SW Florida real estate inventory supply rose slightly since October.  In October the months supply of inventory stood at 4.33 months.  Today the real estate inventory supply registers 4.43 months.  We’ve been reporting that listing inventory has been growing since October, but so has pending and closed sales.  This chart illustrates the relationship between active inventory versus closed sales the last 365 days and its effect on real estate inventory supply.

Real Estate Inventory Supply SW Florida

Sometimes we have a glut of inventory and low sales.  Other times we have low sales because there is little inventory to sell.  The relationship between the two data points tells a story.  The market is constantly moving; therefore, we are constantly studying it.  If you think you have the market all figured out today, you’re an expert for one day.  Studying the numbers is a never-ending process, but it is what’s required to keep clients educated so they can make the best selling and purchasing decisions available.

Looking closer at the numbers reveals in general the lower priced ranges below $300,000 did the best.  Most all these ranges saw even or declining supply relative to sales.  The $600k- $1 Million and the $1 million plus ranges gained the most inventory.  We have three possible theories as to why this occurred.

Higher priced homes generally take longer to sell, so it’s possible there is a lag between the time sellers place their home on market and time it closes.  The other theory could be that buyers have really turned on in the lower ranges due to lower interest rates.  Perhaps buyers in the lower ranges are more interest rate sensitive.  Lastly, it could be that mid-range and higher range buyers are move-up buyers and have recently sold their entry level homes.  They could help push sales higher in the mid ranges in the coming months.

While any of these theories are possible it proves that the market doesn’t always move in tandem.  Certain ranges get hot before others, and certain ranges cool before others.  We’ve even seen certain ranges remain hot and other ranges remain cold for extended periods of time in the past.  While every market is local, there are several sub-markets in any market.

Sometimes it’s unfair to report how the overall market is doing, because it can distort what’s going on at the neighborhood level, or at particular price points.  Have you noticed that certain stocks slump while the overall stock market is on fire?  The same is true in real estate.

The Ellis Team gets called on several listing appointments each month.  Sellers call us because they want an accurate valuation of their property.  They don’t want to under price it and give equity away, and they don’t want to over-price it and have it sit on the market with no offers.  Some sellers have an honest disagreement about what the market is telling them their home is worth, so they choose not to sell, or they list it above market value, and it fails to sell.  It’s natural to think your own home is worth more than other people think it’s worth because you’re emotionally tied to it.  We get it, and as humans we feel the same way about our own stuff.

Therefore, it pays to have someone else you can trust represent you.  A non-biased advisor can be honest with you and educate you about the market and where your home stands relative to the competition.  We enjoy helping people get Top Dollar for their homes through our market knowledge, expert negotiating, and world-class marketing.  We also know pricing it correctly upfront will help get a better price.  And if you place your home on the market and it doesn’t sell, don’t stop marketing.  It may be time to re-position it in the marketplace, but don’t stop the marketing.  You’ll need more marketing juice to inform buyers of the new price.

To learn more about your home’s value, simply call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-40402 Ext 4 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get a Free and instant online value of your home.

See last week’s article “December Real Estate Activity Busier than Usual

Good luck and Happy Holidays from the Ellis Team!

The Ellis Team has been hustling all of 2019, and December is no exception.  The phone is ringing, leads are pouring in, showings are happening, and sales contracts are being written.  December real estate activity seems busier than usual which makes for exciting times for the local SW Florida real estate market.

We’ve seen this before.  Sometimes as agents we get so busy through our marketing and lead generation efforts that we falsely believe the market is strong simply because we’re busy.  I’ve spoken with other agents and some are busy, and some aren’t.  That probably largely depends on their lead generation efforts.  All I can say is there is business out there if you work hard, advertise, and lead generate.

December Real Estate Activity

December Real Estate Activity 7 Day Market Watch
December 2019 7-Day Market Watch

I decided to pull up a 7-day Market Watch report from the MLS.  The last time we did this was back in September.  Comparing this December report to September’s report we notice a few things.  Back in September pending sales outpaced new listings 359 to 299.  In December, new listings outpaced pending sales 377 to 326.  The number I’m focusing on is the pending sales.  In September they were 359 and today they are 326.  That’s not bad when you consider it’s December.  Many agents take the month off because it’s the holidays and they figure there isn’t much business.  The numbers say there’s about as much December real estate activity as there was back in September.

