Most people know that you need decent credit to buy cars, homes, or things on credit cards.  Not everybody knows good credit helps renters and buyers.

Good Credit Helps Renters and Buyers
Good Credit Score

The first thing that happens when you purchase a home is the lender pulls up your credit report.  If it meets certain criteria, you’re credit approved on the spot.  FNMA and Freddie Mac have direct underwriting standards, and if you fall within those standards you’re basically approved.  There is far less documentation needed by the underwriter in these cases.

Some people rent because they haven’t saved the down payment for a home, or they don’t have the credit necessary because events have happened in their life.  Other people just make bad choices with credit and have low scores to show for it.

Good Credit Helps Renters and Buyers

Regardless of the reason, good credit can help renters too.  Most landlords do credit and criminal background checks before renting.  Increasingly, condo and homeowner associations do the same before approving a tenant in an association.  Even insurance companies are using credit reports to determine eligibility and rates for insurance.  Like it or not, landlords, banks, and financial institutions have found that credit is an excellent way to judge risk and future behavior.

Whether renting or buying, good credit increases your chance of getting approved.  Good credit also helps with the terms of the deal too.  For instance, better credit means a better rate when borrowing.  It can also mean savings on rent and deposits as well.

Utility companies sometimes waive deposits for people with good credit.  This can add up, especially if you need water, sewer, electric, cable, etc.  If the landlord charges first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit, and the utility companies charge deposits, it can get very expensive to move.  Having good credit can help you negotiate all these things.

When shopping for a mortgage, it pays to shop around.  Some of the bigger banks have what they call overlays.  Basically, they are extra requirements they place on borrowers over and above basic standards.  They do this because their institution is being extra cautious.  Perhaps they’ve had to buy back faulty loans in the past, or they’re worried about their standing with the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).   Whatever the reason, you don’t need extra hoops to jump through to get a loan.

We Can Recommend a Lender

We know lenders that do not have extra overlays.  This will save you time and worry when applying for a mortgage.  Our parent company just came out with a new program that offers a low rate, and some fantastic benefits.  In addition to the low rate, borrower pays no origination fees, no underwriting fees, zero processing fees, and gets $1,000 closing credit.  This is a significant savings to a buyer.

So, what’s the catch?  To get all this, a buyer must either work with an agent from our company or buy one of our company’s listings.  Essentially, they’re forgoing profit to help our sellers and our buyers.  Whatever the reason behind it, I like it.

We’ve shared with you a great way to save some serious money.  The other way to save is to improve your credit.  If you’d like to talk to a loan officer and see where you stand, call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll put you in touch with someone.  Some buyers are surprised to find out they qualify now!

Other buyers have work to do.  It’s frustrating to find a home only to discover you can’t buy now.  We’d rather identify potential issues and begin working on them now, so we can find you a home you can purchase.  Many credit fixes can be done in 6 months.  Other fixes might take a year, so the earlier you identify and fix the better.

If you’d like to search the MLS like a pro, visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com  To sell your home, call Brett or Sande at 239-489-4042 Ext 4

Happy St Patty’s Day.    We look forward to saving you some of that green stuff!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

Colony Lakes

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

12011 Champions Green Way Unit 706

Gateway Golf & Country Club

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

17752 Indian Island Ct

Island Park Village

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

5691 Kensington Loop

Bell Tower Park Open House

We used to tell sellers that open houses weren’t a good way to sell a home, and for the most part that used to be true.  Realtors who didn’t spend a lot of money advertising liked doing them to pick up customers.  They were basically free customers.  Oh, they rarely bought the open house they visited, but they might buy something.  In fact, the National Association of Realtors did a study and said that about 1% of the time a buyer found the home they bought from an open house. Now the Ellis Team uses open houses tool to sell homes.

Open Houses Tool to Sell Homes

Times have changed.  Here’s where it gets spooky, in a good way.  Companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and others know lots of things about you.  They know if you’re planning on moving soon, having a baby, about to retire, if you’re into boating, golf, beaches, or tennis.

