Did you know the average Realtor in Southwest Florida sells less than one home per year?  When you combine that fact with the fact that some realtors sell 25, 50, or 100+ homes per year you begin to realize that a large percentage of Realtors sell no homes at all. When looking at recent data I discovered Southwest Florida Realtors outnumber home listings, by a lot.

I called the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association which is the largest board.  It services Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, the Islands, etc.  They told me they have about 7,000 current members.  This doesn’t include all the members from Bonita/Estero or Sanibel/Captiva.  It does include some of them because some of them are secondary members.

Southwest Florida Realtors Outnumber Home Listings

So, we know there are 7,000+ Realtors in just one Realtor Board in  Southwest Florida.  Currently there are 5,364 single family home listings in Southwest Florida as of May 2017.  That breaks down to each Realtor having .76 listings.   When you factor in that many top agents who sell a lot of property have 10-20 or more listings, you realize a lot of Realtors have no listings.

You might be saying, what about condos and townhomes?  Good point. There were 3,417 of those on the market in May.  You’re still looking at a lot of Realtors with no listings.

To sum it up, the average Realtor sells less than 1 home per year and many sell none.  The average Realtor doesn’t have a listing, or 1 at best.  So how is a Realtor supposed to gain experience?

A Realtor might consider joining an established team with a mentor, leads, and listings.  You can only gain experience by working on deals.  You will make mistakes, and those mistakes will cost your customer a closing, time, or money, and sometimes all three.  By having a team that guides you through the process you can avoid making costly mistakes due to inexperience.

You also will want to join a company with a fantastic training program.  It is mandatory for success.  Lastly, you must have that drive, that indomitable spirit.  When people tell you that you can’t, you know you can.  You must be driven.  You are a leader, either today or in the making.  It is in you.

If you’re a seller, you want an established agent with lots of experience.  Sellers want agents who have seen everything, or enough to see problems coming before they arise and know how to avoid them or dig their way out of the problem to a successful resolution.  If you’re hiring a newer agent to sell your home you definitely want to know they have taken extensive training and have a mentor helping them always.  Your agent must have leads for your home.  They must have a database of buyers ready, willing, and able to buy soon.  Your agent must have marketing to sell your home.  If they have no marketing, how did they acquire all these ready, willing, and able leads?  Marketing and qualified leads go together.

Top Dollar

Experience matters!  If you want Top Dollar, you need a Realtor with leads, marketing, systems, drive, determination, honesty – to tell you the truth, and experience to put your deal together and keep it together.

If you’re thinking of selling, we’d love to talk to you.  Always call the Ellis team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042  The Ellis Team was Voted Best Real Estate Team by News Press Readers.

Search the MLS for Free  You can also see what your home is worth and get neighborhood reports.  Best thing is database is updated every 5 minutes, and has all the homes.

Good luck and Happy House Selling/Buying!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Kelly Greens Golf Community

12871 Kelly Sands Way

$250,000

1,797 SQ Ft

Corner Lot

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

Provincetown in South Fort Myers

3284 Prince Edward Island Cir Unit 1

Affordable living with garage

Have you ever had a Realtor call you and say “We have a buyer for your property?”  Or perhaps you’ve interviewed agents to sell your home and you asked if they had anybody looking for a home like yours?

Chances are the Realtor said yes.  Chances are you weren’t sure you believed them.  What if there was a way to know for sure?  Would that pique your interest?

I remember a seller in Moody River Estates asking me that question a few years ago.  I answered as I typically did at the time “I don’t know, we very well could.”  They listed with us and I took the listing back to the Ellis Team and announced that we just got a new listing.  One of our buyer agents said he was writing an offer in there as he had just showed there yesterday.   It was literally right around the corner from our new listing.

I told him to hold up and go show ours before submitting that offer.  Buyer agreed to go see our new listing, and low and behold they liked ours better.  We sold our listing in 1 day simply because we did have the buyer, and yet I didn’t promise that.  I didn’t want to sound like all other Realtors.

We Have a Buyer For Your Property Reflection Lakes Buyer Search
Reflection Lakes Buyers

As I look through our leads, I realize we do have buyers for just about anything you can imagine.  This will be a great tool for our sellers.  For instance, let’s say we’re listing a new home in Reflection Lakes.  I can now go into our database and see how many registered buyers we have searching in Reflection Lakes.  Turns out we have 251 searching in our database.  That’s pretty good.  When we take the listing we can begin calling those buyers.  The buyers will appreciate the heads up on a new listing and so will our seller.

