In the old days agents would ask sellers to come into their office in hopes that the seller would be so impressed they’d select the Realtor they were going to list with on the spot.  This was a good strategy, and if a Realtor stands out from the crowd by a wide margin, why wouldn’t a seller be impressed?  Some Realtors even refused to visit the seller’s property until the seller selected them as their agent.  While this may seem a little over the top, some Realtors actually used this strategy with some success.

Listing Presentations Going Mobile
90% of Homebuyers Now Shop on the Internet to Buy a Home

Listing Presentations Going Mobile

Today there is no reason an agent cannot do both!  With the advent of Tablets like the iPad or an Android Tablet an agent can now bring the office to the seller.  It’s quite easy to show your office, how you work, and how you market in a mobile world.  If the agent works and negotiates contracts in a mobile world, why can’t they list in a mobile world?

The truth is they can, and they should.  The two most important ingredients in a successful home sale is the relationship between the seller and the listing agent, and the property itself.  The agent’s office really doesn’t matter.

33% Repeat Buyers Find Their Agent on Internet
How do Buyers Find Their Agent

Oh, we’re proud of our physical office and all the things we can show a buyer or seller from the office.  However, many times offers have come in while I’m out of town or away on appointment and I’ve been able to look at the offer, make changes, negotiate, and close the sale, all in the amount of time it would have taken to drive back across town from the appointment and begin that process.  The office never entered into the equation.

Sure, we have a team of assistants back at the office assisting us, but that had nothing to do with negotiating the offer.  Just the same, we no longer feel the need to show a seller the office and meet the team before listing their home.  We can bring the team to the seller.  We even have powerful video conferencing we can utilize with our sellers and our team.

A seller can surely list a home without going to an agent’s office, but it’s pretty tough for an agent to list a home without seeing the sellers home. Pricing the home depends on condition, functionality, upgrades, etc.  There is no substitute for viewing the home.

You have to ask yourself, am I listing my home or listing the agent’s office?  We all know the answer is the home, so why not focus there?

You’re also hiring an agent, so it’s important to ask questions, such as how will you market my home?  Why should I hire you?  What do you bring to the table that another Realtor doesn’t?  Show me examples.

Some things are just hard to show on paper.  So much marketing today is online or the print is not the standard 8 1/2 x 11.  I remember the days when we used to handout 80 page packets explaining the sales process and our team.  Those days are now gone.

An agent today can show a seller how buyers are using Apps to search for their home.  We can show how the home looks online, how many people have seen it, and where the agent ranks in search engines.  Sellers can see virtual tours, photos, satellite views, etc all in the comfort of their home.

Not all agents are the same.  Results can vary greatly from agent to agent, and from company to company.  Ask your Realtor to show you everything.  Buyers today are demanding tech savvy agents when searching for a home.  If your Realtor can’t show you their business in a mobile world, how in the world are they going to market your home to today’s buyer?

Later on it may be necessary to meet at the office, but selecting which Realtor to list with is no longer one of those necessities.  If you’re considering selling your home, let us show you how buyers really view your home, and why selecting an agent with today’s tools matters.

Good luck, and Happy Home Selling.

 

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group is holding two open houses this weekend.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses July 14-15

2322 SE 8th Street, Cape Coral $165,000
Open Saturday 1PM-4PM

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses July 14-15
2322 SE 8th Street, Cape Coral $165,000

Move-in ready, 3 bedroom, 2 bath canal front home in quiet, well maintained neighborhood. Home features spacious bedrooms,vaulted ceilings, large screened lanai which overlooks dock and canal. All assessments are in and paid.

