As real estate agents I think we tend to forget that people really don’t know how to sell their home. What seems basic to a veteran agent is not basic to all, and even many newer agents don’t know all the best tips.  We decided to cover 8 seller mistakes when putting home on the market.

8 Seller Mistakes When Putting Home on the Market

  1. Don’t be present for showings.  If you absolutely must be home for showings, don’t say a word.  Take a walk, drive around the block, or anywhere you can to avoid conversation with the buyers.  Sellers believe they know their home better than anyone; therefore, they can sell it better than anyone.  Be aware of the $1,000 rule.  Practically every word you speak to the buyers costs you $1,000.  I’d say try it, but it’ll cost you.
  2. Don’t photograph everything. There is no rule you must provide a photo of everything.  Leave a little to the imagination.  Make them want to get inside and see everything.  Most bathrooms don’t need to be photographed, unless they are spectacular, stand out, and are a selling feature.
  3. Set correct listing price and negotiate firm. You’ll get a better sales price if you set the correct list price.  Overpricing drives buyers away.  You’re not going to fool a buyer today, so you might as well price correctly upfront.  Buyers typically don’t want to insult a seller, so they just move on to other better values.  Or worse yet, they never view inside of your home because it’s not on their radar.
  4. Select the best agent to market your home, not the least expensive. Selecting the least expensive can cost you thousands.  It’s not what an agent charges that matters, it’s what ends up in your pocket at closing.  All Realtors are not the same.  Some agents sell homes faster and for more money.  Enough to cover the difference in rate, and then some.
  5. Make your home accessible. We live in the online age.  People expect fast access, both online and in person.  Some buyers are buying today and won’t come back tomorrow just to see your home.  By the time your home is available and picked up, they bought something else.  It just repeats with the next buyer.
  6. Check with your condo or HOA. There are many required disclosures and documents you must pass on to buyer at contract.  Failure to do so can cost you a sale. Get these documents upfront.  It’s a pain, but you’re going to have to do it anyway, so don’t lose a buyer and get them now.
  7. Disclose defects. Better yet, repair problems so next buyer doesn’t have to deal with it.  Most buyers want a problem free home.  They want to move in and not have to repair a bunch of things.  Their time and budget is stretched enough, and having to repair other peoples’ existing issues kind of takes the fun out of home shopping.  If you don’t want to do the repair, chances are you next buyer may not either.
  8. Market your home everywhere! Newspaper, online, social media, etc.  Make sure your home is target marketed to home buyers looking for what you have.  Throwing a sign out there and posting on an online site won’t cut it.  Everyone does that.  You want to stand out.

Wish we had more room.  If you’re thinking of selling, always call the Ellis Team.  We’ll go over our entire list and expose your home to more people.  Call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4  To search the MLS like a pro, visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Don’t forget to vote us Best Real Estate Team in SW Florida in News Press Reader Poll.  www.Bestswfl.com

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

Reflection Lakes 5 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home on Lake

Large Reflection Lakes Pool home priced to sell and ready to go

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

Bella Lago 4 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home

3 Car Garage, Granite Counters, and more

19790 Maddelana

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Cape Coral Direct Access Waterfront Pool Home

Direct Access Cape Coral Waterfront Pool Home

1933 SE 36th St

 

 

 

In February we reported that the housing supply in Southwest Florida stood at 5.48 months.  We are happy to report the Southwest Florida housing supply declines since February, down to 5.28 months.  This occurred for two reasons.

Active inventory fell from 5,705 homes for sale in February down to 5,552 in late April.  Closed sales in last 365 days back in February were 12,487.  Today that number rose to 12,612.  Both statistics helped reduce the months’ supply of inventory in SW Florida.

Southwest Florida housing supply declines

Sometimes sales are low because of rising prices, and sometimes they’re low simply because there isn’t enough inventory.  Inventory has grown in the last few years a bit.  Closed sales fell 2.7% in March from previous year. Closed sales in February were up 10.7%, and its possible closed sales in April are up too which affects that number.  We won’t have official closed sales numbers for April until late May.

In almost all price ranges housing supply fell except for the $200-$250k price range, which actually grew from 3.72 months’ supply to 3.85 months’ supply.

These numbers tell us our market is balanced and healthy.  Most experts agree that a balanced market is around 5.5 months supply. At 5.28 months we’re right there.

Of course, markets vary by neighborhood amenities, location, price range, and more.  The chart shows you how each price range is faring right now. Obviously, it you have a $1 Million plus home, it will take longer to sell on average than lower priced homes.  There just aren’t as many buyers as there are sellers.  The Ellis Team just sold a $1.1 Million condo in Gulf Harbour in 122 days.  It takes aggressive marketing and proper pricing to make that happen.  Currently there are 6 active listings in this building and no pending sales.

We’ve had a great season so far. Our sales have doubled over last year even though the Board of Realtors membership has only increased 4.3%.  I’ve spoken with a few other top agents who are also having a banner year. This tells us that experienced agents who spend money advertising and have been through up, down, and sideways markets are getting it done.  Experienced agents have the knowledge to navigate their sellers though any kind of market.