We Have a Buyer For Your Property Cape Coral Buyers
Cape Coral Buyers

I searched Cape Coral.  We have 1,015 people actively searching in Cape Coral.  That’s a nice stat to know when a Cape Coral seller is interviewing us.  I pulled up Town and River for fun.  We have 97 people searching for Town and River looking for homes above $400,000.  If we listed a property in there for $900,000 I could change the search to Town and River buyers over $850,000.  It would give me a list and we could call them.  Pretty neat stuff.

We Have a Buyer For Your Property Town and River buyers
Town and River Buyers

Perhaps we’re listing a $400,000 property.  When I search our database I see that we have 390 people searching in that price range.

We Have a Buyer For Your Property $300,000-$500,000
$300-$500K Buyers

We Have a Buyer For Your Property

Of course, you don’t list with us just because we have a buyer for your property.  We’ll create new marketing to get more buyers for you once we have it listed. We spend more money marketing homes than other Realtors.  Our present and past marketing can go to work for you on Day 1.  Hopefully we can create multiple buyers for your property.

When you interview agents, you want to see marketing success. Yes, Ellis Team listings sell faster and for more money.  We can show you that.  Our team can also show you how our marketing generates buyers, lot’s of them.  We have buyers’ name, email, and phone number.  Our team know’s what buyers are searching for and when they want to buy.  It’s good data.

So when an agent tells you marketing doesn’t sell homes, price does, end the interview and call the Ellis Team.  Marketing absolutely sells homes!  Anybody can give your home away.  Not everybody can sell it for what it’s worth!

If you’re thinking of selling, you should call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042  Ask for Sande or Brett.  Chances are we have your buyer for your home. We’ll still market is as if we don’t. Perhaps we can create multiple buyers, and that would be good!  Put our marketing to work for you.  We go for top dollar, and we get it.  Visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to see why we have so many happy buyers and sellers.  Our website is updated every 5 minutes and has all the listings.  It’s more fun to use than other sites too!

Ellis Team Open Houses

Sunday 1-3 PM

1561 Cumberland Ct

3 Bed, 2 Bath 1,738 Sq Ft in Tanglewood

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

Sunday 1-3 PM

2636 SE 19th Pl

3 Bed, 2 Bath 2,096 Sq Ft  Sailboat Access Pool Home

Cape Coral Open House

Tune in to our Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update for Sellers June 2017

 

Please be sure to vote us as the Top Team in Southwest Florida Real Estate

Best of News Press readers Poll Best real estate team Ellis Team
Vote for the Ellis Team

Last week we talked about the efficiency of the real estate market.  Simply put, the Southwest Florida real estate market isn’t as efficient as the stock market.  No real estate market is, because the information isn’t as readily available and we’re not dealing with apples and apples. So why do some homes sell below market Value?

Why Do Some Homes Sell Below Market Value

Let’s elaborate.  The stock market has what they call the big board.  Everybody can look up and see what a stock is trading at this second.  If you’re looking at class A common stock for a company, 100 shares of the same stock are exactly the same.  There is no difference.  Additionally, everybody has access to the same information on the company at precisely the same time.

The real estate market is different.  Even if you have two homes with the exact same floor plan, they are different.  They are located on separate lots, making potential differences in location value.  The upgrades can be different.  Their repair and maintenance may differ, and of course the decorating and appearance can affect the value of the homes as well.  One home may have a pool.  They may not be built the same year with the same materials.

And this assumes it’s the exact same floor plan.  We all know most homes aren’t the exact same floor plan.  So how would a consumer, appraiser, bank, property appraiser, seller, or agent fairly compare various homes against each other?  It’s a complicated process, because you’re not dealing with apples and apples like a stock.

The other component that affects what a home might sell for is the exposure to the market.  If the home is fully exposed, presumably everyone who is looking in that price range for those amenities would be aware of the home.  This just isn’t the case.

Have you ever driven by a neighborhood and said to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t even know this subdivision was here?”  Or open a newspaper and wonder where that home is located?  These are two examples whereby if the customer didn’t stumble upon the area or see an ad for the property, they wouldn’t even know it existed.

