Southwest Florida real estate home prices increased 6% in April up to $249,000.  Median home prices had been $235,000 last April.  However, while the median price saw a rise, the average sale price only increased .9% over last year.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Home Prices April 2017

As you can see from the graph, in 2016 April’s numbers increased over March.  That didn’t happen this year.  The median price actually slipped $6,000 this April from March and the average sale price fell almost $15,000.

Pending inventory is down 10.1% and new pending sales were down 5.1%.  Active listings were up 4.6% although new listings were down 10.1%.

What does all this data mean for the Southwest Florida real estate home market?  We believe home prices have risen enough such that we’re in a fairly balanced market.  Our market is no longer rising because it had over-corrected and was undervalued.  Standard economic forces will be the driving factor going forward.  As we write this article today the Fed’s decision has not been announced.  It is widely expected they may raise rates .25% this week which would affect car loans and equity lines.  It may or may not affect 30 yr mortgage rates.

We do know that since the election over $4 Trillion dollars of wealth has been created in the stock market.  Home prices have risen as well.  Could we see some of that stock market money make its way over into the real estate market?  It’s happened before.

Rising interest rates typically erodes buyer purchasing power, so that’s not always good for the real estate market, although rates are low by historical standards.

Could baby boomers withdraw lofty 401k and investment money and move over to real estate?  It depends on their outlook of the stock market, interest rates, and the economy going forward.

Jobs are being created again too.  Over 700,000 have been created since the election.  This may be good news for the real estate market, although jobs are shifting.  Have you noticed retail sales are taking it hard?

Companies like Sears, Kmart, Lowes and others have struggled.  Shopping malls are closing across the country as shopping patterns are changing.  More are shopping online.

We’ll be keeping an eye on economic data as we think that will lead to consumer confidence.  We’ll also be looking at inventory supply numbers as well as builder inventory numbers.  We think there is an opportunity for builders to sell homes again.  If they build it, buyers will come.

Many local sellers would like to sell.  They just don’t know where they’d like to live yet, so they’re waiting.  In addition to touring available existing inventory, our team has been checking out new construction projects.  We think this may be the driver that unlocks home sales.  While inventory has risen some, it’s still low enough that home sellers don’t feel like they have enough choices to make a move.

It’s a double-edged sword though because as new construction inventory opens, there becomes more competition for existing home sellers.  Our economy needs both to fully thrive, but in the right proportions.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Home Prices Steady

I like where this market is right now.  The Southwest Florida real estate market is balanced depending on which price range you’re in.  If you’re thinking of making a move in Southwest Florida, give our team a call.  We know the existing inventory and the new construction projects.  You don’t pay more to use a Realtor when buying new.  Our fee is already built-in to their price.  It’s cheaper for them to pay realtors a commission than it is to advertise to bring in that many sales.  Plus, they know we have the ability to bring in more customers, so they treat our customers better.  It could cost you by not knowing all your options.

You need to know things like county versus city property taxes, CDD fees, homeowner and flood insurance rates.  These vary by location and age of the home.  We can help you sort all this out so you make a great decision.

Call our team at 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search all the homes.  If you have a home to sell, call us and ask for Sande or Brett.  We’ll sell your home fast and for top dollar so you don’t miss that next opportunity.

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Watch the Future of Real Estate June 2017 Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update

Last week we talked about the efficiency of the real estate market.  Simply put, the Southwest Florida real estate market isn’t as efficient as the stock market.  No real estate market is, because the information isn’t as readily available and we’re not dealing with apples and apples. So why do some homes sell below market Value?

Why Do Some Homes Sell Below Market Value

Let’s elaborate.  The stock market has what they call the big board.  Everybody can look up and see what a stock is trading at this second.  If you’re looking at class A common stock for a company, 100 shares of the same stock are exactly the same.  There is no difference.  Additionally, everybody has access to the same information on the company at precisely the same time.

