A few weeks ago we focused on gated communities in Fort Myers.  This week we thought we’d focus on new construction condos in South Fort Myers.

Bella Casa luxury condos in South Fort Myers

Bella Casa Luxury Condos in South Fort Myers

We did a search in MLS for new builder product and 24 properties came up.  The lowest priced listing we could find was in Bella Casa for $137,000.  In fact we have a listing in Bella Casa for $134,716 and 2 bedroom 2 bath unit at $155,778.

Bella Casa luxury condos is a gated community in South Fort Myers with a resort style pool and spa, state of the art fitness center, clubhouse with club room and an outdoor living room under truss with a two sided fireplace and lighted tennis courts.  The best part might just be the low maintenance fees of only $213/mo which makes Bella Casa affordable.  Garages are available in some buildings as well.

Bella Casa luxury condos is located on Plantation Rd off Daniels, so it is conveniently located close to Gulf Coast Hospital, Minnesota Twins Spring Training and the Lee County Sports Complex, shopping, airport, and US 41 and I-75.  The builder has 36 units left for sale.  There are some rented units for investors too who would like to purchase a luxurious condo with low fees and built-in income.

What makes Bella Casa luxury condos so unusual in today’s market is the combination of newer construction, garages, gated community with amenities, and low maintenance fees in South fort Myers.  Typically a community might offer one or more of these features, but rarely all of them.

Bella Casa Luxury Condos in South Fort Myers Aerial View

Bella Casa luxury condos offers 1 Bedroom, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom units. Many have lake or preserve views.  For more information call our office at 239-489-4042 or visit our website at Topagent.com

Bella Casa Condominiums in Fort Myers is a saved search on our website which makes it easy for you to see what’s available in MLS.  Did you know that you can search for a home or condo in MLS directly from our website?  You can, and we make it easy.  Virtually every property in MLS can be viewed on our website at Topagent.com  Keep in mind not all new construction is listed in MLS, so that’s why our team works hard to keep up on inventory.

It’s quite possible the home you’re looking for is under construction and not in MLS at the moment.  The Ellis Team has a team of buyer specialists devoted to keeping up on the market and listening to your needs.  Quite often we listen and match buyers up with properties they didn’t even know were on the market.

As leaders in the SW Florida real estate market we try to find out about opportunities first, and we work hard to keep up with the changes.  Because we work with a lot of buyers our specialists are out there regularly visiting projects so when you call we may have some ideas for you worth checking out.

Take Bella Casa luxury condos for instance.  There may be 4 new construction units on the MLS and a few re-sales and yet active Realtors know the developer has models open daily and more to choose from, but they’re going fast.

We hope you enjoy reading about communities we’ve focused on recently like Bella Casa luxury condos and Reflection Lakes.  If you have a community you feel has a lot to offer let us know and maybe we’ll write about it.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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Feel free to view our Virtual Tours

Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

SW Florida Hurricane Tips From a Top Agent

It’s getting that time of year again when the tropics begin to heat up.  The newspapers and TV stations do a good job of educating people how to survive a storm.  We thought we’d give you our insights and tips from an agent perspective.

SW Florida Hurricane Tips From a Top Agent

 

  1.  Remove for sale signs from yard.  You don’t want that becoming a projectile in a storm
  2. Purchase a Hi Definition antenna for your TV. TV stations broadcast over the air in digital format and Hi Definition.  If you have a Hi Def TV you can receive these broadcasts over the air for free with $10 antennae. Mine has a 35 mile range and picks up stations from all over, including Sarasota and Tampa.  Those old portable hurricane TV’s probably won’t work anymore as the standards have changed
  3. If you have hurricane shutters, roll them down or slide them and lock into place and test them out.  Over the years dirt, frogs, and other creatures can jam up the tracks.  The time to work on these is before the storm
  4. Be sure to go around your yard and look for loose items.  Pay particular attention to your lanai and bring items inside that could blow around
  5. Do not cut pool screens.  It is true pool screens add resistance and could help bring down your cage in heavy hurricane force winds, but why cut them?  You’d be better off removing spline and the screen and installing the screen after the storm.  When you cut the screen you remove any chance of using it again
  6. Park your cars against your garage door inside your garage.  Experts will tell you this doesn’t work.  Since your garage door may be the least protected exterior item on your home, I just don’t see how reinforcement behind the garage door could hurt.  It’s no guarantee, but sometimes little things can help
  7. Purchase a Sawzall, also know as a reciprocating saw.  These are very useful in cutting down debris after a storm. We had one client take down his entire pool cage that had collapsed in Charley after the storm.  Sometimes debris can block your exit to your home, so it’s nice to cut your way out if need be
  8. Keep an axe in your home.  Rising waters are usually more dangerous than high winds.  If the waters were to rise, you might want a ladder and an axe. In Katrina people in New Orleans used axes to cut wholes in their roof from their attic.  They were forced up in their homes due to rising waters.  You’d hate to survive high winds only to drown in your own home
  9. Buy lots of water-If the electricity goes out, you may not be able to count on having good drinking water
  10. Fill up your car with gas ahead of the storm.  Buying gas after a storm is never fun, and nearby stations could be out