 

Rear Water View
2322 SE 8th Street, Cape Coral Water View

14091 Oak Hammock Lane $300,000

 

Sunday Open House
14091 Oak Hammock Lane Fort Myers, FL 33905 Front View
Rear View 14091 Oak Hammock Lane Fort Myers, FL 33905
14091 Oak Hammock Lane Fort Myers, FL 33905 Rear View

 

 

Paradise for those who love the outdoors and peace and quiet. Spacious family home on 1+acres with 5 bedrooms, 2 baths is surrounded by towering Live Oaks and many tropical plants. Home site borders creek that forms one boundary. Exquisite Brazilian Mesquite floors in the living areas, wood burning fireplace in the family room. Sitting room/den off master bedroom could be used as as office, tv room, nursery, your choice. Large master bath has over sized walk-in shower as well as a jacuzzi tub and dual sinks. Large flagstone patio has a built in fire pit and just a short walk away is a personal putting green. Call today to see this beautiful property. Some furniture available separately.

 

Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

We’ve recently been testing a concept to gauge consumer interest at a subdivision level. For years agents have been sending out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards, or even market updates to communities. Typically this only reached sellers. This was OK because the target was always the sellers who might list their homes. It’s a practice in the industry known as “Farming.”

Map with Homes for Sale and Solds in Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes Interactive Map

We thought buyers might also be interested in similar information, but reaching them in addition to targeted sellers in that area can be dicey. You can’t just mail to a certain area as the buyer could come from anywhere.

We thought “What if we could target both worlds, the buyer and the seller?” One way to target buyers is to reach them on the Internet for specific search items. For instance, let’s say a buyer is looking to buy in Reflection Lakes. If we could somehow provide this list of data when buyers are searching, would buyers find that helpful?

We don’t know, but our hunch says they might. We’ve researched a way to provide a map of an area which shows all the homes available for sale, all closed sales within a certain time frame, and all pending sales and pinpointed them on the map. Additionally, if you click on the pin, you get additional information on the home, like list price, sold price, size, age, pool, waterfront description, bedrooms, bathrooms, and much more. You can customize it to display about anything you want.

We even went so far as to provide links to additional information if available, virtual tours and more. In this way, a buyer or seller can quickly see a homes location on a map and compare it with other like kind homes for sale. It is color coded and sorted by status, so you can look at the solds to get an idea of what homes are selling for or just actives. Perhaps you’re riding down the street and just want to know what it’s on the market for.

The map is set for a particular point in time, however it can be updated at any time. The agent selects the fields to display. The consumer can zoom in or out, as well as click on street view to look up and down the street and view the homes photos, or even take a satellite view to get an idea of the terrain and the surroundings of the community.

We exported all this information into a Google map., so the possibilities are endless on how you can view these homes. It’s really kind of fun. We liked it, so we thought consumers might too,

We selected fields we thought the consumer would be interested in. These fields are flexible and we can add or subtract when building the next map. It took me about an hour to setup this map in Reflection lakes. If you’d like to view it, simply go to www.Reflectionlakes.com

We can setup a map like this for any area and import data from the MLS. If you live in a community you think would benefit from something like this, give us a call at 239-489-4042 or send me an email Brett@topagent.com and I’ll look into it. If you think it’s missing something, or have feedback, we’d like to hear it.

If you think we’re nuts and nobody will use it, you can let us know too. Feel free to email us or comment on our Blog http://blog.topagent.com

We honestly don’t know if the public will use it or like it. We do know it’s cool and useful to us, and we enjoy trying new things if they have the potential to help in the buying or selling process.

Stay tuned for future updates for other areas around Lee County on our website at Topagent.com

Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers has created an interactive map for searching data in Reflection Lakes in South Fort Myers. By clicking on a listing the map will give you detailed information on the property including links to further detailed information. If a virtual tour is available it will link to that as well.

Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Update

 

 

View Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Florida in a full screen map

Check it out and let us know what you think. Feel free to check out floor plans at our Reflection Lakes website

Watch the SW Florida Real Estate Update June 2012

Last week we wrote about the influence of mobile marketing and how it’s influencing real estate buying.  We must have touched a nerve because the last portion of the story was about a new mobile app and several people emailed asking for the link for this free tech tool. Mobile Apps For Real Estate!

