Official sales numbers are out, and Southwest Florida housing median home prices rose 2% past year.  March 2018 median home price came in at $260,000, up from $255,000 last year.  All year we’ve been saying home prices have been flat since about June, so this was a nice rise albeit a moderate rise.  Average home prices were up 4.1% to $375,895, up from $361,082 last year.

Southwest Florida Median Home Prices Rose 2% Past Year

The number of home sales were down 2.7% in March versus last year.  So, what is the takeaway from these numbers?  Statistically we have a balanced market neither favoring the buyer or the seller.  Of course, certain price ranges and neighborhoods can vary.  These are what we call sub-markets.

All real estate is local.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in Pittsburgh PA, Peoria IL, or, Cleveland OH.  What’s true in one market can be different in another.  What’s true in one market can be different in a sub-market of that same market.  Therefore, it’s important to work with a seasoned Realtor with experience in the market you’re looking.  While I believe the Ellis Team are some of the best agents around, we wouldn’t be in another town like Pensacola or Jacksonville.  Sure, we’re licensed Florida agents and can serve you anywhere in Florida, but is that wise?

By the same token, national websites cannot help you like a good local one can.  www.LeeCountyOnline.com is the best local SW Florida real estate website for several reasons.  It has all the listings, and it’s updated instantly.  Other large national websites don’t have all the listings, and many of the listings they do have offer incomplete or inaccurate data.  We’ve had calls on our own listing and the condo or HOA fee is completely wrong on the national sites.  It’s correct on our website.

We’ve had calls on a property that wasn’t on the market from one of the national sites.  Turns out the property sold three times since the listing they found.  We have no idea how they could have a listing from a decade ago on their site.  You’d think they’d at least get the last listing, not three before it.

Selecting the wrong agent to work with you can be a costly mistake.  Sometimes people choose to work with a friend or relative to purchase a home.  When you find out you bought the wrong home, or paid too much for it, it can be frustrating.  Or worse, when you lose the home over an inspection issue that could have been handled with a little experience and know-how.  There’s no substitute for hard work, and experience.

Choosing the right lender is important too.  Some lenders have high fees, while others are notorious for rigid underwriting requirements and not getting loans closed.  Experienced Realtors know which lenders perform what they say, on time, and where the best rates are.  Did you know most lenders have extra requirements they place on buyers?  They’re called overlays.  We work with lenders that offer little or no overlays, so the buyer can be approved almost instantly.  Buyers hate all the documentation and hoops banks make you jump through just to get a loan.

Insurance is another big issue.  A large homeowner’s or flood premium increases your monthly payment.  This can alter how much home you can afford.  Remember, you’re approved for a total payment amount.  Why let insurance eat away at your purchasing power?  We know a few good insurance agents we keep in our pocket.  It helps our buyers beat out other buyers to the best properties.

Between having the most accurate and timely information, getting the loan the easy way, and best prices on insurance, we turn the home buying process into fun!  This way you can concentrate on shopping for a home which is the fun part.  We’ll handle all the other details, so you can get your loan, save money, and enjoy that great house you just found.  And you’ll be smiling because you got it and the other buyers didn’t.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Belle Lago 4 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home

Belle Lago  19790 Maddelena Cir

Daniels Park Home Open Saturday 1-4 PM

Coming Soon

 

In February we reported that the housing supply in Southwest Florida stood at 5.48 months.  We are happy to report the Southwest Florida housing supply declines since February, down to 5.28 months.  This occurred for two reasons.

Active inventory fell from 5,705 homes for sale in February down to 5,552 in late April.  Closed sales in last 365 days back in February were 12,487.  Today that number rose to 12,612.  Both statistics helped reduce the months’ supply of inventory in SW Florida.

Southwest Florida housing supply declines

Sometimes sales are low because of rising prices, and sometimes they’re low simply because there isn’t enough inventory.  Inventory has grown in the last few years a bit.  Closed sales fell 2.7% in March from previous year. Closed sales in February were up 10.7%, and its possible closed sales in April are up too which affects that number.  We won’t have official closed sales numbers for April until late May.

