We’ve been studying the 2018 National Home buyer and seller profile as it reveals some interesting information.  We have knowledge about what buyers and sellers look for in an agent, how often they use an agent, and what they’re expectations are.

Today we’ll focus on two aspects of the report: The methods seller’s use to sell a home and information sources buyers use to purchase a home.

Methods Used to Sell Home

2018 National Home Buyer and Seller Profile Method Used to Sell Home

In 2018 home sellers used an agent 91% of the time. 1% sold their home to a home buying company, and 7% were successful selling their home on their own.  Whether they netted more at the closing table is another story.  Many sellers attempt to sell their home on their own but give up typically after 3 weeks.  They quickly learn that selling a home isn’t easy, and they essentially become a Realtor when they chose to try it on their own.

Only 4% of the lookers can purchase a home.  The rest are unqualified, out of their price range, or must sell something first.  They have a problem that the Realtor needs to solve.  The problem is, they won’t tell the seller what the issue is, and even if they did, the seller can’t solve it because they don’t have the knowledge or resources to deal with the buyer’s issue.  They can barely deal with their own issue and quickly feel in over their head.  The seller says it’s not my problem, it’s the buyers.  The problem is, it becomes the seller’s problem if the seller can’t solve the buyer’s issues because there is no sale without doing so.  There are only so many cash ready to go buyers, and they want a deal if dealing directly through the seller.  So, the seller has few buyers, and the few that are ready and able want a deal.  Both the buyer and seller can’t save the same commission, and therefore sellers give up and hire an agent.

Information Sources Buyers Use

2018 National Home Buyer and Seller Profile Information Sources Buyers Use

When looking at information sources buyers use, we see that 93% use an online website and 86% use a real estate agent.  You can see that these two sources haven’t changed much in the last few years. Yard signs have fallen significantly since 2004.  About the only two things to rise in recent years are open houses and online video sites.

88% of both buyers and sellers hire the 1st or 2nd agent they speak with.  The number one thing buyers want from their agent is help finding the right home. This tells us they love searching on their own, but they want an agent to help decide and confirm which home is best.

In other words, both buyer and seller like to do some of the research on their own, and both realize it’s a large investment and ultimately consult with a Realtor when it’s time to buy or sell.  The average buyer searches 10 weeks before making a purchase.

Buyers and Sellers Love to Do Their Research

We have a complete list of features buyers love in online property websites. Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com is a real winner with buyers and sellers alike.  Research also shows more online features buyers and sellers would like to have about the neighborhood and about their home.  Therefore, we’re releasing an upcoming app that will show community info with news about the neighborhood, local parks, schools, businesses, home values, events, etc.  It will be a personalized feed for each person, not a generic page about a neighborhood.  We’ve tested over a million consumers and they absolutely love the new app. We can setup as a web page right now until the app is released, so you have flexibility to use on mobile or desktop.

Home buyers love it because we use artificial intelligence to identify features a buyer likes but may not have specifically asked for.  For instance, a buyer may say they want a specific area, specific square footage, and specific price, and yet the system picks up that they also love light colored kitchens.  They never said that, and didn’t even know it themselves, but that’s what they like.  Our new system can pick-up on that and make suggestions.  If you’d like an invite for the new system, send me an email to brett@topagent.com

If you’re looking to buy or sell, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

7152 Reymoor Dr  Riverfront Home

Riverfront Home Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

6980 Saint Edmunds Loop Brookshire

Brookshire Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

17561 Cherry Ridge Ln  Timberwalk

Timberwalk Open House Sunday 12-3 PM

 

The past few weeks we’ve talked about rising inventory and a shifting real estate market.  Are you ready for some good news? The SW Florida real estate market is in full swing this season.  We still have rising inventory levels.  New listings are outpacing new pending sales this past week, but we see signs of encouragement.  Welcome to the Southwest Florida real estate opera.

Season is like an opera with several acts and a crescendo near the end.  Season builds.  The first act is the arrival of the listings.  Then comes the showings in the second act, followed by new pending sales in act 3, and lastly the closings in act 4.  We’re in act 2 right now, and we’re seeing great activity.

Showings are Up

Southwest Florida Real Estate Opera

We pull up showing reports for the MLS to compare how our listings are doing against all activity in certain price ranges.  If one of our listings is receiving less activity than the average, we know the market may be rejecting the price and it’s time for an adjustment.  The average showings per listing in February is 2 in the $195,000-$445,000 price range.  We can adjust the report by zip code and price.  So if we have a $300,000 home in the 33919 zip code, we can run a showing report for that zip code and the $275,000-$325,000 range and see how we’re doing.

