Most of us will be out celebrating the 3 day weekend and that’s a good thing, because who doesn’t deserve a break, right?

Memorial Day originally started as Declaration Day.  Several states lay claim to the first Memorial Day, and there was even dissent as the south refused to celebrate Memorial Day after the civil war.

Modern day Memorial Day represents honoring those that have served our country.  It’s always sad when some people refuse to honor certain veterans because they disagreed with a conflict or war.  We owe our freedom to veterans.  Our veterans didn’t get a chance to select which conflict or which war they would serve in.  They just served, for us, for the United States of America, just because.  They didn’t ask questions.  Nobody would listen if they did.

I know it’s not Veteran’s Day, but if you see a Veteran, thank them.  They may still be with us, and sadly many are not.   Many of these veterans mourn the loss of people they fought with.  They carry these scars for the rest of their life, and we owe them gratitude for our freedom.

We do hope you have fun too this weekend.  What better way to honor someone than having fun times with friends or family while we remember.  Take this weekend as an opportunity to build memories of some sort.

Memorial Day 2017

Many clients we talk with are in the midst of making decisions about life.  “Do we sell now or later?  The price isn’t quite where we’d hope for it to be just yet.”  Many conclude that they’re not going to wait on life anymore, they’re choosing to be happy now.

Waiting for the market to increase another $20,000 makes the pocketbook feel better, but the next place might go up in value too.  And what about lost time?  Some sellers want to accomplish something in life while they’re still healthy.  Nobody knows what the future brings, so many are choosing to go for it now while they can.

We don’t know if the market will continue to rise.  It’d be a shame waiting for the market to go up $20,000 only to watch it go down.  It’d be a shame to have a medical event in the future and look back with regret that we didn’t do something while we could have.  That $20,000 won’t seem so important later when you can’t do it anymore.

Whether you’re contemplating a big decision like buying or selling a home, or a fun decision like where to travel to or what to BBQ this weekend, use this weekend as a chance to live without regrets.  Make some memories.  Sometimes people get into a rut and let life just happen to them.  Go out and make life happen.  Live without regrets.

We can’t change the past.  All we can do is live in the present and plan for the future.  The Ellis Team can help you with your real estate dreams.  We might even have a good grilling recipe for you too.  It is our sincere hope that you go out this weekend and do something fun with the ones you love.  If you can’t be with them, call them.  Sometimes a simple call can make somebody’s day.

We all get bogged down in email that sometimes we forget that personal touch is what people need.  Perhaps shoot a video and send it to someone, or stop by an old friend and say HI.

If you’d like to search for homes for sale, the best place is www.LeeCountyOnline.com  If you’d like to talk to the Ellis Team about real estate the best number is 239-489-4042

Whatever your idea of fun is, we hope you do it this weekend and make those memories.  Post a photo or share your happy comments on our Facebook page www.Facebook.com/Ellisteam

Good luck and Happy Memorial Day 2017 from the Ellis Team!

One common belief among home sellers is that all Realtors do pretty much the same thing.  Sometimes we even get the question, “Are all Realtors the same?”  They put a sign in the yard, place it in MLS, and pray someone else sells it.

Are All Realtors the Same

I can understand why the public is confused.  They don’t see what really goes on in a real estate transaction, so how could they possibly know?  Years ago, the broker made all advertising decisions.  With the advent of higher splits to agents, brokers have less money to call the shots now.  They can’t deliver all the benefits they used to and still pay the agents top splits.

This fact began the decline in advertising.  Top splits should have gone to the highest producing agents, who would then take that money and re-invest into advertising.  Unfortunately, the high splits now go to anybody who can fog a mirror.

One might assume if an agent was receiving a higher split they’d have money to advertise, and that would be wrong!  The average agent sells than 1 home per year.  Even if they sell a home or two they don’t have money left over to advertise.

If they did have money to advertise, they wouldn’t know what’s effective.  We hear agents all the time say this doesn’t work and that doesn’t work.  The truth is, it doesn’t work the way they are doing it.  If you’re going to advertise, it pays to go big!

