We’ve seen a lot of scams and misinformation this past week so we thought we’d pass along some useful SW Florida real estate hurricane news and information.

SW Florida Real Estate Hurricane News and Information Rumor Control

If your property insurance was cancelled leading up to the hurricane, executive order 17-235 issued by Governor Scott provides that cancellation is now rescinded for 90 days.  Furthermore, all rates are frozen for 90 days, and the order allows policyholders 90 days to provide requested information from their insurance company.  In other words, this will give policyholders time to either renew or shop around for coverage in the wake of the storm.  Great job Governor Scott.

FEMA is available to assist people with housing and emergency needs.  From what we can gather, you must prove losses and damage and in some cases, show hardship.  It looks like they’ll issue credits off your tax return in some cases.  FEMA says it will provide some coverage that your insurance company may not.  It may be worthwhile applying at www.disasterassistance.gov  We did hear of somebody receiving $500 on the spot for their business.  FEMA will send out claims adjusters to view your damage.  This is especially helpful if your property has been flooded or is uninhabitable.  There is some housing assistance for those people.

There are rumors that FEMA, the Red Cross and FPL will reimburse you for lost food, but this turns out to not be true.

We’ve heard FEMA will not reimburse you for lost food on the news, and yet we’ve seen a checklist for you to itemize your food losses.

You hear so many things online and in the news and it’s difficult to know what’s true.  It’s especially difficult in times of disaster, limited power, internet, etc.  Beware of scams.

Mortgage Relief

Mortgage forbearance is a hot topic.  Across social media everyone is advising you to apply and the banks must automatically grant you 3 free months of no payments.  Let’s clear up a few things in this regard.  Lenders are forgiving and offering assistance.  If you have a government backed mortgage through FNMA or Freddie Mac you may be able to postpone payments up to 12 months.  FHA loans may extend up to 90 days.  In some cases, they will go longer depending on circumstances.

It’s best to contact your lender yourself.  Be wary of online scams.  There should not be a fee charged to you for this help.  If someone is charging a fee, this might be your first red flag.  These payments are not waived, they are tacked on to the end of the loan, so if you don’t need the assistance, it might be best to pass on the idea.

We’re seeing contractors going door to door looking for work.  Again, be wary.  If you pay them money upfront you may never see them again, and you always want to see their license and insurance.  God forbid they get hurt on your property, or claim they did.  You could be out some cold hard cash and have legal worries. Be wary of offers and possible strings attached.  Evaluate the source of the help.You don’t need permits for everything.  We’ve heard things like fence repair and replacement in a storm doesn’t need it.  Be sure to check for yourself before completing or hiring repairs.

Buyers Are Looking

The good news is we have buyers contacting us looking to purchase.  People up North haven’t given up on Florida either as they are signing up at www.LeeCountyOnline.com and searching for property. If you have a home to sell, we have buyers.

While we’ve been busy this week delivering generators to those in need, we’ve also been scurrying to fix damaged listings impacted by Irma.  We’ve secured contractors to repair and replace items so our sellers can be on their way and buyers can move into their new home.  Buying and selling real estate is more complicated than ever.  It’s wise to hire a professional to help you with all the details.

If you’re buying or selling and need a professional Realtor, please call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042.  We’re here to help.

More Resources:

Best Hurricane Irma Computer Model

FEMA Hurricane Irma Page

American Red Cross Hurricane Irma Page

Hurricane Irma came and passed, and we survived.  Thank God it wasn’t as bad as it was predicted.  It’s been irritating and people are suffering, but we’re thankful for all we have and preservation of life.  So, let’s look at what we learned and talk about Southwest Florida real estate after hurricane Irma.

Many people didn’t realize flood insurance is affordable.  I spoke with some who thought it would be several thousand dollars per year and because their mortgage company didn’t require it, they were safe.  We learned that people in Houston thought the same thing.  Flooding in parts of Lehigh are horrific.  This flooding was not due to storm surge but rather rainfall.  Other areas like Island Park, Old Burnt store Rd, and several other communities experienced flooding like never before.  If flood insurance is affordable, go get it whether the mortgage company requires it or not.

Southwest Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma Older Pool Cage
Older Pool Cage

Much of the damage came from trees.  Large beautiful trees are a hazard in storms.  I don’t know what the solution is.  Perhaps cutting and trimming trees would help keep some of the weight down far from the trunk and save some of these trees from hitting homes and blocking streets?  Trees caused down power lines and were probably the number one reason power was out for so long for so many.

