This past week official SW Florida 2015 year end sales prices released and as expected single family home prices showed a price gain of 12.96%  Closed home sales were up 9.7% over 2014 numbers as well, so all in all we’d call 2015 a very successful year.

SW Florida 2015 Year End Sales Prices Released
Year End Sales Prices

As you can tell by the Year End Prices Graph our market has risen every year since the bottom in 2009.  We’re still not back at peak 2005 prices.  We have risen to mid 2007 levels when the market was in free-fall.

When prices rise it doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to rise at the same rate.  In fact, they’re not guaranteed to rise at all.  One of the steepest rises was in 2004 but once 2005 hit the party was over.  We started warning in Fall of 2005 the party was over but few would listen.

Today we aren’t warning anything like that, but we are seeing a shift in the market towards a more balanced market.  If you asked Realtors who have been in the business for any length of time most would probably say a healthy balanced market is the most fun to work because neither buyer nor seller have a leg up on the other and both must act rationally to accomplish their goals.  Of course, not every buyer or seller knows where we really are at any given time and are stuck on yesterday’s headlines sometimes.

One little report I like to look at from time to time is the Market Watch Report published when we log into MLS.  This can be customized.  I have mine set today to look at all activity in Lee County Florida within the past 24 hours.  This can be changed to homes only, condos only, etc and the time period can be adjusted as well.  I look at various time periods.

SW Florida 2015 Year End Sales Prices Released Market Watch
Market Watch

The graph I’m sharing with you today shows 24 hours.  One thing we notice is new listings are outpacing pending sales 84-66.  You’ll also notice sellers that have failed to sell are reducing prices.  There were 101 price reductions in the last 24 hours.  Now this could have been in response to last week’s article about a shifting market, but Realtors in general know when a listing is not receiving showings or losing out to other homes because of price.

Most Realtors will consult with their sellers if they believe the market isn’t responding to their asking price much the same buyer agents must consult with an unreasonable and unrealistic buyer.

Greed works in both directions.  Sellers want the absolute most for their home and buyers are afraid to make a mistake and want to pay the absolute least they can for a home.  It’s the Realtor’s job to educate their customer on the reality of the market.  A balanced market is always the most fun because you’re educating both sides versus scolding one side that refuses to acknowledge the major up or down trend.

A good way to research the market is to search active, pendings, and solds in a given area.  Our Blog blog.topagent.com gives weekly SW Florida market reports, and our MLS search site www.LeeCountyOnline.com lets you search all the listings and view Market Reports.  The market reports tell you what homes are selling for per sq ft in a neighborhood and the average days on market.  You can customize this search for any area.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling, there is no substitute for talking with a professional.  We hope the online tools give you some great information, but please call us and we’ll be glad to sit down with you and go over your options.

Always Call the Ellis Team, we’ll handle you with care!  239-489-4042

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August Home Sales Report Shows SW Florida Real Estate Market is Healthy

Initial August home sales numbers were just released by Florida Realtors and it reveals some encouraging yet predictable figures.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Shows Healthy Signs

Single family home sales in Lee County Florida showed a median price increase of 10.6% over last year to $182,500, while the average sales price was up 6.3% to $261,011 The median price was up from July $179,900.  If you’ll notice last year prices began rising again in August as well. There is seasonality in the SW Florida real estate market and the graphs help illustrate how this works.

Listing inventory is also down this year with only 4,890 single family homes on the market.  Last year there were 4,997 so inventory is going down.  You can see from the total inventory graph that there is always a dip in inventory this time of year.

SW Florida Listing Inventory

Making predictions is easy if you have lots of historical data to look at and graphs.  We always have to look at external factors that could influence the market going forward and combine that with market data.  If no new external forces were influencing the market, where would you predict inventory levels in a few months?

If you predict inventory levels to rise, there’s a good chance you’ll be correct based upon the last 3 years of data.  If we provided a price graph you’d see prices begin escalating after September as well, so going forward we could have rising inventory and rising prices.