The real estate market is different.  Even if you have two homes with the exact same floor plan, they are different.  They are located on separate lots, making potential differences in location value.  The upgrades can be different.  Their repair and maintenance may differ, and of course the decorating and appearance can affect the value of the homes as well.  One home may have a pool.  They may not be built the same year with the same materials.

And this assumes it’s the exact same floor plan.  We all know most homes aren’t the exact same floor plan.  So how would a consumer, appraiser, bank, property appraiser, seller, or agent fairly compare various homes against each other?  It’s a complicated process, because you’re not dealing with apples and apples like a stock.

The other component that affects what a home might sell for is the exposure to the market.  If the home is fully exposed, presumably everyone who is looking in that price range for those amenities would be aware of the home.  This just isn’t the case.

Have you ever driven by a neighborhood and said to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t even know this subdivision was here?”  Or open a newspaper and wonder where that home is located?  These are two examples whereby if the customer didn’t stumble upon the area or see an ad for the property, they wouldn’t even know it existed.

The agent you hire to expose your home to the market makes all the difference.  If you wanted to sell a widget online in an auction, do you think you’d get more if you had 1,000 bidders than just 1 or 2 bidders?  Of course, you would.  Full exposure equals full market value.  Partial exposure equals less than full market value.  This is one reason For Sale By Owners net 16% less on average than using an agent.

Not all agents are the same.  Some offer limited market exposure, which is better than sell by yourself.  Some offer much more exposure.  Of course, all this marketing costs money, so every agent can’t do it because they don’t have the money.

Agents get creative and clever and tell you that the home will be listed on 50-100 Internet sites and that’s all you need.  This isn’t full exposure.  Sure, it’s better than nothing but it’s not full exposure like we’re talking about.  Don’t assume all agents are the same, and don’t assume all marketing is the same.  It just isn’t!

Your home isn’t just like every other home.  It needs to stand out.  It needs someone to stand up for it and say Buy Me, I’m special!  The Ellis Team can do that for you.

Why Do Some Homes Sell Below Market Value?

Recently while doing some market research I stumbled upon a property that is undervalued.  It’s sad because the home should sell for more than it’s currently listed for.  It’s been on the market awhile.  It could use a few repairs that would make a big difference, but I presume it just may not have been marketed like it could be.  This seller will undoubtedly net less than they should simply because they didn’t do a few repairs and because the market doesn’t realize it’s a good deal.

The real estate market is not as efficient as the stock market.  If you’re looking for Top Dollar, Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams! 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search the market like a pro.

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Buyers and sellers always ask how the market is doing, and the answer depends on which agents you’re talking to.  It’s easy to conflate how the market is doing with how your personal sales numbers are doing for the month.  While it is human nature, it is often a mistake. Southwest Florida inventory rises in April as sales decline.

When an agent’s sales numbers are up the agent feels great and wants to shout from the mountain top how great the market is doing.  When an agent’s numbers are down it must be the market.  Both cases reflect the attitude of the agent not the actual market statistics.

Buyers and sellers don’t care about that stuff.  They want to know how the market is doing. They want it local.  Hearing how an agent’s numbers are up when the market is down is about like saying the national housing market is up, but our local market is in the tank.  They only care about one thing, and that is the local data.

Southwest Florida Inventory Rises in April

In SW Florida, single family inventory rose 4.6% in April. This isn’t because a bunch of new listings hit the market.  New listings were down 10.1%, so it must be that less homes sold in April.  We didn’t draw down as much inventory through sales as we’d hoped.  There are two ways to draw down inventory.  Sales or expired listings.  If an expired listing re-lists, then even that isn’t drawing down inventory.

Southwest Florida Inventory Rises in April closed sales fall

When we study closed sales in April we find that it did indeed drop.  Closed sales fell 2.5%.  One month isn’t anything to get worked up about, so we look at new pending sales and total pending inventory to get a clue as to what future months might bring.

New pending sales fell 5.1% in April which could be a warning sign for May and June.  Total pending inventory fell 10.1% in April.  So, what’s the takeaway from all this data?  Is this bad news for the local real estate market?