We’ve created a Hurricane Tips Page on our website at Topagent.com with more tips.  We’ll have an updated video you can watch on our YouTube Channel www.YouTube.com/brettellisfl with many more tips you might not think about.  We’ve lived through and flourished through several storms, and we want you to as well.  A storm doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds if you prepare ahead of time.

If you stay, be prepared.  The decision to stay or evacuate is yours.  Listen to the experts, and know what you’re going to do before so you’re not caught off-guard.  Be sure to visit our complete checklist with more tips online.

Good luck and have a safe hurricane season!

 
View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

Fort Myers Open House

Fort Myers open house in Reflection Lakes gated community

When: Sunday, August 3, 2014 from 1pm – 4pm.
Where: 13745 Bald Cypress Circle. Map here.
Special Instructions: Reflection Lakes Pkwy to Gate 2 Code is: Press Phone button then 0293

 

Fort Myers Open House Reflection Lakes
13745 Bald Cypress Cir

Reflection Lakes Finest!

This beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bath, pool home located on one of the most desirable lakefront lots in all of Reflection Lakes. You will be captivated by the gorgeous view as you relax poolside and thoroughly enjoy the ideal Florida lifestyle. From the moment you enter, you’ll find a spacious open floor plan, high ceilings, and upgrades abound. The kitchen is equipped with stainless steel appliances, solid surface counter tops, and plenty of space to satisfy any home chef! Reflection Lakes is regarded as one of Ft. Myers best communities featuring its ideal location close to everything! With a large community clubhouse, resort style pool, tennis courts, children’s play area, fitness center, and low HOA fees, Reflection Lakes has it all. Be sure to put this at the top of your list and see it today.

More Information on This Home

 

For more information on Open House
View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

 

New Form Required on Florida Home Sales

A new form just arrived June 1st informing buyers of what the homeowners insurance and flood insurance may cost, and if the cost exceeds the amount disclosed then buyer may have a right to cancel contract.

New Form Required on Florida Home Sales
Homeowners and Flood Insurance Disclosure in Florida

There have been significant changes to homeowners and flood insurance policies and costs in the past few years and some are quite surprised at the hoops they must jump through to obtain affordable insurance.

The Ellis Team is strongly encouraging our sellers to provide an elevation certificate so we can obtain upfront what the flood insurance costs will be.  Without the elevation certificate insurance agents are forced to quote off the base elevation which can be much costlier.  Some buyers were surprised to find out flood insurance was tens of thousands of dollars on a property.  This is one reason the National Association of Realtors urged Congress to make changes to the flood program.

These changes are in effect now, but having the elevation certificate helps.  Many people don’t realize the buyer can assume the seller’s flood policy.  This is worth examining as well.

Homeowners insurance has seen its share of changes too.  Wind mitigation surveys can significantly reduce policy premiums on homes, especially homes built before 2002.   Older homes are getting costlier to insure because they were built to lesser codes.

I called Peter Craig over at Pacific Crest Insurance as he has been bailing us out and saving deals for us from surprised buyers brought in by other agents who didn’t know about inspections and saving money.  Peter told me about a company that is charging $800 to nail in clips so that the insurance companies will reduce premiums. If the home has certain features like hurricane clips or straps the premium is reduced.  Homes built before 1985 typically don’t have either so having nails put in helps with costs.

He also told me about a survey company that does elevation certificates quickly.  We ordered one for a property because the seller didn’t have one and got it back within a few days.  I think the seller paid $130 or so for the certificate, but it saved his deal and saved the buyer thousands on insurance.