Open Houses Tool to Sell Homes

The Ellis team has a way to target specific people and tailor ads to them.  Many times, we’ll do this for an open house.  Let’s say we list a property in a golf community.  We can target golfers and send them ads about the open house.  We can do the same with properties at or near the beach, 55+ communities, waterfront homes, etc.  Whatever the home has we identify some interests a buyer might have for that home and target ads directly to that buyer.

The buyer doesn’t have to be from here either.  Realtors often ask us how we drive so much traffic to our open houses.  That’s a good question, but the better question is how do we sell so many of our open houses?  Sure, our marketing drives a lot of traffic to our open houses.  That seems like a miracle to other agents.  The real miracle is the fact we drive buyers for that home to our open houses, not just traffic.

Traffic looks good to a seller.  If we drove 100 people to a home but none could buy it, the seller would be impressed that our marketing was able to do that.  However, the home wouldn’t sell because it was not the right traffic.

Back to the spooky part.  Online companies do not share with business the personal identities of their users.  They do open up portals for astute businesses to create targeted audiences, and the Ellis Team spends a lot of time studying these options.

Not only do we spend a lot of money advertising our listings, we also spend hours setting up these targeted audiences for each home.  Often we’ll advertise a home to several audiences, because the buyer may have multiple interests.  We can even target people who earn a certain amount of money or have a certain net worth.

Whiskey Creek Home Sold in 13 Days

We had a $825,000 listing that we sold in 13 days.  We targeted people who made over $125k per year because the average Joe wouldn’t be buying that home.  Sure enough, our listing sold even though there were other listings on the street.

While we do all this in-house, we have another provider that advertises our website all over the Internet seeking buyers.  That works too because we have thousands of buyers who have signed up and provided us their name, email, phone number, price range, and where they’re looking.  Our agents are working with and finding these buyers property every day.  The way agents attract buyers is different than it used to be.  What did not work years ago can work today if you add a twist to it.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty prides itself on being at the forefront of marketing and reaching today’s buyers.  If you’d like to search for your piece of paradise, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com. We think you’ll love the website and what all you can search for there.

Also you might want to check out our open houses this weekend. We will be holding 17655 Village Inlet Ct open Saturday 1-4 and we will be holding 16150 Bay Pointe Blvd open Sunday 1-3 and 11204 Adora Ct in Paseo open Sunday 1-4. See you there!

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling, please call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4  We’d be happy to show you how we can target buyers for your home and get your home sold Fast!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Paseo-Esperanza Neighborhood

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

Waterfront Condo North Fort Myers

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

 

Year end statistics were recently released and reveals that Lee County Florida real estate 2017 home prices rose while sales remain steady. Considering the fact Southwest Florida encountered Hurricane Irma and much of the area was without power for a few weeks, the sales numbers are impressive.  2016 showed 12,538 sales while 2017 produced 12,356.  We’d call that dead even.

Lee County Florida Real Estate 2017 Home Prices Rose

Home prices rose 7.1% from $227,400 in 2016 to $243,500 in 2017.  While median prices rose 7.1%, average price only rose 4.3% We also like to look at total dollar volume to judge the market.  2016 saw $4.0 Billion while 2017 came in at $4.1 Billion.  That’s a 2.8% increase and puts it in the healthy gain category.

Lee County Florida Real Estate 2017 Home Prices Rose Home Sales

Overall, we’d have to judge 2017 as an excellent year. It started off well beginning in February and did well until September.  That’s when the numbers started falling off, as to be expected.

So how is 2018 shaping up?  What can we learn from 2017?  If we’ve learned anything through the years, it’s that markets don’t stay the same forever.  Market forces tug at the margins, and eventually sway the market’s momentum in varying directions.