It simply means pricing and marketing are critical.  Prices have held steady but sales are declining.  Total dollar volume of sales was down 1.6%.  All in all this is a pretty steady market and nothing to be alarmed about.

Southwest Florida Inventory Rises

This is not the market to over-price a home.  The SW Florida real estate market is steady and stable.  You might call it healthy and balanced.  Over-priced sellers will probably be disappointed.  Sometimes even proper priced homes get lost in the shuffle as new inventory is added every day.  Therefore, we say marketing is critical too.  You don’t want to give your home away.

Reducing your home far enough will always guarantee a sale.  Once a home is at or below market value the market will scoop it up.  The real estate market isn’t as efficient as the stock market.  You can’t just look up on the big board and see the price, its P/E ratio, and all the other data available on the stock market.  This is why some homes will sell below market value.

Upfront proper pricing helps prevent this.  Marketing exposes homes so they don’t have to sell below market.  Advertising and marketing smooths out the inefficiencies of the real estate market.  Marketing exposes your home to more buyers, thereby guaranteeing a better sales price.  In the absence of a big board, marketing is key.  We’ll do a future article on this topic soon.

You too can search the MLS like a pro.  Check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com You can search every home in MLS.  you will receive the freshest data as our database is updated every 5 minutes.  Find out what your home is worth online for free, and get detailed neighborhood reports.

You can always call us at 239-489-4042.  To list your home, ask for Sande or Brett, or let our team of talented agents help you find your dream home.  We’d love to help you!

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One common belief among home sellers is that all Realtors do pretty much the same thing.  Sometimes we even get the question, “Are all Realtors the same?”  They put a sign in the yard, place it in MLS, and pray someone else sells it.

Are All Realtors the Same

I can understand why the public is confused.  They don’t see what really goes on in a real estate transaction, so how could they possibly know?  Years ago, the broker made all advertising decisions.  With the advent of higher splits to agents, brokers have less money to call the shots now.  They can’t deliver all the benefits they used to and still pay the agents top splits.

This fact began the decline in advertising.  Top splits should have gone to the highest producing agents, who would then take that money and re-invest into advertising.  Unfortunately, the high splits now go to anybody who can fog a mirror.

One might assume if an agent was receiving a higher split they’d have money to advertise, and that would be wrong!  The average agent sells than 1 home per year.  Even if they sell a home or two they don’t have money left over to advertise.

If they did have money to advertise, they wouldn’t know what’s effective.  We hear agents all the time say this doesn’t work and that doesn’t work.  The truth is, it doesn’t work the way they are doing it.  If you’re going to advertise, it pays to go big!

A $200 online budget will get you nowhere.  A small print ad with too much info crammed in will not produce.  Agents try these things and get no results, then they honestly say we tried that and it doesn’t work.

You’ve heard the term Go Big or Go Home.  It’s true in advertising.  The Ellis Team (230-489-4042) has always gone big.  Sure, we evaluate what’s working and what’s not all the time.  The point is, if you want results for your sellers, you must step up.  They are placing their trust in you.

There is a reason our listings sell faster and for more money.  It’s because we advertise.  We take pride in the fact that sellers net more using our services than they would on their own without paying a commission.  We expose their home to more people than they can, which results in higher prices and faster sales.

Agents wonder why buyers or sellers ask for part of the commission back.  In other markets, there are a few companies that have started doing that.  If an agent isn’t willing to go big and reinvest into marketing why not?  They’re not fully exposing the home and bringing top dollar.

Personally, I don’t think an agent should give back.  Agents earn it.  I do think some agents are worth more than others.  I think sellers should ask more questions about marketing and advertising so they better understand what they’re paying for.  Most agents give standard answers like the home will be advertised online and on a hundred websites, etc.

Are All Realtors the Same?

The truth is, many agents can’t answer the question because they don’t know.  When you interview an agent who understands and utilizes marketing and compare that to the agents who don’t, you begin to get an understanding what the differences are.  As a consumer, you might even learn more about home marketing than a lot of agents.

