New economic data just released shows US new home construction up 16.9% in December, and it’s not enough to balance a backlog of demand.  A separate report shows that from 2012 to 2019 builders built 5.9 million new single-family homes.  In that same time frame, 9.8 million new households were formed in the US.  That is a shortage of 3.9 million homes.

New Home Construction Up 16.9% in December and It’s Not Enough

In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis we saw households forming and little to no new inventory being built because of the credit crisis.  Sure, one of the reasons we had the crisis in the first place was because flippers built homes without end users in mind, so we had perhaps an over-supply.  They were just flipping to another flipper. That crisis lasted several years with little home building.

New Home Construction Up 16.9% in December

Since then builders have been cautious about building anything on spec.  Fast forward to today.  We have a booming economy, low interest rates, and households still forming.  In other words, nationally we have a shortage that needs to be made up.

States like Florida are seeing an influx of buyers moving here because of our tax structure.  Let’s face it, Florida is attractive on several levels, not the least of which is great weather and sunshine.  What’s new are the tax advantages.  While Florida has always enjoyed tax advantages due to no state income tax, new tax laws have brought to light just how out of balance some states are.

For instance, high tax states like New York, New Jersey, California, and Connecticut are bleeding residents, and tax revenue as they leave.  They are leaving in droves to lower tax states like Florida and Texas.  One report suggests lower tax states gained $32 Billion in adjusted gross income.  The booming economy has helped states collect about 6% more revenue overall, but states with lower taxes are doing better than the ones with higher taxes.

In the south, construction was only up 9.3% versus much higher in other regions.  This tells us Florida has more need for building construction, and this could be putting upward pressure on home prices.  Of course, higher prices do not work unless you have rising incomes to support it, and a booming economy.

Despite political turmoil, financial markets seem to shrug off impeachment hearings as not serious.  If impeachment allegations were serious, the markets would not be stable like they are today, and the financial markets and housing markets would swing into chaos.  The markets are betting all signs are pointing to status quo and no real changes coming to Washington.

Interest rates remain low, and oil prices have been steady despite regional tensions.  With an influx of new residents to Florida, we see a need for new construction in Florida.  Many homeowners in SW Florida would sell their home if they had a place to move to that meets their needs.

The Ellis Team has noticed an uptick in buyer inquiries into new construction opportunities.  Some buyers only want to look at new construction.  Many others don’t want to wait and focus on resales, while others look at both because they are flexible and searching for the best opportunity.

It’s important to work with a Realtor when buying new construction.  The commission is built-in, so you don’t save it if you buy on your own.  You also don’t get the expertise of an experienced Realtor who can guide you on options, locations, and designs that will maximize resale value when you go to sell.  Making good decisions upfront can save you thousands later.

Lastly, builders won’t always tell you about incentives.  For them you are just one sale.  A good Realtor can bring them many sales, so they hear about the incentives offered. Just this past month alone our team has helped several buyers save thousands and helped them make great decisions that will help them years down the road when selling their home.

If you have a home to sell, Always Call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  If you’re looking to buy, our team of buyer specialists can guide you, whether it’s a new home or resale.  Visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to see all the homes on the market in real-time.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See Last Week’s Article “Ellis Team Luxury Division of Fine Homes and Estates

We are proud to announce the formal opening of the Ellis Team luxury division of fine homes and estates.  While we’ve had a separate luxury division in the past, recently we’ve marketed luxury homes under the Ellis Team brand to great success.  We’ve been able to do this because our vast local marketing and our online presence which also has a global reach.

Ellis Team Luxury Division of Fine Homes and Estates

We’ve sold luxury homes without focusing on it.  What if we thought bigger?  What if we were intentional about it?  We work with a company that sells billions of dollars each year by its luxury agents and we haven’t tapped into that power, until now.  In fact, KW luxury agents sell $71 Million dollars of real estate each day.  That’s a lot of real estate, and that’s only 2,400 luxury agents worldwide producing that volume.

You must qualify to become a Keller Williams luxury agent by having multiple home sales in the top 5% of your market area.  We’ve been approached over the years to join this powerful group.  Sande and I both qualified, so we decided to investigate it further.  Our business has been growing steadily and we’ve been selling luxury listings through our own efforts.