Momentum might be the key word for 2018.  We seemed to lose our momentum.  That doesn’t mean we can’t get it back.  To do that we’d need some market forces to swing back.  The tax reform bill goes into effect this year and some elements will propel the market and some will not.  Interest rates are rising and that is not helping.  If the economy picks up from the tax reform, that could swing momentum back to the real estate markets favor.

Buyers are buying right now.  They are being selective and going for value.  It’s almost like a stock pickers market.  You know, where investors will buy certain stocks but they’re not buying the broader indexes.  Southwest Florida real estate buyers are buying individual homes that are priced well.  They are not buying every home with multiple offers just because it’s on the market.  They are selective and do their research.

We are seeing more research being done by buyers on our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com  They are viewing properties the minute they come on the market and performing more searches than ever.  It’s not uncommon for a buyer to view over 100 properties online before deciding to go see a home.

We are in final stages of releasing the 2018 State of the Market Report.  Our report shows you how Southwest Florida fared in 2017, latest inventory supply numbers, sales activity, and which areas are Hot in Southwest Florida.  If you’re a buyer or seller, you can’t afford to miss out on this research.  We’ll release this on our website when it’s complete, so stay tuned and check back for updates.

All Realtors are not the same.  It pays to work with a team that understand the market dynamics and can guide you with your needs.  Put our experience to work for you.  If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, just wait until you hire an amateur. You could lose thousands in the deal, or your deal could blow up and not happen at all.  We’ve seen almost everything, so we can guide you through and help you every step of the way.

If you’re looking to sell your home, ask for Brett or Sande. 239-489-4042  If you’re looking to purchase, one of our friendly agents will be glad to help you.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Top 5 Lee County Florida Proeprties

Since October 2017 listing inventory in SW Florida has risen over 25%, while at same time closed sales have fallen slightly.  This has caused the months supply of inventory to rise to 5.48 months, up from 4.31 months last October.

It’s important to know this information as it’s an indicator of the health of the market and which way prices are headed.  It also tells us if we’ve gotten a little ahead of ourselves in either direction.

Southwest Florida Listing Inventory Rises 25.44% Since October

Much like the stock market, the real estate market also fluctuates.  The market is always testing limits and boundaries, and when it finds them it reacts.  This is true in boom markets, bust markets, and normal variations in between.

When inventory levels got too low back in 2009 we knew the market was headed for a steady rebound, and we sure got one.  It didn’t happen overnight and not all prices ranges reacted simultaneously.  Nonetheless, it happened.  2005 and 2009 were extreme examples.

More realistic are the normal market gyrations most people don’t even see unless they study the numbers.  If you’re a seller and you notice lots of homes in your neighborhood are on the market, and none are selling, you know what this is like.  It’s possible the neighborhood just got ahead of itself compared to other neighborhoods.  A simple market adjustment can usually fix this unless there is a bigger underlying issue.

While not all price ranges react the same, we can tell you all price ranges in SW Florida gained monthly supply.  Not one price range fell, so this was across the board.  We can say the hardest hit ranges begin at $400,000 & up.  The $400-600k range shot up from 6.99 months in October to 9.20 months now.  The $600-1 Million rose from 10.29 months to 14.49 months now.  The $1 Million+ market rose from 14.62 months last October to 19.59 months now.

These are important numbers to know.  Sellers in particular price ranges need to know how their range is doing.  In a rising market you can price just ahead of the market, and if you’re wrong, the market will catch you.  However, pricing too high doesn’t work in a rising inventory market.  The market won’t catch you.  If anything the market is leveling out or could be in for a slight reduction.

Nobody is calling for a market correction here.  The fundamentals are just too strong, and nothing like what we saw back in 2005.  We have end users and renters hoping to buy.  Rising inventory levels can be a sign that sellers have out-priced buyer’s ability to pay for the increases.  Home prices have risen, but wages may not have kept pace.