Mobile Apps For Real Estate
RE/MAX Mobile App for iPhone and Android

Because there was so much interest, we decided to do a follow-up and concentrate solely on this new app.  Unlike other apps like Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Realtor.com, the RE/MAX app doesn’t sell advertising opportunities per zip code to agents from various companies, so there isn’t pressure from agents trying to convert an advertising opportunity.

The RE/MAX app simply puts detailed information in the hands of the consumer and lets the consumer make choices.  Most apps let the consumer decide when to request information, but RE/MAX isn’t selling consumer data to companies for profit.  This app is solely a benefit to consumers provided by the RE/MAX network, and any consumer info is available only to RE/MAX agents when a consumer decides to reach out and request information.

There are some very cool things you can do with this app.  For instance, if you have your GPS on, the app will show where you are on a map and show homes on the market in your area. Users can also enter search criteria such as number of bedrooms, price, location, etc.

The app provides instant access to homes in your search along with listing details and available photos. It also provides turn by turn directions to homes you want to see, interactive maps for navigating neighborhoods, and the ability to save searches.

There is an email option to share properties with your friends and family.  There’s even an integrated mortgage calculator for instant calculations on how much the payments would be.

Sellers love the app because they can find out how their neighbors are pricing their homes.  If a new home comes on the market, a seller can just look it up instantly.  Buyers love it because as they’re driving around they have the power of knowing the price of each home, the details of the home, and pictures right in the palm of their hand.

For years buyers would call about homes they were in front of and be totally surprised at prices in a neighborhood.  This free tool is a powerful education technology that will save buyers much time.  Buyers still seek out quality, professional agents to answer their specific questions the Internet cannot, but this piece of technology sure empowers the consumer and shortens the learning curve.

Judging by the interest last week, we think you’ll like this tool as well.  And best of all it’s Free.  Simply email me Brett@topagent.com and I’ll send you the link to get this tool for Free.  Good luck and happy surfing!

 

We’re seeing another shift in buying habits and it’s affecting everything from store coupons to selecting hotels to buying real estate. Yes, we’re talking about mobile marketing. Mobile Marketing Influencing Real Estate Buying.

Mobile Marketing Influencing Real Estate Buying
Ellis Team Virtual Tour on Smartphone

Years ago the Internet came along and everybody said newspapers and TV stations would no longer be needed. We found this wasn’t true; however the delivery methods have changed a bit since the advent of the Internet.

Ironically now some are saying the Internet isn’t needed because everything is going mobile. I’ve seen reports that there is now more traffic to websites via smart phones than computers. While it is a fact more people have the power of information literally in their hand wherever they go, there is no substitute for wasting time at work on a big screen surfing the Internet, at least for now.

Market Share by Platform
Smartphone Market Share

The iPhone was a big player in bringing the mobile world to the consumer, but many would be surprised to know that Android is actually the bigger player today. Android just crossed over the 50% mark in January of this year and market share is still growing. The only thing constant is change. Years ago Netscape was The browser in the industry. Microsoft managed to knock off Netscape with Internet Explorer. Now Google Chrome is making inroads along with Mozilla, Firefox, etc.

Remember when Yahoo was the thing in search engines? Today it’s Google with Microsoft fighting for relevance with Bing. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, however we do know what works today.

If you’re in real estate, you’d better design your website to work on a mobile phone. If you visit our website Topagent.com from a mobile device it recognizes the mobile device and gives you the option to view on a mobile optimized website. We’ve included a photo example of one of our virtual tours. All our virtual tours are optimized to play on any smart phone or phone capable of viewing the Internet. Of course we still have our full blown feature rich tours available for those old fashioned people viewing tours at work or home on a laptop. That sounds kind of weird talking about people on the Internet as old fashioned, but kind of fun I guess too. My how times are changing!

The point is, if you want to be successful in business, you’ve got to be where the customers are. If a business employs old technologies, they’ll get diminished results and wonder why their leads are falling off. They’ll blame it on the Internet and say things like the Internet just doesn’t work anymore. We heard that about newspapers, yellow pages, and radio advertising in the past. They all still work, but customers buying habits are evolving, and if you want to maximize your success, it pays to find out what the consumers are doing and provide solutions.