September Real Estate Activity

September 2019 7-Day Market Watch
September 2019 7-Day Market Watch

The other number I’m looking at is the sold.  In September it was 233 for that 7-day period.  In December it is 270.  That’s a big increase.  Keep in mind that the closed sales went pending last month or more, so all this tells us is that November may have been busier than August.

We’ve got a pretty good market here in SW Florida.  You still have to price properties correctly, and they don’t just sell themselves.  There are buyers though, and that’s a good sign.  Buyers are looking right now too.  If you’re a seller, I wouldn’t turn down too many showings.  Any buyer out looking right now could be serious.

Looking forward to 2020

The Ellis Team just had our team retreat last week.  We don’t call it that because retreat sounds like a backwards word.  We call it a Team Advance because we’re moving forward, not retreating.  Anyway, together we came up with our plan for 2020.  Everyone on the team was extremely optimistic about this next year and the opportunities it presents.

We laid out all the new marketing we intend to implement and several new strategies to advance our clients sales.  Every single person on the team did a presentation for the group and it was one of the most powerful days of learning and growth I can remember.  I was super proud of our entire team and how well they prepared and delivered each of their presentations.  A lot of growth happened that day, and as a team we grew in untold ways.

I believe our current and future customers benefited too, because the ideas shared were incredible.  Our team is pumped up and ready to serve and we believe 2020 will be great for not only our team, but our customers as well.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Outlook

We’re in a favorable interest rate environment combined with one of the best job markets we’ve ever seen.  SW Florida made lists for top job opportunities in the country.  Job income is outpacing mortgage payment increases, so that is a terrific sign for future growth in the market.  That’s one of the biggest things we look at.

SW Florida is SW Florida, and our weather is always fantastic.  With the economy moving in the right direction and favorable rates, combined with all Florida has to offer, we believe 2020 should be a prosperous year.

If you have a home to sell, Call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4  If you’re not ready to talk to us yet, we have a website that will give you a pretty good estimate of your home’s value.  Check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com  We don’t sell your data like the big websites do, so it stays with us and is much safer.

See last week’s article “New Real Estate Listings Entering the Market Rises in October

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Lee County Florida saw new real estate listings entering the market rise 3.6% in October.  This is a welcome sign because year to date new listings are down 4.8%.  New listings do not include properties that were taken off the market and quickly re-listed, so it should be an actual representation of new listings entering the market.

New Real Estate Listings Entering the Market Rises in October

Total inventory is down 9.2% from last October, so new real estate listings are a welcome sign.  If we’re going to continue with sales gains, we’re going to need more listings.  This is an excellent time for sellers; however, sellers should be careful.

Other sellers might have the same idea and decide now is the time to sell their home too.  Prices have gone up slightly over this past year, and mortgages are paying down, which opens equity for more sellers.  With interest rates near record lows, more sellers may get the same idea and put their home on the market.

New Real Estate Listings Rise Early This Year

We always see listings rise in January.  This year we saw it in October.  Closed sales were up 10.4%, so we’re not alarmed at all.  In fact, as stated earlier, it’s a welcome sign.  Median sales prices were up 3.6% year over year in October while average sales prices were up 2.3% It’s not uncommon to have more new listings enter the market as prices rise.

We’re beginning to see lots of misinformation again.  This is a result of large data aggregators trying to be the center of the consumer experience.  Unfortunately, when you can’t get the data right, the consumer experience is degraded.  For this reason, we believe a good Realtor who studies the market should always be at the top of your list for information.

We’re going to concentrate in 2020 on providing more data and insights for Lee County homeowners. We’re starting up again our Customer Club.  Ellis Team Customer Club members will receive timely updates about the neighborhood they live in or neighborhoods they’re interested in as well as videos we create about the market.  It is Free and we intend to put the local and accurate back into the consumer experience.

We’ll have a new website you can register to become a Free member soon.  In the meantime, simply send me an email at Brett@topagent.com and put Customer Club in the subject line.

We hope you enjoy reading this article every week.  If you have questions or ideas you’d like covered, please feel free to email me.  Your ideas could be great content for this article, or perhaps a video explaining an answer to your question.

If you have a home to sell and want a fast and free estimate of your home’s value, check out www.swflhomevalues.com  People love the estimate, and many times they’re pretty darn accurate.  Of course, if you’re thinking of selling, we’d love to sit down and discuss your options.  We can provide a more accurate analysis of your home’s value as well as go over the challenges of selling your home in today’s market.  Sometimes it’s price, other times it’s timing.  Still others it’s where would you move to next?  We can help, and together we can answer these questions based upon your needs.