Agents are only taught how to pass the real estate exam, not how to effectively sell a home.  This knowledge must be obtained other ways, and it requires capital to invest in advertising.  Typical agents come into this business because of the low start-up costs but they don’t have the knowledge, expertise, or money to implement a plan, so they rely on the broker.  The broker isn’t much interested because they’ve given the splits to the agent to attract them to their company in hopes they turn out one day to be a high producing agent and stick with their company.  Don’t let the broker’s issue become your issue.  Hire a marketing pro.

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042 or search the MLS at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Find out How Much Your Home is Worth Online for Free

There’s an old saying in real estate that says if your home is priced over the market then it’s not really on the market.  Essentially an overpriced listing is invisible to the buyer because it’s attracting the wrong prospects.  These are called invisible listings.

The correct prospects never see it on their radar because they search up to a certain point and cutoff anything over that.  The prospect that can afford the overpriced home is looking at other homes as well, and they quickly see other homes offer more value.  Perhaps it’s more size, better location, better condition, more amenities, etc. Overpriced listings miss the market both ways, and therefore they linger on the market.

Periodically we publish the local market’s month supply of inventory by price range.  We decided to take the monthly supply of homes in each category and consider how many homes are currently on the market in that category that exceeds the average monthly supply.

Invisible Listings Southwest Florida Real Estate market

When a home doesn’t sell it’s either overpriced or not marketed correctly.  Many times, it’s both.  If you have a home worth more than $ 1 Million we know there is a 22.58-month supply of homes on the market.  When you list a home you should ask yourself, when would I like to move?  If the answer is less than 22 months, you’d better price it and market it effectively.

The good news is only 8.3% of the homes over $ 1 Million are invisible.  The overall Lee County single family home market is 15.4% invisible.  This tells us that 15.4% of the home sellers have overpriced their homes such that they’re probably not going to sell unless the owner takes action.  They will expire.

Putting your home on the market is not a fun experience.  You have strangers coming through your home when they want and you must keep the home in show condition all the time.  Nobody would want to go through that experience unless they were serious about selling.  And yet, some are not serious because they overprice their home and it’s invisible.

When you list your home you not only want it visible, you want it to stand out.  Therefore marketing and pricing is critical.  The seller controls the price.  The market determines the value.  Not all Realtors market the same.  Some market very little while others do much more, and a select few market a lot.

Some Realtors don’t believe marketing sells homes and only price sells homes.  That’s simply not true.  If you were in the market for a new car I can guarantee you there are a few dealerships you’ve heard of.  Why?  Because they market and it works.  If you could buy a new car and get a TV or a cruise would you take it?  Only if you knew about it.  If you liked that brand and the value was there, you’d at least consider it, because their marketing works.

The same is true in real estate.  It’s not enough to have the lowest price and pray that’s enough to sell your home.  The world needs to know about it, and listing it in MLS isn’t enough.  Sure, listing in MLS can get your home on some websites, but it’s not promoting your home.  This is where Realtors who understand marketing stand out.  Besides, not every seller wants to give their home away just to sell it.

We believe you should receive fair market value.  To get that, you need marketing.  To expect more than fair market value insures it will not sell.  If we listed a home worth $300k and marketed it at $600k no amount of money spent on marketing would sell it.  To get full market value requires correct pricing and full-blown marketing.

If you have a home to sell, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams. 239-489-4042  We’ll help you get Top Dollar and make your home visible, and stand out. You can also visit our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search for homes.  We look forward to meeting you!

See also Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises as Sales Grow in March

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Is it possible to have rising real estate sales at the same time as rising inventory levels?  Obviously, it is possible as Southwest Florida real estate inventory rises as sales grow in March.

Most people equate rising inventory levels to lower sales which is usually what leads to the rising levels in the first place.  However, in years past I can think of a few scenarios where this absolutely wasn’t true.

