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

December 2017 closed sales increased 1.9% over 2016 in the Southwest Florida real estate market.  However, the median sales price was down 4.6% while the average sale price was down 16.3%  The slight increase in number of closings wasn’t enough to pull the total dollar volume with it, so we saw a decrease of $55 million in total volume. December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops.

December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops Summary Statistics

Is this concerning?  Not really.  We know that many properties were affected by the hurricane.  It stalled some sales, and it’s forced some sellers to wait due to increased time repairing pool cages, screens, roofs, etc.  I talked with a roofer this past weekend who said it will be 9 months before the roofing market returns to normal.  His advice, if you don’t need a new roof today, wait.

Prices for roofs, pool cages, screens, etc is artificially too high due to demand.  Prices will come down as the workload lessens in the future.  I talked to a builder who has delayed homes because they can’t get pools done on time or within budget.  These high costs will pass, but it will take time.

7 Day Market Watch 1-30-18 December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops

We feel that the housing stats are more a reflection of disruption than anything.  We pulled the 7 day Market Watch report from MLS and what a difference a few weeks make.  We’re back to normal.  Pending sales have almost equaled new listings.  This tells us that buyers have turned on.  They are out there buying right now.

We also had more price decreases than new listings.  This tells us that sellers are getting more realistic and are reducing prices to match where the buyers are.  The price reductions are working.

Each year sellers bring properties to market in hopes of testing new highs.  Prices have risen so much that buyers are indifferent to overpriced listings.  Homes today must be priced correctly, or buyers will pass.  In a rapidly upward sellers’ market, buyers are forced to act quickly.  We weren’t seeing that a few weeks ago.  We are starting to see that now, however buyers are still price conscious.

Sellers are getting restless.  The calls into our office from sellers with other listing agents has increased dramatically.  They are unhappy with their agent for one reason or another.  We cannot list their property until their listing ends, so they’re stuck with their situation unless they work something out with their broker.

Our advice would be this.  All agents are not the same.  It pays to interview top agents and compare them.  Compare marketing plans, pricing, communication expectations, track record, references, etc.  I know it takes a little more time on the front end, however it will save you a lot of unhappy time waiting for a listing to end on the back end.

Interest rates are rising right now.  Waiting in this market is not good.  Buyers are here now and they’re buying.  You want to be priced correctly and marketed correctly.  It’s the only way to get Top Dollar for your home.  You don’t want to be the last seller standing once season ends.  That means you lost the home selling game and you’ll be looking at fewer buyers with higher rates in the future.  The time to get this correct is right now.

If you’re thinking of selling, always call Brett or Sande Ellis at the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  Our marketing is second to none, and we’ll help you get your price correct too.  Call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 so we can get your home sold now and for Top Dollar.

To search the MLS like a pro, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com  you’ll find the all the listings updated instantly.  You can even get an idea on what your home is worth for Free!

Good luck and happy home buying!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1226 NE 5th Ave, Cape Coral

December Southwest Florida Dollar Volume Drops
Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Paseo Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Bell Tower Park Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

Official SW Florida real estate statistics were just released for August and one thing that stands out to us is the drop in inventory.  This leads us to believe now is an excellent opportunity to sell SW Florida real estate after Hurricane Irma.

Inventory was falling pre-hurricane Irma.  We suspect some homes on the market were damaged. If 4,666 were on the market prior, and assuming 10% sustained damage, that would take us down to 4,200 homes.

Excellent Opportunity to Sell SW Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma Housing Inventory

Additionally, there are many displaced homeowners and renters in the Bonita, Buckingham, and San Carlos areas that need housing.  Flooding was an issue in these areas and some homes are uninhabitable.

Excellent Opportunity to Sell SW Florida Real Estate After Hurricane Irma

After Hurricane Charley in 2004 we saw an increase in home sales.  Buyers competed for properties because people needed housing.  The same scenario could very well play out in 2017.

Our phone has been ringing from buyers and investors looking to purchase.   We filter out the sharks that want to come in and buy up property for pennies on the dollar.  They are unrealistic and they do not care about people.  They seek opportunity.  Perhaps there will be opportunity for them with the flooded out and heavily damaged homes.

We focus on homeowners and investors who acknowledge there is a need for housing and are seeking solutions to meet that need.  If your home in uninhabitable, you need housing now.  They need a home that meets their needs, and they can’t be choosy if it has everything they’d want.

Some homeowners may decide they’ve had enough. Owning a 2nd home and preparing for storms can be tough, especially if they find they’re just not using and enjoying the home right now like they thought they would.  Circumstances change.  Other buyers are looking to purchase here because they’re at a point in their life where they will come down and enjoy the home.  Enjoying a 2nd home is a cycle, and depending where you are in that cycle makes all the difference whether it’s a good time to buy or sell.

