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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Paramount at the Shores

Paramount at the Shores Gulf Harbour

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

 

Can you believe it’s 2017 and we still receive phone calls from people who say “I want to buy a foreclosure in Southwest Florida?”  It’s true.  Short sales too.

Who wouldn’t want a bargain, especially when prices have risen so much from the bottom of the market back in the housing crisis?  People also watch those TV shows and see how others flip houses for unbelievable profit with little to no work.  Other TV shows illustrate how buyers can buy a property, put some sweat equity into it, and flip for amazing profits.

Want to Buy a Foreclosure in Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida isn’t that market.  In September there were exactly 2 short sales and 13 foreclosure sales in Lee County.  As we know Hurricane Irma slowed down sales, so we went back to August and found there were 8 short sales and 41 foreclosure sales.  Short sales and foreclosures combined came to about 4% of the total sales in Lee County in August, and about 2% in September.  There just are not many short sale and foreclosure listings out there.

Want to Buy a Foreclosure in Southwest Florida

We get it, everybody wants a deal.  However, the thing people need to know is when a bank agrees to take less to allow a short sale, they still do an appraisal.  They may consider taking less if the owner is a default risk and the property’s value is truly below market value.  What they will not do is give the property away just so a new buyer can keep the equity.  If a bank is going to take a loss, they want to minimize the loss.

When a bank sells a foreclosure, they typically want as much money as the market will allow for the property in its present condition.  The banks often even spent money to fix up homes to increase their value.

There are good values in Lee County, you just need to know how to find them.  Wasting time searching for 2% of the market will leave buyers frustrated.  It all depends on your definition of a good value.  Homes priced at or near fair market value are a good value.  Homes priced well over are not and will probably not sell unless the seller makes changes.

There are two ways to find value.  First is pick a website that has all the listings and is updated instantly.  Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com has all the listings and it’s updated every minute.  So when a Realtor inputs a new listing, or makes a price change, our database will know about it and display the new information.

In a race to beat out other buyers to the best listings, speed wins.  Having perfect knowledge of the market back in 2007 will not help you buy a house today.  And having day old MLS data from yesterday will not help you either.

Secondly, you need an agent on your side that understands the market.  Agents with experience know how hurricanes, interest rates, new schools, company headquarters, new roads, hospitals, etc. affect the market.  Numbers are great, but having an expert helping you can make all the difference.

 

The Ellis Team has been around for 30+ years in Southwest Florida.  We’ve done thousands of transactions, and some people think we’ve seen everything.  We haven’t, as we see new things all the time that still amaze us.  What hasn’t changed is people.  People still want the same things for their family today.  They still use the same negotiating tactics.  They may have different tools, but the tactics are the same.

We can help you navigate the maze of real estate.  From selecting the property, to negotiating, to inspections, and closing, we help coordinate it for you.  You don’t have to worry as we handle the process.  If not the Ellis Team, make sure you’re working with an experienced team who will be there for you.  It’s all fun and games until somebody gets poked in the eye, then the name calling begins.  We’ll help you avoid all that.  Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042.

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It’s a few weeks after hurricane Irma and already we see Lee County sellers enjoying inventory supply advantage the first week of October.  Last week we told you that the hurricane could become a tremendous opportunity for SW Florida home sellers.   Inventory was already low at 4,666 at end of August.  We predicted a possible 10% decrease in inventory which would take us down to 4,200 listings.  This week single family inventory stands at 4,248, so that assumption has come true.

Lee County Sellers Enjoying Inventory Supply Advantage

In the last 24 hours 73 new listings have come on the market, while 76 went pending.  This tells us that early in the week more people are buying than deciding to sell.  If this continues, inventory will fall even further. Each year, many home sellers decide to sell in January.  I guess they think somehow, it’s a better time to sell as more visitors are here beginning in January.

It is true, we will have more people here January through March.  It’s also true that those visitors will have many more listings to choose from than they do now.  So as a seller, is it better to sell in season, or now?

We believe it may be better to sell now.  We have lots of buyers ready to purchase now.  We have low inventory.  Buyers just do not have the choices now that they will have in season.  Sure, there are lots of buyers that do not have to buy now.  They can wait for more choices.  However, some do not have that luxury and need to buy now.  Isn’t it always better to sell when people need to buy and there isn’t much to choose from?