I remember back in the late 80’s and early 90’s talking about a subdivision called Eagle Ridge.  Back then we had discussions that every 3rd home in there was on the market.  Sales weren’t frequent enough to work down that inventory so it stayed relatively constant back then at every 3 houses on the market.

Fast forward to years later and there were very few sales and almost no homes on the market.  When one did come on the market buyers would ask if it was a tough neighborhood to sell in because there were no sales.  The reason there were no sales prior to that is because there was no inventory to sell.  Had there been inventory we would have sold them all.

This is an example of one subdivision at two points in time.  It had few sales, for very different reasons.  One was because of too much inventory and one was because of too little inventory.  You can’t always read too much into inventory levels.  This metric must be considered in perspective.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises

In March inventory levels grew to 6,100, a 5.1% increase over last year.  Month’s supply of inventory grew to 5.7 months, which was a 5.6% increase over March 2016.  We don’t get too excited about any one month numbers.  We like to look at market trends.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises Months Supply

As you can tell from last week’s article, sales were up 18.1% in March and average sales prices were up 19.1%  The Southwest Florida real estate market is strong if the seller has priced the property correctly and it is marketed to the buyer.

Today’s sellers want top dollar.  Today’s buyers just want to buy a home and pay fair market value.  These are not mutually exclusive.  We’ve been selling homes at full price in many cases.  The buyer is happy to land a nice home and the seller is happy because they got more money than their neighbors.

So why is it that some sellers get top dollar and some do not?  We believe it’s a combination of things.  Price, condition, and market exposure.  If an agent tells you that marketing doesn’t sell homes, you should call us.  Marketing absolutely sells homes.  It sells cars, homes, and everything else.  There is a reason a certain auto dealer sells more cars than anybody else.  It’s because he advertises more.

Marketing Works

There’s a reason our team sells homes for top dollar.  It’s not because we price them lower.  We price our homes for all they’re worth.  The reason our sellers receive more in their pocket at closing is because we expose their home to more people with more frequency than other agents.

You’re reading this article right now.  Perhaps you see our weekly newspaper ad, or our online ads.  Quite possibly you watch our videos, tour our 360 degree home tours, or receive targeted ads for a specific property we’re marketing.  Chances are you see our ads and you don’t even realize you’ve been targeted.

When we list a property, we don’t just sit back and wait for agents in the MLS to hopefully bring a buyer.  We don’t give your property away.  If we guaranteed a sale simply because you were priced under the market, we wouldn’t be getting you top dollar, would we?

Anybody can give a house away.  That’s not selling, that’s taking the low hanging fruit.  If you have a property to sell, always call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042  Ask for Sande or Brett.  We’ll show you what full market exposure looks like and help you get Top Dollar.  We’re your Top Dollar Realtors.

Feel free to search the MLS for free or research the market at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

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Kelley Greens Golf Community

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There are several indicators to judge the real estate market in SW Florida.  A few of the things we look at are Inventory levels, pending sales, closed sales, and price changes. Real estate inventory levels grow in SW Florida.

Real Estate Inventory Levels Grow in SW Florida

A neutral market is considered to be 5.5 months.  When we last calculated month’s supply of inventory back in December 2016 the overall market supply for single family homes was 5.65 months.  That number has grown to 6.29 months.  That’s still a healthy number, however it is growing.  This could be an indication of a shifting market.

Market shifts are entirely normal.  They are as guaranteed as the weather changing, so it’s nothing agents fret about one way or the other.  Experienced agents are accustomed to dealing in shifting markets.  The way you market and sell does change as the market changes.  In fact, just last September the average supply was 5.07 months.  We warned months ago we’d be keeping an eye on these numbers to see if the trend continues.

Real Estate Inventory Levels Grow in SW Florida

Since September we’ve seen an increase of more than 1 month supply of homes on the market.  Because this index includes active listings plus pending sales with contingencies, we won’t get too excited because we have many pending from season that may close and help bring these numbers up.