Thinking of Selling?

If you own a home and you’re thinking of making a change, please call us at 239-489-4042.  Ask for Sande or Brett.  We’ll be glad to walk you through your options.  We can tell you how much we can sell your home for, and how much you would net at the closing table after paying off all mortgages and expenses.  Then you can decide if it makes sense to sell.  Or, you can see how much your home is worth online for free!

Selling is more fun when there is less competition from other sellers.  We have low inventory right now, and in about a month we’ll see if we lost more.  Demand probably just picked up as well, so a hurricane can be a perfect opportunity for home sellers, if they’re marketed properly.

Thinking of Buying?

If you’re a buyer, scoring a home right now can be tough.  There are several buyers looking for similar listings and not enough to go around.  You can call the Ellis Team and speak with our buyer specialists who are experts at making offers look more attractive than other competing offers to the seller.  This can be the difference between buying your 1st choice or settling for your 5th choice, if there even is a 5th choice.  Many times there are just a few homes that meet your needs on the market.

In a race against other buyers, speed wins.  I’d recommend searching at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Our database has the entire MLS, and is updated every few minutes.  Don’t waste time using sites that don’t have accurate or timely data.  We get calls all the time from frustrated buyers who see something on a big website only to found out it was sold months ago.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty Fort Myers & The Islands.  239-489-4042.  We’re here to help.

Weekend Open Houses

Bell Tower Park Open House

Olde Hickory Open House

Last week we talked about the efficiency of the real estate market.  Simply put, the Southwest Florida real estate market isn’t as efficient as the stock market.  No real estate market is, because the information isn’t as readily available and we’re not dealing with apples and apples. So why do some homes sell below market Value?

Why Do Some Homes Sell Below Market Value

Let’s elaborate.  The stock market has what they call the big board.  Everybody can look up and see what a stock is trading at this second.  If you’re looking at class A common stock for a company, 100 shares of the same stock are exactly the same.  There is no difference.  Additionally, everybody has access to the same information on the company at precisely the same time.

The real estate market is different.  Even if you have two homes with the exact same floor plan, they are different.  They are located on separate lots, making potential differences in location value.  The upgrades can be different.  Their repair and maintenance may differ, and of course the decorating and appearance can affect the value of the homes as well.  One home may have a pool.  They may not be built the same year with the same materials.

And this assumes it’s the exact same floor plan.  We all know most homes aren’t the exact same floor plan.  So how would a consumer, appraiser, bank, property appraiser, seller, or agent fairly compare various homes against each other?  It’s a complicated process, because you’re not dealing with apples and apples like a stock.

The other component that affects what a home might sell for is the exposure to the market.  If the home is fully exposed, presumably everyone who is looking in that price range for those amenities would be aware of the home.  This just isn’t the case.

Have you ever driven by a neighborhood and said to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t even know this subdivision was here?”  Or open a newspaper and wonder where that home is located?  These are two examples whereby if the customer didn’t stumble upon the area or see an ad for the property, they wouldn’t even know it existed.

The agent you hire to expose your home to the market makes all the difference.  If you wanted to sell a widget online in an auction, do you think you’d get more if you had 1,000 bidders than just 1 or 2 bidders?  Of course, you would.  Full exposure equals full market value.  Partial exposure equals less than full market value.  This is one reason For Sale By Owners net 16% less on average than using an agent.

Not all agents are the same.  Some offer limited market exposure, which is better than sell by yourself.  Some offer much more exposure.  Of course, all this marketing costs money, so every agent can’t do it because they don’t have the money.

Agents get creative and clever and tell you that the home will be listed on 50-100 Internet sites and that’s all you need.  This isn’t full exposure.  Sure, it’s better than nothing but it’s not full exposure like we’re talking about.  Don’t assume all agents are the same, and don’t assume all marketing is the same.  It just isn’t!

Your home isn’t just like every other home.  It needs to stand out.  It needs someone to stand up for it and say Buy Me, I’m special!  The Ellis Team can do that for you.

Why Do Some Homes Sell Below Market Value?

Recently while doing some market research I stumbled upon a property that is undervalued.  It’s sad because the home should sell for more than it’s currently listed for.  It’s been on the market awhile.  It could use a few repairs that would make a big difference, but I presume it just may not have been marketed like it could be.  This seller will undoubtedly net less than they should simply because they didn’t do a few repairs and because the market doesn’t realize it’s a good deal.

The real estate market is not as efficient as the stock market.  If you’re looking for Top Dollar, Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams! 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search the market like a pro.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Bell Tower Park Open House

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

5691 Kensington Loop

$330,000

 

Tanglewood Open House

1561 Cumberland Ct

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

$285,000

 

Reflection lakes Open House

13812 Lily Pad Cir

Open Sunday 1-3 PM

$250,000