Southwest Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma Newer Pool Cage
Newer Pool Cage in Reflection Lakes

Make sure your subdivision clears its drains regularly.  This helps alleviate street flooding on private roads and can make the difference whether your street is passable after storm or not.  People in Cypress Cay in Gateway among others were stranded for days.  I’m sure there were other reasons, but anything that helps drainage is good.

Gas lines were long.  Whether you’re running generators or just trying to get to work having some extra gas around ahead of storm is a good thing.

Living close to restaurants and super markets is a good thing after a storm.  While many were slow to open, it was a huge relief when they did.  If you can walk to either, gas isn’t an issue.  If you can’t, at least you won’t burn much gas.  Cash is king.  A few restaurants were cash only because they didn’t have internet.  With banks and ATM’s closed, having cash ahead of storm is good.

Newer homes fared better.  We saw some older homes lose shingles.  Presumably this could be due to newer building codes, although we did see some homes missing tiles on the newer homes.  I saw some pool cages down built to older codes and some untouched built to the newer codes.  Of course, wind direction could affect these too.

The bottom line is SW Florida was lucky.  We are grateful.  Property damage was not as bad as expected and there was limited loss of life in Florida.  Southwest Florida real estate after Hurricane Irma will be just fine, if not better.  We will have a few weeks of rebuilding and repair but overall, we did well.

We have buyers.  If you’re thinking of selling, let us know.  Hurricane damage and flooding may wipe out some inventory for a while so we may be able to plug a buyer into your property soon.

If you’d like to search for your piece of paradise, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com or call us at 239-489-4042  Power is not on at our office yet as of day we wrote this article, however we are taking calls remotely when we can.

Additional Resources:

We found a neat NOAA website that allows you to track damage to your Fort Myers property.  Click on the Hurricane Irma Imagery and zoom in to the area.  NOAA is updating this with new flights and sensors so new maps will be posted regularly.

Lee County Schools will not reopen until Sept 25th.

Hurricane Preparation Tips- 3 Yr old video while we were still with RE/MAX.  Tips still good though

Fort Myers Beach Sunset 1 Month Before Irma

This past week the over-riding question we get from customers and realtors alike is how will Southwest Florida hurricane affect local real estate market?  The answer is, it depends.

How Will Southwest Florida Hurricane Affect Local Real Estate Market

First off, we’ve been telling clients that the storm isn’t even here yet.  We’ve been focused on protecting life and property this week.  Buyers aren’t in the mood to house shop this week.  As Realtors, we’ve been assisting clients removing signs, lowering hurricane shutters, closing homes, and evacuating.  Our staff has postponed their own plans simply to help others.

Charley hit our area back in 2004 and bolstered our market.  It brought reconstruction and attention to our area.  You would have thought all the negative publicity would have hurt us, but it didn’t.  Renters were sometimes forced to find new rentals and it helped drive the resale and rental market.

One of the things I think about today is the used car market.  I hear there were 1 Million flooded cars in Houston area.  As insurance companies replace these cars for policy holders I can’t help but think it’s going to drive used car prices higher.  Much like the cash for clunkers program, the hurricane may raise used cars prices simply by taking supply out of market.

I’m writing this article days before Irma is scheduled to arrive.  Who knows, maybe Irma will shift east and not even hit SW Florida.

Charley was a small storm in size and we did not receive much flooding.  It was for us mostly a wind driven event.  Houston is primarily a water driven event, and in my opinion, that’s even worse.  Not only is flooding water more dangerous, it’s also more damaging over wide spread areas.

We have a low inventory market, so I’m not real excited about a hurricane eating up existing inventory.  Already rents are high, and if a tenant is displaced by the storm finding alternatives may be difficult if not impossible to find.

In many price ranges it’s slim picking for buyers, and it could get even slimmer.  It could force buyers to buy whatever they can after the storm, much like shoppers at Publix looking for the last truckload of water before the storm.

We’d much rather natural forces drive the real estate market.  We don’t need a natural disaster to create demand.  Demand is already pretty good.  Supply is already limited too.

We suspect it may take a week or two for life to return to normal, and that’s if the storm moves east and does minimal damage here.  If the storm were to hit the East coast of Florida hard, you could see many displaced people coming over here and paying cash for homes.  Not everyone can do that, but enough can that it could swallow up a lot of our inventory.  For years people from Miami have been coming over here and buying property.  If they were hit hard by a sudden event, it could spur more to move right now.