Imagine the stores just before the hurricane.  If you got there late and there were only a few cases of water, did you care what brand it was?  Did you care if it was 50 cents more than the brand you usually buy?  No, you needed water.  You recognized scarcity and what it would mean if you didn’t buy it.

If you are thinking about selling, you are a store right now and the shelves are kind of empty.  Maybe not completely empty, but definitely not full.  In January, those shelves will have more on them.

If prices go up in the next 3 months, many of those potential buyers may become lookers.  If you think there are lookers in this market now, wait until season.  Just because the roads become clogged doesn’t mean everyone here wants to buy.  Many look, and look for years.  If they don’t see SW Florida as a bargain, they may not buy.  If prices go up in the next 3 months, we may not look like a bargain.  And who wins if that happens?  The sellers who decided to sell when the shelves were bare and the buyers needed to purchase.

Nobody knows how the market will be next season.  We do know the market today, and there are opportunities.  The data agrees.  Please call Brett or Sande at 239-489-4042 to see how much we can sell your home for and how much you would net at closing.

If you’re looking at buying, speed is key in this market.  www.LeeCountyOnline.com is the fastest real estate search engine.  It has all the listings and is updated every few minutes, which is key when you’re competing against other buyers to score that dream home.  Always call and Ellis Team agent and we’ll help you locate and close on your dream home.  Finding it is one thing.  Actually buying it and closing it is another, and that’s where our agents shine.

We look forward to helping you buy or sell.  Let us know how we can help you.

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Now may be a good time to sell your Southwest Florida Home.  We have buyers who need housing after Hurricane Irma.

Official SW Florida real estate statistics were just released for August and one thing that stands out to us is the drop in inventory.  This leads us to believe now is an excellent opportunity to sell SW Florida real estate after Hurricane Irma.

Inventory was falling pre-hurricane Irma.  We suspect some homes on the market were damaged. If 4,666 were on the market prior, and assuming 10% sustained damage, that would take us down to 4,200 homes.

Excellent Opportunity to Sell SW Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma Housing Inventory

Additionally, there are many displaced homeowners and renters in the Bonita, Buckingham, and San Carlos areas that need housing.  Flooding was an issue in these areas and some homes are uninhabitable.

Excellent Opportunity to Sell SW Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma

After Hurricane Charley in 2004 we saw an increase in home sales.  Buyers competed for properties because people needed housing.  The same scenario could very well play out in 2017.

Our phone has been ringing from buyers and investors looking to purchase.   We filter out the sharks that want to come in and buy up property for pennies on the dollar.  They are unrealistic and they do not care about people.  They seek opportunity.  Perhaps there will be opportunity for them with the flooded out and heavily damaged homes.

We focus on homeowners and investors who acknowledge there is a need for housing and are seeking solutions to meet that need.  If your home in uninhabitable, you need housing now.  They need a home that meets their needs, and they can’t be choosy if it has everything they’d want.

Some homeowners may decide they’ve had enough. Owning a 2nd home and preparing for storms can be tough, especially if they find they’re just not using and enjoying the home right now like they thought they would.  Circumstances change.  Other buyers are looking to purchase here because they’re at a point in their life where they will come down and enjoy the home.  Enjoying a 2nd home is a cycle, and depending where you are in that cycle makes all the difference whether it’s a good time to buy or sell.

Thinking of Selling?

If you own a home and you’re thinking of making a change, please call us at 239-489-4042.  Ask for Sande or Brett.  We’ll be glad to walk you through your options.  We can tell you how much we can sell your home for, and how much you would net at the closing table after paying off all mortgages and expenses.  Then you can decide if it makes sense to sell.  Or, you can see how much your home is worth online for free!

Selling is more fun when there is less competition from other sellers.  We have low inventory right now, and in about a month we’ll see if we lost more.  Demand probably just picked up as well, so a hurricane can be a perfect opportunity for home sellers, if they’re marketed properly.

Thinking of Buying?

If you’re a buyer, scoring a home right now can be tough.  There are several buyers looking for similar listings and not enough to go around.  You can call the Ellis Team and speak with our buyer specialists who are experts at making offers look more attractive than other competing offers to the seller.  This can be the difference between buying your 1st choice or settling for your 5th choice, if there even is a 5th choice.  Many times there are just a few homes that meet your needs on the market.