Rising interest rates can dampen a buyer’s ability to purchase as well.  We stated many times how a 1% rise in rates takes away 11% purchasing power from a buyer.  Do that to enough buyers and you can affect a market.  We’ve seen rising rates, and we expect them to rise more.

Bottom line, if you’re a buyer, get in soon.  Rising rates rob you. They’re like a thief in the night.  If you’re a seller, price your home correctly, and hire the best agent you can find to market it.  You have more competition now.  Exactly 25.44% more to be precise.   The market has stabilized.  A neutral market is defined as 5.5 months supply.  Anything more is a buyer’s market; anything less is a seller’s market.  At 5.48 months supply, we’re about as balanced as you can get, which means prices aren’t going to move up until we work down supply.

To sell your home, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  To research the market, find your home’s value, or get neighborhood updates, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com If you’re looking to buy, one of our happy agents will be glad to assist you. 239-489-4042

Good luck and happy selling!

This past week we’ve seen some wild fluctuations in the stock market, so we thought we’d answer some questions people have.  One question we’ve heard recently is does stock market volatility affect real estate values?

Stock Market Volatility Affect Real Estate Values Stock market volatility
Stock Futures Suggest Volatile Open

The simple answer is, not really.  There is a general correlation between stock market values and real estate values.  As the economy does better, both markets tend to do better.  However, we’ve seen instances where people pull money out of the stock market and place it into the real estate market.

Interest rates tend to affect sentiment in both markets.  Rising inflation leads to rising interest rates, which both markets dislike.  Investors will sometimes pull money out of stock market and into bonds for the yields.  Therefore, the stock market doesn’t like rising rates.  Rising rates also hurts borrowers as it zaps purchasing power from buyers in the real estate market.

Stock Market Volatility Affect Real Estate Values Housing vs stock market

However, we’ve seen inverted yield curves whereby sort term rates are higher than long term rates.  This breaks most of the rules as usually long-term rates carry more risk, so investors want more yield in a longer security.  Therefore, we have to look at the reasons for interest rate and stock market volatility before drawing conclusions as to its effect on consumer sentiment and real estate prices.

On Friday February 2 jobs data came out and showed wages climbed 2.9% from the previous year which was the best gain since 2009.  This spurred inflation fears and concern that the fed would hike rates unexpectedly, which naturally draws volatility from the stock market.

The bottom line is not much has changed in the economy in the last week or so.  The only thing that has changed is stock volatility, and the realization that rates will go higher.  We’ve been talking about it for a few years, and reality is finally here.  Everybody knew this day was coming.

The tax reform has spurred wage growth.  We expect to see a tight labor market.  Some jobs are moving back to the US, while some jobs will be lost as business reorganizes.  Retail stores and banks may continue to come under pressure as online wins the day.

I wouldn’t put much attention into the stock market other than seeing how it affects your retirement savings.  The smart money is watching interest rates.  Rising rates don’t necessarily kill the stock or real estate market, but it can stifle or limit its growth.

Wage growth will dictate how far real estate prices will rise.  The stock market doesn’t go one direction forever, and neither does the real estate market.  Wages must eventually rise if you want continued rise in prices.  Rising rates stymie price growth, and rising wages can offset some of that. Unfortunately, rising wages is correlated to rising rates as they can be inflationary.

The stock market did well 2008-2016 due to free money.  It did even better in 2017 due to rising expectations in the economy.  Free money is over, and it must be.  We’re heading into a period of normal market conditions controlling the markets.  This is healthy and a good thing.

We’ll be watching inflation, interest rates, oil, and the overall economy.  We’ve got a balanced real estate market here in SW Florida. Buyers are scooping up properties now to beat those rising rates, however they’re not over-paying either.

Buyers want to buy, but not overpay.  They’re being careful and doing their homework.  Inventory is rising, but still low.  Research and market knowledge wins the day whether you’re a buyer or seller.