We have several websites. Even though Android is now king of the mobile market, we can tell you that the iPad is 74.76% of our mobile users on our Topagent.com site. These numbers change on various sites. As more tablets are released this year featuring Android, perhaps those numbers will change. The key is you have to know your market, design your marketing to work on the various technologies, and be available to answer customers in the fashion they like.

If a customer calls you speaking English, they generally would like to speak to someone in English. If a customer calls speaking German, chances are German is their preferred language and they’d like to speak with someone that speaks German.

The same is true with technology. Many people will contact you from their Smart phone. It doesn’t mean they’re ready to talk to you yet. If they ask you to email or send a text of a home, you’ll probably lose that buyer if you fax it to them because that’s more comfortable to you.

If you want to pick up more German buyers, it might help to learn the German language. If you wish to pickup more buyers today, it might help to learn to speak their tech language. If a customer texts you, I’d respond with a text. If you’re not willing to learn the technologies customers want, the real estate industry will pass you by. But then again, so will most industries.

If you don’t know what a QR code is, how to text, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, provide virtual tours, syndicate your listings, do videos on the market, etc. you might be well served to visit Best Buy and look around at how they market with Bar scans, and what devices will read them. Watch customers compare prices the store is offering versus the Internet, and listen to how these devices are shaping buyers decisions. If you can see all this in half an hour at the electronics store, just imagine what is happening on the street in front of the home.

RE/MAX has launched a mobile app that allows you to search all the homes on a map directly from your mobile phone. You can see what homes sold for, what people are asking, and photos of the home you’re in front of. Talk about changing the dynamic of house shopping. Customers can text, call, or email an agent directly from the street for more information. If you’d like this cool new free mobile app send us your email address and we’ll send you the link. Brett@topagent.com

Have you ever negotiated with someone and felt like you weren’t getting anywhere, or felt like you’d like to ring their neck because they weren’t reasonable. After negotiating thousands of transactions and teaching negotiating sessions for the Council of Residential Specialists and national conventions, we’d like to offer a few tips that may help you in the future. While we could probably write a book, we’ll offer what we can in about negotiating to win.

Negotiating to Win
Negotiating Success Tips

Some people feel they’re excellent negotiators as evidenced by their ability to out-negotiate anybody and win at someone else’s expense. This rarely works unless one party is all out of options and there are no other interested takers. In this market, there are usually several interested takers. Let’s talk about some tips that may lead you to a successful deal.

Find out what’s most important to the other party and try to give it to them. Most people think it’s all bout price, but sometimes the closing date is important, or the move in date. Maybe it’s the personal items or the furnishings. I’ve seen some people emotionally attached to a washer and dryer a family member gave them as a present. Ask yourself, is that washer/dryer more important than the overall deal? This question could be asked of either side.

One tactic that rarely works is when one side asks to split the difference as a gesture of good will. This works when both sides feel each has negotiated in good faith and you’re close on the deal. This will blow up the deal when this isn’t the case. Here’s an example. Let’s say a seller prices their home at $200,000 and it’s truly worth $200,000. A buyer makes an offer at $150,000 and the seller laughs. Maybe the seller goes to $198,000 and the buyer goes to $160,000. The seller says they’ll go to $195,000 just to keep it going, but they’re about done. Buyer and seller are now $35,000 apart when the buyer says, “let’s split the difference and go to $177,500.” The deal dies.

Splitting the difference is usually the quickest way to death of a transaction. It’s all a function of where you started. Had the buyer started at $190k and they were only a few thousand apart it might work, but using this tactic when the buyer was unrealistic to begin with only exaggerates an unrealistic deal.

You might save a little bit on price if you give the seller something they want. Maybe the seller has kids and doesn’t want to move them until the end of the school year. They might sacrifice a little bit of money knowing they have their house sold but occupancy until the end of the year for the kids. If that works for the buyer, it’s win/win for both buyer and seller, and buyer saves a little bit of money while helping out the seller.