In almost all price ranges housing supply fell except for the $200-$250k price range, which actually grew from 3.72 months’ supply to 3.85 months’ supply.

These numbers tell us our market is balanced and healthy.  Most experts agree that a balanced market is around 5.5 months supply. At 5.28 months we’re right there.

Of course, markets vary by neighborhood amenities, location, price range, and more.  The chart shows you how each price range is faring right now. Obviously, it you have a $1 Million plus home, it will take longer to sell on average than lower priced homes.  There just aren’t as many buyers as there are sellers.  The Ellis Team just sold a $1.1 Million condo in Gulf Harbour in 122 days.  It takes aggressive marketing and proper pricing to make that happen.  Currently there are 6 active listings in this building and no pending sales.

We’ve had a great season so far. Our sales have doubled over last year even though the Board of Realtors membership has only increased 4.3%.  I’ve spoken with a few other top agents who are also having a banner year. This tells us that experienced agents who spend money advertising and have been through up, down, and sideways markets are getting it done.  Experienced agents have the knowledge to navigate their sellers though any kind of market.

Listing your home with a family friend, neighbor, or relative can cost you thousands on your sale, and might cost you a relationship as well.  We don’t have the burden of trying to get the number you want or need.  We can objectively investigate what the market is paying for your home.  Then we target buyers online and through our networks to find that buyer.  The days of sticking a sign out front or placing it in MLS and hoping someone will sell it are gone.  To get Top Dollar you must go out and find the buyer.

If you’re a buyer, you want to know how prices are performing in a community, how fiscally solid the homeowners association is, and other factors that may be influencing the market.  Working with a skilled, full-time, knowledgeable Realtor is key.  You won’t realize how much it costs you to hire an inexperienced agent until you run into issues, and then it will be too late.

We’re keeping our eyes on interest rates in the coming weeks.  If they rise it will put pressure on buyers to make a move this summer.  They’ve already risen, and we believe there is room to rise much more over the next few years.  Waiting to buy or sell will cost buyers and homeowners with higher rates and will put pressure on affordability.

We encourage you to check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com where you can search for all the homes on MLS.  Or, you can call us at 239-489-4042.  Ask for Sande or Brett Ellis if you’re thinking of selling.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Whiskey Creek Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1455 Claret Ct

Reflection Lakes Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

South Pointe South Open Sunday 1-3 PM

9721 Deerfoot Dr 3 Bed 2 Bath Home

9721 Deerfoot Dr

 

We’re hearing from a lot of sellers who are concerned that their home has been on the market awhile and it didn’t sell this season.  They’re calling asking how we market homes and what they can do to get their home sold before their listing expires.  This article includes tips on how to sell your Florida home out of season.

How to Sell Your Florida Home Out of Season
Win the Beauty Contest

We get it.  Sellers who weren’t successful are frustrated.  The sellers who listed and sold are happy, and the ones who listed and sat are not.  Putting your home on the market is a lot like entering a beauty contest.  Even though your home is beautiful, it may get skipped over by other beautiful homes that compete more favorably.  The other contestants take the prize.  Two weeks pass by and another bevy of beauties hit the market before you get the chance to reduce your price.  Your beautiful home never really got the chance to be the new beauty on the market.

Sometimes a new beauty comes on the market and it attracts multiple offers.  Before you know it, it sells for full price, maybe even more. It’s frustrating to watch other homes take the crown while yours is left standing on stage.  The good news I guess is that there’s a new beauty contest upcoming, but you’ve got to make some changes, or you’ll suffer the same fate as the last contest.  After awhile they’ll start asking what’s wrong with you, why are you still here?

We’d like to help you avoid this madness.  Before we begin, let’s just state that we too have some homes that occasionally don’t sell.  When sellers take our advice, their home sells.  You have to want to be the winner.  Here’s our formula to win the next beauty contest.