When inventory is increasing it’s important to size up your competition, so you don’t get left further behind.  In addition to proper pricing, aggressive marketing becomes more important than ever as well.

The good news is act 2 is a good one.  Showings are up 100% versus the end of the year and about 50% since the beginning of the year.  Lookers are here and they’re interested.

Ellis Team Website Visitors by State

Ellis Team Website Statistics Visitors by State February 2019

Analyzing our website statistics confirms this as well.  We’re getting a lot of visitors from New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan.  It’s no small coincidence that high tax states have visitors moving to Florida, and our website reaches them well.  The cold weather up North doesn’t hurt either.

So, what does it take to get lookers off the fence and convert them to purchasing?  This is where seasoned pros come in.  Obviously, a looker must have some interest.  Chances are they’ve been thinking about this awhile, perhaps years.  A good agent paints the picture for them.  People don’t change until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change.  That’s a mouthful, but it’s true.

People get tired of high taxes, cold winters, and dark grey skies.  They’re depressing, and Florida is always fun!  It’s warm, bright, sunny, and cheery.  It’s hard to not have a good time while playing golf, enjoying the beaches, and a cocktail at sunset in your shorts.

Drunk Monkey

Then that drunk monkey sets in.  The drunk monkey is that alter-ego that sits on your shoulder and tells you why you can’t do something.  We can’t leave the family behind.  All our friends are up North.  What about the grand kids?  The list goes on, and year after year they take no action, yet resent that they’re not living the good life like some of their friends.

Those that take action find a way.  Perhaps they purchase and live here seasonally.  Many times, the family follows them down. And if they have a spare bedroom, they might see their friends down in Florida more than they do up North.  This is so true that quite often people downsize after several years so they lose those spare bedrooms.

Whatever the case, a seasoned agent can help a looker through the pros and cons of purchasing.  We’ve seen and heard a lot, and buyers take comfort in finding out how others before them made their dream a reality.

If you’re thinking of living the Florida dream, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. 239-489-4042  If you’d like to search for your slice of paradise, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  And if you’re considering selling, call us and ask for Sande or Brett Ellis Ext 4.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Saturday 12-3 PM

17673 Acacia Dr

3809 26th St SW

Sunday 12-3 PM

13076 Sail Away St

13 High Point Cir N #302

908 SE 21st PL

Last week we reported early signs point to a Southwest Florida real estate market shift.  The article went on to state that we’re noticing changes in the market, but nothing alarming.  It’s not alarming because real estate markets are constantly in a state of change. Southwest Florida real estate inventory rises in January.

7 Day Market Watch 2-1-19 Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises in January

One definition of a balanced market is 5.5 months’ supply of inventory.  We’ve seen others that state 6-7 months is the standard.  If we go with the Florida Realtors standard of 5.5 months, then officially we just transitioned over to a buyer’s market, but just barely.  Last month in December we had a 5.43-month supply.  In January it stands at 5.98 months.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises in January Months Supply of Inventory

Lee County available listings shot up to 6,542 in January, up from 6,004 in December.  That’s a 9% rise in just one month.  That’s typical in January as more people put their homes on the market in January than December.  The difference this year is that more people than usual also put their home on the market in November and December.

Home sales are picking back up again.  This past week the Ellis Team put 4 of our homes under contract in one day.  In fact, 314 homes went under contract this past week in the MLS.  We tell people sales usually pick up after the middle of January, and they have.

If 5.5 months supply of homes is the cut-off between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market, we’d say we’re fairly balanced at 5.98 months.  However, the market is moving and if you’re selling a home you need to know the trend.  This trend could change back again by end of season as homes start flying off the shelves and new listings taper off.

In any event, hiring a real estate professional who understands the market, and brings significant experience in all kinds of markets is critical.  You don’t want to hire an agent to sell your home who has never experienced a shifting market.  This is the quickest way to becoming an expired listing, and the process isn’t quick.  Why wait to sell your home when you could have just sold it correctly the first time?

We don’t have a bubble market like we did back in 2006.  If we did though, you sure wouldn’t want to hire the wrong agent and get caught chasing the market down.  There’s an old adage that says, “If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, when in the world are you going to find the time to do it right the next time?”

