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

Check back for our Weekend  Open House List-Coming Soon

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Saturday 1-4 PM

Kelley Greens Golf Community

12781 Kelly Sands Way

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

Gorgeous Pool and Spa

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

15830 Beachcomber Ave  $360,000

 

Don't panic of your home hasn't sold yet
4 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home on Lake

Reflection Lakes

13795 Bald Cypress Cir    $420,000

 

Pool Home on Golf Course

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Olde Hickory

14381 Hickory Fairway Ct    $450,000

 

Pool Home Close to Beaches

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Iona Area

15271 Thornton Rd   $290,000

 

 

Everybody knows fish tend to swim in schools.  The same is true with buyers.  93% of buyers search online, so knowing where they are and how to reach them is integral today. Targeted marketing attracts schools of online buyers.

This past month we’ve held some open houses.  We had one 3 weeks ago and 45 people showed up.  Last week we held one and 40 people showed up.  The lender who agreed to sit with us and help pre-qualify buyers who might need assistance was amazed.  He said he’d never seen anything like it.  He went to 6 open houses last weekend and none had that kind of traffic but ours.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers
Last Week’s Open House Ad Online

We’ve developed a particular set of skills that finds specific buyers and brings them to your door.  We are targeting buyers, and they love it.  We asked each buyer who came through how they found us.  Many said the open house popped up on their phone, while others said they saw it online.  Were they mad they saw one of our ads?  Heck no, they were glad, and they acted and showed up.

In any advertising, you must target the right people, with the right message, at the right time.  If you fail at any of the three, you’re missing opportunities.  It’s not about how much you spend.  While it is true we spend more than other agents, spending alone won’t bring buyers.

There is blanket advertising and targeted advertising.  Advertising in the Super Bowl might cost $5 Million and blanket the US.  Sure it would attract attention for about a minute.  Targeted advertising hits the right audience, when they’re ready to purchase, with the right message.

First you must have a great page to send them to.  It must have compelling content, and either a call to action or a benefit to going there.  You can see from last week’s online ad there is compelling content with photos if you’re a buyer looking for such a home.  Our open houses generated 1,355 views of our two properties.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers

Secondly, we chose buyers looking to purchase with the exact interests of each home.  We separated the buyers into different audiences so we could tailor each creative ad to each set of buyers.  We ran ads to 5 separate groups, and each group performed well.   Our Click-thru rate was over 15%.  This means that over 15% of people that saw the ad clicked on the ad.  The ad itself was engaging and was worth customers spending their time on.  The industry average is less than 2%.

Targeted Marketing Attracts Schools of Online Buyers Ad Performance
Ad Performance

Targeting worked.  I’ve heard people say they don’t like targeting.  We also put up open house signs on the road.  Those signs target people driving by.  Newspaper ads target readers for products and services.  Online ads are no different.  In fact, most people like it better because hey get to see ads for things they like or are interested in.

This is one reason why For Sale By Owners stand little chance of selling their own home.  They’re not reaching the whole market, and when you limit your market you limit the price you’ll get.  Imagine selling an item at an online auction.  If you have one bidder, you’ll get a certain amount.  What if you had 1,000 bidders?  Do you think you’d get a better price?

All Realtors are not the same.  It makes a difference which Realtor you hire.  We use both blanket marketing like newspaper, video, postcards, etc as well as online targeted ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and more.  We corner the market.  Hiring the wrong Realtor could cost you thousands!

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042 to get your home sold fast and for top dollar, or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com

By the way, we have two open houses this weekend in Reflection Lakes.  See our ad in News Press Homefinder, or find them at www.Facebook.com/Ellisteam

Good luck and Happy Home Selling!

Ellis Team Open Houses

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Reflection Lakes Condo

13971 Lake Mahogany Dr #2623

Reflection Lakes  $215,000

Affordable Living in SW Florida

 

Reflection Lakes Pool Home

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

13624 Gulf Breeze St   Pool Home  $275,000

Brought to you by your Reflection Lakes Experts

2017 SW Florida State of the Market Report

From time to time we go on listing appointments whereby the seller doesn’t like their current market value, so they decide to wait until the market goes up to sell.  Waiting for market increase could cost you money.

