Ellis Team Buyer Specialist Fort Myers real estateThe Ellis Team is growing once again.  We are proud to announce Ellis Team buyer specialist Dan Goczeski has joined our team as a buyer specialist. Dan was our Customer Care Specialist and Listing Coordinator up until last week, and we’re certainly going to miss him in that position.  Dan has always had a passion for helping people and he certainly went the extra mile in his role at the Ellis Team.

Dan has been a resident in Fort Myers for the past 30 years and is very knowledgeable about the area.  He has witnesses first-hand what SW Florida has grown into today and he looks forward to helping others find their piece of paradise too.  Dan has an extensive professional history from being a licensed financial advisor to a General Contractor in SW Florida. Dan has worked with clients in many fields, but customer satisfaction was always his top priority.  All of these qualities are what makes Dan uniquely qualified to find just the right property for you.

Dan saw how many buyer leads were coming into the team and it caused him to think about becoming a Realtor in SW Florida.  He’s always been in a position advising clients in the building and financial services sectors, but he developed a sense of helping others in real estate through his experiences with the Ellis Team at RE/MAX.  Once he saw how we help so many people it made an impact on him and he wanted in.

So it is with welcome arms we welcome Dan Goczeski to our team of buyer Specialists.  Congratulations!
If you’re considering buying or selling in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Ft Myers Beach or anywhere in Lee County Florida, give us a call. 239-489-4042 or visit our website www.Topagent.com

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Thinking of Selling Automated computer home valuation system SW Florida real estate

Thinking of Selling? Sellers have read that home prices are up and interest rates are low, so they’re curious if it would make sense to consider a move right now.  Many have been trapped in their home for so long they forgot what it was like to have options.

They want to take advantage of low interest rates but many are not sure they have enough equity to make a move.  The whole process can seem daunting.

For years the Ellis Team has played with several online valuation models to help curious homeowners out.  We’re excellent at counseling sellers and going over options, but many don’t even want to waste our time until they get a sense that they can do this.  The online valuation models were all over the place until now.

Automated computer home price analysis Fort Myers real estate

No online valuation will ever take the place of what we do; how could it?  The computer has never been inside your home or the homes it’s using as a basis to compare yours to.  It’s just a computer.  We have found one that does a decent job though.

If you’re considering selling simply go to www.swfloridahomevalues.com  In just a few easy steps it asks for your property address, brings up an aerial view of your home and asks you to verify if it has the home size, bedrooms, and bathrooms correct in the database, and voila’ it sends you a beautiful automated selling price analysis for your home complete with a map of comparable sales, a list of comparable sales along with their selling price, date sold, price per sq ft, and more.  It also provides neighborhood ratings and will email you instant alerts on changes to your home’s value.

It’s free to use and very helpful.  All we ask is that if you decide to sell now or in the future, you at least give us a shot and see what we can do for you when you’re interviewing agents.

We’re experts at guiding you through the home selling maze.  We understand many pieces of the puzzle have to fall into place and many times we can offer suggestions to help you.  We’ve helped thousands of homeowners through this process so we’ve gained some experience along the way that can really help you make better decisions.

If it’s just preliminary information you’re seeking, we’ve got tools like this website for that. If you need more detailed information or have questions about how the process would work for you, we’re always here to talk to.  We’re not pushy salespeople; we sincerely like to help people.  Whether you’re buying or selling today or perhaps years from now, the Ellis Team is here to help.  To search the MLS visit www.Topagent.com and you can always call us at 239-489-4042

 

Good luck and Happy Buying/Selling!

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We’ve noticed a trend developing this year with more home sales in the $500k-$1 Million price range in 2013.  In fact, within the past month or so the Ellis Team has sold and closed 2 homes in this range that were previously on the market and didn’t sell before.

High End Market Heating Up in Fort Myers-Cape Coral-Estero Real Estate Markets

The first home was located in Carillon Woods and had been on the market previously with another agent.  They had several offers but just couldn’t come to any agreements.  We listed the home and raised the price a little and sold it within 20 days.

 

33 Timberland Cir Fort Myers, FL 33919 Market Heating Up in Fort Myers-Cape Coral-Estero Real Estate Markets
Carillon Woods Sold in 19 Days $565,000

 

The second home was located in Belle Meade and had also been listed with another agent.

The first home in Carillon Woods was listed at the correct price but just needed a little negotiation help.  The second home may have been priced a little high in the beginning and needed help finding where the true market was for that home.  The previous Realtor had lots of expensive brochures at the home for the buyer viewing the home but that marketing didn’t necessarily drive buyers to the home.  Even if an agent spent a million dollars marketing the home it still wouldn’t sell if it was over-priced.