Many buyers qualify for the home, but when they find out the homeowners and flood insurance costs are so high without these discounts they no longer qualify.  I’ve talked with several agents who have lost deals because buyers no longer qualified for the home.  It’s knocking them out on their ratios on the monthly payment.

Sellers used to not care because it was the buyer’s issue, but that’s no longer the case.  It’s not about if the buyer pays more in insurance, it’s about whether the buyer can still qualify for the home.  Most buyers buy as much as they qualify for, but when insurance costs are double or triple what the lender used for their monthly payment, it knocks them out of the deal.  Now sellers care, and if they don’t, they soon will when they start losing deals on their home.  Even if the buyer hasn’t bought as much as they can afford, they still shy away when they see high yearly insurance premiums they weren’t prepared for.

Now the new disclosure addresses this upfront, which is a good thing.  For it to work properly, getting quotes before you find the buyer is essential, so I’d recommend real estate agents find a good insurance agent and do the research on each listing before you find the buyer. Having the elevation certificate is crucial.  A wind mitigation report is helpful as well.

It’s so much easier to sell a home once than several times.  Getting this information upfront can save deals and get the sellers on their way to their next property and get buyers into their home the first time.  It’s more work on the front end, but it will help keep deals together and save work on the back end.

 

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Preview our Latest Listing in High Definition
1528 Pinecrest Rd

Cypress Lake Country Club

Fort Myers, FL 33919

Whether you’re ready to list your home today or just get an update on prices, we’re here to help. To get your home listed and marketed in High Definition simply call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042 or email us at Brett@topagent.com or Sande@topagent.com To search the MLS visit TopAgent.com  To learn more about Hi Def video for your home visit HomesinHD.TV

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Search the MLS

Search For Homes in Reflection Lakes Fort Myers

View Larger Map

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

Perhaps you’ve wondered what your home is worth in today’s market but you didn’t want to go to all the trouble of hiring an appraiser or interviewing real estate agents to find out.  Now there is an easier way to find out what your home is worth online.Find Out What Your Home is Worth Online

Find Out What Your Home is Worth Online

Simply go to www.swfloridahomevalues.com and enter your property address.  The system will analyze your home and you can verify that it has your square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and year built correct. If anything is not correct you can make changes.

Once you confirm details it will calculate your home’s value.  Sometimes we find it is low and your home is actually worth more than what the report says.  Others times it’s been high, but in any event we hope it’s a good ball park estimate based upon what’s selling in your neighborhood. Automated Selling Price Analysis SW Florida real estate The system should even update you when more recent home sales hit the market and it’s able to recalculate your price based upon the new sales.  We had a seller who didn’t like the initial price but once some higher priced sales came in they were ready. The system alerted them to those new closed sales.

No online computer system is ever perfect.  This tool is designed for those considering selling to weigh their options to see if the possibility even makes sense.  If you’re struggling to make a decision, or need more information on how the process would work, there is no substitute for having a top professional come out and value your home and talk you through how the process would work.

We know you may want to purchase another property but can’t until you sell your current home.  Many sellers don’t want to move twice so timing is also an issue.  We can present you with some options that might make it easier for you to decide.  Taking advantage of today’s low interest rates might be an advantage for doing this now versus waiting.

Often times sellers will wait for their home to go up in value all the while the next home they want to purchase is also going up in value.  Waiting may be a wash on values, but it could cost you when interest rates increase.

Our new Marketing in High Definition program has been a big hit with sellers.  For more information go to www.HomesInHD.TV  We are now filming homes inside and out using High Definition Video. We also use a drone to film overhead video in High Definition and take amazing aerial photos.  Buyers love the new technology and really study our listings.  Google loves the new format and ranks videos higher than standard virtual tours. We still do standard virtual tours that generate a lot of traffic; we’ve just added the new High Definition Video for even greater visibility and buyers are responding.

Here is an example of a home in Reflection Lakes we produced in High Definition.

Here is a beautiful golf course home in Olde Hickory we produced in High Definition.

