Unbelievable changes are coming.  I remember having a conversation the other day.  I told my wife that our kids would freak out if we told them we didn’t have Internet growing up as kids.  The Internet today just seems fundamental, and certainly to a Millennial, they wouldn’t understand the concept of its absence.  Just as the Internet changed our lives, so too will artificial intelligence.  Artificial intelligence will change real estate shopping and everything else too.

Artificial Intelligence Will Change Real Estate Shopping

I just watched a live video whereby you take out your smartphone and open the camera.  In your screen is a lamp.  Your phone will show you other accessories that match that style, so you could shop for and put together a room that matches.  I watched another video where the camera showed a woman in an outfit.  Artificial intelligence scanned billions of images and within a second pulled up where you could buy that outfit, along with other similar outfits, and prices.

So, imagine walking down the street and noticing a home that looks good to you.  It’s not for sale, but you like the look.  Your phone could instantly find other homes on the market right now that look just like the one you love, show you the price, and even setup a showing appointment to see it.  Sound futuristic?  Perhaps, but it is coming.

Keller Williams has already been working on this for its agents.  Currently I can ask our artificial assistant Kelle many things, and instantly she will give me results that used to take hours.  Let’s say I have a client moving to Bowling Green, KY.  I whip out my phone and tell Kelle, “show me Bowling Green agents with the CRS designation.”  Kelle spits out agents with their CRS designation.  There is a ton of activities I can ask Kelle to do while I’m in the field and Kelle only gets smarter.  As we ask her to do things, she learns and becomes capable of more.

Google held its I/O conference this week and announced some amazing things.  Companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc are all working on artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence offers the ability to ask, scan, analyze, and deliver billions of pieces of information instantly.  Our military is scanning and analyzing photos on video and delivering results with over 90% accuracy.  It used to take people days and months to scour video.  Now our defense department can search for and do things in minutes.

Our company is working on analyzing photos in MLS.  Let’s say you like a certain kind of counter-top, or a certain color cabinet.  We’ll be able to ask, show me all kitchens with Black Quartz priced below $450,000.  Having the ability to scan photos and deliver results would save an agent or consumer many hours perusing photos of listings.

We use big data to search for buyers for our listings.  When we list a home, we serve up ads on that home to consumers that match certain criteria.  For instance, we just listed a nice 4-bedroom pool home in Belle Lago.  We’ll be holding it open this Saturday from 1-3 PM.  We’ll serve up online ads for buyers looking to purchase in the Estero area.  Big data allows us to target specific buyers.  It helps us sell homes faster and for more money for our clients.

Big data is great, but artificial intelligence is what will tie it together.  The pentagon can have all the videos it wants, but what good is it when it sits in a vault and is too big to work with?  The same is true for real estate.  Being able to ask and analyze data is key.  Many sellers interview agents and ask which one can save them 1%.  The real question should be, which agent can sell my home for 3% more and 20% faster.  Saving 1% doesn’t save anything if they sell it for less and take longer.

If you want to search the MLS like a pro go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com.

If you’re thinking of selling, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 and find out how Today’s systems just might help sell your home faster, and for more money.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Belle Lago

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

19790 Maddelena Cir

Daniels Park

Open Saturday 1-4 PM

14077 Danpark Loop

 

Official sales numbers are out, and Southwest Florida housing median home prices rose 2% past year.  March 2018 median home price came in at $260,000, up from $255,000 last year.  All year we’ve been saying home prices have been flat since about June, so this was a nice rise albeit a moderate rise.  Average home prices were up 4.1% to $375,895, up from $361,082 last year.

Southwest Florida Median Home Prices Rose 2% Past Year

The number of home sales were down 2.7% in March versus last year.  So, what is the takeaway from these numbers?  Statistically we have a balanced market neither favoring the buyer or the seller.  Of course, certain price ranges and neighborhoods can vary.  These are what we call sub-markets.

All real estate is local.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in Pittsburgh PA, Peoria IL, or, Cleveland OH.  What’s true in one market can be different in another.  What’s true in one market can be different in a sub-market of that same market.  Therefore, it’s important to work with a seasoned Realtor with experience in the market you’re looking.  While I believe the Ellis Team are some of the best agents around, we wouldn’t be in another town like Pensacola or Jacksonville.  Sure, we’re licensed Florida agents and can serve you anywhere in Florida, but is that wise?