Listing your home with a family friend, neighbor, or relative can cost you thousands on your sale, and might cost you a relationship as well.  We don’t have the burden of trying to get the number you want or need.  We can objectively investigate what the market is paying for your home.  Then we target buyers online and through our networks to find that buyer.  The days of sticking a sign out front or placing it in MLS and hoping someone will sell it are gone.  To get Top Dollar you must go out and find the buyer.

If you’re a buyer, you want to know how prices are performing in a community, how fiscally solid the homeowners association is, and other factors that may be influencing the market.  Working with a skilled, full-time, knowledgeable Realtor is key.  You won’t realize how much it costs you to hire an inexperienced agent until you run into issues, and then it will be too late.

We’re keeping our eyes on interest rates in the coming weeks.  If they rise it will put pressure on buyers to make a move this summer.  They’ve already risen, and we believe there is room to rise much more over the next few years.  Waiting to buy or sell will cost buyers and homeowners with higher rates and will put pressure on affordability.

We encourage you to check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com where you can search for all the homes on MLS.  Or, you can call us at 239-489-4042.  Ask for Sande or Brett Ellis if you’re thinking of selling.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Whiskey Creek Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1455 Claret Ct

Reflection Lakes Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

South Pointe South Open Sunday 1-3 PM

9721 Deerfoot Dr 3 Bed 2 Bath Home

9721 Deerfoot Dr

 

We’re hearing from a lot of sellers who are concerned that their home has been on the market awhile and it didn’t sell this season.  They’re calling asking how we market homes and what they can do to get their home sold before their listing expires.  This article includes tips on how to sell your Florida home out of season.

How to Sell Your Florida Home Out of Season
Win the Beauty Contest

We get it.  Sellers who weren’t successful are frustrated.  The sellers who listed and sold are happy, and the ones who listed and sat are not.  Putting your home on the market is a lot like entering a beauty contest.  Even though your home is beautiful, it may get skipped over by other beautiful homes that compete more favorably.  The other contestants take the prize.  Two weeks pass by and another bevy of beauties hit the market before you get the chance to reduce your price.  Your beautiful home never really got the chance to be the new beauty on the market.

Sometimes a new beauty comes on the market and it attracts multiple offers.  Before you know it, it sells for full price, maybe even more. It’s frustrating to watch other homes take the crown while yours is left standing on stage.  The good news I guess is that there’s a new beauty contest upcoming, but you’ve got to make some changes, or you’ll suffer the same fate as the last contest.  After awhile they’ll start asking what’s wrong with you, why are you still here?

We’d like to help you avoid this madness.  Before we begin, let’s just state that we too have some homes that occasionally don’t sell.  When sellers take our advice, their home sells.  You have to want to be the winner.  Here’s our formula to win the next beauty contest.

  1. Hire the right Realtor.  Not all Realtors are the same.  They don’t advertise the same, have the same number of leads, or have the experience necessary to lead you through the process.  You’ve seen very talented teams lose the big game due to coaching mistakes.  Hiring the right coach can make all the difference.
  2. Price your home correctly. If the market doesn’t respond, adjust.  The market doesn’t stand still, and neither does your competition.  New homes enter the market, and existing homes make price adjustments. If you list a home and never change, you may get left on stage.
  3. Make sure your home looks as good as it can. You don’t have to remodel.  Simple things can make a big difference.  Talk to us and discover how certain minor changes can make a big difference in the judge’s eyes.
  4. Listen to your Realtor. If you did the research and hired the best Realtor, it’s crazy not to take their advice.  If you’re not going to listen to your Realtor, I guess it doesn’t matter who you hire.
  5. Listen to the market. The market speaks to you.  If you’re getting lots of showing but no offers, a small price adjustment may be necessary.  If you’re not getting showings at all, you either have a large adjustment to make, or something is off with the marketing.  Perhaps there is a field wrong in MLS.  Is your home being advertised in the paper, online, and to other Realtors?  Perhaps a highly advertised open house may be necessary.
  6. Don’t be afraid to make a change. Sometimes owners list with a friend or relative.  This is dangerous because they often want to please you.  They may be afraid to tell you the market has shifted, or they may miss it because of their love for you.  Listing with a friend or relative can destroy your relationship.  If that is your situation, give us a call.  We have a way of handling this for you and getting your home sold without offending your friend.

