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

Dangers of Pricing Homes Compared to Neighbors Listing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

1465 Arglye Dr

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1281 Biltmore Dr

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

Reflection Lakes Gated Community

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

18 NE 1th Ave Cape Coral

Cape Coral Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

Most people know that you need decent credit to buy cars, homes, or things on credit cards.  Not everybody knows good credit helps renters and buyers.

Good Credit Helps Renters and Buyers
Good Credit Score

The first thing that happens when you purchase a home is the lender pulls up your credit report.  If it meets certain criteria, you’re credit approved on the spot.  FNMA and Freddie Mac have direct underwriting standards, and if you fall within those standards you’re basically approved.  There is far less documentation needed by the underwriter in these cases.

Some people rent because they haven’t saved the down payment for a home, or they don’t have the credit necessary because events have happened in their life.  Other people just make bad choices with credit and have low scores to show for it.

Good Credit Helps Renters and Buyers

Regardless of the reason, good credit can help renters too.  Most landlords do credit and criminal background checks before renting.  Increasingly, condo and homeowner associations do the same before approving a tenant in an association.  Even insurance companies are using credit reports to determine eligibility and rates for insurance.  Like it or not, landlords, banks, and financial institutions have found that credit is an excellent way to judge risk and future behavior.

Whether renting or buying, good credit increases your chance of getting approved.  Good credit also helps with the terms of the deal too.  For instance, better credit means a better rate when borrowing.  It can also mean savings on rent and deposits as well.

Utility companies sometimes waive deposits for people with good credit.  This can add up, especially if you need water, sewer, electric, cable, etc.  If the landlord charges first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit, and the utility companies charge deposits, it can get very expensive to move.  Having good credit can help you negotiate all these things.

When shopping for a mortgage, it pays to shop around.  Some of the bigger banks have what they call overlays.  Basically, they are extra requirements they place on borrowers over and above basic standards.  They do this because their institution is being extra cautious.  Perhaps they’ve had to buy back faulty loans in the past, or they’re worried about their standing with the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).   Whatever the reason, you don’t need extra hoops to jump through to get a loan.

We Can Recommend a Lender

We know lenders that do not have extra overlays.  This will save you time and worry when applying for a mortgage.  Our parent company just came out with a new program that offers a low rate, and some fantastic benefits.  In addition to the low rate, borrower pays no origination fees, no underwriting fees, zero processing fees, and gets $1,000 closing credit.  This is a significant savings to a buyer.

So, what’s the catch?  To get all this, a buyer must either work with an agent from our company or buy one of our company’s listings.  Essentially, they’re forgoing profit to help our sellers and our buyers.  Whatever the reason behind it, I like it.

We’ve shared with you a great way to save some serious money.  The other way to save is to improve your credit.  If you’d like to talk to a loan officer and see where you stand, call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll put you in touch with someone.  Some buyers are surprised to find out they qualify now!

Other buyers have work to do.  It’s frustrating to find a home only to discover you can’t buy now.  We’d rather identify potential issues and begin working on them now, so we can find you a home you can purchase.  Many credit fixes can be done in 6 months.  Other fixes might take a year, so the earlier you identify and fix the better.

If you’d like to search the MLS like a pro, visit  To sell your home, call Brett or Sande at 239-489-4042 Ext 4

Happy St Patty’s Day.    We look forward to saving you some of that green stuff!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

Colony Lakes

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

12011 Champions Green Way Unit 706

Gateway Golf & Country Club

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

17752 Indian Island Ct

Island Park Village

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

5691 Kensington Loop

Bell Tower Park Open House

We used to tell sellers that open houses weren’t a good way to sell a home, and for the most part that used to be true.  Realtors who didn’t spend a lot of money advertising liked doing them to pick up customers.  They were basically free customers.  Oh, they rarely bought the open house they visited, but they might buy something.  In fact, the National Association of Realtors did a study and said that about 1% of the time a buyer found the home they bought from an open house. Now the Ellis Team uses open houses tool to sell homes.

Open Houses Tool to Sell Homes

Times have changed.  Here’s where it gets spooky, in a good way.  Companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and others know lots of things about you.  They know if you’re planning on moving soon, having a baby, about to retire, if you’re into boating, golf, beaches, or tennis.