Whether you’re ready to list your home today or just get an update on prices, we’re here to help. To get your home listed and marketed in High Definition simply call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042 or email us at Brett@topagent.com or Sande@topagent.com

To search the MLS visit TopAgent.com  To learn more about Hi Def video for your home visit HomesinHD.TV

Visit our Google+ Business Page
Search the MLS

Search For Homes in Reflection Lakes Fort Myers


View Larger Map
Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

SW Florida home sales climbed in March to 1,068 sales for single family homes.  This is down 7.1% from last year but up 37% from February’s home sales figures.  We would say this is good news for the local real estate market as sales are holding up nicely.  We think they could have been higher if there were more listings on the market ready to compete for buyers.

Cape Coral real estate sales prices Fort Myers real estate

In speaking with several real estate agents and new home communities it seems that buyers this year watched the huge price increases we’ve seen over the past few years and many decided it was time to consider new construction.  For many years new construction was priced out of the market because existing homes were far less expensive.  Existing homes were undervalued and new home construction basically had to sit on the sidelines or risk building at a loss.

SW Florida Home Sales and New Construction

With the recent run-up in prices builders can compete again.  This will be news for many sellers in SW Florida as they’re not used to competing with new construction in many years, but those days are back.  Our market was undervalued and had to rise. Now that it has, competitive forces come into play and will temper large price increases going forward.  We may be back to a normal market where we’ll be watching indicators that may affect our market like supply and demand, along with inflation, the economy, interest rates, consumer confidence, insurance rates, and others.

All these forces affect the local and national market.  Because we’re no longer undervalued by a wide margin, and because free money is leaving the scene, and flood insurance rates may rise, the market now must react to natural market forces.  We were insulated the past 5 years.

This market wasn’t a lot of fun on the way down, although it was fun on the way up, but now we’re getting close to market equilibrium.  There is still much room for market growth, but it may need to be sustainable growth based on reasonable market factors.  Most agents would agree it’s actually kind of healthy to get back to a stable growing market.

Even in a stable growing market there will be pockets of sub markets that will thrive and some may struggle. Some areas of town will be hotter than others.  Some subdivisions are still fighting off remnants of short sales and foreclosures, or the association is making up deficiencies left by members that didn’t pay.

Some price ranges have less supply and more demand, and vice versa.  You cannot price your home by how the overall market is doing, just as we can’t price SW Florida based upon how the National market is doing.

If you’re considering selling, it pays to consult an agent who understands the market and what is really taking place.  You don’t need an agent that simply reads the headlines and prices your home based upon where they heard the market is heading.  By the time you read about it in the papers or see it on TV, chances are the market has already shifted.  The market rarely stays in one place for long.

Listing inventory is rising again.  In the next few weeks we’ll be introducing a new system that will really shake things up in the SW Florida real estate market.  We’re not ready to release details just yet, but if you’re considering selling your home, now might be a good time to call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042 or stop by our office at 7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr Fort Myers, FL 33907

We’ll make sure you understand the market forces so you can make a good pricing decision, and you’re going to love the new program coming soon!

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!
Search the MLS

Search For Homes in Reflection Lakes Fort Myers


View Larger Map
Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Visit our Google+ Business Page

 

We’ve recently been testing a concept to gauge consumer interest at a subdivision level. For years agents have been sending out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards, or even market updates to communities. Typically this only reached sellers. This was OK because the target was always the sellers who might list their homes. It’s a practice in the industry known as “Farming.”

Map with Homes for Sale and Solds in Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes Interactive Map

We thought buyers might also be interested in similar information, but reaching them in addition to targeted sellers in that area can be dicey. You can’t just mail to a certain area as the buyer could come from anywhere.

We thought “What if we could target both worlds, the buyer and the seller?” One way to target buyers is to reach them on the Internet for specific search items. For instance, let’s say a buyer is looking to buy in Reflection Lakes. If we could somehow provide this list of data when buyers are searching, would buyers find that helpful?

We don’t know, but our hunch says they might. We’ve researched a way to provide a map of an area which shows all the homes available for sale, all closed sales within a certain time frame, and all pending sales and pinpointed them on the map. Additionally, if you click on the pin, you get additional information on the home, like list price, sold price, size, age, pool, waterfront description, bedrooms, bathrooms, and much more. You can customize it to display about anything you want.

We even went so far as to provide links to additional information if available, virtual tours and more. In this way, a buyer or seller can quickly see a homes location on a map and compare it with other like kind homes for sale. It is color coded and sorted by status, so you can look at the solds to get an idea of what homes are selling for or just actives. Perhaps you’re riding down the street and just want to know what it’s on the market for.

