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

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

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

Zillow Home Value Zestimates Purposefully Inflated

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

Are Zillow Home Value Zestimates Purposefully Inflated?

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

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

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

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

Zillow Admits Errors

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

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

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

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

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

Paint the Town Red

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

Ellis Team Featured Open Houses

Sunday 1-4 PM

Ellis Team Open House

6180 Winkler Rd

 

 

 

 

 13624 Gulf Breeze St Reflection Lakes Pool Home

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

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

Southwest Florida December Home Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update January 2017

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

 

Ellis Team Open House

Ellis Team open house Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes Open House

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Reflection Lakes  Gate 2

13624 Gulf Breeze St

$285,000

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

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

Money in Motion Southwest Florida Real Estate

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

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

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

Money in Motion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Website Saves You Time

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

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

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

December 2016 Ellis Team Seller’s Club Report

 

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

Stay tuned for your chance to win a Yeti cooler

Ellis Team Featured Listings

Ellis Team Assisted For Sale By Owner Listings

San Carlos Park Pool Home $269,500

Gateway Pool Home on Lake $600,000

Perhaps you’ve been reading about the shift in the local and national real estate market. Some experts haven’t noticed a shift while others have predicted dire results because they have noticed. The real experts are aware of the shift and realize this appears to be a minor correction as the market just got ahead of itself. Markets often chug along until one day it does get ahead of itself, both on the way up and the way down. Today we talk about how the market responds as sellers heed advice from agents.

Back in 2009 we said the market had over-corrected and was due for gains. It did. This past February we sounded the alarm and said the market may be ahead of itself, and it was. Sellers have heeded the advice of agents and are actually selling homes.

You see, homes will always sell, even in up, down, and sideways markets. It’s a matter of marketing and price, and the sellers that market properly and price properly win the selling game. Owners that fail at either of the above may not win. Sometimes the best team on the field doesn’t win the game. Sometimes the best home on the block doesn’t sell. You have to be the best today to sell today. It’s not enough to be the best 6 months ago.

Buyers judge houses on features, size, location, age, and price among others. If you’re great in all areas except price, buyers will reject your home. You’re not the best today if your home is overpriced.

Market Responds as Sellers Heed Advice

We have good news to present however. In fact, I had to double check the numbers because I didn’t believe the numbers. Month’s supply of inventory is down to 5.07 months by my numbers. Official numbers by Florida Realtors shows 4.5 months however they calculate slightly differently than we do. In any event, and by any measure, we both have inventory coming down.

Market Responds as Sellers Heed Advice

You can see by the graph that inventory levels have come down in virtually all price ranges. This is because sellers have taken their agent’s advice and reacted to the shift in the market. The sellers who have not repositioned their home in the marketplace are still on the market or their listing has expired.

Selling your home is a pretty easy math equation. mm x cp = ss Mass Marketing times Correct Pricing equals Successful Sale. If your home isn’t marketed to the entire market it may not sell. I’ve seen homes priced correctly that have not sold. We’ve come in and upped the marketing and watch them sell.

An overpriced home will not sell. No amount of marketing can cure an overpriced listing. If you’re willing to follow the formula, success will follow. If you deviate from the formula, you won’t get your desired result, so you have to ask yourself the question, “Which is most important? Selling my home or staying because I want or need too much money?”

Unfortunately, the market doesn’t care what you need, and Mick Jagger explains beautifully that you can’t always get what you want. The answer lies with you. Are you willing to price your home where the market is? Are you willing to hire the best agent to sell your home?

Owners mistakenly believe all Realtors are the same and MLS will sell the home. It doesn’t work that way. There is a lot of expertise that goes into negotiations and the best way to present a property to the market. Some Realtors don’t know these tips because they’re not experienced enough. If Realtors in the business don’t all know, how is a seller supposed to know?

You have to interview agents with experience and a track record. If you’re thinking about selling, or perhaps have tried it yourself to no avail, give us a call. We’ve got some new ways to reach buyers we think you’re going to like. Call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 and find out what’s new and how we’re reaching today’s buyers. We think you’ll be amazed, and most importantly, on to your next home. Feel free to search the MLS at  and get an automated free estimate of your home’s value.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Open House Saturday and Sunday 1-4 PM

waterfront home whiskey creek open houose
Whiskey Creek Open House

Open Saturday and Sunday 1-4 PM

1388 Landmark Ct

Waterfront Gulf Access

Stop by and pickup your Ellis Team Koozie and chance to win a Yeti

 

 

Are You Ready For a Yeti?