8510 Belle Meade Dr Fort Myers FL 33908
Belle Meade Sold $635,000 Nov 8, 2013

 

In both events, the sellers needed guidance and market advice.  Yes, our marketing brought buyers to the table.  In the end, it was the advice and guidance we provided that closed the sale.  Neither sale was a particularly easy deal.  Both buyers were concerned about inspection items and negotiating the best deal they could.  The expertise of the agents involved, for both buyer and seller made these two transactions successfully come together.  These two deals are similar to sales across SW Florida in this price range.

Many people believe the value of a Realtor is the marketing.  Others believe it’s pricing.  Others believe it’s just handling paperwork.  It’s all those things, but it’s a lot more.  A good Realtor handles the emotions, the objections, and the road blocks that are put up as a transaction unfolds and knocks them down.  A good Realtor advises their client on how to act, how to respond, and what to do when difficulties arise.  Experience is the key! Sometimes what a client says isn’t what they mean.  Sometimes what the other side says isn’t what they’re really asking for.  An experienced agent provides the wisdom and can be the difference between listing a home and actually selling one.

Buyers in this price range shop and make sure they get a fair deal.  In fact, they’ll take a bargain if they can find it like any other buyer, but they want to make sure they’re getting a good deal.  Buyers in this range tend to be selective, and why not because they are investing a good amount of money on their home.

Sales in this price range are up 28.4% over last year.  MLS shows 624 single family home sales YTD this year in Lee County versus 486 same time last year.  We’ve definitely seen an increase in higher priced properties this year, and the past month is a perfect example.

If you’re a buyer, you can search for properties in MLS right on our website www.TopAgent.com  If you’re a seller, it pays to consult a Realtor with experience who can properly guide you from A-Z, not stop at C or D.  You don’t pocket the cash until you complete all steps.  Many sellers think steps 1-3 are good enough and they find out later on they either didn’t get the offers they wanted, or they couldn’t get it closed.  It’s usually best to find out your options upfront rather than find out later on.  Call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation.

If you’d like to search the MLS, visit our website at www.Topagent.com  If you’re considering selling and would like the Ellis Team to show you what we think we can get for your home, go to www.SWFLHomevalues.com or call us at 239-489-4042  Good luck and Happy Selling!

To search the MLS for properties go to www.TopAgent.com or give us a call at 239-489-4042     Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

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For the most part the Lee County market bottomed out in 2009 at the height of the foreclosure boom.  We had some fluctuations throughout 2010, however most agree the bottom was in 2009.

SW Florida Home Sale Prices 2009-2012
SW Florida Single Family Home Prices 2009-2012

It’s important to note that even though we had an influx of high levels of distressed sales back in 2009, the market was able to absorb these properties, illustrating that we have a market, even at reduced prices.

Some markets don’t really have a market at any price.  Detroit has been down for years and many properties don’t sell even for $1,000.  The banks really can’t give them away, so in some cases they’ve just demolished the home for liability purposes.  I haven’t checked on the Detroit market in a little while, but I haven’t heard any differently, although we’re certainly not Detroit experts.

We’ve learned that we do have a market, and that high foreclosure rates wouldn’t last forever.  Foreclosures are down significantly and we are seeing traditional sales rise.  We know that distressed sales weigh down the market, as evidenced by the median sale prices of distressed homes of about $80,000 compared to the $150,000 median prices for traditional sales.  As prices keep rising more sellers who would like to sell will be able to.

Traditional sales Chart SW Florida Real Estate
Traditional Sales Versus Distressed Sales

Inventory is down to a 3.5 month supply and has been falling steadily.  Most people consider a normal market to be somewhere around 6 months supply.  Anything too much above that becomes a buyers market and anything much below that becomes a sellers market.  There is no question we’re in a sellers market right now as it’s not uncommon to see multiple offers on new properties entering the market that are priced correctly.

Before sellers get too excited reading we have a sellers market, keep in mind general economic conditions still apply.  Buyers still must get mortgages in many cases, and the property must appraise.  Incomes are not rising substantially, and unemployment is still too high.  Buyers have a hard time saving for a down payment in today’s economic climate.  Everything just seems to cost so much, from gas, to insurance, to groceries.  A young family or single person just has a hard time saving with these conditions.

If the economy were to turn around, prices could probably rise faster.  Keep in mind; it’s all supply and demand.  We have demand at the right price, and we have limited supply.  As prices rise, we expect to see increasing supply as sellers could then afford to sell.  Many cannot now because they owe more that house is worth and don’t want to take the hit to their credit report.