We have lots of other stats we can share, both at the county level and neighborhood level.  This is important data for both buyers and sellers.  Having this data puts you at a distinct advantage over other buyers and sellers.

Feel free to call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 We’ll be happy to answer your questions and see what makes sense for you.

See last week’s article “Total Dollar Sales Volume Rises Again in October

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

One of the ways we investigate the health of the Southwest Florida real estate market is to look at the total dollar sales volume.  The SW Florida real estate market is growing right now as the total dollar sales volume grew by $416 million in October.

Total Dollar Sales Volume Rises in October

Total dollar sales volume is calculated by adding up all the sales in Lee County in a given month. If you have both rising prices and rising number of sales, you’re going to have a positive number.  If you have one rising variable and one going down, you could still have a positive number depending on the calculation.  In this case, both are rising.

In 2019 we’ve had 5 months rising total dollar sales volume and 5 months declining.  The trend has been mostly on the rise since May.  For the year the Lee County Florida YTD total sales volume is down 1.9%.  It was down 9.28% back in May, so we’re making incredible process.  By the year end we could see a net gain in total dollar sales volume over 2018.

We think we will, because while 2018 was an excellent year, the market was hit with sales losses due to rising rates.  If you’ll recall, rates rose about 1% very quickly last year when the Fed abruptly changed its monetary policy.  This hurt the real estate market a bit, and sales fell.  When the Fed changed its tune, buyers listened and reacted in 2019.

In October, pending inventory rose 18% over last year.  We know end of the year sales should be strong. New pending sales rose 15.2% in October.  It’s a good time to have your home on the market right now.  At the Ellis Team, we’re seeing buyers looking to purchase and close by the end of the year.  Some want to establish domicile in Florida this year as they are leaving high tax states.

We’ve written extensive articles on the reasons why people are migrating to Florida.  Suffice it to say, we live in an awesome place with lots of advantages, so it’s no wonder people are choosing to move here.

Buyers are smart though.  They’re looking over their options.  If they’re leaving a high tax state, they don’t want to overpay down here.  They also look at total cost of ownership.  That is the price of home, plus yearly taxes, assessments, CDD’s, HOA and condo dues, and any other mandatory fees associated with the property.

This is where the help of a professional comes in.  Consumers get confused while on these national portal sites because they don’t show all that.  One of the features I love about our site www.LeeCountyOnline.com is that it shows the Total Annual Recurring Fees.  It adds up the various HOA fees and totals the together, even if there is more than one.  Simply add that to the property tax amount and you’ve got a good idea of the total fees.  The only thing we like to verify are any assessments as not all agents put those in MLS.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, now is a good time to talk.  Simply call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be happy to talk to you about your options.  Some people like to check out their home value online first to see if it even makes sense.  We’ve got a website for that too.  Go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get an instant idea of your home’s value.

We’re starting our Customer Club back up.  Members of our customer club will receive videos and emails from us about changes in the market.  If you’re interested in what’s going on in the market, you’ll definitely want to sign up for that.  For now, simply send me an email to Brett@Topagent.com Put “Customer Club” in the subject line and we’ll get you on the list.  We’ll publish a website with a form soon to make it easy for people to sign up.

See last week’s article “Top Dollar Agent Interview Questions for Sellers

Always call the Ellis Team with your real estate questions.  We hope you enjoyed turkey day and Black Friday.  We’re here to help you with all your real estate needs.

Home sellers typically want top dollar for their home sale but it’s hard to tell which agents deliver top dollar for their clients. Real estate sales have evolved, but not all real estate agents have kept up with new technology and buyer preferences.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a list of top dollar agent interview questions for sellers?

Let’s create one right now.