Are You Ready For a Yeti
Ready For a Yeti?

All you have to do is like our Ellis Team Facebook page and post a picture of our koozie with your favorte beverage online with the hashtags #ellisteam and #readyforayeti The most creative picture wins.  You can post online at Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google +

Ready for a Yeti
Post our Ellis Team Koozie Photo Online

Stop by our open house and pickup your koozie, or stop by our office.  You can always call us at 239-489-4042 to see where we’re going o be.  Some lucky winner is going to win a Yeti 45 and it might as well be you.  Contest ends November 30, so you’ve got some time.

You’ve probably read headlines recently that the real estate market shifts have occurred . Not only is it true, it’s been predicted by those that study the numbers. However, the shift doesn’t tell the whole story.

Real Estate Market Shifts
Current Inventory

Just as we’re counseling sellers about the shift we see an uptick in listing calls and buyer contracts.  So if the market is shifting, how can it be that business has really picked up in last few weeks?

Perhaps you’ve noticed in just the last week the roads have gotten busier.  I sure have.  And I went to one of those large warehouse stores over the weekend and it was packed.  My wife and I both said “They’re back.”   That’s not why we’ve seen an uptick in sales these past few weeks however.

Real Estate Market Shifts new pending sales
New Pending Sales

We believe there is some pent-up demand. Buyers are desperately seeking homes in the $300,000 or less category, and we’re also seeing good activity in the $400,000+ range as well. We know the market as a whole isn’t as strong over $400k, so activity in this range is a good sign.

Real Estate Market Shifts

We’ve been watching official numbers and we are seeing declining closed sales, precipitated by declining pending sales, and increasing inventory. The numbers don’t lie and are indicative of a shift. Combine this with falling average sales prices and declining market volume and you know the shift is real.
So now that we know the shift is real, what can a seller do? Now more than ever it’s important to do 3 things.

1. Hire Experience- Agents who have worked and thrived through shifting markets are better able to guide through the experience.

2. Price it Correctly- You never want to get caught chasing the market down.  Not all price ranges are going down.  In fact, some are still going up.  Knowing where your home stands against the competition is critical.  Knowing where the demand from buyers is as well.

3. Marketing-Some agents say you can’t market your way out of a shift and it all comes down to price.  While it’s true that if you over-price a home, no amount of advertising and marketing will sell it, sometimes correct pricing alone isn’t enough.  This isn’t a bad market.  We’ve seen those before and this is nothing like that.  However, if it were a bad market, marketing becomes important because you have to do everything you can to reach the few buyers available for so many homes.

This is a shifting market, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The market is fairly healthy.  Nothing goes up or down forever, and shifts along the way is a balancing act.  It keeps both buyers and sellers equal where neither becomes too powerful, but it can be scary if you’re on the wrong side of the shift.

Knowledge truly is power.  Knowledge leads to correct pricing.  Marketing is power too.  Marketing alone won’t sell your home, but it sure beats limited marketing.  Think of it as a sporting event. Shifts are won or lost by great coaches.  The talent on both sides are fairly equal.  Each side (Buyers and Sellers) has their set of strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to the coach to guide the team to a win.  The coaches right now are the full-time agents, and the agents with the most experience and winning track records are the ones to hire.

There’s a reason certain coaches win multiple Super Bowls. The top coaches are in demand, and teams pay them more money than first year coaches. It’s because they win, and if you’re a seller wanting to sell in a shifting market, you want to win. Hiring experience is the answer. So when the real estate market shifts, always go with experience.
We have a graphic in our listing presentation that reads “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” If you’re looking to buy or sell, call the pros at the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 or visit our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search the MLS like a pro.

 

16585 Wellington Lakes CIR, Fort Myers, FL 33908    13685 Wellington Lakes Cir

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

 

Daniels Preserve Open Jouse
12494 Country Day Cir Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Future of Real Estate September 2016 Market Update

 

Hopefully everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.  The Ellis Team household celebrated with friends and family with a cookout and football party.  Good times were definitely had by all, and that’s the way it should be.  Beating the post Labor Day real estate stall isn’t rocket science, but more on that after we tell you about the stall.