There’s another adage that says, “If you think hiring a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur!”   Most people want to hire the least expensive agent they think they can get away with.  The thinking goes, if I pay less, I’ll probably net more in my pocket at closing.  That stands to reason, except for the fact that it isn’t true.  Sometimes you get what you pay for, and in some cases, you get much more than you pay for.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty has a history of selling homes faster and for More Money! The agent you select really makes a difference.  We hope you find our market updates informative. We believe knowing the market is helpful to make the best financial decisions for you and your family.  Knowing that your agent cares about you, knows what’s important to you, and knows how to get you there is key as well.

If you’d like to chat about selling your home, always call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 Get your home’s value for Free at www.SWFLhomevalues.com If you’re looking to buy, you can call us too, or feel free to search the MLS like a pro at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Houses Saturday 12-3 PM

15212 Palm Isle Dr    Parker Lakes

17673 Acacia Dr         Sabal Springs Golf and Racquet Club

Open Houses Sunday 12-3 PM

1742 Ardmore Rd                     Edison park Historic District

9291 Central Park Dr #104    South Fort Myers Condo

 

Ellis Team Featured Property of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Time to Worry

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Causing a Shift?

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

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

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

Thinking of Selling?

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

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Houses Saturday 1-3 PM

Parker Lakes

15212 Palm Isle Dr

14551 Daffodil Dr Unit 1808

Central Park South

9291 Central park Dr Unit 104

Open Houses Sunday 1-3 PM

Cape Coral

1004 SE 5th Terrace Cape Coral

2008 Bolado Pkwy

Naples

13 High Point Cir N Unit 302

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

Home Buyers Demand 360 Degree Virtual Tours and Artificial Intelligence

Home Buyers Demand 360 Degree Virtual Tours and Artificial Intelligence

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

360 Degree Virtual Tours

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1742 Ardmore Rd

9291 Central park Dr #104

3703 SE 10th Ave Unit 7

 

We get this question a lot?  Is it better to list SW Florida home in December or January?  The perception is there are more buyers here in season, so why not wait until season when more buyers are here, and the home will be fresher to the market.

The advice we’re about to give might fly in the face of reason, however it is steeped in experience and logic.  Yes, more visitors arrive in SW Florida in the seasonal months of January through April.  If you look at the closed sales chart, you’ll notice we typically have far more closings in December than we do in January.

Better to List SW Florida Home in December or January

Many buyers wish to get their sale in by year end for tax and homestead purposes.  It’s not uncommon for us to have a big sales month in December, probably for these reasons.

If we recognize that December can be a good month for sales, we must also recognize what happens each January and February.  The listings shoot through the roof.  January and February show the largest increase in listing inventory each year.  It will happen again this upcoming season.

Better to List SW Florida Home in December or January SW Florida Listing Inventory

As a seller, if you’re contemplating selling in the next few months, you are absolutely better off listing now.  Buyers are out there.  Our team has been busy showing properties to multiple buyers, and we have several offers in the works.

We tell sellers there may not be as many showings in December, but they showings that do occur tend to be from serious home buyers.  If the middle of November is any indication, showings this December might increase over previous years.

If sales activity is higher in December than January, and if there is far more listing competition in January, why would you wait to put your home on the market?  Statistically you’re better off putting it on the market now.

The answer is, sellers believe the holidays are a bad time to sell a home.  And the reality is, many agents believe it to, so they take the month of December off.  When they take the month off, it further confirms to them that nobody buys in December because they had no sales.

The same can be said for agents who take the summers off.  They believe there are no sales in the summer, and their belief becomes their reality.  As you can tell from the chart, summertime closings are some of the best months each year.  Why would you take those months off?

But then again, why would you hire a part-time Realtor?  To me, a part-time Realtor isn’t just an agent who has a primary job somewhere else and works real estate on the side.  A part-time Realtor can also be an agent that takes months off.  When you do that, you basically shut your business down.  It’s one thing to take a vacation.  Everybody needs them.  For heaven’s sake, if you’re going to take a vacation, get another agent to cover for you.  How would you like to be a seller and find out your agent took the month off?

That’s why having a team makes a lot of sense.  If any team member takes a vacation, the rest of the team picks up the slack.  The Ellis Team works 365 days per year, and yet not every agent on the team has to.  We want each of our team members to take some time off and come back refreshed.  It’s all part of offering 1st class service.

