The Ellis team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers is hiring.  Our team is growing and we need to fill 4 positions.

We’re looking to hire another closing coordinator.  This person should be familiar with Excel and Quick Books. Real estate experience is preferred as you’ll be working with attorneys, title companies, lenders, appraisers, sellers, and inspectors.


Fort Myers Real Estate Brokers are Hiring

We’re also looking to hire 3 buyer specialists.  Our marketing is working and producing buyers. We have some fantastic listings available for open house.  Our newspaper and print marketing generates phone calls and our online marketing generates leads looking to buy complete with name, phone, and email addresses.

We never cut back on marketing.  We’ve tested what works and we’re not afraid to spend the money.  We need great people to help our customers purchase homes.  Great lead generation and great service equals happy buyers who refer us to their friends and family.

If you have experience in real estate and aren’t making the type of money you should be making, we should talk.  Give us a call at 239-489-4042

If you’d like to search the Southwest Florida MLS for your dream home feel free.

View our SW Florida Real Estate Video Market Update November 2015

Changes are coming to the way property is shown in SW Florida.  Gone are the days where agents call the listing office to setup showing appointments.  This was an inefficient system as agents had to make phone calls to listing office, who had to in turn call seller, then call showing agent back to confirm.  If one seller wasn’t available it could throw the whole showing schedule into chaos and start the process all over.

Centralized Showing Service Changes Way Property is Shown in SW Florida

The way properties will be shown is changing for the better as the MLS has now gone to a Centralized Showing Service.  Technically offices can still setup showings the old fashioned way, but once they see how the new system works they’ll quickly learn their sellers will be at a big disadvantage so they’ll want to join in the new system.

When agents view properties online in the MLS there is a button they can click on that will automatically setup the showing for them.  If the agent sees 7 homes that meet their buyer’s needs, they simply select those 7 homes and request showings at a set time interval, i.e., tomorrow from 2-4 pm.  They system will contact each owner and notify the showing agents which appointments are set along with a showing map for the route.

Since this will be automated sellers need to understand the new rules of showing real estate.  Actually they’re old rules but with the new system it’s even more important.  The more accessible a property is, the more it will get shown if it’s priced correctly.  If the sellers reject showings as inconvenient, the showing agent will simply just show the homes they have approvals on.  The rejected showings will miss out unless the buyer doesn’t like one of the other 6 homes.

With limited inventory, buyers are hesitant to wait, so they offer on one they’ve seen that meets their needs and is priced correctly.

The new system will handle alarm codes, gates codes, special instructions like handling of pets, etc.  There’s even an app for the agent’s phone that will remind them not to let cat out or why a bedroom door is closed.

Sellers will have the option of receiving a tele-call where they can hit 1 for accept the showing or 2 for reject.  Or, they can receive texts where they can accept or reject, or an email, or all 3.  Once the seller accepts the showing agent is instantly notified, so setting up showings can take just a few minutes versus chasing listing brokers and sellers down for hours.  Weekends were especially hairy if the listing office didn’t have personnel to handle showings.

Hot Price Ranges Way Property is Shown in SW Florida

The system has some interesting features.  It can tell an agent which price range is receiving the most showings.  This can be helpful in setting the correct price for a home if the home is on the edge of a price bracket.

The system also contacts showing agents for feedback and generates a nice report for our sellers.  Tracking agents down for feedback used to be difficult but now the system will do it automatically and makes it easy on the showing agent to respond.

We look forward to sharing with our sellers the new seller reports, showing reports, and market statistics we’ll generate on showings.  We can compare this to sold and pending data and spot trends as they develop.  If the market takes a turn, we’ll be able to see if other similarly priced homes are getting showings.

This new service is a win/win for sellers and agents.  Knowing the new rules and how to work the system can mean the difference between selling or watching all the homes around you sell while your home sits.  Take the time to learn the system and make your home accessible.

Good Luck and Happy Showing!

View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

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Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

2013 final sales numbers are in and again we saw price increases inline with expectations.  The median sales price of a single family home in Lee County Florida popped up to $177,000, up from $170,000 in November and up 24% over last December’s $142,750.  The mean average sale price was only up 12.8% over last year with December 2013 coming in at $269,789 versus $239,186 in December 2012.  2012 numbers were revised upward about $15,000 so that helped to keep the average down to an increase of only 12.8%.