The agent you hire to expose your home to the market makes all the difference.  If you wanted to sell a widget online in an auction, do you think you’d get more if you had 1,000 bidders than just 1 or 2 bidders?  Of course, you would.  Full exposure equals full market value.  Partial exposure equals less than full market value.  This is one reason For Sale By Owners net 16% less on average than using an agent.

Not all agents are the same.  Some offer limited market exposure, which is better than sell by yourself.  Some offer much more exposure.  Of course, all this marketing costs money, so every agent can’t do it because they don’t have the money.

Agents get creative and clever and tell you that the home will be listed on 50-100 Internet sites and that’s all you need.  This isn’t full exposure.  Sure, it’s better than nothing but it’s not full exposure like we’re talking about.  Don’t assume all agents are the same, and don’t assume all marketing is the same.  It just isn’t!

Your home isn’t just like every other home.  It needs to stand out.  It needs someone to stand up for it and say Buy Me, I’m special!  The Ellis Team can do that for you.

Why Do Some Homes Sell Below Market Value?

Recently while doing some market research I stumbled upon a property that is undervalued.  It’s sad because the home should sell for more than it’s currently listed for.  It’s been on the market awhile.  It could use a few repairs that would make a big difference, but I presume it just may not have been marketed like it could be.  This seller will undoubtedly net less than they should simply because they didn’t do a few repairs and because the market doesn’t realize it’s a good deal.

The real estate market is not as efficient as the stock market.  If you’re looking for Top Dollar, Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams! 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search the market like a pro.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Bell Tower Park Open House

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

5691 Kensington Loop

$330,000

 

Tanglewood Open House

1561 Cumberland Ct

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

$285,000

 

Reflection lakes Open House

13812 Lily Pad Cir

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

$250,000

One common belief among home sellers is that all Realtors do pretty much the same thing.  Sometimes we even get the question, “Are all Realtors the same?”  They put a sign in the yard, place it in MLS, and pray someone else sells it.

Are All Realtors the Same

I can understand why the public is confused.  They don’t see what really goes on in a real estate transaction, so how could they possibly know?  Years ago, the broker made all advertising decisions.  With the advent of higher splits to agents, brokers have less money to call the shots now.  They can’t deliver all the benefits they used to and still pay the agents top splits.

This fact began the decline in advertising.  Top splits should have gone to the highest producing agents, who would then take that money and re-invest into advertising.  Unfortunately, the high splits now go to anybody who can fog a mirror.

One might assume if an agent was receiving a higher split they’d have money to advertise, and that would be wrong!  The average agent sells than 1 home per year.  Even if they sell a home or two they don’t have money left over to advertise.

If they did have money to advertise, they wouldn’t know what’s effective.  We hear agents all the time say this doesn’t work and that doesn’t work.  The truth is, it doesn’t work the way they are doing it.  If you’re going to advertise, it pays to go big!

A $200 online budget will get you nowhere.  A small print ad with too much info crammed in will not produce.  Agents try these things and get no results, then they honestly say we tried that and it doesn’t work.

You’ve heard the term Go Big or Go Home.  It’s true in advertising.  The Ellis Team (230-489-4042) has always gone big.  Sure, we evaluate what’s working and what’s not all the time.  The point is, if you want results for your sellers, you must step up.  They are placing their trust in you.

There is a reason our listings sell faster and for more money.  It’s because we advertise.  We take pride in the fact that sellers net more using our services than they would on their own without paying a commission.  We expose their home to more people than they can, which results in higher prices and faster sales.

Agents wonder why buyers or sellers ask for part of the commission back.  In other markets, there are a few companies that have started doing that.  If an agent isn’t willing to go big and reinvest into marketing why not?  They’re not fully exposing the home and bringing top dollar.

Personally, I don’t think an agent should give back.  Agents earn it.  I do think some agents are worth more than others.  I think sellers should ask more questions about marketing and advertising so they better understand what they’re paying for.  Most agents give standard answers like the home will be advertised online and on a hundred websites, etc.

Are All Realtors the Same?

The truth is, many agents can’t answer the question because they don’t know.  When you interview an agent who understands and utilizes marketing and compare that to the agents who don’t, you begin to get an understanding what the differences are.  As a consumer, you might even learn more about home marketing than a lot of agents.