Open Houses Tool to Sell Homes

The Ellis team has a way to target specific people and tailor ads to them.  Many times, we’ll do this for an open house.  Let’s say we list a property in a golf community.  We can target golfers and send them ads about the open house.  We can do the same with properties at or near the beach, 55+ communities, waterfront homes, etc.  Whatever the home has we identify some interests a buyer might have for that home and target ads directly to that buyer.

The buyer doesn’t have to be from here either.  Realtors often ask us how we drive so much traffic to our open houses.  That’s a good question, but the better question is how do we sell so many of our open houses?  Sure, our marketing drives a lot of traffic to our open houses.  That seems like a miracle to other agents.  The real miracle is the fact we drive buyers for that home to our open houses, not just traffic.

Traffic looks good to a seller.  If we drove 100 people to a home but none could buy it, the seller would be impressed that our marketing was able to do that.  However, the home wouldn’t sell because it was not the right traffic.

Back to the spooky part.  Online companies do not share with business the personal identities of their users.  They do open up portals for astute businesses to create targeted audiences, and the Ellis Team spends a lot of time studying these options.

Not only do we spend a lot of money advertising our listings, we also spend hours setting up these targeted audiences for each home.  Often we’ll advertise a home to several audiences, because the buyer may have multiple interests.  We can even target people who earn a certain amount of money or have a certain net worth.

Whiskey Creek Home Sold in 13 Days

We had a $825,000 listing that we sold in 13 days.  We targeted people who made over $125k per year because the average Joe wouldn’t be buying that home.  Sure enough, our listing sold even though there were other listings on the street.

While we do all this in-house, we have another provider that advertises our website all over the Internet seeking buyers.  That works too because we have thousands of buyers who have signed up and provided us their name, email, phone number, price range, and where they’re looking.  Our agents are working with and finding these buyers property every day.  The way agents attract buyers is different than it used to be.  What did not work years ago can work today if you add a twist to it.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty prides itself on being at the forefront of marketing and reaching today’s buyers.  If you’d like to search for your piece of paradise, check out We think you’ll love the website and what all you can search for there.

Also you might want to check out our open houses this weekend. We will be holding 17655 Village Inlet Ct open Saturday 1-4 and we will be holding 16150 Bay Pointe Blvd open Sunday 1-3 and 11204 Adora Ct in Paseo open Sunday 1-4. See you there!

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling, please call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4  We’d be happy to show you how we can target buyers for your home and get your home sold Fast!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Paseo-Esperanza Neighborhood

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

Waterfront Condo North Fort Myers

January 2018 sales numbers for Lee County were recently released and for the first time in a while median home prices dropped.  Granted, the drop was only -.2%, however it underscores a larger picture.

Lee County Florida Home Prices Holding Steady

If you look at the home price graph for Lee County you’ll notice most of our price gains occurred in 2016.  Since December of 2016, home prices are down.  We had a few months better than others in 2017.  If you look at where we started 2017 at a median price of $245,000 and where we start 2018 with a media price of $244,500 you can see we lost about $500.  That’s nothing to worry about one way or the other.

The takeaway from all of this is that you can’t price ahead of the market if the market isn’t moving.  In a hot seller’s market, sellers could over-price today’s market and soon enough the market would catch the new price.  It might take a few months, but when it does, you have a sale.

In a declining market, you want to price ahead of the market as well.  You never want to get caught chasing the market down.  You price lower than the market and get out, because if you price at market and don’t sell the 1st week, you’ve missed it already.

In a horizontal market like we have now, it’s important to find the market, price it right there, and market the heck out of the property.  Only then will you know if you’ve properly priced it.  If the market doesn’t respond, it’s not the marketing.

People say price sells cars, and price sells homes.  This is true, however we’ve seen instances where a home was priced correctly and just doesn’t sell.  Adding aggressive marketing can make the sale.  The absence of marketing increases the chances a home will sell below market.  This is one reason For Sale By Owners sell for so much less than listed properties.  They don’t have the audience a typical Realtor has, and certainly not the audience of an aggressive Realtor that markets.