In a race against other buyers, speed wins.  I’d recommend searching at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Our database has the entire MLS, and is updated every few minutes.  Don’t waste time using sites that don’t have accurate or timely data.  We get calls all the time from frustrated buyers who see something on a big website only to found out it was sold months ago.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty Fort Myers & The Islands.  239-489-4042.  We’re here to help.

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Hurricane Irma came and passed, and we survived.  Thank God it wasn’t as bad as it was predicted.  It’s been irritating and people are suffering, but we’re thankful for all we have and preservation of life.  So, let’s look at what we learned and talk about Southwest Florida real estate after hurricane Irma.

Many people didn’t realize flood insurance is affordable.  I spoke with some who thought it would be several thousand dollars per year and because their mortgage company didn’t require it, they were safe.  We learned that people in Houston thought the same thing.  Flooding in parts of Lehigh are horrific.  This flooding was not due to storm surge but rather rainfall.  Other areas like Island Park, Old Burnt store Rd, and several other communities experienced flooding like never before.  If flood insurance is affordable, go get it whether the mortgage company requires it or not.

Southwest Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma Older Pool Cage
Older Pool Cage

Much of the damage came from trees.  Large beautiful trees are a hazard in storms.  I don’t know what the solution is.  Perhaps cutting and trimming trees would help keep some of the weight down far from the trunk and save some of these trees from hitting homes and blocking streets?  Trees caused down power lines and were probably the number one reason power was out for so long for so many.

Southwest Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma Newer Pool Cage
Newer Pool Cage in Reflection Lakes

Make sure your subdivision clears its drains regularly.  This helps alleviate street flooding on private roads and can make the difference whether your street is passable after storm or not.  People in Cypress Cay in Gateway among others were stranded for days.  I’m sure there were other reasons, but anything that helps drainage is good.

Gas lines were long.  Whether you’re running generators or just trying to get to work having some extra gas around ahead of storm is a good thing.

Living close to restaurants and super markets is a good thing after a storm.  While many were slow to open, it was a huge relief when they did.  If you can walk to either, gas isn’t an issue.  If you can’t, at least you won’t burn much gas.  Cash is king.  A few restaurants were cash only because they didn’t have internet.  With banks and ATM’s closed, having cash ahead of storm is good.

Newer homes fared better.  We saw some older homes lose shingles.  Presumably this could be due to newer building codes, although we did see some homes missing tiles on the newer homes.  I saw some pool cages down built to older codes and some untouched built to the newer codes.  Of course, wind direction could affect these too.

The bottom line is SW Florida was lucky.  We are grateful.  Property damage was not as bad as expected and there was limited loss of life in Florida.  Southwest Florida real estate after Hurricane Irma will be just fine, if not better.  We will have a few weeks of rebuilding and repair but overall, we did well.

We have buyers.  If you’re thinking of selling, let us know.  Hurricane damage and flooding may wipe out some inventory for a while so we may be able to plug a buyer into your property soon.

If you’d like to search for your piece of paradise, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com or call us at 239-489-4042  Power is not on at our office yet as of day we wrote this article, however we are taking calls remotely when we can.

Additional Resources:

We found a neat NOAA website that allows you to track damage to your Fort Myers property.  Click on the Hurricane Irma Imagery and zoom in to the area.  NOAA is updating this with new flights and sensors so new maps will be posted regularly.

Lee County Schools will not reopen until Sept 25th.

Hurricane Preparation Tips- 3 Yr old video while we were still with RE/MAX.  Tips still good though

Fort Myers Beach Sunset 1 Month Before Irma

While pulling data for the latest monthly supply of inventory we noticed some increases in buying activity in certain price ranges.  Today we thought we’d bring you the latest monthly supply numbers and answer what price ranges are hot in SW Florida real estate market.

What Price Ranges Are Hot in SW Florida Real Estate

The overall months’ supply of homes on the market today stands at 4.2 months.  5.5 months’ supply is considered a balanced market, so overall, we’re in a seller’s market.  However, as we all know, there are segments in the market and supply changes by price range.

Obviously by looking at the chart, anything $250k or under is the sweet spot for this market.  However, anything up to $400k isn’t too bad either.  So where did we see a pickup in home sales since we last published this report?

What Price Ranges Are Hot in SW Florida Real Estate?

We saw a nice gain in sales in the $200-250 range.  For the past 365 days there were 2,177 sales compared to a rolling 365 day count back in April of 2,059.  That’s a pickup of 118 sales in a 3-month period.  The overall market saw a pickup of just 6 homes.  There were almost 19,000 home sales in the last 365 days, so 6 homes is almost dead-even.