Agents are only taught how to pass the real estate exam, not how to effectively sell a home.  This knowledge must be obtained other ways, and it requires capital to invest in advertising.  Typical agents come into this business because of the low start-up costs but they don’t have the knowledge, expertise, or money to implement a plan, so they rely on the broker.  The broker isn’t much interested because they’ve given the splits to the agent to attract them to their company in hopes they turn out one day to be a high producing agent and stick with their company.  Don’t let the broker’s issue become your issue.  Hire a marketing pro.

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042 or search the MLS at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Find out How Much Your Home is Worth Online for Free

April 4, 2017 marks a big day in the real estate industry and we hope brokers, agents, buyers, and sellers are up on the changes.  There are big changes to real estate sales contracts, notably the financing clause that will change the way contracts are negotiated and processed.

Big Changes Coming to Real Estate Sales Contracts

In the past, most finance contingency contracts had a clause that said buyer had a certain number of days to obtain a loan commitment.  Lenders rarely use the commitment word any more, so it was changed to loan approval.

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts

Something else changed as well.  The buyer now has 30 days standard to obtain financing.  If they do not obtain it, they should notify seller or seller’s agent in writing because seller can cancel the contract.  If buyer fails to request an extension or terminate the contract, it is assumed they have loan approval and their escrow deposit could be in jeopardy.  I am writing this article prior to the April 4th unveiling, so we haven’t seen the entire clause yet.  There has been a flurry of activity on Realtor websites informing agents of the upcoming changes, so hopefully agents are aware.

We are not attorneys and we are certainly not giving legal advice.  Readers should be aware that there are big changes to real estate sales contracts in Florida and pay attention to timelines.

The agent you choose to work with as a buyer or seller will become even more important than it has in the past.  Not only will your agent need to be aware of these changes, they’ll also need to have systems and assistants to track and monitor timelines, and communicate with your lender.  A buyer can put themselves in legal jeopardy by simply not adhering to deadlines or communicating in writing as to the progress of the loan.

Hire a Full-Time Agent

Hiring a full-time agent is more necessary now than ever.  Part-time agents cannot keep up on market changes and inventory, nor have the skill, expertise, experience, and systems to keep up with contract changes that can place your escrow deposit in harm’s way.  We suggest you take a hard look at the agent you’re going to work with and ask questions about their knowledge of these contract changes and what systems they have in place.

Keep in mind, ultimately, it’s your responsibility.  You’re the buyer.  It’s your money.  You could lose the house and/or your escrow deposit by failing to timely communicate the process of your loan.

This may affect buyers in other ways too.  Let’s say a seller finds a buyer willing to pay more for the home.  The seller does not have to extend the financing clause if the buyer cannot obtain in the specified days.  If the seller has received no notification at all, the seller can cancel the contract within a 3-day window period after the buyer’s Loan Approval period has expired.

The seller seems to have picked up some rights and the buyer now has more responsibility to notify the seller about the loan process.  This places more responsibility on the lender you choose because now timelines are more important than ever.

Choose the Right Lender

Our team works with several lenders.  We work with lenders who not only offer great rates but also are known for service and meeting timeline commitments.  Interviewing lenders and evaluating their performance reputation will now be more important than ever.  Each buyer’s situation is different. Talk with a lender who has experience with the type of loan you’re going for and a track record of working with buyers with similar income and circumstances as yours.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in SW Florida, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  Knowledge and experience matters more than ever and we can refer you to lenders who can get the job done.  If you’re a seller, it pays to work with an agent who understands the market, has the muscle to market your home, and can help you evaluate which buyer’s offer is the best one to take.  You don’t have to accept an offer simply because it’s the only one you’ve got. Don’t forget our Free MLS search site www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Call us 239-489-4042 and let’s talk.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Sunday 1-4 PM

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts Gulf Access Waterfront Pool Home
Gulf Access Waterfront Home

1516 SW 43rd St Cape Coral

Pool Home

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

$560,000

Don’t panic if your home hasn’t sold yet.  There’s still time.  Besides, season isn’t the only time homes sell in SW Florida.  Years ago, home sales peaked in the summer.  The last few years they’ve been higher in season and just after season as it takes a while to close a home once it goes pending.

Don’t Panic if Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet

As you can see, closings tail off after June but there are still sales.  There are more eyeballs here in season so there is more potential however some are just lookers exploring opportunities for years in the future.  If you have a home you’d like to sell and it’s not selling, we offer some tips on getting it sold now.