  1. Hire the right Realtor.  Not all Realtors are the same.  They don’t advertise the same, have the same number of leads, or have the experience necessary to lead you through the process.  You’ve seen very talented teams lose the big game due to coaching mistakes.  Hiring the right coach can make all the difference.
  2. Price your home correctly. If the market doesn’t respond, adjust.  The market doesn’t stand still, and neither does your competition.  New homes enter the market, and existing homes make price adjustments. If you list a home and never change, you may get left on stage.
  3. Make sure your home looks as good as it can. You don’t have to remodel.  Simple things can make a big difference.  Talk to us and discover how certain minor changes can make a big difference in the judge’s eyes.
  4. Listen to your Realtor. If you did the research and hired the best Realtor, it’s crazy not to take their advice.  If you’re not going to listen to your Realtor, I guess it doesn’t matter who you hire.
  5. Listen to the market. The market speaks to you.  If you’re getting lots of showing but no offers, a small price adjustment may be necessary.  If you’re not getting showings at all, you either have a large adjustment to make, or something is off with the marketing.  Perhaps there is a field wrong in MLS.  Is your home being advertised in the paper, online, and to other Realtors?  Perhaps a highly advertised open house may be necessary.
  6. Don’t be afraid to make a change. Sometimes owners list with a friend or relative.  This is dangerous because they often want to please you.  They may be afraid to tell you the market has shifted, or they may miss it because of their love for you.  Listing with a friend or relative can destroy your relationship.  If that is your situation, give us a call.  We have a way of handling this for you and getting your home sold without offending your friend.

If you have a home to sell, we’d love to help you.  Simply go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com and enter your address.  We’ll provide you with a free online market evaluation.  If you’d like to go to the next step, we can schedule a time to meet your and view your home.  Or, you can always call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Always Call the Ellis Team!  We’ll get your home Sold!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Reflection Lakes – Open Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

14016 Shimmering Lakes Ct

Colony Lakes – Open Sunday 1-3 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

The value of your home is determined by what able buyers are willing to pay for your home and what the appraiser will appraise it for.  It is not determined by what your neighbor down the street is asking for their home.  Today we’ll explore the dangers of pricing homes compared to neighbors listing.

Dangers of Pricing Homes Compared to Neighbors Listing

Often, we go out on listing appointments and we give our opinion of value after studying the property and the comparable sales.  It’s not unusual for a seller to say “But the home down the street is listed at X and my home is much nicer.”  Then we hear the list of upgrades, and the routine maintenance items the seller has made, like trimming the bushes last week, new light bulbs, new AC in 2005, and new roof 10 years ago.

All these details are important for the MLS sheet, and some are important as selling features, so don’t forget to bring anything up you feel might be important. Just don’t expect extra value for routine maintenance on your home and even some upgrades don’t provide value.  It may make the home stand out against another.

Some upgrades do add value.  Most upgrades don’t add 100% of the cost though.  I blame TV shows for painting the picture of putting $50,000 in upgrades into a home and expecting an increase of $200,000 in value.  This isn’t how it works, unless you somehow bought the property for way under value.

We’re watching a few neighborhoods right now where sellers are pricing compared to their neighbors.  There are no sales in the last 4 months and yet there are 5 new listings within 4 months and 1 older than 4 months.  None have gone pending either.  We see price reductions, but they are all still significantly over priced.  A few came on the market in the last 2 weeks and they are overpriced as well.

Each seller is convinced that previous sellers have set the market.  The reality is the first few sellers are like lost beacons in space, and each new seller follows their light.  The problem is they’re going in the wrong direction and their buyers are in another galaxy.

As soon as a seller puts their home on the market at the correct price, it will sell, if marketed correctly. All their neighbors will tell them they priced it too cheap, because they all want a higher price.  This is human nature; however, it doesn’t help anybody.  Just because everyone is overpriced, and no homes are selling in your neighborhood doesn’t mean a buyer will come along and overpay.

After a while, buyers begin to ask what’s wrong with the neighborhood.  All these homes are on the market and there are no sales.  We’ve got a decent market here in Southwest Florida.  If a home is priced correctly, there is a market.

Unlike towns where a plant closing affects the market, we have buyers.  The market has changed from last year.  Buyers are ready, willing, and able, but they’re cautious.  They don’t want to overpay.  This is a sign that our market is fully recovered, as much as it’s going to, and that prices have leveled out.  Now market forces take over, like interest rates, incomes, consumer confidence, etc.

We are not in jeopardy of crashing like back in 2006.  We will not see rapid price gains either.  SW Florida has a balanced market dependent on market forces, and that’s an awesome thing.

When you’re putting your home on the market, you must ask yourself.  Am I pricing my home at today’s value, or pricing it compared to what my neighbor down the street is asking?  We’d better go find some actual sales and base it off those who have won the home selling game versus those who want a certain number, or think their home is worth a certain number because that’s what their neighbor is asking.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  We’ll give you the straight scoop.  We’ll get you Top Dollar, and we’ll get it Sold. You’ll be moving on while your neighbors wonder if their house will ever sell.  You can visit our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com to see all the homes in MLS.  Call Brett and Sande and start packing!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

1465 Arglye Dr

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1281 Biltmore Dr

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

Reflection Lakes Gated Community

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

18 NE 1th Ave Cape Coral

Cape Coral Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

Since October 2017 listing inventory in SW Florida has risen over 25%, while at same time closed sales have fallen slightly.  This has caused the months supply of inventory to rise to 5.48 months, up from 4.31 months last October.

It’s important to know this information as it’s an indicator of the health of the market and which way prices are headed.  It also tells us if we’ve gotten a little ahead of ourselves in either direction.

Southwest Florida Listing Inventory Rises 25.44% Since October

Much like the stock market, the real estate market also fluctuates.  The market is always testing limits and boundaries, and when it finds them it reacts.  This is true in boom markets, bust markets, and normal variations in between.

When inventory levels got too low back in 2009 we knew the market was headed for a steady rebound, and we sure got one.  It didn’t happen overnight and not all prices ranges reacted simultaneously.  Nonetheless, it happened.  2005 and 2009 were extreme examples.

More realistic are the normal market gyrations most people don’t even see unless they study the numbers.  If you’re a seller and you notice lots of homes in your neighborhood are on the market, and none are selling, you know what this is like.  It’s possible the neighborhood just got ahead of itself compared to other neighborhoods.  A simple market adjustment can usually fix this unless there is a bigger underlying issue.

While not all price ranges react the same, we can tell you all price ranges in SW Florida gained monthly supply.  Not one price range fell, so this was across the board.  We can say the hardest hit ranges begin at $400,000 & up.  The $400-600k range shot up from 6.99 months in October to 9.20 months now.  The $600-1 Million rose from 10.29 months to 14.49 months now.  The $1 Million+ market rose from 14.62 months last October to 19.59 months now.

These are important numbers to know.  Sellers in particular price ranges need to know how their range is doing.  In a rising market you can price just ahead of the market, and if you’re wrong, the market will catch you.  However, pricing too high doesn’t work in a rising inventory market.  The market won’t catch you.  If anything the market is leveling out or could be in for a slight reduction.

Nobody is calling for a market correction here.  The fundamentals are just too strong, and nothing like what we saw back in 2005.  We have end users and renters hoping to buy.  Rising inventory levels can be a sign that sellers have out-priced buyer’s ability to pay for the increases.  Home prices have risen, but wages may not have kept pace.

Rising interest rates can dampen a buyer’s ability to purchase as well.  We stated many times how a 1% rise in rates takes away 11% purchasing power from a buyer.  Do that to enough buyers and you can affect a market.  We’ve seen rising rates, and we expect them to rise more.

Bottom line, if you’re a buyer, get in soon.  Rising rates rob you. They’re like a thief in the night.  If you’re a seller, price your home correctly, and hire the best agent you can find to market it.  You have more competition now.  Exactly 25.44% more to be precise.   The market has stabilized.  A neutral market is defined as 5.5 months supply.  Anything more is a buyer’s market; anything less is a seller’s market.  At 5.48 months supply, we’re about as balanced as you can get, which means prices aren’t going to move up until we work down supply.

To sell your home, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  To research the market, find your home’s value, or get neighborhood updates, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com If you’re looking to buy, one of our happy agents will be glad to assist you. 239-489-4042

Good luck and happy selling!

Rising interest rates costs buyers money when purchasing a home.  It either increases their payment, or it decreases the amount of purchase to maintain the same payment.  Buyers have been warned for some time that rates would go up, and now they’re listening. Buyers flock to beat 2018 interest rate increases in 2018.

If you want to see where rates are headed, one indicator we look at is oil prices.  As the economy improves, countries consume more oil.  As oil consumption increases, it raises the cost of oil.  Simple supply and demand.   As oil prices increase, it raises the cost of inflation because so many things are tied to oil.  Transportation costs increase, so not only does it cost you more to fill up your car with gas, it also costs companies more to move their product.

Lumber goes up because there is more demand for building plus it costs more to cut it and move it due to oil.  Food prices go up because it costs more to plow the fields, and transport groceries to warehouses and eventually the stores.  Postage goes up as Fed Ex, UPS, and the USPS pay more to deliver mail and packages.  Oil influences a lot of things.

Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases

As you can see from the graph, oil futures have been increasing since June of 2017.  The 10 yr treasury yield has been increasing since September 2017.  Oil price and interest rates are closely tied as they feed off each other.  Oil signifies inflation may rise, and inflation rises, so typically does interest rates.

Mortgages are most closely associated with the 10 Yr treasury yield.  Perhaps this is because not all mortgages remain for 15 years or 30 years.  The average homeowner typically sells and purchases another home before their mortgage is paid off.

Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases

If you’re on the fence about when to purchase, the recent rise in interest rates may make you move sooner rather than waiting.  Even if you own a home, it may be a good time to sell and purchase that next home.

If you sell now, you have more available buyers for your home.  As rates rise, you will lose buyers to the increased costs.  And, you’ll save when you buy your next home too.  Not only will you qualify for more home today than when rates rise, you’ll also pay less when rates are lower.

Presumably you’ll get a higher sale now with more qualified buyers than you might with less qualified buyers later, and you’ll save money on the next mortgage.  It’s a double win-win for a seller contemplating a move.  Sure, home prices may still go higher, so it’s not automatic you’ll get more for your home today.  We’re just saying there will be less competition from other sellers now and more demand from buyers now than when rates rise.  It’s always more fun to sell when you’re holding more of the cards.

Rates have already begun to rise, so sellers aren’t holding all the cards they were 6 months ago.  We are seeing more inventory, which in a way is good thing because now sellers have more options when they decide to move.  Many sellers wouldn’t sell because they had no idea on where they’d go.  That’s opened up just a bit, which helps.

Always work with an experienced agent who knows the market.  If you’d like to search the MLS for Free like a pro, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has all the listings and is updated instantly. No more wasting your time on properties that sold months ago.  And you’ll see all the new listings instantly too.

Or Call Sande or Brett at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 to sell your home.  We have a team of experienced agent partners who can help you buy your next home too.

Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty!  We’re here to help!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 11 AM – 1 PM

9793 Deerfoot Dr

South Pointe South Lakefront Home
Lakefront Home in South Pointe South

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

9825 Wildginger Dr

Ellis Team Weekend Open House South Pointe South
South Pointe South Maplewood Floor Plan

 

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

14381 Hickory Fairway Ct

$410,000

Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases

 

9071 Old Hickory Cir

$375,000

$375,000 on Golf Course

Brookshire Condo

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

13235 Whitehaven Ln #1004

$131,000

2 Bed 2 Bath Brookshire Condo

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

4 Bed, 4 Bath, 3 Car Garage Pool Home in Colony Lakes

$390,000

4 Bed, 4 Baths, 3 Car Garage Pool Home

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Cypress Lake Country Club Villa

14401 Patty Berg Dr #101

Cypress Lake Country Club Villa with Attached Garage

News Flash.  Home sales in Lee County will be down in 2017.  Current Southwest Florida home sales trail last two years, and this occurred before Hurricane Irma.  Since the hurricane sales have lessened.

Current Southwest Florida Home Sales

Lee County is not alone.  Tight inventory has caused much of this.  If home inventory is down, it stands to reason homes sales would be down.  While inventory has been up year over year for the better part of 2017, it has been falling since February.

Last year inventory grew from October through February.  The same will probably happen this year.  What is not growing, at least since the hurricane, is the new pending sales.  Of course, they were down drastically in September -47.8%.  Some thought we’d see a rebound in new pending sales in October.  We’re still down 3.5%

New Pending Sales Southwest Florida Home Salesest

We know closings are down for 2017.  We also know new pending sales are down.  If new pending sales are down it means we don’t have a reasonable way to catch up to last two previous year’s numbers.  It wasn’t likely before the storm and sure isn’t likely now.

Real estate agents are probably wondering what they’re going to do.  As we’ve written in previous articles, this is the time of year agents evaluate their position.  Board dues are coming up by the end of the year.  Bunches of agents will get out of the business.  Still others will get into the business.  The merry-go-round will continue in 2018.  There are just as many who want to join as those that try and give up.

We think you’ll see two things in the 1st Qtr. of 2018.  First, more agents will join teams.  They’ll have to, or they won’t stay in business.  It’s costly to advertise, lead generate, pay assistant salaries, broker splits, etc.  It’s also costly to do all on your own and struggle.  Real estate is a very costly business.

Even though real estate is costly, it costs even more not to use an agent.  Several studies have shown that using an agent more than pays for itself in attaining a better price.  Saving a commission does not help, a seller nets less at the closing table than if they had used a broker.  And the seller did all the work.

The second thing we think we’ll see is increased listings.  They always go up this time of year, and we think 2018 will continue this trend.  Prices are up nicely over 2016.  In fact, October median prices were up 6.7% and averages sale prices were up 8.6%.

So, what’s the takeaway from these two predictions?  If you’re a seller, make sure you list with an agent that is going to stay at their brokerage through 2018.  Ask the agent you interview how their sales are.   Ask if they’re contemplating making a move, and what would happen to your listing if they did move?  Would they assign it to another agent and collect a referral fee, or could they take it to a new broker?

Agents, develop your business plan for 2018.  Before you take new listings be sure you’re at the place you’re going to be for the next year.  If not, do everyone a favor and make the move now before season.  It’s kind of like recruiting season for football coaches.  Recruiting season is now through Feb 1, and yet some coaches won’t be there next year, and they know it.  The coach can jump around but the players are locked in.  The same is true for sellers.

Look at joining a team or develop a strategy that can carry you through the next year.  You’ll have to invest in your business.

Sellers, all you can do is select the right agent, and price your home to today’s market.  The days of picking any agent to sell your home are over.  You’ll have to get selective again, and ask the tough questions.

If you have real estate questions, please call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042.  Or visit our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com and you can search the MLS for Free!

Good luck and happy selling!

Just released home buyer’s data suggests tough times for limited services brokers and for sale by owners. 94% of home buyers used a real estate agent in the home buying process.  Those same buyers also used the Internet as a tool to find their home 94% of the time as well.

How Buyers Found Their Home Tough Times For Limited Services Brokers

Limited Service brokers are brokers who provide limited services to sellers to sell their home, presumably for a reduced fee.  This is not what the typical home buyer is looking for.  If anything, they require increased services.  They become frustrated at people who cannot answer their questions; all their questions.

The typical home buyer searches for 10 weeks before making their purchase.  This is a big reason why buyers shy away from For Sale by Owners and limited service brokers.  When they stumble upon a home, they’re not ready to decide for a while.  And when they do become ready, they want someone to help them with all the details.

The most difficult steps for buyers who purchased was finding the right property (47%) paperwork (27%) understanding the process and steps (15%) mortgage (13%) saving for down payment (9%) and appraisal of the property (4%)

Warning for Real Estate Agents

What Buyers Want From Agents Tough Times For Limited Services Brokers

 

Your job is not to find the buyer their home. In fact, even though buyers predominantly use real estate agents to purchase their home, only 40% found the home they bought from the agent.  51% of buyers want help in selecting the “Right” home.  Buyers love to search on their own.  They do so on average 3 weeks before contacting an agent.  Even then they love searching on their own, but they get overwhelmed with all the choices.  They don’t necessarily need an agent to find the home.  They need help selecting the best home amongst the choices.

Sure, buyers love websites like www.LeeCountyOnline.com that gives them a competitive advantage over other websites.  However, being notified of that hot new listing before anybody else, or that property that came back on the market, or a recent price change won’t help until they’re ready.

Number of Weeks Searched Tough Times For Limited Services Brokers

This is when an agent shines, and this is what buyers look for.  They want someone that will be with them those next 7 weeks while they search, and the weeks after that to help them close.  They want an agent who has a great reputation, is trustworthy, and knows the market, in that order.

This report from Florida Realtors is 198 pages and is filled with every imaginable demographic, statistic, chart, and insight you can think of.  It truly helps real estate agents determine what buyers are looking for and how they go about finding and purchasing it.

The report also covers sellers and what they look for in an agent.  If you’re a seller and not sure you’re asking all the right questions, or covering all the right angles, we’d be happy to show you this report.  Did you know only 19% of home sellers use their previous agent?  64% of home sellers contacted 1 agent to sell their home, while 20% contacted 2, and 10% contacted 3. Page 194 has some particularly shocking information regarding how sellers perceived their home was marketed.

It’s shocking to us because the agent either did more than the seller realized, or they didn’t market to the standards that we do on the Ellis Team.

If you’re thinking of selling, please call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-489-4042.  If you’re looking to purchase, our team can help, and we definitely provide what buyers are looking for in this report.  Or feel free to search our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com  We know you may not be ready today, and that’s OK.  It’s a process.  We’re here when you need us, and our website is here 24/7 even when you don’t.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Paramount at the Shores- Gulf Harbour

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Heritage Cove

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Florida International real estate sales rise 21% of total dollar volume and 15% of total sales in 2017.  Both numbers were up versus 2016 numbers.  This tells us that foreign buyers are here purchasing, and because the total volume is higher, they are purchasing higher than average priced homes.

So where are these Lee County foreign buyers coming from?  According to the Florida Realtors profile of international real estate activity, Lee County saw the largest amount coming from Canada, followed by Germany and United Kingdom.

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise Where Lee County Foreign Buyers Come From

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise

Just this past week the Ellis Team placed a property under contract with a Canadian buyer, and we just completed a transaction with a German owner.  Over the course of time, these countries fairly well describe who buys in Lee County from overseas, but there are fluctuations.

Two factors that influence foreign buyers are the changes in currency valuations, and the home price growth from the foreign country.

The Canadian dollar hasn’t moved much against the US dollar, so you might wonder why the increased interest.  Canadian home prices have been sky-high.  They have equity. Some say they’ve risen so high the bubble might burst as there is no rational basis for why their prices have grown so high.  But then again, there never is in Canada.  They have their own economic forces.  It’s like gravity is different up there.

Canada was number 4 in the world for real price growth behind the Philippines, Hong Kong, and New Zealand.  This confidence and equity has spurred opportunities for Florida as Canadians love visiting our sunshine and beaches.

72% of foreign buyers pay cash. But Canadians only finance 14% of the time. United Kingdom buyers finance 23% of the time.

Ellis Team markets to Foreign Buyers

The Ellis Team markets to foreign buyers as well as US buyers.  In a market like Florida you have to market to reach the entire universe of buyers.  Especially given the fact that 21% of Florida’s sales volume comes from foreign buyers.

While this report covers all of 2017, there can be shifts. We study our website traffic over the last year and compare to the last month and week. We see some recent changes.  This past week Canada still led the way, followed by Germany and Sweden.  United Kingdom is at #9 for the year and not even in our top 10 for the last week.  Brazil slipped to #9 in the past week.  They’ve been in the #6 spot for the past year.

Ellis Team LeeCountyOnline.com International Visitor Count October 2017

Changes in currency, political environments, and home prices abroad can affect our market here quickly.  We can monitor on a week to week or even day to day basis.

The bottom line is, if you’re only marketing to local buyers you’re missing out on a large portion of the market.  In addition to 21% of the volume from international buyers we sell many homes to US citizens from other states.

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise Website Visitors By State

Over the past year Illinois lead the way in property searches on LeeCountyOnline.com followed by New York and Michigan.  It’s no wonder we’re working with so many buyers from IL right now.  The Ellis team is working with buyers from all 10 of these states.  They are searching for property in Southwest Florida and we are helping them purchase it.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking about selling your SW Florida property, it pays to work with a Realtor that markets across the US and internationally.  Have them show you how many buyers they’re generating and from where.  If they can’t show you, they either aren’t marketing there or don’t focus on it.

The Ellis Team will be glad to sit down with you and see how we can help you get top dollar for your home.  Call 239-489-4042 and ask for Sande or Brett.  Or feel free to search our SW Florida MLS Search Site  The rest of the world does.  You might as well too.

 

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Paramount at the Shores Gulf Harbour

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Can you believe it’s 2017 and we still receive phone calls from people who say “I want to buy a foreclosure in Southwest Florida?”  It’s true.  Short sales too.

Who wouldn’t want a bargain, especially when prices have risen so much from the bottom of the market back in the housing crisis?  People also watch those TV shows and see how others flip houses for unbelievable profit with little to no work.  Other TV shows illustrate how buyers can buy a property, put some sweat equity into it, and flip for amazing profits.

Want to Buy a Foreclosure in Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida isn’t that market.  In September there were exactly 2 short sales and 13 foreclosure sales in Lee County.  As we know Hurricane Irma slowed down sales, so we went back to August and found there were 8 short sales and 41 foreclosure sales.  Short sales and foreclosures combined came to about 4% of the total sales in Lee County in August, and about 2% in September.  There just are not many short sale and foreclosure listings out there.

Want to Buy a Foreclosure in Southwest Florida

We get it, everybody wants a deal.  However, the thing people need to know is when a bank agrees to take less to allow a short sale, they still do an appraisal.  They may consider taking less if the owner is a default risk and the property’s value is truly below market value.  What they will not do is give the property away just so a new buyer can keep the equity.  If a bank is going to take a loss, they want to minimize the loss.

When a bank sells a foreclosure, they typically want as much money as the market will allow for the property in its present condition.  The banks often even spent money to fix up homes to increase their value.

There are good values in Lee County, you just need to know how to find them.  Wasting time searching for 2% of the market will leave buyers frustrated.  It all depends on your definition of a good value.  Homes priced at or near fair market value are a good value.  Homes priced well over are not and will probably not sell unless the seller makes changes.

There are two ways to find value.  First is pick a website that has all the listings and is updated instantly.  Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com has all the listings and it’s updated every minute.  So when a Realtor inputs a new listing, or makes a price change, our database will know about it and display the new information.

In a race to beat out other buyers to the best listings, speed wins.  Having perfect knowledge of the market back in 2007 will not help you buy a house today.  And having day old MLS data from yesterday will not help you either.

Secondly, you need an agent on your side that understands the market.  Agents with experience know how hurricanes, interest rates, new schools, company headquarters, new roads, hospitals, etc. affect the market.  Numbers are great, but having an expert helping you can make all the difference.

 

The Ellis Team has been around for 30+ years in Southwest Florida.  We’ve done thousands of transactions, and some people think we’ve seen everything.  We haven’t, as we see new things all the time that still amaze us.  What hasn’t changed is people.  People still want the same things for their family today.  They still use the same negotiating tactics.  They may have different tools, but the tactics are the same.

We can help you navigate the maze of real estate.  From selecting the property, to negotiating, to inspections, and closing, we help coordinate it for you.  You don’t have to worry as we handle the process.  If not the Ellis Team, make sure you’re working with an experienced team who will be there for you.  It’s all fun and games until somebody gets poked in the eye, then the name calling begins.  We’ll help you avoid all that.  Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042.

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