2013 Final Sales Numbers Are In

Aiding in the increase to local housing prices is the limited supply of homes, or scarcity as some buyers like to call it.  About this time of year inventory begins to rise but last year it was hardly enough to keep up with all the seasonal buyers that arrived.  This year it seems the seasonal buyers have arrived earlier, and if they stay as long many are wondering if the inventory levels will hold up.

Season sets the tone for the rest of the year. At the Ellis Team we are working on bringing several homes to the market.  The past several months it seems like we’d list 5 homes per week and sell 7, so inventory levels have gone down for us.  Thankfully they are increasing right now for the overall market.

SW Florida single family home inventory Fort Myers, Cape Coral, waterfront homes

Unfortunately in the 6,169 single family homes currently for sale some will never sell regardless of how low the inventory is.  This is because some sellers are still overpricing their home even in a good market.  This is nothing new, some sellers will always over-price a home and buyers will continue to reject it.  What hurts is missing a good opportunity to sell.  Some of these over-priced sellers actually do want to sell their home; they’re just misinformed about the market.  Either that or they’re under the impression that the seller can always come down but you can’t go up, so they overprice it.

In reality, you can go up if it’s priced correctly because a fairly priced home in a low inventory market attracts multiple buyers who may bid up the price.  An overpriced home attracts buyers who are expecting more and when they compare the over priced home to similarly priced homes they find they get more value in the other homes.  They don’t make offers on the over priced homes, they make offers on the homes that offer more value.

This is probably the biggest misconception sellers have about selling their home.  When you read in the paper it’s a seller’s market, that’s not a license to overprice your home.  It simply means if you price your home at or close to market value, it should attract buyers.  This isn’t always the case in a buyer’s market.  Many years ago we’ve had listings that were priced properly but due to lack of buyers some homes just sat on the market. It took extra marketing just to get a sniff from a buyer.  Of course back then the average time on the market was 9 months or more compared to now.  The median time on the market in December 2013 was 43 days.

If you’re interested in selling, now is a good time.  It’s also a good time to talk to a professional that can help you price it correctly, market it correctly, and take advantage of the many buyers we have shopping for homes.  If you’d like to speak with us, call us at 239-489-4042.  You can search the MLS on our website

If you’re looking for a waterfront home to purchase, keep in mind our team is waterfront specialists.  Not every waterfront home in SW Florida is the same.  Some canals have varying depths which limits the size of boat you can have in that canal.  Sometimes the waterfront behind your home may be deep but the waterfront  entrance to the community may have silted in and restrict the depth at the entrance.  Sailboats need more clearance, so you really need to know how much draft your boat pulls, or how much your future boat might pull.

We can help you with all your waterfront needs.


Good luck and Happy Selling!
If you’d like to search the market as either a buyer or seller, visit If you need extra help we’re always available to talk to you and help you make better decisions. Our phone number is 239-489-4042 Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Visit our Google+ Business Page



How can we predict pending sales will rise in the coming months? We need look no further than the last 4 years to see a seasonal trend that happens each year starting around January and culminating around March or April. It’s an annual pilgrimage to bring homes to the market in search of buyers, and it works. New pending sales set to rise.

New Pending sales Set to Rise

If you study the new listings chart you’ll see a spike in new listings entering the market each January which coincides with a spike of new pending sales also starting in January. It ends with a rise of closed sales March through May of each year.

It’s a good thing too because without the new listings we wouldn’t have enough properties to satisfy the appetite of all our visitors each year. If you’re wondering whether they’re here just look at the roads, or call a hotel. We’ve heard many hotels had no vacancies this past week and our roads are full.

People are definitely here and we think many are going to purchase again this year. The past two seasons have been good as consumers have been more confident that prices had bottomed and it was safe to invest again in Florida.