Because For Sale By Owners sell for so much less, they don’t save the commission.  It costs them to sell on their own.

When you’re interviewing Realtors, it’s important to note that all Realtors are not the same.  Not all Realtors advertise in newspaper, yellow pages, Facebook, Google, Bing, Yahoo, online newspapers all over the world, Instagram, Google+, Zillow, Trulia,,, Instagram, and the list goes on.

Maximum exposure equates to a higher sales price.  Imagine you had an estate auction and 10 people showed up to bid.  You’d sell some stuff.  Now imagine you held the same auction, and 10,000 people showed up to bid.  You’d sell all or most of your stuff, and the prices would be higher on much of it.  Why?  Because you attracted more people to bid.  Full market exposure equals maximum market price.  Anything less than that does not.

And while the saying price sells homes is true, it’s only partially true.  Anybody can give a property away.  Only a few can sell it in record time at full market value.  It pays to know what the market is doing so you know how to price it, and it pays to select the Best Realtor you can find to market it for all your home is worth.

Buyers are doing their homework.  We don’t have a declining market.  We have a very stable market, and that’s always a fun time to buy and sell, if you do your homework.

If you’re buying or selling, call the Ellis Team.  We have the latest stats as we study the market.  We also have the marketing beef, so if you need your home sold fast and for top dollar, Brett and Sande are the ones to call.  239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or visit to find your home in paradise, or find your home’s value.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-4 PM Island Park Village

Affordable Island Park Village Villa with Garage

17655 Village Inlet Ct  $120,000

Open Sunday 1-4 PM  Paseo

4 Bedroom Paseo Home

11204 Adora Ct  $529,000

Esperanza Neighborhood Paseo Gated Community

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

2 Bed 2 Bath Condo With Marina

16150 Bay Pointe Blvd Unit B208 $175,000


This past week we’ve seen some wild fluctuations in the stock market, so we thought we’d answer some questions people have.  One question we’ve heard recently is does stock market volatility affect real estate values?

Stock Market Volatility Affect Real Estate Values Stock market volatility
Stock Futures Suggest Volatile Open

The simple answer is, not really.  There is a general correlation between stock market values and real estate values.  As the economy does better, both markets tend to do better.  However, we’ve seen instances where people pull money out of the stock market and place it into the real estate market.

Interest rates tend to affect sentiment in both markets.  Rising inflation leads to rising interest rates, which both markets dislike.  Investors will sometimes pull money out of stock market and into bonds for the yields.  Therefore, the stock market doesn’t like rising rates.  Rising rates also hurts borrowers as it zaps purchasing power from buyers in the real estate market.

Stock Market Volatility Affect Real Estate Values Housing vs stock market

However, we’ve seen inverted yield curves whereby sort term rates are higher than long term rates.  This breaks most of the rules as usually long-term rates carry more risk, so investors want more yield in a longer security.  Therefore, we have to look at the reasons for interest rate and stock market volatility before drawing conclusions as to its effect on consumer sentiment and real estate prices.

On Friday February 2 jobs data came out and showed wages climbed 2.9% from the previous year which was the best gain since 2009.  This spurred inflation fears and concern that the fed would hike rates unexpectedly, which naturally draws volatility from the stock market.

The bottom line is not much has changed in the economy in the last week or so.  The only thing that has changed is stock volatility, and the realization that rates will go higher.  We’ve been talking about it for a few years, and reality is finally here.  Everybody knew this day was coming.

The tax reform has spurred wage growth.  We expect to see a tight labor market.  Some jobs are moving back to the US, while some jobs will be lost as business reorganizes.  Retail stores and banks may continue to come under pressure as online wins the day.

I wouldn’t put much attention into the stock market other than seeing how it affects your retirement savings.  The smart money is watching interest rates.  Rising rates don’t necessarily kill the stock or real estate market, but it can stifle or limit its growth.

Wage growth will dictate how far real estate prices will rise.  The stock market doesn’t go one direction forever, and neither does the real estate market.  Wages must eventually rise if you want continued rise in prices.  Rising rates stymie price growth, and rising wages can offset some of that. Unfortunately, rising wages is correlated to rising rates as they can be inflationary.