The $300-$399k range saw a pickup of 87 homes, and the $400-$599k range saw a pickup of 86 homes.  So, if the overall market only picked up 6 homes, there had to be some drops.  The $100-$149k range saw the largest drop of 160 homes followed by the $100k or less of 108 homes.  Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It means these homes graduated to higher prices and there were fewer homes available in those ranges.  The market didn’t suffer because as those homes graduated, we saw an increase in home sales into the prices ranges they graduated into.

What does all this tell us?  It tells us the market is segmented and you have to know your numbers.  Pricing is still important as to how aggressive you choose to be.  When you’re stretching it, you must market the home well, and be prepared to adjust if the market doesn’t respond.

Nationally, homes sales slipped month over month.  Interest rates are creeping up.  Rents are high in Southwest Florida which motivates buyers to purchase, however rising rates crimp their ability to pay.  We love a seller’s market that is close to balanced.  There are winners and losers in every transaction.

Getting to Win-Win

Many times, there are two winners, the buyer and seller.  The loser is the buyer who missed out because they weren’t ready.  Getting pre-approved before you offer helps so much, especially in a multi-offer situation.  Having an experienced agent who can help make your offer look the best to the seller helps too.

Remember this.  The buyer and seller are not in competition with each other.  Buyers are in competition with all the other buyers out there competing for the same supply of homes.  The sellers are in competition with all the other sellers out there for the interested buyers.  When you find a home you like, don’t screw it up.  Go get it.

Sellers, when you find a buyer that works, don’t screw it up either.  The best homes go fast, and the best buyers go fast.  You must ask yourself, am I willing to lose this transaction, because the next may not be as appealing to me as this one?

It Takes a Pro

It takes a strong real estate professional who knows the market and knows the numbers to properly help you make that decision.  If you’re thinking of buying, selling, or both, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  We’ve been doing this awhile, and we’ve seen a few things.  We can help make the difference for you!

Feel free to search the MLS, or find out what your homes is worth online for free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Or call us at 239-489-4042  We’re glad to help!

Ellis Team voted best real estate team in SW Florida News Press Readers Poll
Brett and Sande Ellis Voted Best Real Estate Team in SW Florida

Ellis Team Voted Best Real Estate Team in SW Florida by News Press Readers

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4 Bed, 3 Bath  2,372 Sq Ft  $350,000

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Did you know the average Realtor in Southwest Florida sells less than one home per year?  When you combine that fact with the fact that some realtors sell 25, 50, or 100+ homes per year you begin to realize that a large percentage of Realtors sell no homes at all. When looking at recent data I discovered Southwest Florida Realtors outnumber home listings, by a lot.

I called the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association which is the largest board.  It services Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, the Islands, etc.  They told me they have about 7,000 current members.  This doesn’t include all the members from Bonita/Estero or Sanibel/Captiva.  It does include some of them because some of them are secondary members.

Southwest Florida Realtors Outnumber Home Listings

So, we know there are 7,000+ Realtors in just one Realtor Board in  Southwest Florida.  Currently there are 5,364 single family home listings in Southwest Florida as of May 2017.  That breaks down to each Realtor having .76 listings.   When you factor in that many top agents who sell a lot of property have 10-20 or more listings, you realize a lot of Realtors have no listings.

You might be saying, what about condos and townhomes?  Good point. There were 3,417 of those on the market in May.  You’re still looking at a lot of Realtors with no listings.

To sum it up, the average Realtor sells less than 1 home per year and many sell none.  The average Realtor doesn’t have a listing, or 1 at best.  So how is a Realtor supposed to gain experience?

A Realtor might consider joining an established team with a mentor, leads, and listings.  You can only gain experience by working on deals.  You will make mistakes, and those mistakes will cost your customer a closing, time, or money, and sometimes all three.  By having a team that guides you through the process you can avoid making costly mistakes due to inexperience.

You also will want to join a company with a fantastic training program.  It is mandatory for success.  Lastly, you must have that drive, that indomitable spirit.  When people tell you that you can’t, you know you can.  You must be driven.  You are a leader, either today or in the making.  It is in you.