Pending Sales 2009-2014 Fort Myers Cape Coral

New Pending Sales Set to Rise

We expect prices to rise again this season as demand is high and inventory is limited. Our weather has been fantastic and weather up North has been bad. A new crop of Baby Boomers will decide this is the year to purchase property in Florida, and so many fall in love with SW Florida. People tend to buy where they’ve been or where they’re familiar with, and this puts the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Bonita Springs area in a favorable position.

The Ellis Team is currently working on bringing several new listings to market. Some are really fun to market but fortunately we don’t always get that chance as the market scoops it up before we can tell everyone about it. Literally new listings can been seen and shown in a matter of hours and contracts can follow within a day or so, and many listings are getting multiple offers.

If you’re a seller, now might be the time to consider making a move while demand is high. If you’re a buyer, remember, you’re not in competition with the seller. You’re in competition with all the other buyers out there trying to buy the property you want, so you must structure your offer correctly so you put your best foot forward.

Some buyers mistakenly think it’s all about price, and that is a component. However, if all 4 offers are over asking price, it comes down to which looks stronger on paper. Which buyer is best suited to perform? Which buyer is offering the strongest terms?

If you’re considering buying, call a Realtor who knows the market and can guide you through the process so you make a good offer according to local customs. If you’re a seller, you also want an experienced agent who can help you price your property correctly, and help you select the best offer. It does no good to select the wrong offer and be left holding the bag after season when many of the buyers have gone home only to find out your buyer can’t perform. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the Ellis Team can help you make good decisions in a fast paced market. Feel free to search the MLS at or call us at 239-489-4042. Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

If you’d like to search the market as either a buyer or seller, visit If you need extra help we’re always available to talk to you and help you make better decisions. Our phone number is 239-489-4042 Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Visit our Google+ Business Page



If you are in the real estate industry you were influenced by Howard Brinton whether you knew him or not.  Howard was the founder of Star Power Systems, the most powerful training organization in the real estate industry.  Real Estate Industry Loses a Legend!

Real Estate Industry Loses a Legend Howard Brinton
Legendary Trainer

Howard was a top producing agent selling around 500 homes per year in his prime.  Howard burst onto the scene nationally as an instructor for CRS (Certified Residential Specialist).  Howard always believed success leaves clues so he set out to interview Top Agents throughout the country and identify what they did that worked.

The Ellis Team attended sessions Howard did at national conventions, CRS classes, and Star Power conferences.  The information Howard and the Stars shared worked.  It was proven on the street.  The Ellis Team was so influenced by Howard and the Stars over the years that brought back many of the ideas to SW Florida.

The Ellis Team was the first true real estate team in SW Florida.  Many agents worked as loose partnerships, but none as a true team until Howard taught the systems to make it work.  We ran an ad in the early 90’s that we picked up from Star Power that read “By the Year 2010 All Agents Will Operate as a Team .”  This was quite controversial in its day, and many agents called up and complained.

Several years later teams spread across the country and a large volume of business was handled by teams.  Not every agent works as a team, but Howard sure changed the landscape.

Get out of Judgement Get Into Curiosity

Howard also taught Realtors how to effectively price homes, answer objections, and how to listen to uncover needs.  He called it “Going 3 Deep.”  I hear agents complain “Buyers are liars.”  Howard taught us they’re not liars, you just didn’t ask enough questions.  Buyers will tell you everything you need to know if you just ask the right questions and listen.

Howard taught us the concept of getting out of judgment and into curiosity.  I recall hearing ideas early in my career and thinking, “I can’t do that, or that won’t work in my market.”  The truth is, those were judgment statements.  By suspending judgment we learn to listen and say “What if?”  If we stay in curiosity chances are more answers will come to us than if we just dismiss them at first glance.

We were fortunate to grow and become a top team in the country because of Howard.  In 2001 Howard asked us to become a Star and share our knowledge with Realtors across the world.  It was truly an honor.  A few years later Denny Grimes was selected to become a Star based upon many practices he put into place from Star Power.

When you went to a Star Power conference you’d hear ideas coming at you a mile a minute, almost as if it was shot out of a fire house.  You couldn’t implement all of them at once, but you knew if you didn’t, someone else at the conference would.

The Ellis Team was the first in SW Florida to incorporate many things, but not everything.  Denny actually beat us to the punch with a moving truck for clients, an idea presented at Star Power.