The stock market did well 2008-2016 due to free money.  It did even better in 2017 due to rising expectations in the economy.  Free money is over, and it must be.  We’re heading into a period of normal market conditions controlling the markets.  This is healthy and a good thing.

We’ll be watching inflation, interest rates, oil, and the overall economy.  We’ve got a balanced real estate market here in SW Florida. Buyers are scooping up properties now to beat those rising rates, however they’re not over-paying either.

Buyers want to buy, but not overpay.  They’re being careful and doing their homework.  Inventory is rising, but still low.  Research and market knowledge wins the day whether you’re a buyer or seller.

One of the best websites to keep up with the market is  The database is updated every few minutes.  It not only has all the listings, it also has sold data in our market reports section.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty for professional real estate advice 239-489-4042.  If you’ve got a house to sell, ask for Sande or Brett.  Our team stands by ready to help you buy or sell, and educate you on the market.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Danforth Lakes

9103 Falcon Pointe Loop

4 Bed 3 Bath  $330,000

9013 Falcon Pointe Loop

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Parker Lakes

14811 Crystal Cove Ct Unit 1102

2 Bed 2 Bath lakefront  $225,000

Parker Lakes Condo

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Island Park Village

17813 Port Boca Cir

2 Bed 2 Bath Lakefront  $215,000

Island Park Village Condo

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Olde Hickory

9071 Old Hickory Cir

3 Bed 3 Bath Golf Course View  $360,000

Olde Hickory Golf Course Home

December 2017 closed sales increased 1.9% over 2016 in the Southwest Florida real estate market.  However, the median sales price was down 4.6% while the average sale price was down 16.3%  The slight increase in number of closings wasn’t enough to pull the total dollar volume with it, so we saw a decrease of $55 million in total volume. December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops.

December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops Summary Statistics

Is this concerning?  Not really.  We know that many properties were affected by the hurricane.  It stalled some sales, and it’s forced some sellers to wait due to increased time repairing pool cages, screens, roofs, etc.  I talked with a roofer this past weekend who said it will be 9 months before the roofing market returns to normal.  His advice, if you don’t need a new roof today, wait.

Prices for roofs, pool cages, screens, etc is artificially too high due to demand.  Prices will come down as the workload lessens in the future.  I talked to a builder who has delayed homes because they can’t get pools done on time or within budget.  These high costs will pass, but it will take time.

7 Day Market Watch 1-30-18 December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops

We feel that the housing stats are more a reflection of disruption than anything.  We pulled the 7 day Market Watch report from MLS and what a difference a few weeks make.  We’re back to normal.  Pending sales have almost equaled new listings.  This tells us that buyers have turned on.  They are out there buying right now.

We also had more price decreases than new listings.  This tells us that sellers are getting more realistic and are reducing prices to match where the buyers are.  The price reductions are working.

Each year sellers bring properties to market in hopes of testing new highs.  Prices have risen so much that buyers are indifferent to overpriced listings.  Homes today must be priced correctly, or buyers will pass.  In a rapidly upward sellers’ market, buyers are forced to act quickly.  We weren’t seeing that a few weeks ago.  We are starting to see that now, however buyers are still price conscious.

Sellers are getting restless.  The calls into our office from sellers with other listing agents has increased dramatically.  They are unhappy with their agent for one reason or another.  We cannot list their property until their listing ends, so they’re stuck with their situation unless they work something out with their broker.

Our advice would be this.  All agents are not the same.  It pays to interview top agents and compare them.  Compare marketing plans, pricing, communication expectations, track record, references, etc.  I know it takes a little more time on the front end, however it will save you a lot of unhappy time waiting for a listing to end on the back end.

Interest rates are rising right now.  Waiting in this market is not good.  Buyers are here now and they’re buying.  You want to be priced correctly and marketed correctly.  It’s the only way to get Top Dollar for your home.  You don’t want to be the last seller standing once season ends.  That means you lost the home selling game and you’ll be looking at fewer buyers with higher rates in the future.  The time to get this correct is right now.

If you’re thinking of selling, always call Brett or Sande Ellis at the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  Our marketing is second to none, and we’ll help you get your price correct too.  Call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 so we can get your home sold now and for Top Dollar.