If you’re considering selling in the next 5 months, you should call Sande or Brett Ellis and discuss your options.  We’re not saying putting your house on the market today is the best for everybody.  We’re just saying be careful about listening to false assumptions.  If you’d like to talk, we’re here to help.  239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or find out your home’s value online for free at www.SWFLhomevalues.com

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

13 High Point Cir N Unit 302, Naples FL  34103

Agents around the office often ask us how the Ellis Team sells so much real estate each month.  The answer is, it’s marketing.  It’s not about the dollars you spend each month, although we do spend more on advertising than just about anybody out there.  It’s about spending smart, understanding how and where to find your customers, and converting. The Ellis Team smashes industry standard online advertising conversion rates.

The industry standard for online display ads back in 2016 was .35%.  Many say it’s below that now.  The Ellis Team converts 26 times that rate with an average in October at 9.13%.  Some of our ads convert at 20%.  The industry standard for a search ad is 1.91%.  Again, the Ellis Team smashes industry standard online advertising conversion rates in every category.

Ellis Team Smashes Industry Standard Online Advertising Conversion Rates

So how do we do this?  We’re not going to divulge that but suffice it to say we know a thing or two about online advertising, and it works.  In fact, the Ellis Team was the first team in the country to put the MLS on our website.  That first year we sold over 100 homes, and Realtors everywhere wondered what was going on.

NAR (National Association of Realtors) called us to Chicago to talk about this.  They said the info was in the MLS books and couldn’t be made public to everyone on our website.  After meeting with the president of NAR and NAR general counsel, they realized what we were doing was legal and met the bylaws of NAR.  And this is how VOW (Virtual Office Websites) was born.  SW Florida, you received it first.  It later transitioned to IDX (Internet Data Exchange) and now Realtors across the country, along with Realtor.com, Zillow, and others are displaying agent’s listing data.  I was always against Realtors letting 3rd party companies display our data.  I felt it should be reserved for agents displaying each other’s data, but somebody up at NAR decided otherwise.

Since those early days, we’ve been perfecting the art of online registrations and conversions.  First, you must give people what they want.  Your website must be fast, easy to use, and provide the most accurate and up to date data out there.  Our website is real-time, so it’s fast, has all the listings including sold data, and it’s easy to use.  Consumers like that they can see a photo gallery of all pictures instead of clicking one by one.

Buyers and sellers like that they can get neighborhood data in real-time and emailed to them weekly or monthly.  This informs them of new listings, pending sales, and closed sales in a community.  This is helpful when you’re keeping an eye on one or more communities.

Secondly, it helps to target the correct people.  This is where the magic happens.  It does no good to target the universe, because the universe will not all buy property, and certainly not in SW Florida.  We target people who have an interest in SW Florida, even if they live out of the country.  We find them from anywhere, and everywhere.

In the last month, www.LeeCountyOnline.com received 291 users from overseas.  Our agents are working with several of them, and some are in a nice price point.  Let’s not forget that we received 4,240 users last month from inside the US.  And of those users, 82.5% are new users, so we’re advertising to and attracting thousands of new users each month.

Ellis Team Overseas Online Visitors

It’s no wonder why Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty agents are so busy and selling so much.  We know how to find the buyers, no matter where they are.

If you’re looking to buy, you should talk with our experienced agents.  If you’re looking to sell, speak with Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Brett and Sande handle the listings.  We know how to get Top Dollar for our sellers.  Let us sit down with you and show you how we market.  Nobody else does what we do, and the results speak for themselves.  Find out what your home is worth at www.SWFLhomevalues.com

Good luck and Happy Selling!

November SW Florida Real Estate Update

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

12760 Seaside Key CT, North Fort Myers Moody River Estates

Weekend Garage Sale

Saturday 8 AM-1 PM

2153 Treehaven Cir North

 

In 2018 we’ve been on a recent record pace, eclipsing 2015 levels for homes sold in one year.  We haven’t gone back and analyzed against all-time highs more than a decade ago.  Since prices and home sales reset after the correction, we’re analyzing against recent records.  We believe we’re behind 2005 sales numbers, but not by as much as you would think. SW Florida homes closed YTD slipped slightly in September.

SW Florida Homes Closed YTD Slipped Slightly in September

We’ve been trending above 2015 numbers, so what changed?  In September of this year we dipped below 2015 levels and that set us back.  We only had 922 closed sales in September.  Back in 2015 we had 1,078.  I think we’ll be able to track where our market is headed by how well it holds up to 2015 levels.