This is why I say even if you never heard of Howard you were influenced by him because you were either implementing ideas or your competition was and you were forced to react.

We know that by sharing our ideas to Realtors across the world that many would be copied here locally, but that’s OK.  Howard always said, you can innovate faster than people can copy, and most people won’t copy all your ideas anyway out of fear.  Many ideas cost money, and we had the vision because of Star Power to know the idea would work.  People copying didn’t have that vision, they only saw what you were doing.

One page isn’t nearly enough to describe Howard.  He was generous, a leader, humorous, and a true friend.  We’re so privileged to have known him and worked with him.  Whether you knew Howard or not, please say a little prayer for his family.  Chances are Howard paved the way and made your work or personal life better because of his ideas, and to that we can all be thankful.  God reclaimed a good one.  I’m sure he was needed up there.  And I’m sure he has them laughing and learning!


Last week we wrote about the influence of mobile marketing and how it’s influencing real estate buying.  We must have touched a nerve because the last portion of the story was about a new mobile app and several people emailed asking for the link for this free tech tool. Mobile Apps For Real Estate!

Mobile Apps For Real Estate
RE/MAX Mobile App for iPhone and Android

Because there was so much interest, we decided to do a follow-up and concentrate solely on this new app.  Unlike other apps like Zillow, Trulia,,, the RE/MAX app doesn’t sell advertising opportunities per zip code to agents from various companies, so there isn’t pressure from agents trying to convert an advertising opportunity.

The RE/MAX app simply puts detailed information in the hands of the consumer and lets the consumer make choices.  Most apps let the consumer decide when to request information, but RE/MAX isn’t selling consumer data to companies for profit.  This app is solely a benefit to consumers provided by the RE/MAX network, and any consumer info is available only to RE/MAX agents when a consumer decides to reach out and request information.

There are some very cool things you can do with this app.  For instance, if you have your GPS on, the app will show where you are on a map and show homes on the market in your area. Users can also enter search criteria such as number of bedrooms, price, location, etc.

The app provides instant access to homes in your search along with listing details and available photos. It also provides turn by turn directions to homes you want to see, interactive maps for navigating neighborhoods, and the ability to save searches.

There is an email option to share properties with your friends and family.  There’s even an integrated mortgage calculator for instant calculations on how much the payments would be.

Sellers love the app because they can find out how their neighbors are pricing their homes.  If a new home comes on the market, a seller can just look it up instantly.  Buyers love it because as they’re driving around they have the power of knowing the price of each home, the details of the home, and pictures right in the palm of their hand.

For years buyers would call about homes they were in front of and be totally surprised at prices in a neighborhood.  This free tool is a powerful education technology that will save buyers much time.  Buyers still seek out quality, professional agents to answer their specific questions the Internet cannot, but this piece of technology sure empowers the consumer and shortens the learning curve.

Judging by the interest last week, we think you’ll like this tool as well.  And best of all it’s Free.  Simply email me and I’ll send you the link to get this tool for Free.  Good luck and happy surfing!


Because we are writing this article this week before official numbers are released, we decided to go inside the numbers and focus on listing inventory and sales data.  According to preliminary numbers researched by the Ellis Team, listing inventory rose again for the 3rd consecutive month.

Single Family Home Listing Inventory in SW Florida
SW Florida December 2011 Listing Inventory

Lehigh Acres has been holding fairly steady while Cape Coral is seeing the largest gains in inventory.  Fort Myers is inching higher ever so slightly.

What’s interesting is the distressed sales market.  We track a variety of graphs.  One graph not shown here because it’s a little tangled and hard to read in newspaper format shows large drops in distressed sales in Lehigh Acres, Fort Myers, and Lee County overall.  Cape Coral has held steady at 50.45% of all single family sales being distressed.  Lee County stands at 48% distressed rate in November.

SW Florida Distressed Sales Chart December 2011
Foreclosures Vs Short Sales December 2011

We have included a Foreclosures Vs Short Sales graph that is a bit easier to read.  It fairly well shows the history of the foreclosure and short sale market in SW Florida.  As you can see, the height of foreclosure sales was in June 2009, while the height of the short sale market was March 2011.