The map is set for a particular point in time, however it can be updated at any time. The agent selects the fields to display. The consumer can zoom in or out, as well as click on street view to look up and down the street and view the homes photos, or even take a satellite view to get an idea of the terrain and the surroundings of the community.

We exported all this information into a Google map., so the possibilities are endless on how you can view these homes. It’s really kind of fun. We liked it, so we thought consumers might too,

We selected fields we thought the consumer would be interested in. These fields are flexible and we can add or subtract when building the next map. It took me about an hour to setup this map in Reflection lakes. If you’d like to view it, simply go to www.Reflectionlakes.com

We can setup a map like this for any area and import data from the MLS. If you live in a community you think would benefit from something like this, give us a call at 239-489-4042 or send me an email Brett@topagent.com and I’ll look into it. If you think it’s missing something, or have feedback, we’d like to hear it.

If you think we’re nuts and nobody will use it, you can let us know too. Feel free to email us or comment on our Blog http://blog.topagent.com

We honestly don’t know if the public will use it or like it. We do know it’s cool and useful to us, and we enjoy trying new things if they have the potential to help in the buying or selling process.

Stay tuned for future updates for other areas around Lee County on our website at Topagent.com

Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers has created an interactive map for searching data in Reflection Lakes in South Fort Myers. By clicking on a listing the map will give you detailed information on the property including links to further detailed information. If a virtual tour is available it will link to that as well.

Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Update

 

 

View Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Florida in a full screen map

Check it out and let us know what you think. Feel free to check out floor plans at our Reflection Lakes website

Watch the SW Florida Real Estate Update June 2012

Reflection Lakes Fort Myers is a gated community in South Ft Myers consisting of 820 properties, 194 of which are single family homes and 358 are villa homes, and 268 condos. Reflection Lakes is centrally located off Summerlin Rd and Cypress Lake Dr with entrances from both.

Perhaps Reflection Lakes greatest beauty is the fact that it abuts Lakes Regional Park full of pristine views and wildlife. Reflection Lakes residents even have their own private entrance into Lakes Park.

Home prices are down significantly from their highs back in 2005, as all neighborhoods are. Currently there are homes priced from $145,000 to $629,700 on the market. The highest sales price for a home in 2011 has been $510,000.

Condos on the market currently range from $119,900 to $219,000. The highest condo sales price in 2011 was $185,000.

Reflection Lakes Fort Myers
4 Bedroom 3 Bath Home in Reflection lakes

The home pictured above is currently listed by the Ellis Team for $280,000 and is located in the Las Palmas section of Reflection Lakes, formerly known as the Estates II section. The home has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and has 2433 square feet of living area. The kitchen features granite counter tops, and the home has a large private back yard with lake views. The home also has hurricane shutters.

Another amenity residents love is the clubhouse. Reflection Lakes offers clay tennis courts, a bocce court, a full sized basketball court, volleyball court, putting green, and an oversized pool with waterfall along with a children’s pool.

Reflection Lakes Exercise Room in Fort Myers Florida

 

Billiard Room in Reflection Lakes

Reflection Lakes Billiard Room

 

Inside the clubhouse is an exercise room with state of the art professional workout equipment, a card room, billiard room, and a banquet room with full kitchen. The community enjoys many community events as the residents have an active recreation committee planning wonderful events year round.

Clay Tennis Courts in Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Florida
Reflection Lakes Clay Tennis Courts

Reflection Lakes is very stable financially which makes it attractive for buyers and lenders. Lenders today are skittish about lending when there are many homes in foreclosure or a certain number are unoccupied investor units. Reflection Lakes is primarily owner occupied or seasonal residents which makes getting a mortgage easier for borrowers. Fees are low and cable TV is included. Lawn mowing is included in the Villa homes and of course all condos.

We enjoy bringing you market stats and timely real estate information that impacts the market each week. To shake it up a bit, we thought every once in awhile it would be nice to update you on what’s happening in a specific community. Stay tuned and one day you just might see your community featured here.

Volleyball Court at Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Florida
Reflection Lakes Volleyball Court

 

 

Basket Ball Court at Reflection Lakes in Fort Myers Florida
Reflection Lakes Basketball Court