I started cooking the day before.  I made all the sauces, put the rub on the meat, and eventually placed the pork on the smoker at midnight.  The plan was to smoke the meat at 225 degrees for about 17 hours.  The meat must reach a certain temperature, but inevitably the temperature gains stall out at about 160 degrees for a period of 5 hours or so.  This frustrates many who are not accustomed to the stall.

The stall is that period where temperature gains cease for a long while.  This is because at 160 degrees the meat begins to sweat and cool itself.  Juice go from the center to the edges during this time period.  One way to beat the stall is to wrap meat in aluminum foil at 160 degrees and keep the heat on.  By doing so you can retain some of the moisture and cut the heating time down.

Beating the Post Labor Day Real Estate Stall

So you might ask how does all this relate to real estate?  Each year after September the SW Florida real estate market reaches a stall.  If you know it’s coming there are things you can do to shorten the time-frame of the stall.  You must power through it as buyers and sellers are counting on you.

Beating the Post Labor Day Real Estate Stall

Knowing it’s coming is half the battle.  The other half is preparation.  Just as most of the work to cook the meat was done the day before, so it is true with the real estate market.

We continue to list and sell properties.  In fact, we’re cranking some sales now at a time when county-wide sales are down.  We don’t stop advertising, and we don’t stop prospecting for buyers for our listings.

In fact, much of the work we’ve done the past few months helps us with sales during the typical “Stall” time.  Some Realtors take off in the slow months, but this is the time to put the real work in.  Championships are built in the off season.  This was opening weekend and you can tell which teams put in the work as they were the most prepared for week 1.

When we list a home in September it’s very possible we already have the buyer we obtained in July or August.  We have a database of thousands of buyers we’ve worked hard to build up.  Some are buying today, some are buying tomorrow, and some next month.  We don’t control their time frame, we only control our efforts to obtain buyers for our listings.

Often times sellers will ask us if we have a buyer for their home.  Quite often the answer is yes.  When we take a listing we bring it back to our team of agents who cross-check our database to see if we’ve got someone for that home.  Perhaps we have someone flying in on October 2nd who matches perfectly.  Perhaps we have someone now.

In any event, we market the home too, because even though we may have 3 buyers for our listing the market may have one ready, willing, and able to buy it today.  And you never know which buyer will pay the highest price.

Don’t Sweat the Stall

It’s the hard work we put in year-round that enables us to sell homes every month of the year.  So we don’t worry too much about the “Stall”.  We advise our clients on what the market is doing, and if we’re doing our job at the highest level, perhaps we can shorten our client’s time-frame and power through it for them.

If you’ve got a home to sell, we should probably talk.  It’s possible we have a buyer for it, and either way our marketing attracts buyers.  If you’re a buyer, we’ve got some great new listings coming to the market in the next few weeks.  You can search at www.LeeCountyOnline.com or call us at 239-489-4042

We look forward to working with you!  Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

Join us for Two Great Open Houses

Reflection Lakes Open House
Reflection Lakes 3 Bedroom 2 Bath $215,000

13971 Lake Mahogany Blvd Unit 2623

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Gate 4 Reflection Lakes

 

 

 

 

14154 Danpark Loop Fort Myers, FL
Open House Daniel’s Park

14154 Danpark Loop

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Daniel’s Park

Affordable Living in Great Neighborhood

 

Watch the Future of Real Estate September 2016

Agents use the SW Florida Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to search for homes for their buyers but what about searching for buyers for agent’s listings?  The Ellis Team has found that having a searchable buyers database helps sell homes.

Searchable Buyers Database Helps Sell Homes
Ellis Team Client Search Screen

There is no MLS for buyers.  That would be weird.  There is one for sellers but it does not include personal information like seller’s name, phone number, email address, search preferences, etc. because nobody would want that kind of information out to the public. The same is true for buyers.  No buyer would want a seller searching and contacting them. And it wouldn’t be just sellers.  You’d have every retail store, financial planner, lender, etc. calling these buyers if that data were out in the public.