  1. Do you use professional photography to market homes?
  2. Do you provide a 360 virtual tour?
  3. Can you target ads to home buyers online that are looking to purchase now?
  4. Explain how you find these buyers online?
  5. Do you partner with Google’s #1 ad provider to provide top search results?
  6. Should we use a smart lock box for showings?
  7. Should the seller be present for showings?
  8. When is the best time of year to sell?
  9. Do you require proof of funds/and or a pre-approval letter with offers?
  10. What is artificial intelligence and why is it important?
  11. Does your company provide artificial intelligence, and do you have big data to power results?
  12. Do you operate as a single agent or a team, and why is that critically important?
  13. How many homes has your team sold in Lee County?
  14. Should I gamble on a newer agent with less experience?
  15. How many sellers did you successfully represent and close in last 12 months?
  16. How many listings expired, withdrew, or terminated with you in last 12 months?
  17. What is your average list price/sales price ratio?
  18. What is the average agent list price/sale price ratio?
  19. Can we video conference meetings if we’re not in town?
  20. What are your average days on market?
  21. What are the average days on market for homes like mine?
  22. Do you have a Blog where I can see current research on the market?
  23. Do you have a database of buyers searching in my neighborhood?
  24. Show me your database of buyers, minus the private data of course
  25. Do you reach International buyers?
  26. Would an agent with zero to few listings be better to sell my home?
  27. What are the dangers of working with an agent with limited listing experience?
  28. What are the 3 P’s in real estate?
  29. Is listing my home on the big national portals a big deal or can anybody do that?
  30. What do you charge?
  31. How long is the listing for?
  32. Why should I hire you?
  33. What if I’m not happy with you?
  34. Will I net more using you versus selling it myself?
  35. Show us your online reviews, client testimonials, or newspaper poll awards.
  36. Is this a price range you feel comfortable in?

As you can tell, we love tough questions.  The truth is, none of these questions are tough.  They’re on the mind of home sellers.  We get asked these questions a lot.  Some sellers ask one question, or several, but none ask all of them because they’re not used to interviewing agents.  It’s something you only do when you’re considering a move.

Top Dollar Agent Interview 360 Virtual Tour
360 Virtual Tour Dollhouse View

Keep this list handy for when you’re ready.  We’ll post it on our Blog too in case you lose it.  We hope this list will spark a few more questions for home sellers. A better interview will lead to a better agent selection, which should lead to a faster home sale and at Top Dollar.  That’s all a seller really wants is top dollar and an easy, painless home sale.  Selecting the best agent goes a long way to this end.  This checklist will work in any market, so hang onto it.

If you have questions, please call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a quick and free home value computer estimate.  Better yet, call us and we’ll meet with you and discuss your options.

It’s fun to go back and look at how we did things in the past.  Here is an article from 2013 “How to Interview an Agent to Sell Your Home

Good luck and Happy Selling!

We’ve been reading reports by economist’s outlook for 2020 and the consensus seems to be no fear of recession in 2020.  You know what they say about economists.  Ask 20 of them anything and you’ll get 20 different answers.  While there is a little bit of that, all signs seem to point to a healthy 2020.

No Fear of Recession in 2020

In the reports, these economists brought certain facts and ideas that led them to their conclusions.  One economist sees healthy consumer activity and job creation in every state.  He also points out that the U.S. is short on housing, and historically anytime we’ve needed to build, there’s never been a recession.

While there is  no fear of recession in the US as the United States is doing well, the rest of the world isn’t.  Practically all of Europe is struggling to pay for health care and migration.  It has strained their budgets so much that other countries cannot count on them as much for trade, including the United States.  This can impact the GDP of other countries besides just Europe.  If any of these countries go bankrupt, it could start a domino effect because essentially, they’re all broke.  This would negatively impact trade, which could lead to lower economic activity abroad and here in the U.S.

Another economist points out that we have a few wildcards here at home too.  We have the elections coming up next year, and a continued dispute with China over trade.  Disruption in either of these two areas could lead to economic slowdown.  Of course, gains in either of these two areas could fuel the economy to take off too, so we’ll keep our eyes open on that as well.

No Fear of Recession Locally

Locally in SW Florida we’re insulated. Home prices have been steady the past several years.  We haven’t seen large price run ups, so we may not need to see price declines should the unexpected happen to our economy.  In fact, SW Florida may have room to grow where others have already seen price appreciation.

Everything boils down to affordability.  Each market is determined by wages and housing affordability in the local market.  I found a national graph illustrating this point.  Housing has become more affordable this year in all 4 regions of the United States.  The primary reason is lower interest rates.  This graph shows payments as a percentage of income falling as rates have declined.  This has helped affordability and has helped fuel room for price increases.

However, rates have been rising in recent weeks. Rates are back up to 3.75%, up from 3.25% a few weeks ago.  All this tells us it’s a great time to purchase a home.  As rates rise, it will cost more to buy a home, which means buyers will afford less home.