  1. Hire the best Realtor you can find.  You want one with pro-active marketing.  One that advertises where the buyers are.  Targeted online advertising is a must these days.  If the agent you interview doesn’t understand this, keep shopping.
  2. Stage your home. No, you don’t have to hire a professional stager.  You do have to follow some simple guidelines.  Consulting with a Realtor or stager knowledgeable in bringing a home to market so it shows its best will help.
  3. Professional photos are a must. With so many buyers shopping online, having bad photos will simply turn them off.  Hire an agent that either hires a photographer or one that takes great photos and has a graphics design department touch up each photo.
  4. Fix repair items. Buyers imagine problems ten times worse than they really are.  Fixing a few simple items will go a long way to getting that contract.
  5. Make home easily available to show.  Nothing turns off a busy Realtor more than making your home hard to show.  Things like 24 or 48 hour notice reduce showings significantly.  Place your home on lockbox and allow your Realtor easy access and watch your showings multiply.
  6. Curb Appeal-Look at your home and see how it compares to the neighborhood. Does your home need paint, landscaping, or de-cluttering on the outside?  If so, an investment here can increase showings.
  7. Talk to your neighbors. If a neighbor has an un-kept yard or a boat in the yard, chances are it will affect the value of your home.  Sometimes working out a deal with the neighbor can pay big dividends.  If that doesn’t work, consider code-enforcement or the HOA.  No buyer wants to come in and inherit a mess of a neighbor.
  8. Price it Right. Don’t price it by what you need out of it. Price it as if you were a buyer.  Would you buy your property at your price?  If you over-price your home, you’re essentially buying back your property for the price you’re offering.  Being overzealous leads to you keeping your home because you value it more than the public does.  If that’s the case, maybe you’re not ready to move yet emotionally or financially.  If you really want to move, you can’t love your home more than the market does.  Price it at today’s market value and move on to your next home.
  9. Be gone for showings.  Nothing hampers a potential home sale more than a seller sticking around trying to help.  Buyers extract motivations and information from sellers that can only hurt.  As a seller, you don’t know what’s important to that buyer and saying the wrong thing can lose the sale.  Be gone if possible, or be invisible if not.  Let your Realtor answer any questions. If you don’t trust your Realtor to do this, then you’ve hired the wrong Realtor.  If no Realtor will ever be as good as you, then the Realtor accepted the wrong client.

You can always search for your next home at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It’s updated every 5 minutes and it has the best photos available from MLS.  If you’d like to talk to experienced agents who know how to get homes sold, always call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042.  We’d love to help you make your next move!

Ellis Team Open Houses

Gorgeous Pool and Spa

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

15830 Beachcomber Ave  $360,000

 

4 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home on Lake

Reflection Lakes

13795 Bald Cypress Cir    $420,000

 

Pool Home on Golf Course

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Olde Hickory

14381 Hickory Fairway Ct    $450,000

 

Pool Home Close to Beaches

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Iona Area

15271 Thornton Rd   $290,000

 

 

Everybody knows fish tend to swim in schools.  The same is true with buyers.  93% of buyers search online, so knowing where they are and how to reach them is integral today. Targeted marketing attracts schools of online buyers.

This past month we’ve held some open houses.  We had one 3 weeks ago and 45 people showed up.  Last week we held one and 40 people showed up.  The lender who agreed to sit with us and help pre-qualify buyers who might need assistance was amazed.  He said he’d never seen anything like it.  He went to 6 open houses last weekend and none had that kind of traffic but ours.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers
Last Week’s Open House Ad Online

We’ve developed a particular set of skills that finds specific buyers and brings them to your door.  We are targeting buyers, and they love it.  We asked each buyer who came through how they found us.  Many said the open house popped up on their phone, while others said they saw it online.  Were they mad they saw one of our ads?  Heck no, they were glad, and they acted and showed up.

In any advertising, you must target the right people, with the right message, at the right time.  If you fail at any of the three, you’re missing opportunities.  It’s not about how much you spend.  While it is true we spend more than other agents, spending alone won’t bring buyers.

There is blanket advertising and targeted advertising.  Advertising in the Super Bowl might cost $5 Million and blanket the US.  Sure it would attract attention for about a minute.  Targeted advertising hits the right audience, when they’re ready to purchase, with the right message.