There may never be a true MLS for buyers as buyers for the reasons stated above however, we do have a large database of buyers we can search upon when we list new properties.  One of the advantages we offer buyers is our MLS search site is updated every 5 minutes, so they can beat out other buyers to hot new properties.  It’s also consumer friendly, speedy, and easy to use.

Because the buyers benefit so much we’re able to capture crucial search data.  The system will email them property matches if they desire, and they can target exactly what they’re looking for.

Searchable Buyers Database Helps Sell Homes buyer search screen
Buyer Search Screen

Searchable Buyers Database Helps Sell Homes

Sellers often ask us if we have buyers looking for a home like theirs.  The answer is usually yes.  We can go into our database and search for buyers that matches our seller’s criteria.  We spend a lot of money on advertising each month.  We create a lot of buyers.  It’s possible the money we spent last month or 6 months ago has already created a buyer looking for a home just like the one we’re listing.

One of our databases has created about 1,407 leads in the past year.  Let’s say we’re on a listing appointment and the property is worth $250,000.  If I search our database, we currently have 304 leads searching in that $250,000 range.

Let’s say we’re listing a Million dollar property.  I just conducted a search and our database contains 58 people searching for properties.  Our agents can tag buyers, so we have the ability to pin it down to features like golf course or waterfront, or neighborhoods.

Each time we list a property we create marketing designed to find a buyer in that price range.  It does us no good to list a Million dollar home and create $200,000 buyers.  Our marketing never stops working.  Not only are we marketing today for a million dollar buyer, our past marketing may have already created the buyer.  Likewise, just because we didn’t have a $4 Million dollar home for sale in last 6 months doesn’t mean we don’t have some $4 Million buyers waiting for the right property to enter the market.  We create marketing for what we list.  If we list a $70,000 condo we’ll create some $70,000 buyers.

Each week we have a team meeting and we inform our agents the properties we’re listing soon.  Many times we have a buyer waiting for one like that to come to market.  I remember a few years ago we listed a property in Moody River Estates.  The seller asked me if we had buyers for his home.  I answered I don’t know, we could.  I went back to office and sure enough, one of our agents was writing an offer on another property a street over from the one we just listed.  I asked him to hold up and go show our home.  A day later our home was under contract with a buyer we already had.

No agent can promise you they have a buyer.  And even if they did, you don’t know what the buyer will pay or how they will like it.  The goal is to produce many buyers for the home.  If you’d like to check out our site go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com Buyers and sellers love the site.  Or call us at 239-489-4042  We’d love to help you buy or sell your piece of paradise in SW Florida.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

14457 Cypress Chase Ct Fort Myers Florida
Open Sunday 11-2

14457 Cypress Chase Ct Fort Myers, FL 33919

3 Bedroom 3 Baths

Located in South Fort Myers

 

 

 

 

San Carlos Park Open House 3 Bedrooms 2 Baths
Open Sunday 1-4 PM

17225 Johnston Dr, Fort Myers FL 33967

3 Bedrooms 2 Baths Home in San Carlos Park

Call Today-Will sell this weekend

The problem with real estate agents is they are not all the same and it’s hard to tell the difference without really interviewing them. Agents come with varying experience and from differing backgrounds. There is no requirement for a college degree in Florida and it’s one of the few careers you can step into without any training. So what’s a consumer to do?

Problem With Real Estate Agents Find out what your home is worth

The agent you hire does make a difference. Agents with vast experience and marketing can net sellers ten’s of thousands more at the closing table than agents with poor track records. Being locked into a listing agreement with the wrong agent can seem like a lifetime if there is no communication and little activity for your home.

On the buying side, having an agent that works with you is invaluable. This is one reason most buyers do not buy For Sale By Owners. They want their agent advising them on price, inspections, zoning, schools, neighborhoods, etc. If a buyer is going to work directly with an owner they want a huge deal, because they feel like they’re taking a huge risk. The owner knows the home and neighborhood but the buyer doesn’t, so they feel at a disadvantage.

One of the reasons a home owner might sell their own is to save the commission, but the buyer and the seller can’t both save the commission, so it rarely works. Even if they come together on price, the deal rarely closes due to other issues they’re not equipped to handle, like inspections, appraisals, financing, HOA rules, etc.

I’ve seen two separate studies that show For Sale By Owners sell on average for 16% less with than an agent. This is not surprising. An owner desires to sell on their own only until they see the value of paying someone else to do it. When that occurs, it’s a no-brainer.