Prices are still too low but rising.  Inventory is too low and won’t rise overnight which will allow for price appreciation.  Many people are upside down in the 6 figure range that a 10k or 20k rise won’t help, but as prices rise it does free up more sellers to enter the market.  If our prices suddenly doubled, I assure you we’d see many more homes on the market, which is why it won’t suddenly double.

Conditions today favor a measured approach.  Supply and demand are in play, and if ever a student wanted to study the economic forces, the SW Florida real estate market would make for a great example.

We hope this information on the market is helpful, and if you need help buying or selling in today’s market, feel free to give us a call. 239-489-4042

We’re seeing another shift in buying habits and it’s affecting everything from store coupons to selecting hotels to buying real estate. Yes, we’re talking about mobile marketing. Mobile Marketing Influencing Real Estate Buying.

Mobile Marketing Influencing Real Estate Buying
Ellis Team Virtual Tour on Smartphone

Years ago the Internet came along and everybody said newspapers and TV stations would no longer be needed. We found this wasn’t true; however the delivery methods have changed a bit since the advent of the Internet.

Ironically now some are saying the Internet isn’t needed because everything is going mobile. I’ve seen reports that there is now more traffic to websites via smart phones than computers. While it is a fact more people have the power of information literally in their hand wherever they go, there is no substitute for wasting time at work on a big screen surfing the Internet, at least for now.

Market Share by Platform
Smartphone Market Share

The iPhone was a big player in bringing the mobile world to the consumer, but many would be surprised to know that Android is actually the bigger player today. Android just crossed over the 50% mark in January of this year and market share is still growing. The only thing constant is change. Years ago Netscape was The browser in the industry. Microsoft managed to knock off Netscape with Internet Explorer. Now Google Chrome is making inroads along with Mozilla, Firefox, etc.

Remember when Yahoo was the thing in search engines? Today it’s Google with Microsoft fighting for relevance with Bing. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, however we do know what works today.

If you’re in real estate, you’d better design your website to work on a mobile phone. If you visit our website Topagent.com from a mobile device it recognizes the mobile device and gives you the option to view on a mobile optimized website. We’ve included a photo example of one of our virtual tours. All our virtual tours are optimized to play on any smart phone or phone capable of viewing the Internet. Of course we still have our full blown feature rich tours available for those old fashioned people viewing tours at work or home on a laptop. That sounds kind of weird talking about people on the Internet as old fashioned, but kind of fun I guess too. My how times are changing!

The point is, if you want to be successful in business, you’ve got to be where the customers are. If a business employs old technologies, they’ll get diminished results and wonder why their leads are falling off. They’ll blame it on the Internet and say things like the Internet just doesn’t work anymore. We heard that about newspapers, yellow pages, and radio advertising in the past. They all still work, but customers buying habits are evolving, and if you want to maximize your success, it pays to find out what the consumers are doing and provide solutions.

We have several websites. Even though Android is now king of the mobile market, we can tell you that the iPad is 74.76% of our mobile users on our Topagent.com site. These numbers change on various sites. As more tablets are released this year featuring Android, perhaps those numbers will change. The key is you have to know your market, design your marketing to work on the various technologies, and be available to answer customers in the fashion they like.

If a customer calls you speaking English, they generally would like to speak to someone in English. If a customer calls speaking German, chances are German is their preferred language and they’d like to speak with someone that speaks German.

The same is true with technology. Many people will contact you from their Smart phone. It doesn’t mean they’re ready to talk to you yet. If they ask you to email or send a text of a home, you’ll probably lose that buyer if you fax it to them because that’s more comfortable to you.

If you want to pick up more German buyers, it might help to learn the German language. If you wish to pickup more buyers today, it might help to learn to speak their tech language. If a customer texts you, I’d respond with a text. If you’re not willing to learn the technologies customers want, the real estate industry will pass you by. But then again, so will most industries.

If you don’t know what a QR code is, how to text, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, provide virtual tours, syndicate your listings, do videos on the market, etc. you might be well served to visit Best Buy and look around at how they market with Bar scans, and what devices will read them. Watch customers compare prices the store is offering versus the Internet, and listen to how these devices are shaping buyers decisions. If you can see all this in half an hour at the electronics store, just imagine what is happening on the street in front of the home.