Great Time to Buy

It’s also a great time to sell a home in SW Florida.  Inventory is down, and buyers still have great rates below 4%.  By all accounts it looks like 2020 will be a good year for the economy, which will make it a good year for real estate.  Buyers and sellers should take advantage of these low rates.  Some day we’re going to look back at 2019 and wonder why we didn’t make a move.

If you’re thinking of making a move, you probably have questions.  We’re here to help.  Simply call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be glad to speak with you.  If you’re not ready for that and just want a trusted value on your home, you can do that too.  Go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com  It’s Free, and fast.  Best of all, that data isn’t sold to a bunch of agents that will hound you.  Brett and Sande are the only ones that see it, and we’re not selling that data.

We have other tools available for you.  Just reach out to us and we’ll get you on the right track.

See last week’s article “Lower Interest Rates Fuel Increased Pending Sales

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

For the past two years we’ve been talking about lower interest rates fuel home sales and their impact on pricing.  Today we have some data to illustrate how lower interest rates fuel increased pending sales.  And we all know pending sales lead to closings.

Last year the Fed made a mistake and began raising interest rates, which led to higher 30-year mortgage rates as well.  These two are not always tied together, but in this case that was the effect.  As you can see from the interest rate chart, rates began rising in 2018, especially in the latter half when the Fed did what they did.

Lower Interest Rates Fuel Increased Pending Sales

As rates shot up to 5% at the end of 2018, home sales lagged.  Beginning in November 2018 new pending sales fell off about 20% and continued its slide until April of 2019.  March 28th is when we saw our first real dip in rates, which led the turnaround in new pending sales immediately.  Beginning in April new pending sales turned around, and they’ve continued since.  In fact, this September we saw the largest increase of 19.6% This is a function of lower rates now combined with rates that were rising at that time last year.

Lower Interest Rates Fuel Increased Sales

Last September new pending sales were falling and this year they’re rising.  These two charts illustrate perfectly well the effect lower interest rates can have on home buyer’s motivation.  Lower rates open more opportunities for buyers as well, as they can afford more home for the same payment.

Lower Interest Rates Fuel Increased New Pending Home Sales

The interesting thing will be what happens moving forward.  Interest rates are moving up while the Fed is lowering rates now.  The Fed is in pause mode now to see how monetary policy shakes out both here in the US and globally.  Like I said earlier, these two rates are not always tied together.

When word gets out that rates are going back up, it will have one of two effects.  It may spur some buyers who were on the fence to act, which could increase new pending sales.  It could also have a chilling effect, because as rates go up, sales can go down.  Fewer buyers qualify at various price points, so it essentially takes some buyers out of the market.

We can’t say moving forward where mortgage rates will be next year.  There are plenty of variables, not the least of which are trade deals.  Secondly, the sad reality is the world is broke.  Nobody really has any money, it’s all borrowed.  We see countries in Europe with negative interest rates because their economy is in trouble.  The United States is still the strongest economy on the planet, so we don’t have the need to go negative like these other broke countries.  However, we owe a lot too, so we must be careful with spending programs to avoid the fate of some of these countries.

The good news is our economy is booming and could be better once these trade deals are worked out.  Ironically, certainty in the market may spill over and help these other countries too, if they pay attention and rein in spending.

So how does all this affect real estate here in Southwest Florida?  Lee County prices have been very stable the last few years.  We haven’t seen big price run-ups.  We should be in good shape no matter what happens globally.  While the Fed made a mistake last year, they’ve been doing a reasonably good job reading the financial tea leaves and keeping the US steady.

30-year rates today are at 3.78% on average.  That’s really good, and if we keep rates below 4% we should continue to see excellent sales numbers moving forward.  It’s when rates hit 5% last year that we saw slowdown.

We’ve helped buyers save big on closings costs through a lender we work with.  If you’re thinking of buying, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  239-489-4042 and speak with one of our buyer agents.  If you’re thinking of selling ask for Sande or Brett at Ext 4, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

Good luck and Happy Home Buying!

We have 7 open houses this weekend.  Call our office for complete schedule 239-489-4042

We get this question often, and it’s come up several times in the last two weeks.  When is the best time to sell my Southwest Florida home?

Several clients have said they want to wait until season because they believe that is the best time to sell and get top dollar for their home.  There is a perception that homes sell for more in season than out.  The reality is the numbers are skewed in season.  Homes don’t sell for more money in season.  It’s just that more higher end homes sell in season because we have more affluent buyers visiting in season.  When higher end homes sale in a given month, it pulls up the averages, making it appear that home prices go up in season.