After that, which agent is the best? Only 4% of all buyers can actually buy right now. Many buyers have to sell something first, so somebody has to solve that issue before they become an actual buyer today. Other buyers don’t qualify for financing right now.

The answer is you need an agent that exposes your home to 100% of the market and can help with these facts about buyers. Imagine if you had an item on e-bay to sell. If there was just one buyer bidding on the item, how much would it sell for? Or, imagine you had 1,000 buyers bidding on that same item. Now how much would it sell for? The answer is, much more than just one buyer.

And this is the difference between finding a buyer and 100% exposure. Since we know only 4% of all lookers can actually buy, we need as much exposure as possible. Not all agents advertise the same. Some agents don’t advertise at all. They employ the 3 P’s. Put a sign up, Place it in MLS, and Pray someone else sells it.

The MLS doesn’t sell homes. Great agents do. If the MLS sold homes, all homes in MLS would sell, and that just doesn’t happen. Sellers need an agent who knows the market, communicates well, advertises extensively, studies changes in the market, and will tell the seller what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.

The market rarely stays steady. It changes every year, every month, and by the week. Buyers need an agent that is familiar with financing, knows the market, and will show them homes that meet their criteria. The bottom line is buyers and sellers both need agents that can listen, communicate, negotiate, and help formulate a plan to accomplish a goal. The agent should have experience and wisdom, or access to it at all times. The Ellis Team at Keller Williams has all of this.

Call us at 239-489-4042 if you’re in the market to buy or sell. If you’d like to get an idea of what your home might sell for, check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com If you’re looking to purchase, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Open House Saturday and Sunday 1-4 PM

Reflection Lakes Open House
Reflection Lakes 4 Bedroom + Den Pool Home on Lake

13925 Bald Cypress Cir

4 Bedrooms + Den Pool Home Lakefront

 

Buyers and sellers may want to tune in because changes are coming to the lending process in September and it will affect home buyers. Sellers tend to say that’s not my problem, but it will be if your buyer no longer qualifies for the loan.

Credit Report Changes Coming

Credit Report Changes Coming

Certain loan programs are going to what they call Trended Credit Reports. Trended credit data is different than a FICO score which captures a particular point in time. Trended data looks at the trend and whether a borrower’s creditworthiness is improving or declining over time.

A buyer may have an excellent FICO score but if their trend is negative it could affect their ability to finance that much or the pricing on the loan, which also can affect the total amount financed. Many lenders are up in arms over this change, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

For instance, let’s say you charge $1,500/mo on your credit card for everything from groceries, repairs, phone bill, etc. You pay off that $1,500/mo so you have a zero balance each month. Under the current system they see an average balance of $1,500 mo on your credit report. You choose to collect the points on your credit card instead of writing checks but the money remains the same. Under trended credit reporting it just might be that you’re not penalized for charging to your credit card instead of a bunch of online banking payments.

We believe the new reporting will focus on credit utilization scores among other things and what that overall trend looks like, although we don’t know for sure. It’s important to note that this is a FNMA decision. This shouldn’t affect FHA loans.

We often tell buyers, don’t go out and buy a new car just before you close on your home. Buyers get the loan approval to buy their home and think everything is a done deal. What they don’t realize is lenders go back and pull credit again just before the closing and if there is a change they can deny the loan. I’ve seen it happen more times that I care to count. I know agents out there counsel their buyers but for some reason they forget that point.

If you’re considering buying it really helps to talk to a lender first. Sellers won’t entertain your offer unless a pre-approval letter accompanies your offer anyway. You can save a lot of time by knowing what the lender requires. Quite often a buyer needs to just have one thing changed in their financial situation and they’re good to go. Doing it upfront can save your deal and help you to shop in the correct price range.

If you’d like to speak to a lender, give us a call. 239-489-4042 We can recommend some good ones for you and really speed up the process. It doesn’t cost any money to talk to a lender upfront, and it can save you money on inspections and appraisals by knowing the facts upfront. You’ll save time and money.

Buyers are happy to find out they qualify for more now because rates have dropped. You might be surprised at what you can afford, but don’t go buy that new car until after you get the home.