A $200 online budget will get you nowhere.  A small print ad with too much info crammed in will not produce.  Agents try these things and get no results, then they honestly say we tried that and it doesn’t work.

You’ve heard the term Go Big or Go Home.  It’s true in advertising.  The Ellis Team (230-489-4042) has always gone big.  Sure, we evaluate what’s working and what’s not all the time.  The point is, if you want results for your sellers, you must step up.  They are placing their trust in you.

There is a reason our listings sell faster and for more money.  It’s because we advertise.  We take pride in the fact that sellers net more using our services than they would on their own without paying a commission.  We expose their home to more people than they can, which results in higher prices and faster sales.

Agents wonder why buyers or sellers ask for part of the commission back.  In other markets, there are a few companies that have started doing that.  If an agent isn’t willing to go big and reinvest into marketing why not?  They’re not fully exposing the home and bringing top dollar.

Personally, I don’t think an agent should give back.  Agents earn it.  I do think some agents are worth more than others.  I think sellers should ask more questions about marketing and advertising so they better understand what they’re paying for.  Most agents give standard answers like the home will be advertised online and on a hundred websites, etc.

Are All Realtors the Same?

The truth is, many agents can’t answer the question because they don’t know.  When you interview an agent who understands and utilizes marketing and compare that to the agents who don’t, you begin to get an understanding what the differences are.  As a consumer, you might even learn more about home marketing than a lot of agents.

Agents are only taught how to pass the real estate exam, not how to effectively sell a home.  This knowledge must be obtained other ways, and it requires capital to invest in advertising.  Typical agents come into this business because of the low start-up costs but they don’t have the knowledge, expertise, or money to implement a plan, so they rely on the broker.  The broker isn’t much interested because they’ve given the splits to the agent to attract them to their company in hopes they turn out one day to be a high producing agent and stick with their company.  Don’t let the broker’s issue become your issue.  Hire a marketing pro.

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042 or search the MLS at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Find out How Much Your Home is Worth Online for Free

There’s an old saying in real estate that says if your home is priced over the market then it’s not really on the market.  Essentially an overpriced listing is invisible to the buyer because it’s attracting the wrong prospects.  These are called invisible listings.

The correct prospects never see it on their radar because they search up to a certain point and cutoff anything over that.  The prospect that can afford the overpriced home is looking at other homes as well, and they quickly see other homes offer more value.  Perhaps it’s more size, better location, better condition, more amenities, etc. Overpriced listings miss the market both ways, and therefore they linger on the market.

Periodically we publish the local market’s month supply of inventory by price range.  We decided to take the monthly supply of homes in each category and consider how many homes are currently on the market in that category that exceeds the average monthly supply.

Invisible Listings Southwest Florida Real Estate market

When a home doesn’t sell it’s either overpriced or not marketed correctly.  Many times, it’s both.  If you have a home worth more than $ 1 Million we know there is a 22.58-month supply of homes on the market.  When you list a home you should ask yourself, when would I like to move?  If the answer is less than 22 months, you’d better price it and market it effectively.

The good news is only 8.3% of the homes over $ 1 Million are invisible.  The overall Lee County single family home market is 15.4% invisible.  This tells us that 15.4% of the home sellers have overpriced their homes such that they’re probably not going to sell unless the owner takes action.  They will expire.

Putting your home on the market is not a fun experience.  You have strangers coming through your home when they want and you must keep the home in show condition all the time.  Nobody would want to go through that experience unless they were serious about selling.  And yet, some are not serious because they overprice their home and it’s invisible.

When you list your home you not only want it visible, you want it to stand out.  Therefore marketing and pricing is critical.  The seller controls the price.  The market determines the value.  Not all Realtors market the same.  Some market very little while others do much more, and a select few market a lot.

Some Realtors don’t believe marketing sells homes and only price sells homes.  That’s simply not true.  If you were in the market for a new car I can guarantee you there are a few dealerships you’ve heard of.  Why?  Because they market and it works.  If you could buy a new car and get a TV or a cruise would you take it?  Only if you knew about it.  If you liked that brand and the value was there, you’d at least consider it, because their marketing works.

The same is true in real estate.  It’s not enough to have the lowest price and pray that’s enough to sell your home.  The world needs to know about it, and listing it in MLS isn’t enough.  Sure, listing in MLS can get your home on some websites, but it’s not promoting your home.  This is where Realtors who understand marketing stand out.  Besides, not every seller wants to give their home away just to sell it.

We believe you should receive fair market value.  To get that, you need marketing.  To expect more than fair market value insures it will not sell.  If we listed a home worth $300k and marketed it at $600k no amount of money spent on marketing would sell it.  To get full market value requires correct pricing and full-blown marketing.

If you have a home to sell, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams. 239-489-4042  We’ll help you get Top Dollar and make your home visible, and stand out. You can also visit our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search for homes.  We look forward to meeting you!

See also Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises as Sales Grow in March

Check back for our Weekend  Open House List-Coming Soon

Is it possible to have rising real estate sales at the same time as rising inventory levels?  Obviously, it is possible as Southwest Florida real estate inventory rises as sales grow in March.

Most people equate rising inventory levels to lower sales which is usually what leads to the rising levels in the first place.  However, in years past I can think of a few scenarios where this absolutely wasn’t true.

I remember back in the late 80’s and early 90’s talking about a subdivision called Eagle Ridge.  Back then we had discussions that every 3rd home in there was on the market.  Sales weren’t frequent enough to work down that inventory so it stayed relatively constant back then at every 3 houses on the market.

Fast forward to years later and there were very few sales and almost no homes on the market.  When one did come on the market buyers would ask if it was a tough neighborhood to sell in because there were no sales.  The reason there were no sales prior to that is because there was no inventory to sell.  Had there been inventory we would have sold them all.

This is an example of one subdivision at two points in time.  It had few sales, for very different reasons.  One was because of too much inventory and one was because of too little inventory.  You can’t always read too much into inventory levels.  This metric must be considered in perspective.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises

In March inventory levels grew to 6,100, a 5.1% increase over last year.  Month’s supply of inventory grew to 5.7 months, which was a 5.6% increase over March 2016.  We don’t get too excited about any one month numbers.  We like to look at market trends.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises Months Supply

As you can tell from last week’s article, sales were up 18.1% in March and average sales prices were up 19.1%  The Southwest Florida real estate market is strong if the seller has priced the property correctly and it is marketed to the buyer.

Today’s sellers want top dollar.  Today’s buyers just want to buy a home and pay fair market value.  These are not mutually exclusive.  We’ve been selling homes at full price in many cases.  The buyer is happy to land a nice home and the seller is happy because they got more money than their neighbors.

So why is it that some sellers get top dollar and some do not?  We believe it’s a combination of things.  Price, condition, and market exposure.  If an agent tells you that marketing doesn’t sell homes, you should call us.  Marketing absolutely sells homes.  It sells cars, homes, and everything else.  There is a reason a certain auto dealer sells more cars than anybody else.  It’s because he advertises more.

Marketing Works

There’s a reason our team sells homes for top dollar.  It’s not because we price them lower.  We price our homes for all they’re worth.  The reason our sellers receive more in their pocket at closing is because we expose their home to more people with more frequency than other agents.

You’re reading this article right now.  Perhaps you see our weekly newspaper ad, or our online ads.  Quite possibly you watch our videos, tour our 360 degree home tours, or receive targeted ads for a specific property we’re marketing.  Chances are you see our ads and you don’t even realize you’ve been targeted.

When we list a property, we don’t just sit back and wait for agents in the MLS to hopefully bring a buyer.  We don’t give your property away.  If we guaranteed a sale simply because you were priced under the market, we wouldn’t be getting you top dollar, would we?

Anybody can give a house away.  That’s not selling, that’s taking the low hanging fruit.  If you have a property to sell, always call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042  Ask for Sande or Brett.  We’ll show you what full market exposure looks like and help you get Top Dollar.  We’re your Top Dollar Realtors.

Feel free to search the MLS for free or research the market at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Saturday 1-4 PM

Kelley Greens Golf Community

12781 Kelly Sands Way

If you read this article regularly you’ll know that January and February real estate sales numbers in SW Florida were ho-hum in terms of sales counts and prices.  In March, that all changed.  Agents wait for official numbers to be released around the 23rd-26th of each month, however we had some early indications things were going to be good even before that.  We are pleased to announce that Southwest Florida March real estate sales numbers rebound nicely.

One of the things we love about our current real estate company is that they are fully transparent with their numbers.  They must be because they profit share out to the agents.  As such, we get early numbers which is useful information.

Southwest Florida March Real Estate Sales Numbers Rebound Nicely

I noticed our profit share check was larger than month’s past, so I looked at our internal numbers.  Because we market properties for our clients, I like to compare our numbers versus the rest of the MLS to see how we’re doing.  In real estate, we don’t control the market.  The market could be good, bad, or sideways and either way agents need to sell their clients properties.  If an agent wants to increase their volume in a down market, they’ll need to go steal some market share from somebody else.  You can’t properly evaluate your numbers if you don’t know what they are.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market numbers Southwest Florida March Real Estate Sales Numbers Rebound Nicely

So, here’s what we know.  The local board sales were up 18.1% from last year.  Our office was up 96.6%.  Median sales price was up 13.3% in March and average sales price was up 19.1%  This leads to dollar volume, a metric we’ve been talking a lot about lately.  It measures the overall health of the market.  Simply, if you multiply average sales price by number of units you’ll get the total dollar volume.  When both numbers are up, you know you’re going to have an increase over the past year.  It’s simple math.  Board dollar volume was up 40.6%. That’s a fantastic number.

Our office volume was up 101.3% for the same period.  Our agents killed it!  It’s important to track numbers because sometimes as humans we get lost in success.  For instance, let’s say your office was up 20% in sales over last year.  You might say wow, we’re doing everything right.  When you later learn, the board was up over 40% that number doesn’t seem so good.

On Wall Street investors would hammer a company that isn’t keeping up with the market.  Agents should never measure the market’s success by their own.  Often sellers will ask an agent how the market is.  Many agents don’t know.  Perhaps they personally had a good month last month so they say the market is on fire, when in reality the market may be down.  Clients deserve to know what’s really going on, not how the agent feels right now based upon personal production.

Southwest Florida March Real Estate Sales Numbers Rebound Nicely

It’s important to track overall market statistics.  Only then can you best guide a seller.  It’s also important to track your own numbers.  How will you know if your marketing is working if you don’t track?  How will you know if you’re pricing properties correctly?

Perhaps an agent out there is advertising somewhere that is producing results. Possibly there is a new technology driving sales you should be aware of.  Perhaps it’s just old-fashioned hard work, education, and proper pricing that’s working for an agent.

The point is, agents should always be studying what’s working and what’s not.  Eliminate the things that don’t work and do more of the things that do.  Just because you’re having a good month don’t assume it’s good enough.  If you’re having a bad month, don’t assume everybody else is.  Assume nothing.

Study the market.  Look at your company profit share checks.  If your company isn’t profitable, what could you do to change that? We owe it to our buyers and sellers to explain what’s really going on in the market so they can make good decisions.  Study how your company is doing against the market so you can explain your value proposition to them.  Clients want to know.  They need to know.

Feel free to call us at 239-489-4042 or Search the Southwest Florida MLS   We’ll get your home sold fast or help you buy a new one.  Put our marketing to work for you!

Not a day goes by that we don’t receive a call or talk to someone who’s frustrated by the rental situation in SW Florida.  Renter frustration mounting for several reasons.

Rents are sky high in SW Florida.  Many times, it’s less expensive to buy than to rent.  When you add back potential appreciation along with principal reduction, many renters realize they’re just throwing good money down the drain.

Renter Frustration Mounting

This past week was Uncle Sam day.  Renters miss out on nice tax deductions too on interest, and this time of year it bothers them.

The renter has no control over their home.  Many times, the owner decides to raise the rent, move back in, allow a family member to move back in, or sell the home.  This displaces the renter.  It’s not a fun place to be in when you can’t plan where you’ll be living next year.

Rental inventory is hard to find.  Your best bet is to call the agent who has the inventory, but how do you do that?  You can call an agent who has access to MLS.  Here’s the problem.  Many rentals are listed on MLS, but the compensation to an agent might be $50-$100.  That’s hardly worth an agent’s time and gas running a prospective tenant around town looking for a rental.  Add in the fact the tenant may not pass the landlord’s background check, credit report, or pet restrictions and you’ve got the potential for showing many more days.  Agents have bills to pay too and simply can’t work for free, or less.  These force renters to work with the listing agent of the rental.

Scams are rampant in Florida.  Many times, a tenant thinks they’re talking to the owner and they’re not.  It could be a scam.  If the rent seems like a great deal it might be a scam.  If they tell you to just drive by and send money to hold the unit if you like it, it’s probably a scam.

Renter Frustration Mounting

So what should a tenant do?  First, working with an agent to rent a property is probably safest.  If they are licensed and working for a broker there are some extra protections for you.

Check out large apartment complexes.  You may not like them, however there is little risk the owner will decide to sell next year.  They may jack your rent, but at least you can stay where you are if stability is important to you.

Check out your credit.  Good lenders can get you in touch with people who can help get derogatory credit off your report.  Late payments on credit cards and past due medical bills hurt the most but they don’t have to.  If you can get these cleaned off your report, you may be able to buy a house sooner than you think.  It all starts with a little planning.

We work with lenders who can help.  Buyers are simply amazed what can be done for them and they’re so grateful when we get them into a home they can call home.  They don’t have to worry about where they’ll be living next year.  Statistics show people who own their own home end up with a lot more financial freedom than those who rent.  Stop making your landlord rich.

The Right Lender

Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-489-4042.  We’ll put you in touch with a lender that can either approve you or help you improve your credit.  Feel free to search the MLS www.LeeCountyOnline.com  You might find some homes that interest you.

We received a call this past week from an older couple who’s being displaced.  They want to find their forever rental.  Unfortunately, nobody can guarantee that.  We know they’re tired of moving and just want to rent one place.

Let us help.  Perhaps you can buy today.  If not, get help working on that credit.  Even if you never buy a home, better credit will lower the cost of borrowing on cars, credit cards, etc.  There’s no reason not to look into it.

Good luck and happy searching!

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Posted by Ellis Team – Keller Williams Realty Fort Myers & The Islands on Monday, February 23, 2015

There are several indicators to judge the real estate market in SW Florida.  A few of the things we look at are Inventory levels, pending sales, closed sales, and price changes. Real estate inventory levels grow in SW Florida.

Real Estate Inventory Levels Grow in SW Florida

A neutral market is considered to be 5.5 months.  When we last calculated month’s supply of inventory back in December 2016 the overall market supply for single family homes was 5.65 months.  That number has grown to 6.29 months.  That’s still a healthy number, however it is growing.  This could be an indication of a shifting market.

Market shifts are entirely normal.  They are as guaranteed as the weather changing, so it’s nothing agents fret about one way or the other.  Experienced agents are accustomed to dealing in shifting markets.  The way you market and sell does change as the market changes.  In fact, just last September the average supply was 5.07 months.  We warned months ago we’d be keeping an eye on these numbers to see if the trend continues.

Real Estate Inventory Levels Grow in SW Florida

Since September we’ve seen an increase of more than 1 month supply of homes on the market.  Because this index includes active listings plus pending sales with contingencies, we won’t get too excited because we have many pending from season that may close and help bring these numbers up.

So, what’s the take-away from these numbers?  Sellers have increased competition from other sellers.  The buyer is not your enemy.  Other sellers are.  Increasing inventory supply puts a damper on price increases.  At some point, it can stall price gains altogether.

It also pays to know where your home stands in the food chain.  For those that have a million dollar plus home, you realize there is almost a year and a half supply of competing homes on the market.  If your motivation is to sell, you have to price your home to best compete against all those other homes.

If you have a home in the $300,000-$400,000 range, you too need to watch the market as your price range is above the average.  Homes, $300,000 or less, are doing better than the overall market as there are more buyers fighting to purchase these homes.  Not everyone qualifies for the higher priced homes.

When bringing a home to the market you must ask yourself, what is your motivation?  Where are you going when you sell, and when would you like to accomplish this?  Look up your home’s price in the chart and evaluate it objectively.  Pretend you’re a buyer.  Would you buy your home right now for the price you’re asking?

Hire the Best Agent

If you don’t like the category your home is in, it’s imperative that you hire the best agent who has experience working in a shifting market, and brings serious marketing for your home.  The more buyers who are exposed to your home, the more your home will fetch at the sale.  In some cases, it may be the difference of selling at all.

The other thing you must do is price it correctly.  Your number can’t be what you’d like to get, or what you need to get.  It has to be what the market will bear.  The market has no sympathy.  It doesn’t care if your home is your retirement nest egg, or you owe a lot on it.  The market sizes up all the homes for sale and ranks each one.  The home’s that show the most value relative to their price sell.  Even if a home is super nice, if it is overpriced relative to its value, it will sit.

Think of a pro football player.  A team only has so much money to spend.  They have a budget.  If there is an all-pro quarterback available in the free agent market whose value is $10 Million per year, but he wants $30 Million because he’s special will a team pay it?  Probably not if they can get another all-pro quarterback in the $10 Million dollar range.  They’ll save that $20 Million and spend it on other players they need to fill out the team.  Tony Romo just retired because his value dropped.  He wants top money and while teams would love to have him as a backup, he’s not the franchise player anymore.  It’s sad, but it’s reality.

It doesn’t matter how nice a home is or what it has in it.  If you overprice it relative to the market, it won’t sell.  You can search the MLS like a pro for free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com Please call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042.  We’ll help you price it fairly, and market it aggressively.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Sunday 1-4 PM

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts Gulf Access Waterfront Pool Home
Gulf Access Waterfront Home

1516 SW 43rd St Cape Coral

Pool Home

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

$560,000

April 4, 2017 marks a big day in the real estate industry and we hope brokers, agents, buyers, and sellers are up on the changes.  There are big changes to real estate sales contracts, notably the financing clause that will change the way contracts are negotiated and processed.

Big Changes Coming to Real Estate Sales Contracts

In the past, most finance contingency contracts had a clause that said buyer had a certain number of days to obtain a loan commitment.  Lenders rarely use the commitment word any more, so it was changed to loan approval.

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts

Something else changed as well.  The buyer now has 30 days standard to obtain financing.  If they do not obtain it, they should notify seller or seller’s agent in writing because seller can cancel the contract.  If buyer fails to request an extension or terminate the contract, it is assumed they have loan approval and their escrow deposit could be in jeopardy.  I am writing this article prior to the April 4th unveiling, so we haven’t seen the entire clause yet.  There has been a flurry of activity on Realtor websites informing agents of the upcoming changes, so hopefully agents are aware.

We are not attorneys and we are certainly not giving legal advice.  Readers should be aware that there are big changes to real estate sales contracts in Florida and pay attention to timelines.

The agent you choose to work with as a buyer or seller will become even more important than it has in the past.  Not only will your agent need to be aware of these changes, they’ll also need to have systems and assistants to track and monitor timelines, and communicate with your lender.  A buyer can put themselves in legal jeopardy by simply not adhering to deadlines or communicating in writing as to the progress of the loan.

Hire a Full-Time Agent

Hiring a full-time agent is more necessary now than ever.  Part-time agents cannot keep up on market changes and inventory, nor have the skill, expertise, experience, and systems to keep up with contract changes that can place your escrow deposit in harm’s way.  We suggest you take a hard look at the agent you’re going to work with and ask questions about their knowledge of these contract changes and what systems they have in place.

Keep in mind, ultimately, it’s your responsibility.  You’re the buyer.  It’s your money.  You could lose the house and/or your escrow deposit by failing to timely communicate the process of your loan.

This may affect buyers in other ways too.  Let’s say a seller finds a buyer willing to pay more for the home.  The seller does not have to extend the financing clause if the buyer cannot obtain in the specified days.  If the seller has received no notification at all, the seller can cancel the contract within a 3-day window period after the buyer’s Loan Approval period has expired.

The seller seems to have picked up some rights and the buyer now has more responsibility to notify the seller about the loan process.  This places more responsibility on the lender you choose because now timelines are more important than ever.

Choose the Right Lender

Our team works with several lenders.  We work with lenders who not only offer great rates but also are known for service and meeting timeline commitments.  Interviewing lenders and evaluating their performance reputation will now be more important than ever.  Each buyer’s situation is different. Talk with a lender who has experience with the type of loan you’re going for and a track record of working with buyers with similar income and circumstances as yours.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in SW Florida, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  Knowledge and experience matters more than ever and we can refer you to lenders who can get the job done.  If you’re a seller, it pays to work with an agent who understands the market, has the muscle to market your home, and can help you evaluate which buyer’s offer is the best one to take.  You don’t have to accept an offer simply because it’s the only one you’ve got. Don’t forget our Free MLS search site www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Call us 239-489-4042 and let’s talk.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Sunday 1-4 PM

Big Changes to Real Estate Sales Contracts Gulf Access Waterfront Pool Home
Gulf Access Waterfront Home

1516 SW 43rd St Cape Coral

Pool Home

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

$560,000

SW Florida real estate agents were expecting big numbers this real estate season, and so far, we’ve seen SW Florida home sales flat this season.  The real key going forward will be March and April numbers when they are released over the next two months.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season

We have a crystal ball that tells us how sales numbers might come in.  Pending listings leads to closed sales.  While not all pending sales close, we can generally track future closings by the level of pendings.

Pending inventory is down 5%, so it’s logical to believe that we won’t see a major increase in future closings unless many more homes go pending at the end of March.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season Summary

Inventory levels have risen 6.1% from last year and month’s supply of inventory has risen 11.1%  While SW Florida is a large and diverse market, overall this tells us the market has cooled a bit as inventory is growing with fewer pending home sales.

We can’t judge a book by its cover.  The cover may say we have a healthy, slightly cooling market, and that’s OK.  This book however has many chapters, and each chapter tells a different story.  Collectively all the chapters combined give us the overall figures.

Homes priced below $300,000 are on fire, and even many homes priced higher are receiving multiple offers.  We have a good market and demand from buyers.  Prices have risen steadily in recent years and there is a cap to this.

Home sellers many times price ahead of the market.  In a rising market, each new seller prices just higher than the last sold and it seems to work, until one day it doesn’t.  This tells us either the market is taking a pause, or the market has capped relative to the income typical buyers have to qualify for that bracket of home.

Rising rates also influence home affordability and can cap prices.  We’ve seen a few rate hikes by the Fed with more coming.  On balance, we have a healthy market and I like where we’re sitting.

SW Florida Home Sales Flat This Season

As in any market, it’s imperative to price your home where the buyers are.  In a shifting market advertising and marketing plays a larger role as well.  Full market exposure brings the highest possible price, so don’t settle for inexpensive or non-existent advertising.

If the agent you interview tells you advertising doesn’t sell homes, it’s probably because they don’t advertise homes much.  Perhaps they prefer to advertise their public image, or perhaps they just don’t have the budget to market listings.  In any event, it pays to interview agents that do advertise so you get full market exposure.

We’d be happy to sit down with you and cover all the ways we advertise homes.  You’d probably be surprised at the difference, and this might explain why certain agent’s homes sell faster and for more money than others.