How Will Southwest Florida Hurricane Affect Local Real Estate Market?

We could write for days on possible scenarios and how the storm could affect the local real estate market.  So much of it just depends.  I think for now, we should all just focus on staying safe, executing our evacuation plans or hunkering down, and watch out for each other.

Hurricanes bring out the best and worst in people.  We witnessed so many wonderful people helping in Charlie and Wilma.  And we saw what stress can do to people as well.  Remember, stress manifests itself in many ways.  If you see someone lashing out or easily angry this next week or two, it may just be the stress of the storm piled up on other things going on in their life.  Lend a helping hand, be kind to one another, and watch out for your neighbor.  You’ll feel better knowing you did, and you just might need a helping hand yourself when you least expect it.

If you need help, don’t be too proud to ask.  We’re all in this together!  We’ll get through this.  If you’re looking for the best real estate website, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com Or call us at 239-489-4042  Most of all, stay safe!  Real estate can be replaced.  You cannot!

Have you noticed lately everywhere you look another commercial is advertising how they can help you select the best real estate agents?  I sure have.  Everyone from Glenn Beck, Dave Ramsey, Sean Hannity, Homelight, Zillow, and on and on and on.  It doesn’t stop.  So why are all these companies and celebrities springing up and throwing in their two cents about real estate agents?  Because it’s lucrative.

Picking Best Real Estate Agents a Dangerous Business

Picking Best Real Estate Agents Dangerous Business

Do these companies really pick the best real estate agents?  Probably not.  Over the years we’ve been approached by nearly all of them.  What they don’t tell you in the ads is that the agents selected pay either a hefty monthly fee to be recommended or a hefty referral fee on the transaction.  This is money that could be used to market a seller’s property instead of being spent to secure a listing lead.  If a listing agent pays 30-40% off the top to these referral companies, they lose money unless they don’t spend much to begin with.  And if they don’t spend much money marketing the seller’s home, are they the best?

If you’re an agent who spends a lot to market homes, why would you take listings guaranteed to lose the agent money?  Some would say marketing doesn’t sell homes, the MLS does and price does.  I can tell you that we just sold one of our listings for full price cash directly from a newspaper ad.  In fact, we’ve sold 7 homes in the past 10 days and many came from advertising.  Advertising still works, and it always will.  The question is, as a seller, do you prefer an agent that pays to advertise your home or pays to advertise their name?

Some people ask, is it legal for people who are not agents to advertise who they say best agents are and collect advertising fees or referral fees?  That’s a tricky question.  Many of these people setup a real estate company in another state so they can legally collect a real estate commission referral.  Others just charge a monthly fee for TV or radio time.  Some would say recommending a real estate service requires a license, even if only in advertising.  We’ll stay out of the legal realm as we don’t know that answer.  This article focuses on the practicalities.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams is proud that we were voted Best Real Estate Team in SW Florida by News Press readers.  In full disclosure, we paid some advertising to announce that fact.  We are proud that we were voted best.  We don’t pay the newspaper a referral fee to be listed.  They are a trusted partner and they help us advertise our homes for sale, both in print and online.

Are These Paid Recommendations Really Accurate?

The next time you turn on the TV or the radio, pay attention to how many services are advertising how to pick the best real estate agent.  I bet you’ll be astonished.  Then ask yourself, why are they taking up valuable airtime for this?  Follow the money.  It’s always the money.  Hey, this is America.  We’ve got no problem with people paying to stand out.  We’ve paid to stand out over the years ourselves in various ways.  The real question is, are they truly recommending the best, or recommending the agents they can get to pay to be on their service?

Our team has a list of handymen, plumbers, electricians, roofers, pool companies, inspectors, etc. that we recommend to our clients.  We don’t recommend them because they pay to be on our list. We do so because they’ve proven to us they give good service to our clients.  Isn’t that what a recommended list should be?

Call the SW Florida Real Estate Experts

If you’d like to talk to us about selling your home, call Brett or Sande at 239-489-4042 Ext 4  if you’d like to get a preliminary value of your home go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com Or, if you’d just like to search the MLS like a pro and see what’s available, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Either way, we’d love to talk to you about your real estate needs and help you accomplish your goals.

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

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Kelly Greens Golf Community

12871 Kelly Sands Way

$250,000

1,797 SQ Ft

Corner Lot

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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

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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
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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

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Tanglewood Open House

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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