If you’re a seller, you want an established agent with lots of experience.  Sellers want agents who have seen everything, or enough to see problems coming before they arise and know how to avoid them or dig their way out of the problem to a successful resolution.  If you’re hiring a newer agent to sell your home you definitely want to know they have taken extensive training and have a mentor helping them always.  Your agent must have leads for your home.  They must have a database of buyers ready, willing, and able to buy soon.  Your agent must have marketing to sell your home.  If they have no marketing, how did they acquire all these ready, willing, and able leads?  Marketing and qualified leads go together.

Top Dollar

Experience matters!  If you want Top Dollar, you need a Realtor with leads, marketing, systems, drive, determination, honesty – to tell you the truth, and experience to put your deal together and keep it together.

If you’re thinking of selling, we’d love to talk to you.  Always call the Ellis team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042  The Ellis Team was Voted Best Real Estate Team by News Press Readers.

Search the MLS for Free  You can also see what your home is worth and get neighborhood reports.  Best thing is database is updated every 5 minutes, and has all the homes.

Good luck and Happy House Selling/Buying!

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Agents have been calling us asking if showings are down.  The answer always is some listings seem to receive more showings than others and it depends on your inventory mix at the time.  It is an interesting question though, so we did a little digging into the latest Southwest Florida showing activity in MLS.

CSS (Centralized Showing Service) is the predominant showing system used by Realtors across Southwest Florida.  We have reports and statistics we can search on using their system to glean information about showing activity.  This data can be useful to Realtors and sellers alike.

Southwest Florida Home Showing Activity $195,000 -$400,000

Here are two examples.  We tracked showing activity in the Fort Myers area for May by price range.  The average listing from $195,000-$400,000 saw 4.6 showings.  That’s roughly one per week.  Look at the $220,000 price range. Having a home listed at $220,000 rather than $225,000 saw a 57.29% increase in showings.  This tells us that is a price sensitive segment, and over pricing by just a dollar can cost a seller some showings.

Southwest Florida Home Showing Activity $400-600k Showing Report

Our next example tracked the same zip codes in the $400,000-$600,00 range.  We wanted to see if there was a significant change in showing activity.  On average, there was about a 25% drop in showings from May to June.

So why is that?  Has the market softened?  Perhaps.  However, it could just be that kids are out of school and people have concentrated on vacations, summer camps, working in the yard, etc.  We’d expect showings to be down from season.  Keep in mind, we selected the $400-600k price range.  Other price ranges may tell a different story.

The point is, your Realtor has access to all this information. For a $300k home in Cape Coral zip code of 33914, it may help to search and compare in 33914 and nearby zip codes.  If a trend emerges, this can be useful information to the seller.

If the MLS average is one showing per week in your price range, it can seem like an eternity waiting for showings.  There are ways to increase showings.

  1. Make home accessible. Turning down a showing because the home isn’t ready hurts your chances.  We had a seller turn down a showing last week and it cost them.  The buyer wasn’t available the next day, and who knows, they could have bought on that day.
  2. Consider re-positioning your home in the marketplace. Are you in a stale price range?  Is your home overpriced?  If the answer to either question is yes, you may need to take action.
  3. Freshen up your home. Consider changing the lighting to make rooms look brighter.  Clear out furniture that’s too big for the room to make the room look larger. Perhaps new paint and carpet would make a difference.
  4. Market your home. The more people who know about it the more chance you have a showing.
  5. Look at your home through the eyes of a buyer. Sometimes an owner can’t see the dirt or smell the dog because they’re used to it. Tour open houses and see how other sellers show their homes, then compare to your own.  It may open your eyes.
  6. Listen to your Realtor. Arguing your position about how great your home is versus your neighbors won’t sell your home.  The market either accepts your home or it doesn’t.  If your home shows well, is priced properly, and marketed effectively it should receive offers.  You picked your Realtor for a reason.  Listen to them.  If you’re not going to listen to them, find another Realtor.  It’s like anything, doctor, lawyer, Realtor.  If you don’t have confidence in them, you won’t take their advice.  It pays to take a professional’s advice.  It’s what you’re paying them for.

Feel free to search the MLS at www.LeeCountyOnline.com or call us at 239-489-4042  We’ll be happy to guide you through the home buying or selling process.  Always call the Ellis Team!

Ellis Team Open House

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

11807 Bayport Ln #202

Avalon Preserve

2 Bed 2 Bath 2 Car Garage

$195,000

Gated Community

 

 

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