Another tip is research the market and offer fairly upfront. I’ve seen buyers get better deals by making a fair offer upfront rather than insulting the seller and offering far below market value. Everyone wants to get the best deal they can. This includes buyer and seller. If a buyer insults the seller, the seller is on guard and subsequent dealings tend to be contentious, so the seller counters higher to a buyer they don’t like than a buyer that was fair to begin with.

Don’t use gimmicks and deceit. Make your offer clear and complete. If you try to back-end your way into a negotiation the seller or seller’s agent will sniff that out and it will usually backfire. If you’re clear upfront with your intentions, contingencies, etc. you’ll build trust and perhaps you can get what you’d like. When trust is broken on the front end, it’s very difficult to get what you want through trickery and deceit. I don’t have room for examples and we could list plenty.

Work with an agent that listens and will guide you. Listen to your agent. Agents work with people all day long, every day for their job. Experienced agents who are successful have learned a thing or two about dealing with people and negotiating for success. If you find yourself out-negotiating the market but never ending up with a purchase or a sale, you might be out-negotiating yourself. It pays to seek the advice of a negotiating pro. It pays even more when you listen and act upon it.

If you’re a buyer, your success could very well be getting your first choice or moving on to your 4th or 5th favorite home. If you’re a seller, your success could very well be negotiating to close with your first buyer or waiting months and several price reductions later to close with your 4th or 5th buyer.

Your agent’s marketing brings buyers to the table. What you do with it can make those efforts worthwhile or futile.

If you look at the February and March 2012 graphs for single family home sales in Lee County, you’ll quickly notice that a large percentage of homes have sold for cash versus financing. This is not a new trend. While cash sales have saved our market the last few years, it does have its good and bad points. And we’ll attempt to explain why we’re seeing so many cash sales as well.  Cash Sales Dominate SW Florida Real Estate Market!

Cash Sales Dominate SW Florida Real Estate Market
SW Florida Cash Sales Versus Financed Sales

You would think that with interest rates at historical lows, more people would be jumping on the train to buy now and finance. Homeownership is affordable, as rates are low and prices are low compared to the height of the market, although prices are on their way up. We believe price will go much higher if the government would get out of the way and make financing possible again.

Local lenders are complaining, as are buyers, that the Dodd Frank Act has made it so difficult for qualified borrowers to actually produce unnecessary redundant and onerous documents that many just give up. Banks have gone from easy documentation loans in the boom to crazy stupid documentation now. We can’t just blame the lenders, because lenders are just following new provisions of the Dodd Frank Act. You might recognize the names, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, two names synonymous with getting loans and perks from the banking industry maybe they shouldn’t have gotten. We’ll leave those scandals for another story. I’m sure you can read all about them over the Internet.

In an attempt to regulate and improve the mortgage market, Dodd Frank has hurt the market in several ways. Parts of the act require higher down payments which will take many buyers out of the market. 2 recent studies suggest requiring all buyers to put at least 10% down would force about 40% of otherwise credit worthy buyers out of the market and requiring 20% down would force about 60% out.

Mortgage Rates 2010-2012
Mortgage Rates Trends

FHA has always required about 3-3.5% down and allows sellers to pay buyers closing costs, and their delinquency rates haven’t been substantially higher than banks requiring 10% down or more.

Secondly, and speaking from personal experience, the documentation requirements banks are adding because they’re afraid of getting fined or having to buy back the mortgage are awful. We’ve had several buyers have to go back to the Social Security Administration and request newer social security cards because their older cards may not reflect a name change due to a divorce, marriage, etc. The number has stayed the same throughout their life, and the lender can see this, but they still require the new card which pushes back the closing. Because the closing gets pushed back, it generally requires all new bank statements and employment stubs. We’ve had lenders wait until next month’s stubs before they’ll loan the money, so both buyer and seller must wait.