So, what’s the take-away from these numbers?  Sellers have increased competition from other sellers.  The buyer is not your enemy.  Other sellers are.  Increasing inventory supply puts a damper on price increases.  At some point, it can stall price gains altogether.

It also pays to know where your home stands in the food chain.  For those that have a million dollar plus home, you realize there is almost a year and a half supply of competing homes on the market.  If your motivation is to sell, you have to price your home to best compete against all those other homes.

If you have a home in the $300,000-$400,000 range, you too need to watch the market as your price range is above the average.  Homes, $300,000 or less, are doing better than the overall market as there are more buyers fighting to purchase these homes.  Not everyone qualifies for the higher priced homes.

When bringing a home to the market you must ask yourself, what is your motivation?  Where are you going when you sell, and when would you like to accomplish this?  Look up your home’s price in the chart and evaluate it objectively.  Pretend you’re a buyer.  Would you buy your home right now for the price you’re asking?

Hire the Best Agent

If you don’t like the category your home is in, it’s imperative that you hire the best agent who has experience working in a shifting market, and brings serious marketing for your home.  The more buyers who are exposed to your home, the more your home will fetch at the sale.  In some cases, it may be the difference of selling at all.

The other thing you must do is price it correctly.  Your number can’t be what you’d like to get, or what you need to get.  It has to be what the market will bear.  The market has no sympathy.  It doesn’t care if your home is your retirement nest egg, or you owe a lot on it.  The market sizes up all the homes for sale and ranks each one.  The home’s that show the most value relative to their price sell.  Even if a home is super nice, if it is overpriced relative to its value, it will sit.

Think of a pro football player.  A team only has so much money to spend.  They have a budget.  If there is an all-pro quarterback available in the free agent market whose value is $10 Million per year, but he wants $30 Million because he’s special will a team pay it?  Probably not if they can get another all-pro quarterback in the $10 Million dollar range.  They’ll save that $20 Million and spend it on other players they need to fill out the team.  Tony Romo just retired because his value dropped.  He wants top money and while teams would love to have him as a backup, he’s not the franchise player anymore.  It’s sad, but it’s reality.

It doesn’t matter how nice a home is or what it has in it.  If you overprice it relative to the market, it won’t sell.  You can search the MLS like a pro for free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com Please call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042.  We’ll help you price it fairly, and market it aggressively.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Sunday 1-4 PM

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts Gulf Access Waterfront Pool Home
Gulf Access Waterfront Home

1516 SW 43rd St Cape Coral

Pool Home

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

$560,000

April 4, 2017 marks a big day in the real estate industry and we hope brokers, agents, buyers, and sellers are up on the changes.  There are big changes to real estate sales contracts, notably the financing clause that will change the way contracts are negotiated and processed.

Big Changes Coming to Real Estate Sales Contracts

In the past, most finance contingency contracts had a clause that said buyer had a certain number of days to obtain a loan commitment.  Lenders rarely use the commitment word any more, so it was changed to loan approval.

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts

Something else changed as well.  The buyer now has 30 days standard to obtain financing.  If they do not obtain it, they should notify seller or seller’s agent in writing because seller can cancel the contract.  If buyer fails to request an extension or terminate the contract, it is assumed they have loan approval and their escrow deposit could be in jeopardy.  I am writing this article prior to the April 4th unveiling, so we haven’t seen the entire clause yet.  There has been a flurry of activity on Realtor websites informing agents of the upcoming changes, so hopefully agents are aware.

We are not attorneys and we are certainly not giving legal advice.  Readers should be aware that there are big changes to real estate sales contracts in Florida and pay attention to timelines.

The agent you choose to work with as a buyer or seller will become even more important than it has in the past.  Not only will your agent need to be aware of these changes, they’ll also need to have systems and assistants to track and monitor timelines, and communicate with your lender.  A buyer can put themselves in legal jeopardy by simply not adhering to deadlines or communicating in writing as to the progress of the loan.