By the same token, national websites cannot help you like a good local one can.  www.LeeCountyOnline.com is the best local SW Florida real estate website for several reasons.  It has all the listings, and it’s updated instantly.  Other large national websites don’t have all the listings, and many of the listings they do have offer incomplete or inaccurate data.  We’ve had calls on our own listing and the condo or HOA fee is completely wrong on the national sites.  It’s correct on our website.

We’ve had calls on a property that wasn’t on the market from one of the national sites.  Turns out the property sold three times since the listing they found.  We have no idea how they could have a listing from a decade ago on their site.  You’d think they’d at least get the last listing, not three before it.

Selecting the wrong agent to work with you can be a costly mistake.  Sometimes people choose to work with a friend or relative to purchase a home.  When you find out you bought the wrong home, or paid too much for it, it can be frustrating.  Or worse, when you lose the home over an inspection issue that could have been handled with a little experience and know-how.  There’s no substitute for hard work, and experience.

Choosing the right lender is important too.  Some lenders have high fees, while others are notorious for rigid underwriting requirements and not getting loans closed.  Experienced Realtors know which lenders perform what they say, on time, and where the best rates are.  Did you know most lenders have extra requirements they place on buyers?  They’re called overlays.  We work with lenders that offer little or no overlays, so the buyer can be approved almost instantly.  Buyers hate all the documentation and hoops banks make you jump through just to get a loan.

Insurance is another big issue.  A large homeowner’s or flood premium increases your monthly payment.  This can alter how much home you can afford.  Remember, you’re approved for a total payment amount.  Why let insurance eat away at your purchasing power?  We know a few good insurance agents we keep in our pocket.  It helps our buyers beat out other buyers to the best properties.

Between having the most accurate and timely information, getting the loan the easy way, and best prices on insurance, we turn the home buying process into fun!  This way you can concentrate on shopping for a home which is the fun part.  We’ll handle all the other details, so you can get your loan, save money, and enjoy that great house you just found.  And you’ll be smiling because you got it and the other buyers didn’t.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Belle Lago 4 Bed 3 Bath Pool Home

Belle Lago  19790 Maddelena Cir

Daniels Park Home Open Saturday 1-4 PM

Coming Soon

 

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

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

Southwest Florida housing supply declines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Whiskey Creek Open Saturday 1-3 PM

1455 Claret Ct

Reflection Lakes Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

South Pointe South Open Sunday 1-3 PM

9721 Deerfoot Dr 3 Bed 2 Bath Home

9721 Deerfoot Dr

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Reflection Lakes – Open Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

14016 Shimmering Lakes Ct

Colony Lakes – Open Sunday 1-3 PM

16804 Colony Lakes Blvd

Lately you’ve probably heard a lot of news and buzz surrounding Facebook and other online companies and their use of private data.  Specifically, your private data.  Let’s talk about your online digital footprint and how social media marketing privacy concerns affects you.

Social Media Marketing Privacy Concerns

When a person goes online they are tracked, both by what they search for on sites like Google and Bing along with what they do on other sites.  You’ve probably shopped online for an item and later seen ads for that product.  Recently I did a search for hotels in Key West.  Not long after I started seeing hotel ads for Key West online, and one caught my eye and made me check it out.  This is called search targeting and re-search targeting.  I didn’t mind because it was something I was interested in.

The Ellis Team uses targeted marketing online for two reasons.  It provides a better experience for consumers and serves up ads you’re interested in.  If they must serve up ads, I’d at least like them to be about things I’m interested in.  Secondly, it helps us target potential buyers for our listings.  The buyers love it because they sign up on our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It is a voluntary choice and they choose to do so.  This tells us they appreciated the online ad and it was timely for them and pertinent.

What is not OK is what happened with 3rd party companies at Facebook.  They allowed 3rd party companies to take information from your profile, like your birth date, hometown, age, etc.  Later on we may find that some companies received your email address, phone number, etc.  As a consumer, I don’t mind if they serve up relevant ads I’m interested in.  But please don’t sell my private information to 3rd party companies who could use that to track much more.

The Ellis Team uses Google, Bing, Facebook, and others to serve up ads of interest.  We do not receive any information on these people.  Facebook for instance creates audiences.  We can target specific audiences.  For instance, if we list a home on a golf course community with mandatory golf fees, we can target golfers.  Now if Facebook sold us users names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. that to me would be an invasion of privacy.  I’m guessing 99% of what Facebook did was for legitimate purposes.

It’s that 1% we’re hearing about that concerns us all.  Be careful about which 3rd part apps you use online.  Be careful about the apps you install on your phone.  Make sure these 3rd party apps are trusted, and you know what they’re doing with your data.  Like it or not, we are all tracked online.  We just want it to be on the up and up.  Data must be used in a responsible way.  Everyone wants our data.  Most times it’s for good use.  Imagine what private data could mean for scammers, foreign countries, politicians, terrorists, etc.

Innocuous, unidentifiable audiences or people who search on specific items are fair game for targeting and re-targeting.  I’m glad this debate is happening now.

If you’re thinking of selling, call the Ellis Team and find out how we can use today’s advanced and legitimate techniques to reach the right people at the right time for your home.  Marketing can be the difference between selling for Top Dollar and below market.  Marketing also helps you sell your home faster.

If you’re a buyer, please check out our website too.  LeeCountyOnline.com is updated constantly, so you’re assured of finding the latest listing and price reductions instantly.  No more calling on homes that aren’t on the market, or missing homes that are.

Your Privacy Matters to Us

The Ellis Team never sells your data.  Your phone number, email address, etc. stays with us.  That’s not true with companies like Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, etc.  They sell your info to agents and mortgage companies.  Be sure to read their privacy statements.  Rest assured, we will not sell your data to anyone!

Feel free to call us at 239-489-4042  Good luck, and happy house hunting!

Experts have been predicating interest rate increases in 2018 and 2019 and already we’re seeing rates on the move.  Last time we checked 30-year mortgage rates are up to 4.625%.  The Fed has signaled they expect to raise rates two more times this year and three times next year.  We’re telling our customers to purchase, and lock interest rates now before big rate increases later in April.

 

Lock Interest Rates Now Before Big Rate Increases

I just watched Barry Habib, one of the financial experts we listen to lay out three reasons rates could tick higher at the end of the month.

  1. The Fed is ramping up its QT (Quantitative Tightening) policy.  In other words, the Fed is buying less mortgage bonds and treasuries.  This puts pressure on the bond market and causes rates to rise.  Combine this with raising interest rates the Fed controls, and you’ve got a double whammy for the market.
  2. Watch the stock market, particularly the S&P 500. The S&P has taken a hit and just passed it’s 200 day moving average and appears to be in position to bounce higher. When stocks do well it usually hurts bond prices which cause rates to rise.  So watch stocks and see how they do from this point forward.
  3. Watch inflation. If inflation rises, it erodes the value of bonds.  Bond prices have an inverse relationship with interest rates.  As bond prices sink, rates go up.  March inflation numbers should be reported near the end of April.  One of the components of inflation the Fed uses is the PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditure).  At the end of April this number will come out for March 2018.  They report the last 12 months, so March 2017 will fall off.  The March 2017 PCE was an abnormally low number and will be replaced by a much higher number this year.  It will push inflation to at or above 2%.  It will push the core rate of inflation close to or at 2%.  The Fed’s target is 2%.  The bond market will freak out because they’re used to PCE being 1.5% and now it’s 2%.  This will raise inflation fears and put additional pressure on bonds.  Voila, you’ve got an interest rate storm in the making, and it’s all set to unfold later this month.

What can you do to protect yourself?  Propertyowners looking to refinance, do it now!  If you’re looking to buy a home, do it now!  If you’ve got a home to sell first, call us immediately.  Not only will your next mortgage cost you more, but higher rates will affect your buyer too.  The sooner we get your home on the market the better off you’ll be.  Imagine a pool of buyers for your home.  Let’s say with heavy marketing there are 100 potential buyers right now for your home.  Keep in mind, there may be 130 homes on the market for this same pool of buyers, so not every home will be bought.  When rates go up, that same pool dwindles to 89.  Now there are 89 buyers for 130 homes.  The math just changed, and it doesn’t favor you on the sale.