3 Reasons Sellers Overprice Homes

We know why sellers overprice their home. It’s always one of three reasons.  Need, greed, or ego.  We all know the market doesn’t care what a seller needs to sell for, nor does it care how much a seller would like to get for the home.  This brings us to ego.  Some sellers want to sell at a certain price because they don’t want to lose money.  You might think this is greed, but it’s actually ego.  It’s an ego thing to hold out for break-even or better.  It feels good to tell people, or yourself, that you didn’t lose money.  If anything, you made money.

Sometimes ego can get in the way of a sound financial decision.  First, you’re not guaranteed to make money on every deal, and it’s not your fault.  The market can change, the economy can change, and demographics can change.  All are beyond your control.  You win some, you lose some.  And nobody else really cares how you did except yourself.

So if we’re into convincing ourselves what the best decision is, let’s look at the whole picture.  I took a real-life scenario and broke it down.  At the end, you can answer what the best decision is.

Waiting For Market Increase Could Cost You Money

Seller has a home that’s worth $400,000.  He really wants to sell for $420,000.  He knows it’s 5% above the market and home won’t appraise, so he figures he’s better off waiting until next year to get his money.  Is he better off though?

Waiting For Market Increase Could Cost You Money

The seller’s home is 12 years old.  At some point it will need a new roof, air conditioner, water heater, pool pump, etc.  This seller owes $350,000.  The principal and interest payment is $1,670.95/mo.  Additionally, they pay $4,000/yr in taxes, $2,000/yr in homeowners insurance, $500/yr flood insurance, and $3,600 yr in HOA fees.

The seller is waiting until the home goes up $20,000 in value.  Let’s say it takes a year.  In one year’s time this seller just incurred $30,151 in expenses. This does not include the yard, utilities, budgeted maintenance for things like a roof, AC, pool pump, paint, water heater, etc.  If anything breaks down it’s in addition to the $30,151.  If the seller waits a year, he actually loses $10,151 waiting for that extra $20,000.  Sure, his mortgage balance might be slightly lower than next year, but his cost of sale will be higher too (doc stamps, title insurance, etc. )

And there is no guarantee this home will be worth more next year.  In that case it would really cost the seller.  There is one more cost to think about as well.

Unless the seller already owns their next home they have to replace the current one.  If their home goes up 5%, it’s logical to assume their next home may go up about 5% too.  So did they really save anything?

And even if they already own their next home, did paying taxes on two properties and all the costs save them?  Definitely not.  So next time you’re forced with a decision on price, ask yourself this question.  Is my motivation based upon need, greed, or ego?  If the answer is yes to any one of these, calculate the cost of keeping your home versus the expected gain and evaluate.  Often the best answer will be to sell now, in which case you’ll have to decide what your bigger need is, a sound financial decision or a happy ego.

Talk to Your Ego

An ego doesn’t know any better.  It’s based upon the information you give it.  If you tell your ego you’ve come to a logical decision based upon facts, your ego will surprise you and reward you.

If you’d like to talk to us about your options, we’re here to help.  239-489-4042  If you’d like to surf for your next home, or get an idea of what nearby homes are selling for try www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!  Always call the Ellis Team!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Golfer’s Dream – Low Golf Fees

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

14381 Hickory Fairway Ct

Olde Hickory   $465,000

4 Bed 3 Bath- 3 Car Garage on Lake  2,647 SQ Ft

 

Pool Home Close to Fort Myers Beach

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

15271 Thornton Rd

Iona Area  $300,000

3 Bed, 2 Bath- 2 Car Garage Pool Home

Search SW Florida Luxury Homes

 

 

 

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

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

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

Zillow Home Value Zestimates Purposefully Inflated

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

Are Zillow Home Value Zestimates Purposefully Inflated?

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

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

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

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

Zillow Admits Errors

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

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

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

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

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

Paint the Town Red

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

Ellis Team Featured Open Houses

Sunday 1-4 PM

Ellis Team Open House

6180 Winkler Rd

 

 

 

 

 13624 Gulf Breeze St Reflection Lakes Pool Home

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

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

Southwest Florida December Home Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update January 2017

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

 

Ellis Team Open House

Ellis Team open house Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes Open House

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Reflection Lakes  Gate 2

13624 Gulf Breeze St

$285,000