Best Time to Sell Southwest Florida Home

Best Time to Sell Southwest Florida Home

Here’s another reality.  Listing inventory surges in season, as sellers are conditioned to believe that’s when they should sell.  We’ve helped many sellers in the past beat that listing surge by listing before season.  Many sellers have their home sold before all the others hit the market.  When a bunch of homes hit the market, buyers have more choices.

These buyers typically wait until February or March before offering.  This means many sellers don’t have a closing until March or April, and that’s if it sells.  If it doesn’t sell, they’re sitting there with a bunch of other listings that listed in January and didn’t sell either.  Now it’s out of season and they’re still holding their property.

There is no harm in listing before January.  You just might get your property sold, and worst case it’s still on the market in January.  Sellers have been afraid that it may look bad if their homes have been on the market and haven’t sold.  That’s not true.  In the old days people wondered what was wrong with a home if it sat so long.

Price it Correctly

Today, if a home is priced over the market it’s just invisible to the market.  The minute it drops onto the buyers’ radar it becomes visible.  They don’t usually question why it’s been on market.  They can see the price drop and they instantly know that’s the reason.  Now the home is on the radar and available.  Before it was off-radar and invisible, so it might as well have an unavailable sign on it.

Interest rates have been rising in recent weeks.  People ask how this can be when the Fed has been lowering rates.  It’s because they are two different rates.  Mortgage rates are more closely tied to the 10-year note, not the Fed funds rate.

With rates near historic lows but rising, and lower inventory now, it may be the perfect time to beat the market and list your home now.  Pending sales were up in September as were home sales.  When buyers catch on that rates are rising there could be an uptick in offers.  Rates can rise quickly, so this could all be over by season.

The smart money is selling your home when it’s right for you.  Artificially holding it until season when prices are higher may be a mistake, because sales prices aren’t higher in season.  There may be more eyeballs looking at homes in season, but they don’t necessarily pay more for the same home in season.  They also have more homes to compare as well.

If you’re unsure what to do and want to discuss your options, call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  If you’d like a Free computer value of your home, go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com and get an instant value.  They’re fairly accurate in many cases.

Neighborhood Data

Additionally, we’ve got some neighborhood reports we can send out that will help you see what’s going on in your neighborhood at a deeper level.  To get that, just email me at Brett@topagent.com with your property address and phone number and we’ll send that out to you.  This report will make you smarter about what’s going on in your area.

Remember to set your clocks back one hour this weekend.  Let us know if we can help you with your real estate questions.

See last week’s article “September Home Sales Rose 14.8%

A few weeks ago, we reported that August pending sales were up in August.  We stated that this could lead to a rise in sales in the months following.  We’re happy to announce that September home sales rose 14.8%.  Furthermore, September new pending sales are up 19.6%, so you know what that means don’t you?  We could see further home sale gains in the coming months.

September Home Sales Rose

September Home Sales Rose

Ironically, we hear of agents complaining their sales are down.  If an agent’s sales are down and the market is up, it means someone else is taking market share.  We’ve been saying all year that certain agents are going to be vulnerable because the way you advertise and obtain leads today is different than it was 1 year ago.

It’s possible that successful agents doing the same thing get run out of business unless they change to the new way of doing things.  You can be the greatest agent in the world, but if you can’t attract leads like you once did your sales could plummet.  Sellers need to be mindful who they’re listing with now because it matters.  Gone are the days of just putting a home on the market and knowing it will sell.

Granted, you could get lucky, in which case you’ll believe all this talk is hogwash.  The same is true for agents.  Some do not believe this change is happening.  They’re sales may be down, but they refuse to believe there’s a change in the way agents are doing business.  Other agents haven’t noticed a slowdown, yet.  No slowdown, no reason to change.

I assure you change is happening.  Some agents have felt it, and some have been insulated and haven’t noticed it yet.  Some agents are absolutely flourishing. The difference may be how they’re running their business and how they’re attracting leads.

Some agents have spent a ton of money on various lead generating websites, spending as much at $15,000/mo.  They struggle to pay their bills and they’re a few missed closings away from being out of business.  Converting these paid for leads can be hard, and low percentage.  There is a better way.