First you must have a great page to send them to.  It must have compelling content, and either a call to action or a benefit to going there.  You can see from last week’s online ad there is compelling content with photos if you’re a buyer looking for such a home.  Our open houses generated 1,355 views of our two properties.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers

Secondly, we chose buyers looking to purchase with the exact interests of each home.  We separated the buyers into different audiences so we could tailor each creative ad to each set of buyers.  We ran ads to 5 separate groups, and each group performed well.   Our Click-thru rate was over 15%.  This means that over 15% of people that saw the ad clicked on the ad.  The ad itself was engaging and was worth customers spending their time on.  The industry average is less than 2%.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers Ad Performance
Ad Performance

Targeting worked.  I’ve heard people say they don’t like targeting.  We also put up open house signs on the road.  Those signs target people driving by.  Newspaper ads target readers for products and services.  Online ads are no different.  In fact, most people like it better because hey get to see ads for things they like or are interested in.

This is one reason why For Sale By Owners stand little chance of selling their own home.  They’re not reaching the whole market, and when you limit your market you limit the price you’ll get.  Imagine selling an item at an online auction.  If you have one bidder, you’ll get a certain amount.  What if you had 1,000 bidders?  Do you think you’d get a better price?

All Realtors are not the same.  It makes a difference which Realtor you hire.  We use both blanket marketing like newspaper, video, postcards, etc as well as online targeted ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and more.  We corner the market.  Hiring the wrong Realtor could cost you thousands!

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042 to get your home sold fast and for top dollar, or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com

By the way, we have two open houses this weekend in Reflection Lakes.  See our ad in News Press Homefinder, or find them at www.Facebook.com/Ellisteam

Good luck and Happy Home Selling!

Ellis Team Open Houses

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Reflection Lakes Condo

13971 Lake Mahogany Dr #2623

Reflection Lakes  $215,000

Affordable Living in SW Florida

 

Reflection Lakes Pool Home

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

13624 Gulf Breeze St   Pool Home  $275,000

Brought to you by your Reflection Lakes Experts

2017 SW Florida State of the Market Report

One of the common question real estate agents get from sellers centers around a home’s Zestimate on Zillow. Deep down sellers know what homes are selling for in their neighborhood and how their home compares.  Often, they just want to try a much higher price simply because Zillow says their home is worth more.  We attempt to answer the question, Are Zillow home value zestimates purposely inflated?

The buzz amongst real estate agents is they can’t believe how far off many Zestimates are these days.  Agents laugh anytime the words Zillow and home values are mentioned in the same sentence because they know they’ll have to explain how inaccurate these things tend to be.

Last weekend I had a conversation with one of our sellers.  She brought up her Zillow Zestimate.    Within 15 minutes after that conversation I went outside to work in my yard and my next-door neighbor asked me about his Zestimate.  He noticed it went up over $100,000 last month and wondered if the real estate market was that good right now.

Zillow Home Value Zestimates Purposefully Inflated

Of course, his value didn’t change $100,000 last month.  Perhaps you’ve heard the story of Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff.  His home was valued at $1,750,405 on March 1, 2015.  The funny thing is, it sold 1 day earlier for $1,050,000.  That’s a difference of $700,405.  Put another way, Zillow was off over 40% on their CEO’s own home.

Are Zillow Home Value Zestimates Purposefully Inflated?

So is Zillow’s data that bad, or could there be another motive?  Let’s remember where Zillow gets its revenue. Zillow charges agents, property managers, and lenders to appear on their website.  They are gathering leads to sell to agents.  Some agents pay several thousand dollars per month for these leads.  Zillow takes MLS and public records data and assembles them and markets that data to the public in the hopes of attracting eyeballs to its site.

To increase revenue and charge more to agents, brokers, and lenders Zillow must increase visits to the site.  One way to do that is advertise more on the Internet and TV.  Another way is to change up the values frequently in hopes of getting repeat viewers to come back often and see what’s going on with their value.

We get it.  The market changes every day.  It doesn’t typically change $84,000 in one day.  So, either Zillow’s algorithm for calculating values is off, the underlying data are off, or they are trying to create a buzz by getting people to check back repeatedly.  In the news business, they call it Click Bait.  Click bait is when editors write a sensational headline to get readers to click on the article.  It could be fake news, doesn’t matter.  If the headline works, it attracts readers which ups the hit count.  The higher the hit count, the higher the advertising rates.  Most reputable news organizations don’t utilize this tactic.  They don’t have to because they have valuable content.  Tabloids on the other hand use this with perfection.