To search the MLS like a pro, go to  you’ll find the all the listings updated instantly.  You can even get an idea on what your home is worth for Free!

Good luck and happy home buying!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1226 NE 5th Ave, Cape Coral

December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops
Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Paseo Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Bell Tower Park Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

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

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

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

Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases

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

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

Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 11 AM – 1 PM

9793 Deerfoot Dr

South Pointe South Lakefront Home
Lakefront Home in South Pointe South

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

9825 Wildginger Dr

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


Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

14381 Hickory Fairway Ct


Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases


9071 Old Hickory Cir


$375,000 on Golf Course

Brookshire Condo

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

13235 Whitehaven Ln #1004


2 Bed 2 Bath Brookshire Condo

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

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


4 Bed, 4 Baths, 3 Car Garage Pool Home

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Cypress Lake Country Club Villa

14401 Patty Berg Dr #101

Cypress Lake Country Club Villa with Attached Garage

As predicted local housing inventory rises heading into season in 2018.  This cycle repeats each year.  One of the things we are tracking is the moment buyers turn on and start gobbling up these properties.  Each year we tell people it takes until about January 15th or so for buyers to turn on.

Local Housing Inventory Rises Heading Into Season
Oct 2, 2017 Market Watch

So far, we haven’t seen it yet.  We just pulled fresh numbers as of January 15th and compared them to October 2nd, another data point we have saved.  We have some from earlier in year as well, and they look similar to October 2nd, so there is nothing magical about that date.

Local Housing Inventory Rises Heading Into Season January 2018
January 15, 2018 Market Watch Data

In each data point, sold and new pending sales are similar to new active listings.  What’s different about now is new listings have been outpacing sold properties about 3 to 1 and new pending sales 1.6 to 1.  At any other time, this would be alarming to see a sudden trend like this.

Because we know the New Year often starts off like this, we’re not sounding alarm bells, or false missile alerts.  We have enough of those lately.  We are telling sellers that have had their home on the market awhile that new listings are coming, so if their home failed to sell before the run-up in new listings, it may face difficult headwinds now. When selling a home, it’s always important to gauge the headwinds, and as we write this the buyers haven’t turned on just yet.

As the season goes, so goes the rest of the year many times.  The fundamentals for Florida are strong as an improving economy, new hiring, pay raises, and lower taxes is a good recipe for the housing market.  Add in the fact that Florida looks good compared to other states with the new tax code and we could see more net migration from other high tax states going forward.

When there are few homes for sale, pricing it correctly and getting it out on the market can sometimes be enough.  When listing inventory begins to rise, pricing becomes more crucial as does marketing.

It’s not enough to just list it on MLS and hope other agents show it.  You must reach the buyer.  The buyer has more choices, and often the buyer tells their Realtor which homes they’d like to see.  This takes increased advertising.

When we target buyers, we use several media.  We use traditional print like the newspaper, yellow pages and mail-outs as they still work.  We also use advanced online techniques to reach buyers.  Online we can identify buyers from up North that are looking to purchase down here in SW Florida.  We can also identify people in Southwest Florida that are interested in purchasing, then serve up ads likely to meet their criteria.

If you only market one way you’re not reaching all the buyers.  Of course, you must have a hefty budget as well to reach as many as possible.  We had a Realtor from Baltimore call us this past week wondering where we got our database of buyers.  He thought perhaps the state of Florida had one we bought into.  I told him no, it’s a large database the Ellis Team has garnered from extensive online and print advertising.

They say if a politician wants to win, they must speak directly to the people.  In real estate, if you really want to sell your home, you must market directly to the buyers.  That’s what our marketing does.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you should call us and see for yourself.  Once you see it, you realize there is no better way to reach your buyer.

If you’re a buyer, you should call us too.  We have access to All the listings, not just the ones you see on certain websites.  You can reach us at 239-489-4042 or visit to see All the listings.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1465 Argyle Dr

1465 Argyle Dr


Open Sunday 1-3 PM

13408 Marquette Blvd

Riverfront Home

Keller Williams #1 in Fort Myers

Keller Williams Realty Fort Myers & the Islands announces that Keller Williams has attained #1 market share in 2017 for Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach.  Both units and $ volume.