Wait, there’s more. Because a few fees might change due to the delays, like the interest rate lock may have expired, or the prorations could be off due to the delays, it required a new Truth in Lending Disclosure. You guessed it, if the lender has to re-disclose, there is a waiting period for that. That waiting period could trigger more bank statements, and updated pay stub, etc. It seems the cycle never ends, and it’s ridiculous. It’s no wonder listing agents want to know which bank is approving the buyer, and if the bank has a track record of delaying deals due to extemporaneous paperwork, it may cause the seller to accept another buyer’s offer over that one.

Lenders are getting penalized under Dodd Frank, and they’re getting hammered by sellers and real estate agents who are looking at best offer and most likely to close on time, if at all.

We feel that requiring higher down payments wouldn’t stop the market in a correction like the one we saw starting in 2006, so why add that on to borrowers who could never save that down payment while paying rent, preventing them from the American Dream? And even if you disagree with that statement, most would agree that Dodd Frank is preventing the market from moving higher because it’s essentially blocking access to capital markets for many.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re qualified, you can get a mortgage. You just have to know where to go to get the money, and be prepared to document everything just in case.

Good luck and happy house hunting. Rates are low, and prices are low but on the rise. If our buyer agents can be of assistance, feel free to call us at 239-489-4042

SW Florida Real Estate Update April 2012

It seems these days everyone’s got a quick and easy theory on how to price a home, but many are filled with errors that will either cause you to under-price your home, or over price it. Neither is good, because under pricing it means you’re just giving your equity away to the new buyer, and over pricing it means it will sit on the market longer and perhaps never sell. Statistics show that homes that are over-priced tend to sit longer and the seller ends up taking less because the market wonders what is wrong with it when it sat so long. Top Tips for Pricing Your Home in Today’s Market.

Top Tips for Pricing Your Home in Today’s Market
Top Tips For Pricing Your Home in Today’s Market

Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Don’t go by the property appraiser’s assesses value- I’ve talked to several property appraisers over the years including our own Ken Wilkinson. A property appraiser from IL told me it’s not the property appraiser’s job to value a home correctly, but rather simply it’s their job to value it fairly. There is a big difference. Because property appraisers use a mass appraisal system, they’re trying to price all homes fairly. Obviously if they could price each home at market value that would be wonderful, but they appraise hundreds of thousands at a time without going in the property, so it’s all done in relation to every other property. There can be a wide margin for errors with this system, and thus why there is an appeal process if you believe they’ve made an error. It’s amazing how well they do county-wide, and yet we can’t rely on any one valuation to be absolute. There are variations on many properties.
  2. Sites like Zillow provide Estimates. In fact, they call it a Zestimate, but it’s only that, and I’ve seen the valuations vary widely in just a matter of days. They use an online computer model, but again this model doesn’t visit the home, see inside, evaluate the condition, etc. They may look at all homes in a subdivision or street, but here in SW Florida there can be wide variations from street to street. Picture a riverfront home compared to a home 100 ft away across the street, or a golf course lot versus off golf course.
  3. Be Wary of Price Per Foot- I could show you two identical 2,000 sq ft homes from a builder. One is built with a pool, the other is not. One is on a waterfront lot, the other not. One upgrades the kitchen, adds a 3rd garage, upgrades carpet, cabinets, etc, and the second remains plain Jane. Obviously the pool and the lot location affect the price per square foot, so the square footage doesn’t really mean much. You could have a home built in 1952 sitting next door to a stupendous home built in 2012 with all the new hurricane protection, wiring, plumbing, roof, etc.
  4. Study the Appraisal- Appraisals can be ordered for different reasons. It could be ordered for resell, refinance, estate value, eminent domain, taxation, etc. The scope and purpose can affect the value. If the bank sees you’re a great credit risk, it’s possible a refi appraisal could come out higher than a resale appraisal.
  5. Be Careful Valuing Amenities- Just because you put an upgrade in the home 20 years ago doesn’t mean it has much value today. I recall back in the late 1980’s going to a seller’s home on Wren Rd in San Carlos Park. Back at that time homes were selling on that dirt road for $30’s. The seller added a $20,000 pool and expected over $50,000 for that home. It’s true, if you add value to pool cost you would think it would be worth that, but a $22k pool to a $30k home buyer is an extravagant amenity they cannot afford. That’s roughly 50% of the house value which was considered an over-improvement for the area at that time. It’s possible that pool had little to no value in that price range at the time. FHA wouldn’t even give value to a sprinkler system there as it was considered an over improvement.