RE/MAX has launched a mobile app that allows you to search all the homes on a map directly from your mobile phone. You can see what homes sold for, what people are asking, and photos of the home you’re in front of. Talk about changing the dynamic of house shopping. Customers can text, call, or email an agent directly from the street for more information. If you’d like this cool new free mobile app send us your email address and we’ll send you the link. Brett@topagent.com

Banks are contacting customers who are past due or in financial trouble and offering owners or tenants up to $20,000 in relocation assistance to move out of home and hire an experienced agent to sell the home as a short sale.  Banks are also offering owners money to agree to a deed in lieu foreclosure in some instances as well.

Benefits of Short Sale Versus Foreclosure Chart
Alternatives to Foreclosure Chart

There are several advantages for taking the bank up on their offer.  If you let the property go to foreclosure, you’ll be evicted without relocation assistance.  Additionally your credit will suffer more in a foreclosure than a short sale or deed in lieu.  The owner is more in control when actively pursuing a sale through an experienced agent than giving up all control to the bank and the legal system.

A short sale is a commonly used alternative to foreclosure. Generally, when putting your home on the market, the goal is to market and sell your house for an amount greater than any and all outstanding liens against the property. Liens include all mortgages, escrows and fees on the property.

If you can no longer afford to make your mortgage payments and your house is worth less than you owe, a short sale allows you to sell your house at the current fair market value. You then have an option to move to a more affordable situation. In a short sale, the investor or owner of your loan must approve the sale because they are entitled to repayment of the loan and will be receiving less than the amount owed.

If you have additional liens on your property with other lenders, such as a home equity loan, all investors must come to an agreement in order to complete the short sale. This process takes time, and an experienced agent is required to navigate and negotiate through these challenges.

Another alternative is a deed in lieu of foreclosure. With a deed in lieu, you voluntarily transfer ownership of the property to your investor to satisfy the amount due on your first mortgage. In some cases, you may be eligible for a deed in lieu without first attempting a short sale of your home. A deed in lieu generally takes about 90 days, depending on your situation.

In either a short sale or deed in lieu you may be responsible for paying a deficiency.  There are many factors that determine this, such as if the home was your primary residence, what state you live in, your financial situation, etc.  Sometimes this can be negotiated with your lender.

In any event, most lenders agree it is much better on your credit report and they are likely to lend you money in the future faster if you agree to a short sale or deed in lieu instead of a full blown foreclosure.

If you’ve been contacted by your lender, it may be at least worth considering your options.  Don’t throw away documents sent to you by your lender.  If they make you an offer call your attorney for legal advice or an experienced real estate agent for advice on the program and assistance selling your home.

The banks really don’t want your home back.  They’d prefer that owners pay their mortgage payments.  When that’s not possible, it may be less expensive to offer the occupant relocation assistance and get on with the process of selling the home before it gets to the costly foreclosure process.  Once the home gets into foreclosure, the costs mount, the credit suffers, and owners lose options.

If we can help, call us at 239-489-4042.  Each situation is unique and it takes time to look into each program.  The good news is we have past experience with many of these programs.

 

How would you like to view videos complete with graphs and analysis breaking down the overall Lee County Florida housing market, as well as many of the sub-markets throughout SW Florida?  Now you can.  The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers Florida recently released its annual State of the Market Report, and this year they’ve produced videos explaining in detail what it all means for the future of the local housing market.

State of the Market Video 1 This video gives an overview of how the Lee County real estate market fared in 2009 vs. 2008 and provides many graphs and analysis on what foreces are influencing the market

State of the Market Video 2 Continued discussion of the overall SW Florida real estate market

State of Market Video 3 Analysis of submarkets Fort Myers Beach, Lehigh Acres, East Ft Myers, North Fort Myers, Sanibel Island

State of the Market Video 4 Analysis of  submarkets SE Fort Myers, SW Fort Myers, Central Ft Myers, Bonita Springs, and Estero Florida markets

State of the Market Video 5 Analysis of Cape Coral submarket, broken down into 3 areas, Cape Coral North, Cape Coral Central, Cape Coral South

Feel free to share this report and videos with your friends who may have interest in the SW Florida housing market

Recently the Ellis Team has added videos on it’s YouTube channel by broadcasting The Future of Real Estate Show in video. For years the Ellis Team aired this show on radio and recently made the switch to video in January 2010.  The Ellis Team YouTube channel already has over 24,000 views and is growing rapidly.  We just released our annual State of the Market Report, and we’ll be providing videos in the coming days on the State of the SW Florida Real Estate market and provide even more in-depth knowledge and analysis.

Each week the show provides real estate news and analysis you won’t find anywhere else, and we also bring a featured Hot Properties of the Week segment as well.  Be sure to subscribe to our channel and watch for brand new videos to be uploaded shortly.