Keller Williams #1 Units 2017


 Ellis Team Seller’s Club January 2018 Update

We get a lot of questions about the standard residential purchase contract versus as-is agreement.  Let’s go over the differences and how each should be used.

Standard Residential Purchase Contract Versus As-Is Agreement

First off, the seller is required to disclose known defects regardless of which contract is used.  In the old days agents always used the standard purchase contract which provides for automatic repairs of certain items.  There was always a fight about what was covered or not, so the contract was cleaned up and made more precise.

Standard Residential Purchase Contract Versus As-Is Agreement

Since the foreclosure crisis it’s become common practice to use the as-is agreement.  The as-is agreement has no automatic repair provisions, so it allows the buyer to cancel for any reason.  What invariably ends up happening is a fight about repairs.  Buyers get ticky-tacky about little things and demand they are repaired.  The seller says no, it was sold as-is and we’re not doing it.  The buyer walks and finds another property.

Meanwhile the buyer is out the inspection costs and starts all over.  The seller had their home off the market for 10-15 days and lost marketing time.  If the buyer wasn’t prepared to accept minor issues they should not have written an as-is contract.

Under the standard contract the seller is responsible for repairs up to 1.5% of purchase price for items like roof, water damage, heating, cooling, plumbing, septic, etc.  Cosmetic conditions are not covered.  And yet even with as-is contracts buyers ask for cosmetic repairs and get turned down and are left searching for another home.

Buyers are Fearful

Buyers are fearful the problems are bigger than they are, or that costs will mount.  Buying a home is an e emotional event, and fear often gets the better of buyers.  The time to talk about all this stuff is before they purchase a home.  Once buyers know what to expect, the process becomes much easier for them.

Sellers are emotional too.  They often feel like the buyer got the better of the deal in negotiations, and now they want stupid repairs on top of it!  You can hear their frustration the minute we present them with repair issues.  The as-is contract was supposed to cure all this and make contracts simpler and less argumentative.

People are people, and no contract is going to suppress the emotions of fear and greed.  So long as this is reality, it might be best to consider using the standard contract which addresses certain issues quite well.

Agents Should Counsel Buyers and Sellers

At the very least agents should be counseling buyers and sellers up-front as to expectations and the process once an offer comes in.  If buyers and sellers are properly educated, the emotions are tamed, and the experience of the agent takes over.  Each side has confidence they are being treated fairly and according to protocol.

This is one more reason for sale by owners have such a difficult time selling on their own.  They don’t have anyone counseling them on how to act and feel.  More importantly, there isn’t a neutral party the buyer trusts counseling them on how to feel and act either.  Invariably the deal blows up and both sides are more frustrated than ever.

Agents, have upfront consultations with your buyers and sellers.  If your buyer is skittish or emotional, consider using the standard contract.  It will keep more deals together for you as the contract is specific about what is covered.  The as-is contract is like the old Wild West, and in the Wild West anything goes.  And usually somebody dies.  Don’t let your contracts die needlessly.  Rely on your agent’s wisdom and experience to get through these issues.  Hopefully both sides are using an experienced agent.  Learning on the job is not fun for buyer or seller.  Experience matters.  Either use an experienced agent with hundreds if not thousands of transactions experience, or someone on a team who has access to all that experience from a team leader.  Experience isn’t costly, it’s priceless when you need it.

If you’re looking to buy or sell, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 or visit our website for more tips.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Parker Lakes

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Parker Lakes Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses
Parker Lakes – Gated Community

14811 Crystal Cove Ct Unit 1102

How Much is Your Home Worth?


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

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

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

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team markets to Foreign Buyers

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

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

Ellis Team International Visitor Count October 2017

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

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

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise Website Visitors By State

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

Thinking of Selling?

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

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


Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Open Sat 1-3 PM

Daniel’s Park

Ellis Team Featured Homes of the Week

Reflection Lakes New Listing

Gulf Harbour Condo

Paramount at the Shores

Paramount at the Shores Gulf Harbour

4 Bed 5 Bath Condo overlooking River, marina, and golf course