Agents are paying top dollar presumably for new leads not realizing Zillow is stoking the fire by attracting the same old leads repeatedly.  Consumers may be unaware that Zillow now has data on everyone who has checked their home value, and they are selling data like that.

Zillow Admits Errors

Zillow says that nationally their Zestimates are off by 7.9% on average.  That’s a lot!  However, in Seattle where their CEO’s former home is located, they claim to be more accurate at only 6.1% off.  Can we really trust their numbers when they were off over 40% on their own CEO’s home?

If you’re thinking of selling, we have an automated valuation tool that may be more accurate.    More importantly, we will never sell your info to other agents and brokers.  Why would we?  We want your business.  We’d love to earn your business.

If you’re thinking of selling, call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042 Ext 4  Let us show you how we put more money in your pocket at closing than other Realtors and how we sell homes Fast!  And, we’ll show you what true Top Dollar is for your home so you can make accurate decisions.

We’re here to help.  Always ask for Sande Ellis or Brett Ellis.

Read about Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Statistics to be released tomorrow.

Paint the Town Red

This weekend is the Keller Williams Paint the Town Red Event.  We’ll have around 100 homes open in a single day.  It’s the single biggest open house event of the year.  Check back as we’ll be posting the addresses here.

Ellis Team Featured Open Houses

Sunday 1-4 PM

Ellis Team Open House

6180 Winkler Rd

 

 

 

 

 13624 Gulf Breeze St Reflection Lakes Pool Home

Southwest Florida December home sales were down 5.5% from last year and pending inventory fell 8.4% from last year, a worrisome sign to agents heading into 2017.

December 2016 may be an abnormal year as we just came off the most contentious election cycle I can remember.  January sales normally don’t start heating up until the 2nd half of the month.  Already we’ve seen strong buyer activity which may be a sign that consumers are now moving forward after a lull in 2016.  Potentially we have a lot of pent-up demand.  Consumer confidence seems to have increased post-election.

Southwest Florida December Home Sales

Single family home prices increased 8.7% over December 2015.  Many of these sales would have been in place before the election, so that is a positive sign.  Listing inventory declined slightly from November although it is up 11.4% from December 2015.

We’ll be keeping our eyes on inventory levels moving forward into 2017 as well as pending and closed sales.  One month does not make a trend.  So far we’re still seeing mixed signals but all indicators were pre-election.

The other thing we’ll watch in 2017 is interest rates and job creation.  Interest rates rose in 4th qtr of 2016 and the Fed has signaled more in 2017.  They predict 3 more Fed increases.  It’s impossible to know how the overall market would respond to that as the Fed doesn’t control bond prices or mortgage rates directly.

We hear great news on the manufacturing front.  Jobs returning to the US would be a boom for real estate.  Quietly we’re losing other jobs, like retail brick and mortar stores.  Macy’s, Sears, Kmart and others are closing stores as sales are off at malls and retail stores.  It may very well be that sales are not off, just a reformation of how people are shopping.  We believe more people are shopping online and less at malls, but that’s just our guess.

Real estate consumers are also researching and shopping online.  Last month our websites earned over 7,000 user sessions by over 3,700 unique users researching our market and searching for property.  This doesn’t include our social media sites.

Remembering back to life before the Internet, we never had 3,700 people coming through our team’s doors each month.  Sure, we had more than most as we have always been large advertisers, but no team had that many.

Online shopping has really opened how consumers access information.  To capture these buyers agents must have a website that serves timely and useful information, and presents it in such a way that is mobile and consumer friendly.

38.76% of our property search traffic is mobile and another 16.03% is tablet.  Combined that equals 54.79%.  More than half our traffic is mobile, which means less than half are searching on desktop.  Therefore having a team ready and able to respond to leads quickly is critical.  Statistics show buyers work with the first agent they talk to and build a trust with.  Communicating with a lead within first 5 minutes is key.  Agents are busy and can’t always call a lead immediately, but when they can conversions go up.

Buyers want to buy from somebody.  They just want to work with someone who can answer their questions and solve their problems.  Faster response times just increases your chances.

