is completed, but competition for homes is expected to be great this season.

If I were a buyer I would get on an email notification list from an agent that emails you the day new properties enter the market that match your criteria. The Ellis Team has such a system as do many agents. You’ve heard the saying, “The Early Bird Gets the Worm” and it’s true now and will be blatantly evident this season.

Hopefully after November we’ll have clarity as to which way the politicians are going which may give businesses clarity so they can begin hiring. Our nation has been in an economic freeze. Our local market is set to take off once the economy returns, and that will sure be a welcome sign so we can escape the No Man’s Land.

If you’re a buyer and need help, feel free to call us at 239-489-4042 or visit our website www.Topagent.com If you’re a seller, we can guide you through the selling maze whether you’re a traditional seller or a short sale.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

We hear a lot of talk and rumors about ObamaCare and what its effects will really be on business and real estate.  Perhaps it’s a mystery because the new tax in the legislation was never introduced, debated, or reviewed until just hours before its passage.  Remember when Nancy Pelosi said “We must pass this legislation to find out what’s in it”?  She wasn’t kidding.  Nowhere was a new tax on real estate or capital gains talked about before its passage, so of course people are asking questions now that the new tax is set to take effect after the election. Does ObamaCare Raise Taxes on Real Estate?

ObamaCare and Taxes

With that said, it’s a new tax that isn’t going to affect everyone, so that’s the only silver lining.  They needed this revenue because Medicare is set to run dry in a few years, so this new tax will supply $210 Billion over 10 years and will help to extend the life of Medicare a few years.

Here is the breakdown as we understand it.  There are 2 new taxes.  One is a 3.8% tax on unearned income like interest, dividend, rents, capital gains and the second tax is a .9% tax on income such as salary, wages, commissions, etc.

The 3.8% tax will apply to individuals with an adjusted gross income above $200,000 and couples filing a joint return with more than $250,000 adjusted gross income. Once you meet those criteria, there are complicated formulas we won’t go into here.  It’s probably best to consult with your accountant on that.

Nobody knows what will happen if upper income people decide not to sell.  It would negatively impact Florida’s doc stamp program and revenue to the state, and it would cut income to Medicare which is in deep trouble anyway.  Sneaking a tax in at midnight to cover Medicare probably wasn’t the best way to save Medicare.

Will the Fed’s New Stimulus Help Housing? The Fed has promised to pump money into mortgage backed securities as a way to buy down interest rates, also knows as the QE3 Stimulus.  Nobody knows what effect it will have on real estate.  All we can say is it couldn’t hurt.  However, rates have been low and the market is still relying on the overall economy to improve.  This action by the Fed will reduce borrowing costs, but it will also reduce rates paid to savers like senior citizens.  Seniors today cannot be happy.  We may see real inflation creep up and rates stay low, so seniors will actually lose money on the deal.

Real estate accounts for about 32% of GDP, so anything that gets real estate going may help the economy.  We believe that real estate and the economy need each other.  Having a balanced budget, lower taxes, and leadership in Washington where business could plan would best stimulate the economy and help real estate.  A rising tide lifts all boats, and we think real estate would take off if Washington tried this approach.

It’s a rather simple equation and yet our government is so divided we’re not sure that will get done.  So for now all we can do is report the effect the ObamaCare taxes will have on real estate transactions.  Last time I checked we had about a 4 Year + supply of $1 million homes on the market.  Taxing those transactions further won’t do anything to help housing.  I’d really like to know whose bright idea this was to sneak this tax in at midnight.  What happened to Obama’s promise of transparency and all bills would be viewable to the public for 3 days before a vote?  Was that just an empty campaign promise?

4 years later these things matter.  Taxes are set to rise in 2013; some from ObamaCare and some from Congress’ inability to pass a budget.  Did you know the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in 3 ½ years?  They just keep passing continuing resolutions and raising the debt ceiling.

Keep your eyes open.  If we find any other new taxes they try to sneak in on us we’ll be sure to point them out.