This year we had 968 new pending sales.  Back in 2015 we had 1,169.  This could be an indicator that closed sales in October may fall below 2015 levels as well.  The median price back then was $211,578 and we had 3.7 months supply of inventory.  Contrast that with today our median price is $245,000 and a 4.9 month supply of inventory.

What’s different today is median home prices are 15.8% higher than they were 3 years ago, and interest rates were 3.978% and falling in 2015.  Today rates are at 4.875% and rising.  Rising rates have a way of spoiling home sales in that they rob buyers of purchasing power.  At some point they rob sellers too because if the sellers raise prices and rising interest rates also put pressure on buyers, the whole train stops.  You can’t have both for very long.  When buyers are maxed out, they’re at their limit.  With every rise in rates, it could be at the seller’s expense next.

The only thing that can offset this is rising wages.  Wages do appear to be on the rise somewhat, but they lag rises in rates.  This might explain why home prices haven’t risen since January of 2017.  Sure, we’ve seen blips up and down, but statistically they haven’t moved.

How does this affect sellers trying to sell their home?  First off, we’ve got a balanced market.  Homes are moving if marketed and priced correctly.  Perhaps now more than ever marketing becomes critical.  Prices are stagnant, interest rates are rising, and inventory is building.  Hiring a Realtor who markets is critical.  We’re not talking about posting it on all the websites.  That’s not marketing.  Anybody and everybody can do that.  If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, then definitely give us a call.  When you sit down and see, it’s easy to understand why our results are different.

This is also the silly season for Realtors.  Board dues are up end of the year.  Realtors that haven’t marketed or seen results from their lead generation begin shopping around.  As a last-ditch effort to save their career, they look to low cost brokerages to reduce fees.  Ultimately this doesn’t bring them more buyers or sellers, so they eventually quit, but it does buy them a few more months in the business.  Others look to hop on teams that provide leads.  Some are so deep in debt even this won’t work because they waited too long.  Or, they just don’t know how to close leads.

When selecting a Realtor, ask to see their marketing.  Then call us.  I bet you’ll see a difference.  Ask them how many listings they successfully sold last year.  Ask them how long they’ve been with their company.  Do they jump around?  Will they be at the same company in a month or two?  Can you get out of your listing if they move?  Ask all these questions before you sign up.

Your best bet is to just call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty the first time.  Sure, we help a lot of customers who are on their 2nd or 3rd Realtor.  Wouldn’t it make sense to just use us first?

Call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-40402 Ext 4 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com   Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday November 3 1-3 PM

Open House Saturday November 3 1-3 PM

Open House Sunday November 4 1-3 PM

SW Florida Real Estate Closings Setting Strong Pace in 2018SW Florida Real estate closings setting strong pace in 2018 and it’s the best kept secret out there. Perhaps people are caught-up in the headlines of red-tide and blue-green algae and just assume the market is suffering.

I was just speaking with a lender this morning who mentioned she’s ready for real estate closings to start picking up.  Lenders of course get a large chunk of their business through Realtors, so I asked her what her perception of the market was.  In speaking with Realtors she works with, she had heard it was slow.

SW Florida Real Estate Closings Setting Strong Pace in 2018

If you look at the graph, you’ll see Lee County closings in 2018 are ahead of past year’s closings.  In fact, we are 689 of last year and 211 ahead of 2015, the second highest year in this time frame. The data shows that real estate closings are not slow, and yet Realtors, lenders, and maybe even the public thinks it is.

Your perception becomes your reality, and if you buy into a falsehood that the market is slow, suddenly your closings will be slow, which further confirms your suspicion that the market is indeed slow.  When you buy into false facts, your outcome is determined by your attitude and assumptions rather than what could have been.  If you simply change your thinking, you can change your world.

At Keller Williams we have a list or irrefutable laws, one of which is “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”   The SW Florida real estate market right now is a perfect example.  This market can be whatever you want it to be.  We have buyers looking to buy.  We have a good economy, and rates are low historically speaking although on their way up.  All favorable signs!

And yet we have some negatives.  Interest rates are rising, which is slowing buyer’s purchasing power.  Sales are slowing nationwide.  And of course, we have Red Tide and Blue Green Algae.  There, I said it.  We have positives on the table and we have negatives on the table.  So, which is it?

Every business should run a SWOT analysis.  Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  Every business will have positives and negatives.  Every relationship will have both.  Your outcome is dependent on how you look at things.  Do you choose to see the opportunity, or do you choose to see the threat?