Hire a Full-Time Agent

Hiring a full-time agent is more necessary now than ever.  Part-time agents cannot keep up on market changes and inventory, nor have the skill, expertise, experience, and systems to keep up with contract changes that can place your escrow deposit in harm’s way.  We suggest you take a hard look at the agent you’re going to work with and ask questions about their knowledge of these contract changes and what systems they have in place.

Keep in mind, ultimately, it’s your responsibility.  You’re the buyer.  It’s your money.  You could lose the house and/or your escrow deposit by failing to timely communicate the process of your loan.

This may affect buyers in other ways too.  Let’s say a seller finds a buyer willing to pay more for the home.  The seller does not have to extend the financing clause if the buyer cannot obtain in the specified days.  If the seller has received no notification at all, the seller can cancel the contract within a 3-day window period after the buyer’s Loan Approval period has expired.

The seller seems to have picked up some rights and the buyer now has more responsibility to notify the seller about the loan process.  This places more responsibility on the lender you choose because now timelines are more important than ever.

Choose the Right Lender

Our team works with several lenders.  We work with lenders who not only offer great rates but also are known for service and meeting timeline commitments.  Interviewing lenders and evaluating their performance reputation will now be more important than ever.  Each buyer’s situation is different. Talk with a lender who has experience with the type of loan you’re going for and a track record of working with buyers with similar income and circumstances as yours.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in SW Florida, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  Knowledge and experience matters more than ever and we can refer you to lenders who can get the job done.  If you’re a seller, it pays to work with an agent who understands the market, has the muscle to market your home, and can help you evaluate which buyer’s offer is the best one to take.  You don’t have to accept an offer simply because it’s the only one you’ve got. Don’t forget our Free MLS search site www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Call us 239-489-4042 and let’s talk.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Sunday 1-4 PM

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts Gulf Access Waterfront Pool Home
Gulf Access Waterfront Home

1516 SW 43rd St Cape Coral

Pool Home

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

$560,000

SW Florida real estate agents were expecting big numbers this real estate season, and so far, we’ve seen SW Florida home sales flat this season.  The real key going forward will be March and April numbers when they are released over the next two months.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season

We have a crystal ball that tells us how sales numbers might come in.  Pending listings leads to closed sales.  While not all pending sales close, we can generally track future closings by the level of pendings.

Pending inventory is down 5%, so it’s logical to believe that we won’t see a major increase in future closings unless many more homes go pending at the end of March.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season Summary

Inventory levels have risen 6.1% from last year and month’s supply of inventory has risen 11.1%  While SW Florida is a large and diverse market, overall this tells us the market has cooled a bit as inventory is growing with fewer pending home sales.

We can’t judge a book by its cover.  The cover may say we have a healthy, slightly cooling market, and that’s OK.  This book however has many chapters, and each chapter tells a different story.  Collectively all the chapters combined give us the overall figures.

Homes priced below $300,000 are on fire, and even many homes priced higher are receiving multiple offers.  We have a good market and demand from buyers.  Prices have risen steadily in recent years and there is a cap to this.

Home sellers many times price ahead of the market.  In a rising market, each new seller prices just higher than the last sold and it seems to work, until one day it doesn’t.  This tells us either the market is taking a pause, or the market has capped relative to the income typical buyers have to qualify for that bracket of home.

Rising rates also influence home affordability and can cap prices.  We’ve seen a few rate hikes by the Fed with more coming.  On balance, we have a healthy market and I like where we’re sitting.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season

As in any market, it’s imperative to price your home where the buyers are.  In a shifting market advertising and marketing plays a larger role as well.  Full market exposure brings the highest possible price, so don’t settle for inexpensive or non-existent advertising.

If the agent you interview tells you advertising doesn’t sell homes, it’s probably because they don’t advertise homes much.  Perhaps they prefer to advertise their public image, or perhaps they just don’t have the budget to market listings.  In any event, it pays to interview agents that do advertise so you get full market exposure.