One of the best websites to keep up with the market is www.LeeCountyOnline.com  The database is updated every few minutes.  It not only has all the listings, it also has sold data in our market reports section.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty for professional real estate advice 239-489-4042.  If you’ve got a house to sell, ask for Sande or Brett.  Our team stands by ready to help you buy or sell, and educate you on the market.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Danforth Lakes

9103 Falcon Pointe Loop

4 Bed 3 Bath  $330,000

9013 Falcon Pointe Loop

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Parker Lakes

14811 Crystal Cove Ct Unit 1102

2 Bed 2 Bath lakefront  $225,000

Parker Lakes Condo

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Island Park Village

17813 Port Boca Cir

2 Bed 2 Bath Lakefront  $215,000

Island Park Village Condo

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Olde Hickory

9071 Old Hickory Cir

3 Bed 3 Bath Golf Course View  $360,000

Olde Hickory Golf Course Home

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

As predicted local housing inventory rises heading into season in 2018.  This cycle repeats each year.  One of the things we are tracking is the moment buyers turn on and start gobbling up these properties.  Each year we tell people it takes until about January 15th or so for buyers to turn on.

Local Housing Inventory Rises Heading Into Season
Oct 2, 2017 Market Watch

So far, we haven’t seen it yet.  We just pulled fresh numbers as of January 15th and compared them to October 2nd, another data point we have saved.  We have some from earlier in year as well, and they look similar to October 2nd, so there is nothing magical about that date.

Local Housing Inventory Rises Heading Into Season January 2018
January 15, 2018 Market Watch Data

In each data point, sold and new pending sales are similar to new active listings.  What’s different about now is new listings have been outpacing sold properties about 3 to 1 and new pending sales 1.6 to 1.  At any other time, this would be alarming to see a sudden trend like this.

Because we know the New Year often starts off like this, we’re not sounding alarm bells, or false missile alerts.  We have enough of those lately.  We are telling sellers that have had their home on the market awhile that new listings are coming, so if their home failed to sell before the run-up in new listings, it may face difficult headwinds now. When selling a home, it’s always important to gauge the headwinds, and as we write this the buyers haven’t turned on just yet.

As the season goes, so goes the rest of the year many times.  The fundamentals for Florida are strong as an improving economy, new hiring, pay raises, and lower taxes is a good recipe for the housing market.  Add in the fact that Florida looks good compared to other states with the new tax code and we could see more net migration from other high tax states going forward.

When there are few homes for sale, pricing it correctly and getting it out on the market can sometimes be enough.  When listing inventory begins to rise, pricing becomes more crucial as does marketing.

It’s not enough to just list it on MLS and hope other agents show it.  You must reach the buyer.  The buyer has more choices, and often the buyer tells their Realtor which homes they’d like to see.  This takes increased advertising.

When we target buyers, we use several media.  We use traditional print like the newspaper, yellow pages and mail-outs as they still work.  We also use advanced online techniques to reach buyers.  Online we can identify buyers from up North that are looking to purchase down here in SW Florida.  We can also identify people in Southwest Florida that are interested in purchasing, then serve up ads likely to meet their criteria.

If you only market one way you’re not reaching all the buyers.  Of course, you must have a hefty budget as well to reach as many as possible.  We had a Realtor from Baltimore call us this past week wondering where we got our database of buyers.  He thought perhaps the state of Florida had one we bought into.  I told him no, it’s a large database the Ellis Team has garnered from extensive online and print advertising.

They say if a politician wants to win, they must speak directly to the people.  In real estate, if you really want to sell your home, you must market directly to the buyers.  That’s what our marketing does.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you should call us and see for yourself.  Once you see it, you realize there is no better way to reach your buyer.

If you’re a buyer, you should call us too.  We have access to All the listings, not just the ones you see on certain websites.  You can reach us at 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to see All the listings.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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Keller Williams Realty Fort Myers & the Islands announces that Keller Williams has attained #1 market share in 2017 for Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach.  Both units and $ volume.

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 Ellis Team Seller’s Club January 2018 Update

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!

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