Banks revved up their short sale departments to handle an increased load.  It can be said that potentially each of these successful short sales may have saved a corresponding amount of foreclosures, so it was in the banks and the markets best interests to sell these homes as short sales rather than as foreclosures.

Going into 2012 we’re going to continue to watch the listing inventory and the mix of inventory.  Traditional sales are on the rise as a percentage of all sales, although many homeowners are not selling at today’s bargain basement prices.

Speaking of bargain prices, many buyers are calling wanting to buy homes for investment and expecting 2009 prices.  It seems like sellers are always the last to recognize when prices are dropping and buyers are the last to recognize when prices are rising.  Why is that?  Could it be selective hearing or denial?

We can definitively say that investment homes in Cape Coral and Lehigh acres bottomed in 2009 and have risen since.  Buyers today can no longer pick up a home for $35,000 in Lehigh unless it has major problems.  $70,000 is more common place for the low end now, so essentially prices in the low end have doubled.

Sales are flat in December versus November; however we are expecting sales to pickup in season again.  We’ve had no trouble selling homes.  The biggest challenges we’ve faced are closing these homes.  Lately we’ve been encountering title issues, mortgage re-disclosure issues due to any delays, and buyers not waiting patiently for the short sale approval.  We’re getting short sales approved within 60 days in many cases, but buyers are impatient.  Going forward the industry will have to do a better job educating buyers as to what the realistic expectations are for approval and closing time frames on short sales.

We’ll also watch foreclosure inventory as we are expecting a few more in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2012.

We’ll keep our eye on the SW Florida real estate market for you, and whether you’re a buyer or seller, we hope Santa is better to you this year than he was last year.  The market is looking up, and we hope your holiday spirits are too.


Reflection Lakes Fort Myers is a gated community in South Ft Myers consisting of 820 properties, 194 of which are single family homes and 358 are villa homes, and 268 condos. Reflection Lakes is centrally located off Summerlin Rd and Cypress Lake Dr with entrances from both.

Perhaps Reflection Lakes greatest beauty is the fact that it abuts Lakes Regional Park full of pristine views and wildlife. Reflection Lakes residents even have their own private entrance into Lakes Park.

Home prices are down significantly from their highs back in 2005, as all neighborhoods are. Currently there are homes priced from $145,000 to $629,700 on the market. The highest sales price for a home in 2011 has been $510,000.

Condos on the market currently range from $119,900 to $219,000. The highest condo sales price in 2011 was $185,000.

Reflection Lakes Fort Myers
4 Bedroom 3 Bath Home in Reflection lakes

The home pictured above is currently listed by the Ellis Team for $280,000 and is located in the Las Palmas section of Reflection Lakes, formerly known as the Estates II section. The home has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and has 2433 square feet of living area. The kitchen features granite counter tops, and the home has a large private back yard with lake views. The home also has hurricane shutters.

Another amenity residents love is the clubhouse. Reflection Lakes offers clay tennis courts, a bocce court, a full sized basketball court, volleyball court, putting green, and an oversized pool with waterfall along with a children’s pool.

Reflection Lakes Exercise Room in Fort Myers Florida


Billiard Room in Reflection Lakes

Reflection Lakes Billiard Room


Inside the clubhouse is an exercise room with state of the art professional workout equipment, a card room, billiard room, and a banquet room with full kitchen. The community enjoys many community events as the residents have an active recreation committee planning wonderful events year round.

Clay Tennis Courts in Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Florida
Reflection Lakes Clay Tennis Courts

Reflection Lakes is very stable financially which makes it attractive for buyers and lenders. Lenders today are skittish about lending when there are many homes in foreclosure or a certain number are unoccupied investor units. Reflection Lakes is primarily owner occupied or seasonal residents which makes getting a mortgage easier for borrowers. Fees are low and cable TV is included. Lawn mowing is included in the Villa homes and of course all condos.

We enjoy bringing you market stats and timely real estate information that impacts the market each week. To shake it up a bit, we thought every once in awhile it would be nice to update you on what’s happening in a specific community. Stay tuned and one day you just might see your community featured here.