If you’d like to search for your perfect home, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com It has all the homes and the database is updated every 5 minutes, so you’ll beat out other buyers to hot new listings.

If you have a property to sell, you can call us too. 239-489-4042 Find out why our listings sell fast and for top dollar.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Open House Extravaganza This Weekend

Open Sat 1-4 PM

Bell Tower Park Courtyard Home
Open Saturday 1-4 PM

5693 Kensington Loop

$260,000

 

 

 

 

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Viridian Pool Home on Lake
Open Sunday 1-4 PM

12407 Arbor View Dr

$485,000

 

This past week we’ve been speaking with agents who have noticed lower sales counts across the county, which begs the question “Is something happening to the local real estate market?”

June’s official numbers won’t be released until a few days after this article is written, so we decided to look at May’s numbers and combine some current data from MLS and a few large real estate companies in SW Florida.

Agents Reporting Lower Sales Counts Across Lee County
May 2016 SW Florida Housing Numbers

Agents Reporting Lower Sales Counts Across Lee County

If you look at May’s data you’ll notice pending inventory is down 12% from last year. New pending sales are down 6.4% while inventory is up 14.1% This chart lends credence to the fact that the number of sales counts are softening.

At Keller Williams our office tracks Listings Sold Volume. The board was down 13.21% in June while our office was up 25.33% That’s a differential of 38.54% I spoke with 2 large RE/MAX offices and they both said they were up about 38% and 50% respectively. I’m not sure if that was sold volume or units, but either way they’re up.

So why are some offices increasing sales while others are obviously losing sales? The answer can be complicated. Perhaps the office had 1 or 2 large sales skewing the volume numbers. Perhaps they sold a chunk of homes to an investor. Or, perhaps their agents are just more tuned in to what’s going on in the market and making adjustments.

Agents Reporting Lower Sales Counts Across Lee County Market Watch
7 Day Market Watch

I pulled a 7 day Market Watch available through our MLS. Price decreases are outpacing new listings. I was excited to see pending sales outpacing new listings as well, although we know not all pending sales will close. You’ll see some sellers giving up by looking at the terminated, expired, and withdrawn counts.

It can be frustrating to bring a property to market and have little to no showing activity. When this happens it tells you that you’ve overshot the market. If your home is priced at market it should receive showings. If your home is way above the market, it’s not really on the market and is shunned by potential home buyers.

Sometimes the sellers believe the market is at one point and the buyers believe it to be at a lower point. When this stand-off occurs, activity lessens. The sellers that want or need to sell react and make a move to find the buyers. When this occurs, a property will sell.

We recently had a property go under contract. We picked a price and had lots of showings. It was priced close enough to where buyers would look at it, but not make an offer. We reduced it once and got even more showings and one low-ball offer. We reduced it a second time and it sold, for much higher than the low-ball offer.

The home initially was priced right where it should be based upon past sales. However, the market rarely stands still. In that price range we noticed a shift in the market. If this seller would have stayed at yesterday’s prices, the home could still be on the market.

You never want to get caught chasing the market down. You want to get ahead of it. People read that prices are up, and they are up 4.7% in May versus last year. That doesn’t tell the whole story. That is median price, and some price ranges are increasing while some are decreasing.

Knowing where your home fits is crucial. Sure, you can interview 5 agents and pick the one who says the highest price. But have you done yourself any favors? If your home sits on the market and 6 months later you’re shaking your head because it hasn’t sold, are you going to be happy you selected the agent with the highest price?

We’d suggest interviewing agents who know the market, will be brutally honest in regards to price, and markets the home in a way to reach the entire market. If you do that, you will have success. If you don’t, you can find that agent the 2nd time around and hope that prices haven’t declined further. If it was priced right the first time, it should have sold. Keep in mind, just because you overprice it today doesn’t mean the market can’t fall further. If it does, you’ll just be chasing the market down.

See Also Business Observer Article on SW Florida Real Estate Market

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams, we’ll help you get your home sold now! 239-489-4042 Find your dream home now!

 

Join us for Open House in Reflection Lakes Saturday July 23 1-4 PM

13925 Bald Cypress Cir

Reflection Lakes Gated Community South Fort Myers
Reflection Lakes 4 Bedroom Pool Home on Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ellis Team Voted Best Real Estate Team in SW Florida

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