We’d be happy to sit down with you and cover all the ways we advertise homes.  You’d probably be surprised at the difference, and this might explain why certain agent’s homes sell faster and for more money than others.

If you’re a buyer, we can help too.  Our market knowledge and monthly market statistics help you make the best decision possible.  When competing in multiple offer situations you need an agent that knows how to help your offer compete.  If the chapter you’re looking in happens to be a cooling market, you don’t need to stretch too much and overpay.  Let a seasoned professional from the Ellis Team help you.

You can search the MLS like a pro.  Our database is updated every 5 minutes and contains the latest listings, price changes, and information you need to compete.  If you’re a seller, you should check it out too.

Always Call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042 and ask how we can make your dreams become reality.  It pays to work with professionals that know the market.  If you think working with a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Open House

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

15047 Balmoral Loop

Gated Community

3 Bed 2 Bath Pool Home

$317,000

Don’t panic if your home hasn’t sold yet.  There’s still time.  Besides, season isn’t the only time homes sell in SW Florida.  Years ago, home sales peaked in the summer.  The last few years they’ve been higher in season and just after season as it takes a while to close a home once it goes pending.

Don’t Panic if Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet

As you can see, closings tail off after June but there are still sales.  There are more eyeballs here in season so there is more potential however some are just lookers exploring opportunities for years in the future.  If you have a home you’d like to sell and it’s not selling, we offer some tips on getting it sold now.

  1. Hire the best Realtor you can find.  You want one with pro-active marketing.  One that advertises where the buyers are.  Targeted online advertising is a must these days.  If the agent you interview doesn’t understand this, keep shopping.
  2. Stage your home. No, you don’t have to hire a professional stager.  You do have to follow some simple guidelines.  Consulting with a Realtor or stager knowledgeable in bringing a home to market so it shows its best will help.
  3. Professional photos are a must. With so many buyers shopping online, having bad photos will simply turn them off.  Hire an agent that either hires a photographer or one that takes great photos and has a graphics design department touch up each photo.
  4. Fix repair items. Buyers imagine problems ten times worse than they really are.  Fixing a few simple items will go a long way to getting that contract.
  5. Make home easily available to show.  Nothing turns off a busy Realtor more than making your home hard to show.  Things like 24 or 48 hour notice reduce showings significantly.  Place your home on lockbox and allow your Realtor easy access and watch your showings multiply.
  6. Curb Appeal-Look at your home and see how it compares to the neighborhood. Does your home need paint, landscaping, or de-cluttering on the outside?  If so, an investment here can increase showings.
  7. Talk to your neighbors. If a neighbor has an un-kept yard or a boat in the yard, chances are it will affect the value of your home.  Sometimes working out a deal with the neighbor can pay big dividends.  If that doesn’t work, consider code-enforcement or the HOA.  No buyer wants to come in and inherit a mess of a neighbor.
  8. Price it Right. Don’t price it by what you need out of it. Price it as if you were a buyer.  Would you buy your property at your price?  If you over-price your home, you’re essentially buying back your property for the price you’re offering.  Being overzealous leads to you keeping your home because you value it more than the public does.  If that’s the case, maybe you’re not ready to move yet emotionally or financially.  If you really want to move, you can’t love your home more than the market does.  Price it at today’s market value and move on to your next home.
  9. Be gone for showings.  Nothing hampers a potential home sale more than a seller sticking around trying to help.  Buyers extract motivations and information from sellers that can only hurt.  As a seller, you don’t know what’s important to that buyer and saying the wrong thing can lose the sale.  Be gone if possible, or be invisible if not.  Let your Realtor answer any questions. If you don’t trust your Realtor to do this, then you’ve hired the wrong Realtor.  If no Realtor will ever be as good as you, then the Realtor accepted the wrong client.

You can always search for your next home at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It’s updated every 5 minutes and it has the best photos available from MLS.  If you’d like to talk to experienced agents who know how to get homes sold, always call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042.  We’d love to help you make your next move!

Ellis Team Open Houses

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