Volleyball Court at Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Florida
Reflection Lakes Volleyball Court



Basket Ball Court at Reflection Lakes in Fort Myers Florida
Reflection Lakes Basketball Court

The Ellis Team has just released it’s Fort Myers Cape Coral Florida Real Estate Update Video May 2011 covering the Fort Myers Florida and Cape Coral Florida areas. Prices are up over 15%, inventory is down, pending sales are up, and distressed sales are down. The video includes charts and analysis to bring you up to date on exactly what is happening today in the SW Florida real estate market.


Many Realtors have mixed feelings on the effectiveness of open houses, and you’ll hear varying answers as to whether they should be utilized in marketing a home.

Some Realtors have grown tired of sitting an open house only to waste the afternoon away with no lookers or interest from anyone.  Other open houses are filled with prospects and it indeed helps sell that home, and maybe a few more in the area.  So what factors influence whether an open house will be successful or not?

Open House Weekend

Advertising an open house definitely helps.  Several weekends we’ve found agents with competing homes in neighborhoods we market open up the paper to see where the open houses were, then abruptly put up signs pointing buyers to their open house hoping to pick off a stray buyer and sell their listing.

The problem with this strategy is indeed the competing home may be located in the same area, but may not be posses the features in the ad that drew them to the open house to begin with.  Some agents promise open houses every weekend because they’re on a shoe-string budget and they win by either attracting a nosy neighbor who may be interested in selling their home, or picking up buyers who may not be qualified for the open house, but qualify to buy something else.  Either way the agent drums up business for free by using the seller’s home as a store-front to attract buyers.

We believe an open house can be an effective tool, but shouldn’t be used as the primary tool.  It’s simply an additional tool, and it may not be right in all instances.  For instance, if the seller is located in a gated community and the HOA doesn’t provide easy access on the scheduled open house day, getting buyers to the home can be difficult.

Open houses are a time when you’re showing the home to absolutely anyone and you’re never sure how qualified the person walking through the door is, or what their intentions are.  If a home has a lot of valuables or small personal items, it may not be wise to hold that home open.

We find that buyers just want to see the homes and get a feel for the market.  Online buyers want access to the listings first.  Agents can provide open houses via online virtual tours, and this can be especially helpful for rural properties, gated communities, or homes with lots of knick knacks.

If you’re going to do an open house, buyers generally want it to be worth their time, so holding several at once can be a tool to get buyers off the couch and out looking.  The buyer never knows which open house will capture their interest, but if there are several to look at, perhaps one will and it becomes worth their time.  It’s the same concept as builders doing a Parade or Homes.

We have a tour of 6 homes scheduled for this weekend, and we find that when we do multiple homes traffic at each home increases significantly versus holding just one home open. A list of homes we have on tour this weekend can be found at

All buyers want to see the goods (Listings) but some want to meet the Realtor and just get a comfort feeling on which agent might be good to deal with.  Buyers sizing up agents at open houses make decisions not only on the particular home, but on a possible agent to work with in the home buying process.

You can choose to open your home up, and doing so may produce mixed results.  Advertising helps, and having an independent 3rd party there to show your home really pays off.  Buyers rarely tell the owner what’s really on their mind as they don’t wish to offend, but finding this information out is critical to a sale.  Buyers will tell an agent things they would never tell the owner.  Too many times we’ve seen owners hold out hope for a sale because the buyers said how much they loved the home, when in reality they bought another and had little to no interest.  Or worse, sellers have refused to work with an offer because they felt a better offer was coming because they met the buyers and heard nothing but wonderful things about their home at the open house.  Sellers feel strung along when that offer never comes when the buyer seemed to rave about the home.

Open houses are not the end all marketing strategy, but if used in conjunction with an overall pricing, marketing, and sales strategy can be an effective additional tool and should be weighed with benefits and risks to ascertain whether it should be utilized in the sale of the home.

Discuss with your listing agent the pros and cons of holding an open house and with some planning and a little luck, it just might help you sell your home or find your dream home.

View our latest video SW Florida Real Estate Market Update-Foreclosures-October 2010