Upon further investigation it became clear there were additional benefits we could offer our clients.  Luxury agents refer clients to other luxury agents.  By joining KW Luxury International, we now have access to the top agents in the world.  When they refer their high-end clients, they want to know they’re working with an agent on the other end that has experience and can handle high-end clientele. We are part of an online community that talks everyday about luxury issues.

If you’re going to market luxury property, it’s best to market globally.  We now have access to list luxury homes in the international MLS, so agents across the world will now see our luxury listings.

Additionally, we partnered with some of the premiere publications throughout the world.  Ellis Team luxury listings will now appear in these publications that reach affluent buyers.  Our listings are translated into 28 languages and appear in more than 80 countries.  The average income and net worth of these readers is astounding.  We’ll be happy to sit down with you and show you where your home would appear and what that could do for you.

We now have two separate brands online to market from.  This does not mean we are abandoning our traditional sales.  We’ve been growing as a team and we look forward to selling more properties this year than ever.  We are expanding our luxury reach by creating this separate division.

These two divisions work well together because some luxury buyers open businesses here locally and employ local workers.  This helps us all.  Other luxury buyers purchase 2nd or 3rd homes for vacation, which helps our tax base without adding to services required by the county.

You may not see all our luxury listings in all of our local ads, just as not all of our local listings qualify for the international ad campaigns.  Many of these publications set minimum price standards to appear in their publications.

The luxury division helps our traditional sales as it exposes us to more affluent buyers worldwide.  Many of these buyers purchase upscale luxury listings.  Some prefer value and purchase here in SW Florida because of that value.  The additional exposure to this clientele opens up SW Florida to more sales opportunities, both in the upscale market and the traditional market.  There is no better way to reach luxury buyers than the partnership we just formed with KW Luxury International.

If you have a home to sell, please call or email Brett or Sande Ellis directly.  We can expose your home to more buyers than other agents and get you Top Dollar for your home.  Please call 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Ask for Sande or Brett, or email us at Sande@topagent.com or Brett@topagent.com, and we’ll see you at the top!

See last week’s article “Ellis Team sales Smash Records Again in 2019”

Feel free to search luxury listings at our SW Florida Real Estate search site.

Find out what your luxury home is worth instantly

Ellis Team sales smash records again in 2019. Our marketing is working.  In 2018 Board of Realtors sales were down 8.5% for the year.  In 2018 Ellis Team sales were up 53.73%.  2019 official numbers aren’t out yet, but we do have YTD numbers through November.  The Board of Realtors are down 1.2% for the year while the Ellis Team sales are up 18.82% That’s on top of the 53.73% sales gains from last year.

Ellis Team Sales Smash Records

Ellis Team Sales Smash Records Again in 2019

What’s our secret?  It’s a combination of things some would say is the secret sauce.  First off, we believe in marketing.  The Ellis Team survived back in the foreclosure crisis when a lot of other Realtors went out of business because we never stopped marketing.  Sure, times were tough, but we made it, and we sold a lot of homes.  In fact, the National Credit Union Association and Bank of America met with us and hired us because of our marketing and track record of getting homes sold, even the tough ones.

Thankfully, those days are long gone.  Marketing works in good times and bad.  When the market shifts, most agents hunker down and cut costs.  Sales go down when they cut marketing and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It’s wise to constantly evaluate what works and adapt to new methods and advertising channels.  We’ve done that, and today we reach more buyers through our advertising than ever before.  Our clients thank us because our listings sell.  In fact, Ellis Team listings sell faster and for more money than the average sale in MLS, and one reason is the extra exposure we can give our listings.

Ellis Team Luxury Division

The Ellis Team just opened our luxury division.  We can now offer additional marketing to luxury listings that increases our local and global reach. Talk to Brett or Sande Ellis if you have a luxury listing you’re thinking of selling.

Sande and Brett have a lot of experience selling in SW Florida and we’ve developed some proprietary systems that help our team stand out.