If you’re a buyer, we can help too.  Our market knowledge and monthly market statistics help you make the best decision possible.  When competing in multiple offer situations you need an agent that knows how to help your offer compete.  If the chapter you’re looking in happens to be a cooling market, you don’t need to stretch too much and overpay.  Let a seasoned professional from the Ellis Team help you.

You can search the MLS like a pro.  Our database is updated every 5 minutes and contains the latest listings, price changes, and information you need to compete.  If you’re a seller, you should check it out too.

Always Call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042 and ask how we can make your dreams become reality.  It pays to work with professionals that know the market.  If you think working with a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Open House

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

15047 Balmoral Loop

Gated Community

3 Bed 2 Bath Pool Home

$317,000

Rising mortgage rates motivates home buyers in position to buy to do so sooner rather than later.  In a rising rate environment like we are in right now, It costs home buyers in two ways.

First, their purchasing power goes down about 10-11%.  Let’s say a buyer picks out a home at their max budget of $1294/mo.  This is the figure their lender approved them for based upon their income of $51,765  Not long ago rates were at 3.625%  Today they are at 4.25% and according to Ruben Gonzalez, staff economist at Keller Williams, rates should gradually increase throughout 2017.

Rising Mortgage Rates Motivates Home Buyers

If they go up another .4% or so, we’ll have had a 1% increase in a relatively short period of time.  Nothing has changed for the buyer.  If they were maxed out for a home at $200,000 a few months ago, they are now maxed out at $180,000.  Their job didn’t change.  Their finances didn’t change.  The only thing the changed was interest rates, so they just lost 10% purchasing power by waiting.

Rising Mortgage Rates Motivates Home Buyers

If the selection of homes didn’t look enticing at $200,000, it will look even worse at $180,000.  Waiting may have just cost this buyer a chance to buy a home at all.

Secondly, if this buyer was not maxed out at $200,000, buying the same home will now cost about $50 more per month.  Over 30 years that equates to $18,000 in extra interest payments simply because rates went up.

Rates are still historically low.  Many people remember back to double digit rates or even worse.  To think that we’re even warning people about rates in the 4’s is comical, except for the fact that it’s real money.  Home prices are much more today than they were when rates were in the high teens.  So many things cost much more today, like gas, health care, groceries, etc. than they did decades ago.  Even though rates are low by historical standards, we now have to stretch that money further because everything else has gone up so much.

It’s hard for young people to scrimp and save money for a down payment.  Add in homeowner’s insurance, rising rates, and high costs of everything, and we see the pressure on first-time homebuyers today.  First-time home buyers are a springboard to move-up buyers, so if we eliminate first-timers we one day won’t have move up buyers.

Don’t think that rising rates only affect first-timers.  It affects all segments of the market.  It may help cash buyers in that rising rates pay greater returns on savings, but it still affects all price ranges as it trickles up sooner or later.

If you’re a seller, you’ll notice someday there are less buyers for your home than there once was simply because less qualify at the higher rates.  Less buyers can be a drag on home prices.  If rates keep rising it could take some steam out of the housing market.  If you’re waiting for higher prices later, you may be sorely disappointed if they don’t rise at the pace you’re expecting.

Many sellers replace their current home with another home, and if they’re getting a new mortgage on that home they may be in for some sticker shock when they get that new loan.  It can cost you buying your next home, and selling your existing home.  Rising rates are no fun for buyers or sellers.  Low rates are one of the factors that have propelled the real estate market.

We feel the SW Florida real estate market is fairly valued.  We don’t see risk of decline like we had back in 2005.  However, rising rates may damper future gains.  Even though wages may increase, rising rates may offset those gains and help keep prices steady instead of rapidly rising.  In other words, if you’re waiting to make a move, be warned.  Whether you’re a buyer or seller, the risks are the same.  It will cost you to wait!

Feel free to search the MLS like a pro at www.Leecountyonline.com for your next home, or just get an idea of what homes are selling for.  To talk with a real Pro, Always call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042  We’ll advise you so you can make a great decision for your family.