If you have a home to sell, we’d love to help you.  Simply go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com and enter your address.  We’ll provide you with a free online market evaluation.  If you’d like to go to the next step, we can schedule a time to meet your and view your home.  Or, you can always call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Always Call the Ellis Team!  We’ll get your home Sold!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Reflection Lakes – Open Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

14016 Shimmering Lakes Ct

Colony Lakes – Open Sunday 1-3 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

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

Dangers of Pricing Homes Compared to Neighbors Listing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

1465 Arglye Dr

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1281 Biltmore Dr

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

Reflection Lakes Gated Community

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

18 NE 1th Ave Cape Coral

Cape Coral Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

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

Lee County Florida Home Prices Holding Steady

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-4 PM Island Park Village

Affordable Island Park Village Villa with Garage

17655 Village Inlet Ct  $120,000

Open Sunday 1-4 PM  Paseo

4 Bedroom Paseo Home

11204 Adora Ct  $529,000

Esperanza Neighborhood Paseo Gated Community

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

2 Bed 2 Bath Condo With Marina

16150 Bay Pointe Blvd Unit B208 $175,000

 

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

December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops Summary Statistics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck and happy home buying!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1226 NE 5th Ave, Cape Coral

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

Paseo Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Bell Tower Park Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

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

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

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

Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases

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

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

Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 11 AM – 1 PM

9793 Deerfoot Dr

South Pointe South Lakefront Home
Lakefront Home in South Pointe South

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

9825 Wildginger Dr

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

 

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

14381 Hickory Fairway Ct

$410,000

Buyers Flock to Beat 2018 Interest Rate Increases

 

9071 Old Hickory Cir

$375,000

$375,000 on Golf Course

Brookshire Condo

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

13235 Whitehaven Ln #1004

$131,000

2 Bed 2 Bath Brookshire Condo

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

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

$390,000

4 Bed, 4 Baths, 3 Car Garage Pool Home

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Cypress Lake Country Club Villa

14401 Patty Berg Dr #101

Cypress Lake Country Club Villa with Attached Garage

You’ve probably heard the word “Season” and associated it with the traditional 4 seasons.  here is only one  real estate Season in Southwest Florida and we’re in it now.  People down here don’t think about the changing of the seasons as our weather is nice all 12 months of the year.  High season here runs January through April, depending on when Easter is.  Some people go home before taxes are due the middle of April.

Each year we know January will be a slower month for closings, and it builds until about June.  This makes sense because many June closings happened in April.  We expect showing to increase starting mid-January.  I just checked showing statistics for our MLS and the average home is receiving 2.2 showings the first 8 days of January in the $200-$450k price range in Fort Myers.  Other price ranges vary.  Last year showing stood at 2.4 showings the first 8 days.

Only One Real Estate Season in Southwest Florida

We have more showings this year because there is more inventory, but it’s down slightly per home.  I wouldn’t read too much into 8 days of data.  As you can see from the graph, February closings should be slightly higher than January.  March is when you’ll really start to see the increase, if 2018 is anything like past years.

If you’re a buyer, you probably want to get your bids in before other buyers start buying all the listings.  If you’re a seller, now is the time to get your home on the market, as the rush is coming.

If your home is on the market and not receiving offers, you’ll want to make sure you’re priced correctly by February.  Your best chance will be February and March, so you don’t want to miss that market.  Even though we have a rush of buyers here in Season, over-pricing is a sure-fire way to make it not sell.  Buyers will purchase, but nobody likes to overpay.

Sellers want to make sure their home is properly exposed.  We have more buyers here in Season, but if they don’t see or know about your home, it won’t stand out.  We take extra measures to make sure our listings stand out.  For instance, a sign is not enough to expose a home.  We use advanced digital marketing techniques, as well as traditional print marketing like the newspaper and yellow pages.

You might laugh and say traditional doesn’t work, but we have sold some properties directly off these old and proven mediums.  As for digital, this encompasses everything on the Internet to email to mobile advertising.  We have an advanced way to target buyers looking for exactly what you must sell.

For instance, Google, Bing, Facebook, and others know if you’re shopping for back to school clothes or for curtains for your home.  They’ll serve up ads to you because they know that’s what you’re currently looking for.  The same is true for housing.  We know how to reach waterfront buyers, golf course buyers, condo buyers, first-time home buyers, 55+ buyers, and on and on.  Whatever you’ve got to sell, we know how to reach the buyer.

It is quite advanced, and it really works, as long as your home is priced correctly.  We can send all the interested buyers your way, but if the home is over-priced it still won’t sell.  If you’re shopping for an item online and it’s $85 on one site and the same or similar item is $65 on another, people will purchase the better value.  Sellers must turn their focus off what features and upgrades cost and more on the overall value.  You must think like a buyer.  What would you do if you were the buyer?

We can help you price your home correctly.  We offer advanced marketing for your home too, so we can get your home sold for top dollar and faster than the average Realtor.  All Realtors are not the same.  Call Sande or Brett 239-489-4042 Ext 4 to list your home, or speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable buyer agents to purchase your next home.  Visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search the MLS like a pro for Free!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-4 PM

Cape Coral Lakefront Pool Home

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

Standard Residential Purchase Contract Versus As-Is Agreement

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

Standard Residential Purchase Contract Versus As-Is Agreement

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

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

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

Buyers are Fearful

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

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

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

Agents Should Counsel Buyers and Sellers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team markets to Foreign Buyers

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

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

Ellis Team LeeCountyOnline.com International Visitor Count October 2017

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

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

Florida International Real Estate Sales Rise Website Visitors By State

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

Thinking of Selling?

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

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

 

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