There’s much more, but the final point we’ll make today is our people.  We only hire the best.  Agents and Ellis Team managers go through a lengthy and exhaustive interview process to be on our team.  We look for people with drive, a willingness to learn, and values that match our own.  We don’t settle, and neither should you.

Best in Real Estate Fort Myers

Perhaps that’s why the Ellis Team has been voted the Best in Real Estate 4 years in a row in the News Press Readers’ poll.  Real estate is all about relationships.  We’re not here just to sell more homes.  We’re here to make a positive impact on each of our client’s lives.  Some buy or sell for happy reasons, and some for sad reasons.  Whatever your reason, we listen and care.  We devise solutions based on your needs, and your time frame.

The market is heating up.  Our phone is ringing, and the sales are coming. We understand that some agents’ business is down, so their perception is the market must be down. For agents that have a plan and are executing that plan, business is good.  As a seller, you want an agent that’s using the latest technology and marketing to reach more buyers for your home.

Marketing is the Key

The real estate industry is changing.  Generating leads has become more costly and time intensive.  Agents try to buy leads from providers because they don’t want to spend money on marketing or time lead generating.  We call that hitting the “Easy Button”.  When you do that, you’re always susceptible to the provider changing the terms and diluting the leads by selling same lead to many agents.  This is why agents are struggling.  There is a better way. Do your own marketing and own lead generating.  Yes, it takes time, skill, and courage.  In the end, it works, and sellers will hire you for it.

Call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be happy to discuss ways we can help you.  Even if you just have a simple real estate question, we’re here to help.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a Free instant online home price evaluation.

See Last Week’s Article “Home Sale Price Gains a Trend in SW Florida?

Home sellers typically want top dollar for their home sale but it’s hard to tell which agents deliver top dollar for their clients. Real estate sales have evolved, but not all real estate agents have kept up with new technology and buyer preferences.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a list of top dollar agent interview questions for sellers?

Let’s create one right now.

  1. Do you use professional photography to market homes?
  2. Do you provide a 360 virtual tour?
  3. Can you target ads to home buyers online that are looking to purchase now?
  4. Explain how you find these buyers online?
  5. Do you partner with Google’s #1 ad provider to provide top search results?
  6. Should we use a smart lock box for showings?
  7. Should the seller be present for showings?
  8. When is the best time of year to sell?
  9. Do you require proof of funds/and or a pre-approval letter with offers?
  10. What is artificial intelligence and why is it important?
  11. Does your company provide artificial intelligence, and do you have big data to power results?
  12. Do you operate as a single agent or a team, and why is that critically important?
  13. How many homes has your team sold in Lee County?
  14. Should I gamble on a newer agent with less experience?
  15. How many sellers did you successfully represent and close in last 12 months?
  16. How many listings expired, withdrew, or terminated with you in last 12 months?
  17. What is your average list price/sales price ratio?
  18. What is the average agent list price/sale price ratio?
  19. Can we video conference meetings if we’re not in town?
  20. What are your average days on market?
  21. What are the average days on market for homes like mine?
  22. Do you have a Blog where I can see current research on the market?
  23. Do you have a database of buyers searching in my neighborhood?
  24. Show me your database of buyers, minus the private data of course
  25. Do you reach International buyers?
  26. Would an agent with zero to few listings be better to sell my home?
  27. What are the dangers of working with an agent with limited listing experience?
  28. What are the 3 P’s in real estate?
  29. Is listing my home on the big national portals a big deal or can anybody do that?
  30. What do you charge?
  31. How long is the listing for?
  32. Why should I hire you?
  33. What if I’m not happy with you?
  34. Will I net more using you versus selling it myself?
  35. Show us your online reviews, client testimonials, or newspaper poll awards.
  36. Is this a price range you feel comfortable in?

As you can tell, we love tough questions.  The truth is, none of these questions are tough.  They’re on the mind of home sellers.  We get asked these questions a lot.  Some sellers ask one question, or several, but none ask all of them because they’re not used to interviewing agents.  It’s something you only do when you’re considering a move.