Facts are facts, and they often get in the way of how we’d like to perceive a situation.  The facts are, we’ve got a pretty good market right now.  If you’re an agent, you could either decide on how you’re going to go get your unfair share of sales or sit back and complain that sales are slow.  They’re not slow for everybody, only those that choose to buy into the negatives.

If you’re a seller, you want an agent that knows how to market and sell in all kinds of weather.  Three things are certain, markets go up, markets go down, and the weather is always changing.  If your home has been on the market and failed to sell, perhaps you need a new approach.

It failed to sell for one of two reasons.  Either it was overpriced, or it wasn’t marketed properly.  We’ve taken over listings that failed to sell and sold them at the same price, so it wasn’t the price.  We’ve taken over other listings that were overpriced, made the proper adjustments, and added our marketing and they sold.  Sometimes it’s both, the price and the marketing.

There is no substitute for proper marketing.  Failure to market properly will cause a home to sell at a lower price, or not at all.  Even homes priced correctly sometimes don’t sell, and that’s lack of marketing.

Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be happy to sit down and discuss both with you.  Or, go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com and get a quick and Free estimate of your home’s value, then call us when you’re ready to sell.

Good luck and happy selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1742 Ardmore Rd

 

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

714 Fifth Ave, Lehigh Acres

Last year we warned about interest rates and what it could do to home buyers and sellers.  Since that warning interest rates have climbed .82%.  The consensus on the street is we’re not done yet.  Today we see rising interest rates squeezing home buyers and lowering affordability which can ultimately affect both buyer and seller.

Rising Interest Rates Squeezing Home Buyers and Lowering Affordability

A simple rise in rates robs a home buyer of between 10-11% of purchasing power.  In the example in the graph, a $200,000 home buyer before the rate increase now only qualifies for $180,000.  Let’s say the buyer still qualifies for $200,000.  Their monthly payment just went up $114.82.  Nothing else changed.  The purchase price is the same, the amount financed is the same.  The only thing that caused that payment to go up was the interest rate.  Over 30 years that increase adds up to $41,335.20.

Simply by waiting a year to purchase it cost a home buyer more payment or less house.  When you combine that with home price increases, it’s a double whammy for buyers.

We’re not done yet.  Experts are predicting rates to shoot up to 5% by the end of the year, and perhaps 6% by the end of 2019.  Even if they only raise half of that, you can clearly see that waiting costs more than it’s worth.  For home buyers, the time is now, and the sooner the better.

We have buyers just waiting for their lease to end.  In some cases, it makes sense to break the lease and pay the penalty.  Some apartments have a 1-month rental penalty.  Other landlords charge much more, so it’s wise to look at your lease and consult with an attorney.

Right now, we have limited inventory, so homes go fast.  As rates continue to climb, it will put more pressure on more buyers.  The pace at which the market can appreciate will have pressure on it.  If you’re a seller, you might want to think about listing now, for several reasons.

If you have a mortgage, chances you’ll get a mortgage on your new home.  Waiting to sell your home will cost you too when you go get a new mortgage.  Additionally, as rates rise, there will be fewer buyers that qualify for your home.  Lastly, as buyers begin to qualify for less and move down a price bracket, listings may rise in your price bracket.  When this occurs, price appreciation can stop.

If you’re waiting for prices to climb further, it’s a risky strategy.  Sure, price may climb higher, but it may still cost you.  You may not gain anything, and you’re taking a risk.  It’s more fun to sell when inventory is low.  And it’s more fun to purchase before rates rise much further.

Rates are still pretty low historically speaking.  We’re still in the 4’s.  I remember double digit rates.  The point is, even though rates are low, why pay more than you need to?  Next year, you’re likely to pay more.  The economy is heating up, and this drives pressure for rates to rise.

You know you want a new home.  The only thing holding you back is your home is still appreciating, and you don’t know where you’d go.  Give Sande or Brett Ellis a call at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we can walk you through the steps of a possible move.

We can figure out how much you’d net on the sale of your current home, and what it would take to get you a new home.  We can discuss financing options and how we’d structure the deal to make it work for you.  You never know until you speak with us.

Or, you can search the market online at www.LeeCountyOnline.com We’re here to help you today, tomorrow, or down the road when the stars align for you. We just want you to have the best information available, so you can make the best decision for your family.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty Fort Myers & the Islands!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM