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  • Tune in each week to The Future of Real Estate locally on AM 1240 in Lee and Charlotte Counties covering Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Estero, Bonita Springs, and Collier County AM 1270 covering Naples and Marco Island.
     
    Each week we present our featured listings and talk about real estate issues affecting you.  The show is hosted by The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers Florida in SW Florida, Top Agents in real estate.
    If you’ like your question answered on the show, post a comment here.

    Myth:  Listing my home with a discount broker will save me money.

    Truth:  Listing your home with a discount broker can actually cost you money.  This is true for a variety of reasons.  We’ll explain just a few here.  First, discount brokers advertise your home less, and their low price more.  Often, ads are designed to get more listings, not to sell your home.  Second, discount brokers actually make more money selling one of our listings than selling your home at a reduced commission.  Which home do you think they’ll be motivated to sell?  Third, your home is an asset that makes their phone ring with buyers.  Once your home sells, the asset is gone, and with it the opportunity to sell one of our listings.   The longer it takes to sell your home, the better for the discounter.  Call us for a private interview and we can discuss all the benefits of working with The Ellis Team.  We have a chart which illustrates this process we can show you in the private interview.

    This is just one myth.  For a list of myths, please click on the enclosed link.  If you’d like your question answered here, please post a comment.

    Below is the meeting highlights from the April 17, 2006 Danforth Lakes Homeowners Association Board Meeting.


    Highlights from meeting minutes from 4/1706:

    B & G Comm- request made for Clubhouse baseboards to be painted by Carlos Rocha for $100. Request for $400 for Carlos Rocha to paint Exercise room(satin-eggshell) & molding/repair any holes.

    Request for J. Swedenburg to cement area coming into parking lot on right by sidewalk for $125 once sprinklers capped by GS.
    Clarified items for S. Dean to complete: 1. Gate in playground area needs to be fixed – Approved 3/6 for $75 per quote provided.
    2. Fix the Tot Lot water run off problem – Approved for $75 per quote to reroute pool drain out of playground (tot-lot mulching quote for $3750.00 was NOT approved–additional quotes being reviewed at this time) Hayden to ask about quote from GS to remove old mulch and add some rock directly under play equip before adding mulch..(already have quote for $348.74 # 15723 to add 94 bags of mulch)

    3. No Smoking Sign at pool – Approved .One indicates the actual smoking area just outside the Clubhouse and the other inside the pool area for no smoking.
    4. Dead Bolt needed on door in vestibule – Approved 4/15/06 meeting.
    5. Air Conditioning Vent in vestibule – Approved in Feb at the same time that the door was and in quote that was provided.
    G. Landon also request for another possible handyman helper to help with things around Commun.
    6. Fining Committee – Fining comm. will remain in place at this time with start of new
    Board year. Fining committee made recommendations to the Board from the first fining hearing held on 4/12/06 which included 5 homes. Board reviewed recommendations(per report).

    7.Property Mgt Report-Ken Hayden was not present to provide report for March. To
    provide for March & April at next schedule BOD meeting to be held on 5/15/06.

    8.Correction regarding rule #1 under USE & ENJOY OF LAKES has been amended per unanimous vote by the Board. The original verbiage read:
    1. "Owners, or the family members, guests, invitees and tenants of Owners, shall be permitted to fish in the lakes. Notwithstanding the preceding, an Owner of the Lake Lot (i.e. all or portion of their rear or side property lines lies common with a portion of a lake), may access the lakes from that portion of their Lot that shares the common boundary."

    THE VERBIAGE HAS NOW BEEN CHANGED AS OF 4/17/06 TO READ AS FOLLOWS:
    1. "Owners, or the family members, guests, invitees and tenants of Owners, shall be permitted to fish in the lakes on common grounds other than such areas that border either deeded preserve or deeded lake lots."
    2. "No persons shall encroach upon these areas (deeded preserve or deeded lake lots) without permission of the land owner. Nor shall any pets be permitted on these described preserve & lake lot areas. This does not apply to maintenance workers or those taking part in official duties. Notwithstanding the proceeding, an Owner of the lake lot (all or portion of their rear or side property lines lies common with a portion of a lake), may access the lakes from that portion of their lot that shares the common boundary."

    FP to make correction on rules & regs and send to Ken. Community will also be notified.

    9. Soc & Wel Comm—K. Evers & J Miles provided a 2006 budget for board to review seeking funds to help assist with Community events. Board approved $75 towards the next 5 welcome baskets that will be needed for new residents. FP will chair the committee
    this year to help with organization & communication aspects. Discussed Family picnic at Lakes Park. Comm will get together to establish date, create flyer to determine how many will be interested…will then review with BOD as far as funds to be able to provide hamburgers & hotdogs for the event. Comm agreed they would meet with BOD on a regular basis (qtrly) to give updates and discuss any needs.

    10. 2006 Priorities/Reorg—discussed priorities for this year: Grounds/Fountain/Entrance
    Sign/addressing violations. BC/BW & FP will remain in their positions. KO is now Treasurer and JL-Director.
    11. Financials– Hayden not present to address a few concerns regarding delq dues & the status of utility deposits requested back in Feb.—tabled til next meeting. All BOA accounts are now closed.

    12.Roundabout Update—discussion arose about what took place w/roundabout and proposal #14446. BOD not happy as what was approved was not followed thru on. Hayden not present to discuss—tabled til next meeting 5/15.

    13. Blvd Planting– DFL Blvd planting— has begun today 4/17—to be completed by 4/21.

    14. Downed Trees– Discussed Greenscapes and to again request Hayden to instruct them to remove/stake all downed trees on common grounds as previously requested in Feb & Mar:
    •Involved areas include: 3 Trees on common ground areas around 12815 Aston oaks common ground area. (lot 136 area per site map)
    •Tree(s) on common ground around 8749 Fawn ridge but going straight towards Westchester on left (lot# 1 area per site map going into Westchester)
    • Tree right on Palomino Common Ground before Entrance–Big Oak tree hanging now touching the ground. Across from 8924 Cedar Hollow (lot 112) but on Palomino common ground

    BW is willing to meet with whomever while they are out to indicate areas if
    needed. IMMEDIATE action is requested for this work to be completed no later than next BOD meeting scheduled for 5/15. FP to email Hayden with request to have GS take care of next visit out.

    15. Sign damage to cul-de-sac roundabout. BC has spoken to the person who hit the sign. Resident is set up to pay back in monthly payments for the next 6 months due to no insurance. If he falters in any way case will be referred to the association’s attorney.

    16. Speed humps—have been completed. Cougar was out today 4/17 for final shaving.

    17. Fountain Update— BW spoke with George…fountain is waiting on one last part and can then be shipped back and immediately put back in. Should have update no later than next week.

    18. Violation review: Discussion of the newest violation list emailed on 4/13/06.

    19. Clubhouse Vand update—accused had hearing and will pay restitution until paid in full as well as Community service…(not our Community) other accused has denied and hearing to continue the end of next month.

    20. Entrance Sign—BC putting into permitting/design being finalized. Hoping to have completed by end of May.

    21. Insurance Update: KO & BW met w/Hayden to discuss current insurance with Oswald Tripp—requested he obtain other quotes to compare pricing.

    NEXT MEETING: May 15th, 6:30 PM at the Clubhouse

    You’ll enjoy all the benifits of living in a gated community like Reflection Lakes, plus the benefit of backing up to a quiet community preserve and Lakes Park.

    Reflection Lakes Home overlooking Lakes Park  

    This home features 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and an oversized lanai with plenty of room for a pool.  Large family room overlooks the preserve area.

    Lake View of Lakes Park Reflection Lakes Home

    Here is the Tiki hut, big enough to entertain large families or picnics located just behind the home.  This area is community maintained, so it’s like getting a large back yard for free.  There is no community parking, so no one ever uses it.  Hut has picnic tables and grills.

    Reflection Lakes Tiki Hut

    Home features a large family room, breakfast bar, and kitchen, also perfect for entertaining.  In addition to the formal dining room there is also an eat-in-kitchen.

    Family Room view of Reflection Lakes Home

    This fantastic home is priced at only $560,000 so check it out.

    Our client care manager works with Ellis Team sellers on a daily basis.  Activities include logging showings, getting feedback on showings, communicating with sellers letting them know exactly what is happening with their home.

    The Ellis Team provides the highest level of communication with their sellers, and they’re looking for a competent person with good communication and computer skills who can help.  We pamper our clients with personal attention and above and beyond service, and we need a like-minded person who enjoys working with customers who can fill this postion in SW Florida.

    Please fax resumes to 239-489-0281. 

    We originally predicted the median sales price to drop to around $260,000 before leveling off.  For three consecutive months, the median sales price of a single family home in Lee County Florida hovered around $280,000.  Combine this with a tremendous surge in buyer activity in the past few weeks, and we may be nearing the end of the cooldown, statistically speaking.

    What this means and does not mean:  Statistically we don’t expect median prices to fall much below $280,000 as we head into the busier summer months.  With buyer activity increasing, and  tradtionally strong summer months upcoming, look for sales activity to pick up over 1st and 2nd Qtr 2006 levels.  We will not match 2005 activity levels.  Look for more normal sales levels posted in 2003 or 2004.

    This does not mean that all sellers are OK on their pricing.  When the SW Florida housing market was red hot, we still had some over priced sellers who didn’t sell.  When the market cooled, we had over priced sellers who were caught chasing the market down, and haven’t sold.  In any market, you will always find over priced homes that do not sell, regardless of how hot or cold the market is.

    There are also hot and cold pockets within our market.  Not every property or development is hot, nor is every development cold.  Each one should be evaluated on it’s own merits.

    What’s in store for the balance of 2006?  Buyers will look back on May and June of 2006 as one of the best times to buy.  Inventory selection is high, interest rates are low, and the buyer is probably in the best buying position they’ll be in for awhile.  As rates climb, this will erode their home affordability, making mortgage payments higher.  If a buyer is waiting for the market to fall let’s say another $10,000, those savings will be eaten up by higher payments due to interest rate changes.

    It will actually cost a buyer if rates go up 1/4 percent, even if home prices decline $10,000.  So now is the best time for home buyers to buy as we don’t see the median price dropping much from these levels.

    We also don’t see prices going up much for awhile either, due to four wildcards.

    1.  Interest rates are rising, thereby crimping buying power from purchasers.

    2.  Property insurance is rising, and with each hurricane, insurers are getting more nervous.  As each insurer pulls out, it makes the remaining insurance more expensive, raising payments on buyers and crimping their purchasing power.

    3.  Property taxes are rising due to increased property values.  Many local buyers can’t afford to upgrade because their property taxes will go up once they sell and buy another home.  Florida needs property tax portability to alleviate this situation so Floridians can afford to move if they choose witout being taxed out of house and home.

    4.  Inventory levels are high.  While median prices may have moderated, it will still take awhile to work through all of this inventory, which should cap price increases for awhile.

    I don’t think seller price reductions are over.  Sellers need to evaluate how their home stacks up against the competition.  The sellers who are the most price competitive are selling right now.  They have set the floor, and the market is responding.  The sellers who are over that floor are sitting on the market.  When they reposition their home in the marketplace to where the buyers are, their homes will sell.

    We also have some investors in the market who should have never been there.  These weren’t long term wait and hold investors, rather quick flippers who didn’t have tolerance for this type of correction.  They helped fuel the rapid increase, and can least afford the decline.  As we work through these inventory levels, prices will stabilize.

    The overall market has alraedy fallen.  Some price ranges have been hit harder than others, and this is normal.  Some price ranges became too bunched up.  Many $450,000 homes were too similiar in size and features to $500-550,000 homes.  Something had to give.  Either the $550,000 had to go up, or the $450,000 home had to come down as there wasn’t enough price differentiation.  I’ve seen this phenomenon several times in our career.

    As the market heats up, buyers are forced to buy whatever they can, or be left out of market.  This leads to some price inequities that need to be rebalnced later.  Our market has been doing this for about 6 months or so, and it is actually healthy.

    Bottom line is , single family median home prices have bottomed.  This is not to say that every home in Lee County has bottomed.  The homes that are priced to sell now will sell because buyer activity is really picking up now.  Homes priced over the market need to make some adjustments to get in the game, and when they do their homes may sell too.  Buyers can feel comfortable again wading into this housing market.  There is pent-up demand from buyers who have been holding off waiting for prices to come down.  The wait is over, and the time to jump in is now with excellent selection, bargaining power, and low interest rates.  The same may not be said forever.  It’s always fun to sell in a "Sellers Market" and buy in a "Buyers Market".  We have a Buyes Market today, so have fun while it lasts.

    Condo sales are another story.  Insurance issues are really affecting maintenance fees as insurers pull out of the condo market.  Look for more associtaions to raise their fees as they replace existing insurance with higher priced replacement insurance.

    Look for a detailed State of the Market Report update coming in June or July.  Because the market has changed so much in the last 6 months, we’ll do a mid year update to our annual report.

    Sales of new homes rose unexpectedly in April to the fastest pace this year. 

    The Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes increased by 4.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.198 million units, the highest rate since last December.

    Economists had been expecting a decline in sales, and were surprised by the news.

    SW Florida new home sales are off, however resales have started picking up in recent weeks.  SW Florida real estate may have bottomed out and leveling off.  We’ve seen three straight months of price stability, and April results are due to be released anytime.

    Inventory levels have risen in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and all of SW Florida, so it will take some time to burn off all that inventory even if prices are stabilizing.  Some local areas will do better than others due to inventory imbalances.

    Just because the overall market may be stabilizing doesn’t mean every home will fare well.  Even in the Hot Hot market we had the last three years, some sellers were over priced.  On the way down, there’s no reason to believe that will change.  There will always be some sellers over priced no matter what the market is.  It pays to consult a professional regardless of whether the market is hot or cold.

    And with relatively  low rates and excelllent selection, buyers may look back on May/June 2006 as the best time to have bought real estate in SW Florida.

    Lee County schools that scored well in math and reading also did well in science.

    Sanibel School scored the top score among Lee County’s elementary and middle schools, while Fort Myers High scored the county’s highest score among high schools.

    Collier County FCAT scores were up in science for 5th grade.  While Collier County students improved in 1th grade science, Collier County students lag the state in 8th and 11th grade science scores.

    Barefoot Beach received this Top 10 ranking for water quality, open sand, management of the beach, and facilities available to beachgoers.

    Here are the Top 10 Rankings:

    1. Fleming Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii
    2. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida
    3. Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina
    4. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
    5. Hanalei Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
    6. Main Beach, East Hampton, New York
    7. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    8. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
    9. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii
    10. Barefoot Beach Park, Bonita Springs, Florida

    I’ve been to Fleming Beach in Maui, and of course Barefoot Beach.  I also like Fort Myers Beach, and the Lido Key Beach in Sarasota Florida.