Top Dollar Agent Interview 360 Virtual Tour
360 Virtual Tour Dollhouse View

Keep this list handy for when you’re ready.  We’ll post it on our Blog too in case you lose it.  We hope this list will spark a few more questions for home sellers. A better interview will lead to a better agent selection, which should lead to a faster home sale and at Top Dollar.  That’s all a seller really wants is top dollar and an easy, painless home sale.  Selecting the best agent goes a long way to this end.  This checklist will work in any market, so hang onto it.

If you have questions, please call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a quick and free home value computer estimate.  Better yet, call us and we’ll meet with you and discuss your options.

It’s fun to go back and look at how we did things in the past.  Here is an article from 2013 “How to Interview an Agent to Sell Your Home

Good luck and Happy Selling!

You’ve probably heard of those instant offers programs whereby a company offers to buy your home instantly for cash.  Closing takes place in a short period of time.  No getting the house ready to show, no hassles with showings, no hassles period.  Sounds great, doesn’t it? What do these instant offers programs cost sellers?

Instant Offers Programs Cost Sellers 15% Equity or More

Except there’s one catch. They don’t offer you full market value.  Not even close.  A recent study showed that the typical instant offers programs cost sellers around 15% equity.  That’s a big price to pay, and costs much more than selling your home even after paying a real estate agent commission.

Going For Top Dollar

Most sellers are afraid they may have to drop their price if their home doesn’t sell.  Homes in SW Florida typically sell for around 95% of list price.  Some much more than that depending on the price range.  What this is telling us is those sellers were about 5% over the market, and when they came down to where the market was, their home sold.

Imagine selling 15% below that number.  You don’t have to imagine because it’s reality.  These instant offers companies don’t tell you that.  They also don’t tell you the final price when they make their original offer.

To date these national companies haven’t come to SW Florida.  We have spoken with people who have used them in other markets, and they’re not happy.  First, it starts with an offer, typically 7-10% below fair market value.  Seller accepts the offer, and inspections are setup.  Then the instant offers company amends the offer to account for major renovations needed.  That could total $30,000 or more depending on inspection results.

If the seller’s biggest fear was having to reduce asking price, it was just realized by accepting an instant offer.  The only difference is the process sped up, and the reduction was severe.  Had the seller priced their home upfront to meet today’s market, they could have sold quickly and put much more money in their pocket.

These sellers’ biggest regret was using an instant offers company.  Sometimes the fear of the process overrides the financial loss, until the financial loss becomes real.  We can help with this.

Choices

In the near future we’ll bring an iBuyer program to SW Florida.  You’ll be given the choice.  Take the instant offer or go for top dollar with us.  Logically most will choose the top dollar, but we’ll have the choice for those looking for the instant sale.

If you’re in a situation where you need to sell fast and you’re fearful of the process, a simple sit-down meeting can answer many of your questions.  We can look at what fair market would look like and discuss insightful ways to get your home sold fast, and not for bottom dollar.

Anyone can give away a home.  That’s easy, and costly.  We can help you sell fast and put more money in your pocket.  We’ve been working on a few solutions to help sellers that are exciting.

We have an instant repair bid program.  Basically, we take the home inspection and upload into our system.  Within 48 hours we have bids to repair anything on the report.  This makes it easy for buyers and sellers because almost instantly they know the price of the repairs.

Many times, deals are lost because a buyer believes the repair cost is just too expensive.  By having instant bids, they know the cost upfront.  Often, the repair cost isn’t as bad as they think.  Sometimes sellers blow up because they believe the repairs the buyer is asking for will add up too.  Having an instant repair bid shows the seller the true cost of the repair.  Perhaps buyer is asking too much, and now the seller will know.

The instant repair bid is a nice tool which can give both buyer and seller peace of mind.  It’s also much less expensive than giving your house away to a greedy iBuyer program.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re looking to sell, talk to Brett or Sande at the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  239-489-4042 Ext 4  We can show you how to net more at closing and make the process easier for you.  Don’t let fear of the process let these companies take advantage of you.  A solution is often just a face to face conversation away.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a quick idea of your home’s value.  If you like that price, we can talk further.  If you think it’s off, we can sit down and discuss that too, because it could be.

See last week’s article “Wall Street Fear May Spark Main Street Opportunity

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Boosting your credit score can reduce borrowing costs, and we’ve got some tips to help you do that.  We’ve found three new products to help you achieve a higher credit score.  One is approved for home mortgages, while the other two will help with all other types of loans.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may accept the other two in the future.

Mortgage Credit Score Tool

Let’s start with the tool that helps with mortgages.  CreditXpert Wayfinder works like this.  With your lender, you determine how much of an improvement you need to qualify for a loan, or to reduce your rate.  The higher score you have the lower rate you qualify for.  A lower rate means you either save money on your payment or qualify for more home.  Why pay more for less of a loan?

Boosting Your Credit Score Can Reduce Borrowing Costs

The software comes up with options and a plan to achieve a higher score within 1-2 months.  The average credit score goes up about 27 points on this program, which can save you lots of interest on the money you borrow.

In the promotional video for this program, it shows you which credit cards to cancel or pay down and by exactly how much to improve your score. Sometimes cancelling a credit card can lower your score.  It’s always been a complicated business figuring out exactly what credit bureaus are looking for.  They look at available credit, credit history, credit utilization, etc.  The consumer had no good way of figuring what methods would help their score.

This plan comes with a fee of about $15-$18 at each of the credit bureaus plus a rapid re-score fee by an outside vendor when it’s completed, but the fees more than pay for themselves in lower borrowing costs.  Check with your lender to see if they offer this service, and if you need it.  Borrowers are sometimes surprised to find out they can borrow with their existing credit.

We Work With Several Lenders

We just got a buyer a home with a 550-credit score on a FHA loan.  Actually, we didn’t do anything.  The lender did.  We have great lenders with a proven track record of closing loans.  There is nothing more frustrating than picking the wrong lender and finding out your deal is dead after spending money for appraisal, inspection, etc.  If you’re working with an Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty agent, we can recommend lenders with proven track records.  We know who they are.

Another option is Experian’s new Boost product.  It imports your utility and phone bills history into your score.  If you’re paying those bills on-time, this can raise your score in a majority of cases.

FICO Ultra Score is a new product rolling out soon.  It imports your banking, savings, checking, and money market accounts into your score.  If you pay your bills and have some extra money in the bank somewhere, this may help your score.

So far mortgage loans are not utilizing Experian’s Boost program or FICO’s Ultra Score program yet, but other consumer credit like auto and boat loans, credit cards, and revolving credit might.  Who knows, perhaps in a few months mortgage loans will benefit from these programs too.

It pays to know your options, and work with people who know their stuff.  The first step in the home buying process is picking which resources can help you.  We offer 3 great resources, so you’ll never have to wonder.

Always Call the Ellis Team

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. 239-489-4042.  We can help you find the right lender and find the right homes.  Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com is another great resource.  It has all the homes, has neighborhood data, and home value data.  It’s updated every few minutes unlike some of the other online search places.  Getting bad and outdated search data is as frustrating as picking the wrong Realtor or wrong lender.

Give our team a call.  We can help, and you’ll notice the difference.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update March 2019

Open House App

See where the open houses will be this weekend anywhere in the country.  Download our Open House app at www.SWfloridaopenhouse.com

Ellis Team Open House App
Open House App

 

We don’t want to alarm you as 2018 turned in some impressive stats in the SW Florida real estate market.  Closings were up for the year, as were prices and dollar volume.  You would think with increased closings and prices, Realtors would be reporting the market is fantastic.  4th quarter numbers suggest there may be some chinks in the armor. Early signs point to a Southwest Florida market shift.

Early Signs Point to Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Shift Home Sales

Closed home sales fell 15% in December over last year.  We can attribute some of that to increased closings last year in December due to Hurricane Irma.  However, we’re seeing new pending sales down 10.9% in December, which will lead to lower closings in January and February of this year.

The median sale price rose 3.1% for the year and ended at a year-end average of $251,000.  The average sales price rose 5.6% to $351,200 year-end average.  So, if prices are rising, why are we sounding the alarm?

Early Signs Point to Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Shift Inventory Levels

Inventory rose 8.8% for the year.  However, inventory shot up 19.8% over last December and the month’s supply of inventory was up 11.8% in December.  While sales for the year may be up, we’re seeing declining sales in the 4th quarter, rising inventory, and a decrease in new pending sales.

Not Time to Worry

All this leads to worry amongst real estate agents that we may be in the middle of a shift.  This isn’t a time to worry though.  Experienced agents know how to handle a shift.  If you’ll remember, our article back in October warned of a possible upcoming shifting market, and we recommended sellers put their home on the market before January to beat the predicted rush of listings.

People listened, and the rush began sooner than January.  We talked about how selecting the correct listing agent is critical when the market shifts in our December 1st article. To read past articles, visit http://blog.topagent.com

When the market shifts, it’s critical you select an agent with experience.  For instance, lower priced homes are still receiving multiple offers.  Other homes take more marketing and experience to sell properly.  Of course, you not only must select an experienced agent, you must listen to them.

Sellers do not like to hear that the market has shifted, and they hold onto what their home used to be worth.  Markets move up and down, and just as a seller expects a buyer to get over it when the market moves up, buyers expect sellers to get over it when it moves down.

Sellers point to the fact prices went up 3.1% in 2018.  Yes, but not in all sub-markets, and not all year.  Prices may have gone up slightly in first 3 quarters of the year and pulled back in last quarter.

What’s Causing a Shift?

Some say it’s rising interest rates.  Interest rates peaked in October around 5%.  They’ve since slid back a bit.  Rising rates rob home buyers of purchasing power.  As this occurs, there are fewer home buyers available in each price range.

Keep this in mind.  Inventory levels stand at a 5.7-month supply of homes.  A balanced market is 5.5-month supply.  So, we’ve barley crossed the threshold, and it varies by price range.

We’re seeing buyer activity picking up right now.  We usually do after January 15th.  Buyers have more choices today, but the best homes are flying off the shelves.  The challenge to sellers is, you must be the best home, so buyers pick you.  An experienced agent can guide you.  Buyers see lots of homes, and it becomes apparent which is the best value for them.  Sellers must learn to think like a buyer.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling your home, always call the Ellis Team.  Ask for Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Put our decades of experience to work for you, along with the most aggressive marketing in Lee County.  There is a reason our homes sell faster and for more money.  If you’d like to learn more about the shift, call us for a confidential interview.  Experience matters! To get an idea of what your home is worth for Free online, visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Houses Saturday 1-3 PM

Parker Lakes

15212 Palm Isle Dr

14551 Daffodil Dr Unit 1808

Central Park South

9291 Central park Dr Unit 104

Open Houses Sunday 1-3 PM

Cape Coral

1004 SE 5th Terrace Cape Coral

2008 Bolado Pkwy

Naples

13 High Point Cir N Unit 302

The Ellis Team was supposed to have a closing December 31.  We represented the seller. The buyer selected a lender from CA who gave a pre-approval letter.  It turns out, the buyer had no chance of closing with that lender. They said they were just waiting on IRS tax transcripts, and since the government was shutdown, they had to put the loan on hold.  So, even with IRS transcripts, the loan would never have closed under the program they selected. Has government shutdown affected mortgages and closings?

Has Government Shutdown Affected Mortgages and Closings

Upon missing the closing date, we decided to get a lender we use regularly involved.  The buyer agreed, as they wanted to buy the home.  Our lender looked at the file and said they would not qualify, even if they added a co-borrower.  However, if we switched them to an FHA loan, we’d have a chance as they are more forgiving on loan ratios.

Many lenders cannot do a FHA loan with a government shutdown.  Many lenders can’t do a loan without an IRS transcript.  We were able to get an FHA loan in 13 days, bypass the transcript issue, and get flood insurance, all during the government shutdown.  How did we do it, and in 13 days nonetheless?

It took some hard work on everyone’s part, especially the lender.  We worked with a direct endorsement FHA lender who does not need an FHA underwriter to approve the loan.  Secondly, they made this loan a priority for us.  Lastly, we had the buyer assume the seller’s flood policy, so we were good to go, even amidst a government shutdown.  Both buyer and seller were ecstatic.  We could not have done it without the help of our lender, title company, and a buyer and seller working together to make it happen.

Has Government Shutdown Affected Mortgages and Closings

So, let’s give you an update on how the government shutdown is affecting other real estate closing throughout the country.

Flood Insurance – FEMA announced on December 28th that they would resume selling new policies and issuing renewals again.

IRS Tax Transcripts- Many top lenders are waiving IRS (4506-T) tax transcript verifications to fulfill a loan as they are unavailable now.

Nationally Realtors say that 9% of transactions involve a federal employee and the transaction is on hold.  13% have been impacted by the transcript issue, although there are workarounds for this with certain lenders.

The bottom line is the government shutdown isn’t having a huge impact on closings yet.  Any disruptions in closings can have a large impact on the overall economy as real estate generally impacts about 32% of GDP.

In uncertain times it pays to work with real estate professionals and lenders who have a track record of solving issues as they pop up.  Good Realtors know who the good lenders are.

Rising Inventory

Inventory has been rising, so selecting a professional who will market your home and make it stand out is important today.  Hopefully that same agent also knows how to get the home closed once they find a buyer, because in a rising inventory environment, you never want to have to sell the home twice. It pays to get the home closed the first time.

If you’re looking to buy a home, give our team a call.  We can get you pre-approved and get your home closed.  Just because a lender approves you doesn’t mean they can close you.  Experienced agents know that a mortgage pre-approval does not mean you have a guaranteed closing.  We can get you working with a lender with a track record of closing loans.

If you’d like to search for your dream home, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has all the homes on the MLS, and it’s updated every 5 minutes.  No more missing out on hot new properties because the site you’re using doesn’t have it.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, always call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Brett and Sande handle the listings on the team. Let us show you how our marketing will set you apart and get your home to the closing table.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

111 NW 33rd Ave

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

1742 Ardmore  Rd

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

2008 Bolado Pkwy

Today’s home buyer loves to search online to find their dream home.  It makes them feel part of the process and gives them a certain sense of control, which makes sense because they are half of the process.  Without home buyers we wouldn’t have home sales. Home buyers demand 360 degree virtual tours and artificial intelligence.

Home Buyers Demand 360 Degree Virtual Tours and Artificial Intelligence

Home Buyers Demand 360 Degree Virtual Tours and Artificial Intelligence

Most buyers realize they can’t complete the purchase alone, they need help.  The one thing they can do though is search. And when they search, and search, and search the process can sometimes be overwhelming.  We’ve seen buyers bring in a stack of listings or email us daily with homes they feel they might like to look at.  Their frustration mounts when they see a few of these and realize they don’t match their criteria at all.

They’re also afraid they might be missing out on some listings because they can’t quite tell if the property meets their needs based on the photos.  The technology is here today to show them so much more, and buyers love it.

Artificial Intelligence

The Ellis Team is employing two sets of technology we believe will really change how buyers look at property, and how Realtors market their listings.  We’re introducing artificial intelligence that searches each photo in the MLS and keeps an eye on what a customer likes online.  Let’s say a customer is searching for homes 1800-2100 Sq. Ft of living area, with a pool, 2 car garage, and at least 3 bedrooms.  What the system notices is that they seem to be drawn to homes with wood floors, or white kitchen cabinets.  They didn’t ask for it in the search, but it’s clear they spend more time looking at homes with the two features.  We’ll be able to suggest homes that match what they’re looking for, even if they didn’t specifically ask for it.

Realtors, how many times has your buyer bought a home completely different than what they told you they were looking for?  Exactly!  Our artificial intelligence will be able to search neighborhoods for features like parks, recreation, proximity to shopping, restaurants, etc., in addition to photos.  We have neighborhood insights that causes buyers spend over 4 times looking at homes with these insights versus ones that don’t.

360 Degree Virtual Tours

The Ellis Team is adding 360 degree virtual tours on our listings.  www.SWFL360hometours.com By doing this the buyer gets a greater sense of the home in proximity to the neighborhood, and a sense of how each room looks and feels in the home.  A static photo can be shot in such a way as to make the room look different than it really is, and buyers don’t like that.  They feel like they’ve wasted their time when there aren’t enough photos of a home, or they feel deceived.  A 360 degree virtual tour puts the buyer in control of how they want to view the home, and they are much more likely to schedule a live showing because of that.

We had a home listed with static photos.  It wasn’t selling.  As soon as we loaded a 360 virtual tour, a buyer called us to schedule a showing.  They had a better sense of how they could use the property.  They bought it, and both buyer and seller are happy.  The static photos weren’t bad, they just couldn’t tell the buyer the whole story on how they could use the property.

This is all part of a greater marketing strategy.  Giving the buyer the tools to be more engaged in the buying process makes a Realtor’s listings stand out.  In an age of increasing listing inventory, Realtors need to do more and more to make their listings stand out.

The 360 virtual tours are live now and growing as we list properties. Artificial intelligence searches are set to go live in SW Florida by March.    If you’re thinking of selling and would like to see how all this works for you, give Brett or Sande Ellis a call.  239-489-4042 Ext 4  We’ll be happy to show you how the Ellis Team can make your home stand out, and how the new technology that will absolutely change how Realtors sell certain homes faster and for top dollar.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

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Did you know that January 1st is the biggest expired listing day of the year?  It is, and this year we had 246 residential listings expire on January 1 in Lee County.  If you made your 2019 New Year Resolution to sell your Home, we’ve got some tips for you to make that happen.

Your 2019 New Year Resolution to Sell Your Home January Expired Listings

Listings fail to sell for two primary reasons.  They are priced incorrectly, or they aren’t marketed correctly.  Sometimes it’s both, but it’s definitely one of those.  These are both easy fixes, if you’re serious about selling.

The seller sets the price, and the market determines the value.  If your price is over the market, the market will tell you.  You may not like the market, it just is what it is.  The good news is, if you don’t like the market, it may be a buying opportunity on the back-end.  Most sellers sell one home and purchase another.  If you wait to sell your home until the market goes up, chances are the next home you are buying goes up too.  Add in rising rates, and waiting could cost you much more than trying to hit a certain number.

We all want as much money as possible out of our home.  You might need a certain amount to make the move.  The market never cares what a seller needs, it only cares about today’s value.  And it could go up or down from today.

Enough on price.  Let’s focus on marketing.  One reason sellers don’t want to reduce their price is because they think it might be the marketing.  Why reduce price when it could just be a matter of reaching the right people?

To get Top Dollar you must reach the right people, at the right time.  Putting a home online and in all the big listing websites won’t do it.  This assumes your buyer is searching on one of those sites and can find your home in the clutter of all the other homes listed online.  It becomes a rush to the best price per square foot.  We know your home is worth more because it has a better location, better kitchen, a pool, and several other things some of the other homes don’t have.  Of course, your home will have a higher dollar per square foot than those homes.  And it should!

Listing your homes on these websites is the Lowest form of marketing there is.  Any agent can do that, and that may be all they do.  What if you could stick ads onto web pages that match exactly what a buyer is interested in?  You can’t, but we can.

Find Out What Your Home is Worth Online for Free

If you have a waterfront home, we have the ability to advertise to waterfront buyers.  The same with golf course properties.  Whatever your home has, we have the ability to market straight to buyers with those kinds of interests.  This is in addition to the print marketing and all the other marketing the Ellis Team does.  You see, it really does make a difference who you list your home with.  All Realtors are not the same!

Therefore, we say either of these two reasons are an easy fix.  We’ll help you determine if your price is correct.  The Ellis Team will show you how we reach buyers specifically for your home.  Yes, we still do signs and newspaper ads, and that too might sell your home.  But that’s not all we do, and there is a difference.  Our marketing really works, and nobody else does everything we do.  We’re sure of that.

If you’ve made your 2019 New Year Resolution to sell your Home, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  We make your 2019 resolutions to sell your home come true.  Let’s make 2019 your year.

Check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com if you’d like to get an idea online for free of what your home is worth, or call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 to get your home sold fast!

 

Thinking of Selling Your SW Florida Home?