Buyers, if you’re looking to purchase or curious about the market, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has everything you need and database is updated every 5 minutes.  Hard to believe, but it’s true.  I’ve tested it.

Sellers, if you’re looking to sell, hiring an agent that will proactively market your listing and reach today’s online buyers is critical.  In addition, they must have a team in place to service these leads quickly.  Without these tools and the agents to work the leads, your home is just sitting on the market waiting for someone to possibly find it.  We don’t wait!  We market!

Agents, if your sales are coming up short because you don’t have the leads, maybe we should talk!

Always call the Ellis Team!  239-489-4042  We can sell your home!

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update January 2017

We’ll have an updated Seller’s Club coming out in next few days.  Until then, here is December’s Report.  Please contact us if you’d like to have this report emailed to you each month.

 

Ellis Team Open House

Ellis Team open house Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes Open House

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Reflection Lakes  Gate 2

13624 Gulf Breeze St

$285,000

A financial term you’ll regularly hear bandied about is “Money in Motion.”  Money in motion creates opportunity when money is active and circulating and things become stagnant when people sit on their money and save.  We like to measure the Southwest Florida real estate money in motion by the number of home sales there in a month and multiply by the average sales price.  It gives us a clue as to the overall activity in the market.

When home sales are up and prices are down, they offset each other.  When both are down, money in motion is down.  If both are up, the money in motion is most assuredly up.

Money in Motion Southwest Florida Real Estate

As you can see by the chart, the total dollar volume in November was up 20.6%  That’s the good news.  For the better part of 2016 money in motion has been down.  This is why agents have been complaining that their sales and earnings have been off.

Home sales have been off all year to the tune of 15-20%.  Prices have been up against last year’s numbers but they’ve been flat all year.  We haven’t really seen significant price gains in the market since November 2015.

Sellers measure the health of the market simply by the direction of prices.  Some agents do too.  Experienced agents look at the whole picture; prices and number of sales.  By multiplying and tracking the two, you can identify trends in the market.  Understanding each component of the money in motion principle helps explain what is happening and why which leads to what the market may do in the future.

Money in Motion

Home sales picked up in November. They were up 16%.  Average prices picked up too, up 3.6% What helped with prices is last year’s numbers were adjusted down.  Unless something changes, year over year prices will be flat going forward.  If this remains true, total dollar volume will be influenced more by number of sales than price gains.

2017 will be more positive than 2016 in our opinion.  We can’t say whether it will come in the form of price gains.   Expect transaction volume to increase as more sellers decide to sell.  We have a balanced market right now where neither seller nor buyer have the overall edge, except in certain price ranges.  See last week’s article Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Supply Increases in 4th Qtr.

There is renewed optimism in the economy post-election.  2016 was a year where consumers and business sat on their hands.  Both seem poised to start moving again. We could see more sellers begin to trade-up, or move to a different lifestyle home.

We could see more baby boomers buy 2nd homes in Southwest Florida. Retirees may flock here because their 401k’s have been doing well.  No matter the reason, increased money in motion creates opportunity.  Interest rates are rising, and the Fed has signaled last week’s rate hike won’t be their last.  In fact, they predict 3 more rate hikes in 2017.  Borrowing costs will be higher going forward.

The early bird gets the worm.  Actually, late birds will get the worm too, it’ll just cost them more if getting a mortgage.

We’ll be tracking the money in motion for you in 2017.  Sellers need agents more than ever as competition heats up amongst sellers.  Buyers need agents too to assist them in sorting out total cost of ownership and factors which could affect the buyer.

Website Saves You Time

If you’d like to get a head start you can search for your dream home at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Beat out other buyers to hot new listings.  Save your search and let the system notify you of hot new properties that match what you’re looking for.  Or let one of our buyer agents help you search, just give us a call.

If you’re a seller, please call us at 239-489-4042.  Ask for Sande or Brett.  We handle the marketing for the Ellis Team and we can help you achieve Top Dollar for your home in 2017.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

December 2016 Ellis Team Seller’s Club Report

 

Congrats to Pam Belcher our Ready For a Yeti Contest Winner!

Stay tuned for your chance to win a Yeti cooler

Ellis Team Featured Listings

Ellis Team Assisted For Sale By Owner Listings

San Carlos Park Pool Home $269,500

Gateway Pool Home on Lake $600,000