Because there are fewer buyers, you potentially take less.  Maybe not if you sell now, but if you wait, eventually the over supply wears on sellers and there could be price corrections.  By waiting you have a lower down payment for the next home.  Your payment is higher because rates have gone up.  Through no fault of your own, waiting has cost you money on your sale, and a higher payment on your next home.

Higher interest rates are coming.  Call us to do something about it.  They won’t stop either.  We expect them to go up throughout 2018 and 2019.  The sooner you act the more you’ll save.  Call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and ask for Brett or Sande, or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search the market.  It is updated instantly, so you’ll beat other buyers to hot new properties.  It’s great for sellers too.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Colonial Country Club

Colonial Country Club Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

9611 Hemingway Ln Unit 3909

Open Sunday 1-4 PM

Paseo

Paseo Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

11204 Adora Ct

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

18 NE 17th Ave Cape Coral

Cape Coral Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

 

Agents have been complaining that this season has been a softer season than in years past.  Buyers don’t seem to be as motivated.  Southwest Florida real estate listing inventory hits 4 year high in February and sales prices have been flat since last year.  So why is it that top teams are having a fantastic season?

Southwest Florida Real Estate Listing Inventory Hits 4 Year High

The Ellis Team has lots of pending sales, plenty of closings, and before it’s all over March and April should be excellent months. Other large teams are selling well too, so how can it be both a fantastic market and a slow market?

The answer is it’s a great market if you know what’s really going on and you advise your clients accordingly.  Listing at a set price and forgetting it won’t do your seller’s any good if the market is on the move in that price range.

Statistically we have a balanced market.  It has shifted from a seller’s market to balanced, or slightly favoring the buyers right now.  Just like not all Realtors are the same, it’s also true with price ranges.  The below $300,000 market is doing well right now and the above $400,000 has slowed a bit.  However, there are sales in all price ranges.  We have a sale on a listing at $1.3 Million right now. You must know what range you’re in and adjust.

Aggressive marketing is critical in a changing market.  As more sellers compete for fewer buyers, you want your listing to stand out.  Every buyer will not purchase your home, we know this.  You want as many buyers to be exposed to it as possible.  Sellers mistakenly believe putting it on MLS and adding to a few online sites is all that’s needed, and all buyers will know about it.  This is not true and a costly mistake.

At the time of listing you set a listing price.  This price needs to be evaluated.  New listings may enter that market as competition.  Existing listings may reduce their price, making your home less attractive.  Remember, the seller sets the price, and the market determines the value.

Lastly, as homes sell, new comparable sales set the market.  Appraisers use these new sales as the best data sets for determining market value.  These new sellers won the home selling game.  Existing listings have not yet, and there is no guarantee they will either.

We know this much.  Homes that are marketed aggressively and priced correctly will sell.  If a home is unfairly overpriced, it will not sell no matter how much marketing is used.  Conversely, a home may actually sell below its fair market value without aggressive marketing.

This is where a true professional comes in.  To get Top Dollar, you need an agent to help you set the right price, continually monitor the market in case adjustments are needed, and market your property to actual buyers.  Preferably your Realtor will have a large database of buyers from past marketing efforts, combined with finding new buyers with ads targeting buyers for your home.  Together, that’s a winning combination.

We have a large database of buyers because we have a popular, easy to use listing website that helps buyers find homes they’re looking for right away.  Unlike other websites, it updates every minute or so, so hot new listings and price adjustments are seen in real-time by buyers.

Sellers can even get an idea of what their home is worth too.  Simply go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search for homes or find out what your home is worth.  If you’re thinking of selling, call Sande or Brett at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  If you’re looking to buy, our team of friendly and helpful buyer agents can assist you as well.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-4 PM

2403 SW 53rd Ter

SW Cape Coral Pool Home

 

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

Dangers of Pricing Homes Compared to Neighbors Listing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

1465 Arglye Dr

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1281 Biltmore Dr

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

13994 Reflection Lakes Dr

Reflection Lakes Gated Community

Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

18 NE 1th Ave Cape Coral

Cape Coral Open House Sunday 1-3 PM

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