I’m going to give 4 clues for agents to better lead generation conversions:

  1. Give people what they want.
  2. Provide something of value nobody else is delivering
  3. Be there the entire cycle, not just when they pop up and decide to buy/sell
  4. Use systems to develop relationships over time

There’s more of course, but if agents follow these basic 4 steps, they’ll have better lead conversion.  The problem is, most agents are good salespeople, but their follow-up and systems are terrible.  It’s time consuming, costly, and inefficient when agents are juggling various data systems.

So, agents hit the Easy button.  They buy leads from lead aggregators thinking this will generate business.  The problem is, one lead aggregator sold over 117 Million leads last year alone.  Ironically, there were only 5.96 Million homes closed last year.  Essentially this company sold the same leads to multiple agents, and/or sold leads that were never going to buy or sell a home.  Keep in mind, this was just one company.  There are many lead aggregators agents buy leads from.

Suffice it to say, this might not be a good lead generation strategy, and certainly not worthy of betting the bank on in hopes of a few sales.  There’s got to be a better way to market a seller’s home.

There is a better way, and we’d love to show you.  If you’re thinking of selling, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  We sell a lot of homes each month because of marketing.  We’re not buying leads from aggregators.  We tried that years ago, and it’s pointless.  Give Sande or Brett at call at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a Free instant online valuation.

See Last Week’s Article It’s a Seller’s market in SW Florida

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Internal numbers produced by the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty shows the local housing market has improved once again.  It’s a seller’s market in SW Florida, and it just got slightly stronger the past few months.

It’s a Seller’s Market in SW Florida

Most experts agree, a balanced market is about 5.5 months of supply.  Currently Lee County stands at 4.33 months’ supply.  It was 4.37 months’ supply back in August.  We can safely say we’re in a seller’s market, but there’s more to the story.

It’s a Seller’s Market

Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean the entire market is.  We have market segments.  We could segment the market by neighborhood, by waterfront, golf course, total cost of ownership, or several other segments.  Today we’ve picked the price range segment.

By and large, the higher the price, the more supply we have.  If you own a million dollar plus property, chances are it could take you awhile to sell your home.  If no other homes came on the market, it would take approximately 15 months to sell all the homes over $1 million.  We know not all will sell, because inventory never gets to zero.

There will always be sellers that overprice their home relative to the market.  There will always be homes that the market rejects due to condition, location, costs, liens, title issues, etc.  In the end, it usually comes down to price.

We could have done a segment on total cost of ownership.  This is when you add up taxes, HOA fees, mandatory club fees, etc.  Anything that must be paid each year is included.  Our team routinely gets calls for inexpensive condos in the $45,000-60,000 price range in a certain golf community that’s listed by other realty companies.  Buyers love the low price and the fact that it’s located in a prestigious golf course community.  However, when they find out the yearly condo fees, HOA fees, golf fees, and mandatory club spending exceeds $22,000 and there is a $50,000 one-time buy-in, they begin to realize this inexpensive condo is out of their price range.  In fact, the annual total cost of ownership is holding back the value because it’s so costly to hold the property.

This is one reason why time-shares are hard to sell, and many times go down in value.  The annual maintenance costs can exceed $1,000 for a week.  Multiply that by 52 weeks and you begin to realize somebody is making some money off those time shares, and it’s not the owners.

Keep in mind, anytime you mandate higher cost of ownership, you can limit the price.  Of course, amenities come with a price, and certain buyers demand certain amenities and they’re willing to pay for them.

Property taxes are another consideration.  Some buyers will pay more for a home in the county than in the city because taxes are lower in the county.  Some new home builders build in multiple locations.  They justify their higher price in one community over another community they build in on taxes alone.

This is why people are flocking to Florida.  Taxes in Florida are lower than high tax states like Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and others.  Not only are property taxes higher up North, but they also have a state income tax.  We now have a $10,000 limit on local state and property tax deductions.  It’s easy to hit that number up North, while most properties down here don’t hit that, so we’re a bargain when people do their federal income tax returns.

People look at more than just the asking price.  They look at taxes and the total cost of ownership.  The data we’re providing today is a market overview by price.  Keep in mind, there are other segments and factors that influence pricing.  If you have a home to sell, you need an agent that understands these issues.  The market understands total cost of ownership.  It’d disclosed on every listing.

If you’re thinking of selling and looking for Top Dollar, always call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get an instant, Free online valuation of what your home is worth.

See Last Weeks Article:  “Pending Home Sales Rose in August 2019

Good luck and Happy Selling!