It pays to value a home correctly the first time, as the market has a way of speaking in the end. The sooner you listen to the market, the better off you’ll be. It pays to work with a seasoned agent who can help you price your home using sound methods. On paper you might be able to make it come to what you want, but does that do you any good if a buyer won’t pay that, or a lender won’t lend that much. Be realistic. No matter the market, up, down, or sideways, you will always find those that over price and find a way not to sell. And even in the ugliest of markets’ homes do sell, because sellers price it at today’s value, not some number they need, nor a number from the past.

Remember, the market never cares what you need for your home. The market only cares if it’s priced correctly, and if it matches the buyer’s needs. Good luck, and happy home selling.

All news is relative.  Building permits are up which is good for construction and jobs. While building permits are up from last year, they’re a shell of what they were in the building boom, so you can spin the data any which way you want and we’ve seen it spun both ways recently. Good news for local jobs.

Good News For Local Jobs SW Florida Leading Economic Indicators
April Leading Economic Indicators

For years we’ve talked about statistics and provided updates about what’s going on in the local SW Florida real estate market.  Prices go up, prices go down, sales go up, sales go down, etc.  All along we’ve said supply and demand will affect the market, but ultimately the real rebound will occur when the economy improves and jobs return to the area.

Well, we’ve got some actual good news to report, and while some may spin it and say jobs are not what they used to be back in 2005, I would argue this is good news no matter how you look at it.  Nationally, jobless claims rose to 380,000 which was an increase, and this doesn’t even count those who have given up seeking a job, or whom are under-employed.

Locally it’s a much better story.  Two recent stories in the press touted jobs coming to SW Florida.  You may have heard about a company called Arthrex that is building a $25 million manufacturing plant in Collier County.  That will bring construction jobs to the area, but that’s just the beginning. According to a News Press article, the company employs 347 Lee County residents between its Plantation Rd complex and it’s North Naples facility.  The company plans to add another 400-500 workers by 2016 with an average salary at its Collier facility running $59,580. Arthrex expects to have about 2,000 local workers by 2016

I spoke to Government leaders back in January and other projects like this are in the works, so we look forward to bringing more good news to our area in the future.  Another local company made news this past week.  CarMax announced it is hiring for about 80 positions at its news store on Colonial Blvd.  CarMax is a retailer for used cars and a welcome addition to the SW Florida employment pool. By the way, if you’d like to apply for a job, visit www.carmax.com/careers

The real estate market has definitely been on the upswing since 2009.  For any recovery to be sustainable, jobs have to enter the picture, and now that is happening.  As inventory dwindles and more jobs come to the area, there is the potential for more construction opportunities, which fuels more jobs.  SW Florida has always been home to service industry jobs and construction, and with the addition of manufacturing companies like Arthrex, it could be a boom to our local economy.

There is talk of adding convention center space and perhaps a casino in the Fort Myers area which would also be a boom to the area job wise.  Gambling has always been a hotly debated topic and will always have opinions on both sides of the fence.  We’ll keep our eye on this however we suspect it will take months for this decision to play out.

SW Florida Distresses Sales Versus Traditional Sales
Traditional Sales Bring More Money Than Foreclsoures

Foreclosures are down which is another reason prices are up.  If you look at the attached chart you’ll see the median price of a traditional sale in Lee County Florida is almost double the foreclosure price.  This is a function of which homes come on the market in a particular price range, but I think it’s safe to assume that traditional sales are more indicative of actual market values than distressed sales. The good news is, there were almost 600 more traditional single family home sales the 1st qtr of 2012 than there were in 2011.

Let’s keep the Good News coming! It’s hard to spin this data as anything but good.