Let’s look at external forces that could influence the market.  The Feds could increase interest rates which has a negative effect on buyer’s purchasing power.  This could happen in the next 12 months.

We have elections coming up in November.  Depending on how they turn out could affect consumer sentiment about the economy going forward.

The war on terrorism, along with hot spots in Ukraine, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere could affect the world economy and impact us here someday.

Locally we’re expecting an announcement regarding a company relocating to SW Florida.  It is dubbed Project Orange and the announcement should come in the next 12 months.  Should they choose Lee County we hear Bonita Springs is the likely winner.  This could positively impact Southern Lee County and Northern Collier County, however landing a company with jobs helps the entire area really.

Builders will be bringing more inventory to SW Florida in a few months, and we need it.  Buying new construction is complicated.  It’s hard to know who has the best deal and what incentives are being offered.  Hooking up with a top Realtor in the area can save you big and Realtors can offer guidance on what areas are hot and what amenities future buyers are looking for.  Purchasing in the best area for you can help secure your financial future down the road.

Good Realtors know what to stay away from and what will be hard to resell later on, so having a Realtor with you when you purchase is critical.  You don’t pay extra from a builder to have a Realtor, but not having one can cost you thousands. We know which builders and which communities have product coming and when, so give us a call if you’re in the market for a home and can’t find it on the resale market.

We also have some great resale homes coming to the market. If you’re looking for a certain home or neighborhood, our buyer specialists can guide you and may know of something that fits your needs.  If not, we can be on the lookout for you and notify you if a match hits the market.  The market is picking up and new listings sell very fast, so don’t waste time if you have a need.  Call us at 239-489-4042

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

Aren’t all agents the same?  Isn’t it just a matter of posting my home on MLS and someone will sell it? Does It Matter Which Agent I Hire to Sell My Home?

These are common questions sellers have.  The answer is choosing an average agent could cost you thousands, and choosing the wrong agent could cost you even more.  You can be legally responsible for the actions of your agent, so choosing an experienced knowledgeable agent can make the difference between selling and not selling, or even a lawsuit.

Does It Matter Which Agent I Hire to Sell My Home

All agents do not work the same.  In fact, some agents don’t even work much.  Some agents treat real estate as a business and don’t have any other jobs.  Their sole income is derived from working with buyers and sellers.  Some agents even invest money into their business by advertising more, sending out mailers, online advertising, etc.  Sure, sometimes the broker pays for this and splits up the services amongst all their agents, and sometimes the agent pays for all this.

Some agents attend seminars out of town to learn from top agents throughout the country, and others stay home and listen to agents in their office complain.  Education is an investment back into the business that can pay dividends for your clients.

Some agents take their broker provided advertising and that’s really all they do, while others spend their own money and really promote their listings.  Some agents hire assistants to help out with tasks that could bog a busy person down freeing their time up to close more sales while some agents spend time doing tasks that are not a productive use of their time.

Some agents get a better price for their sellers’ homes because they are better negotiators, and because they expose the home to more buyers.  Some agents over-price homes just to get the listing ensuring the property sells for a lower price later on versus a higher price sooner into the listing.  Sometimes the over-priced home doesn’t sell at all.

Often times we generate multiple buyers for a property.  Choosing the best offer usually takes an experienced agent to evaluate all the fine details of the offer and read into the situation.  Wisdom and experience are invaluable at this stage.  Less experienced agents many times accept the highest price without regards to whether the buyer can actually close and what pitfalls might be involved rather than asking questions and perhaps countering the stronger buyer.

When asked the following question “Can hiring the wrong agent cost a seller money?” I think it was Shakespeare who replied “Let me count the ways!”  OK, so maybe Shakespeare didn’t answer that question but if he did that answer would have made sense.

There is a big difference between the skills of agents, and there is a remarkable difference in the ways agents present homes to the public.  I remember sitting through a class taught to Realtors on how to convince sellers that advertising doesn’t sell homes.  Today I came across a website by a local broker and he was stating those same reasons on how advertising won’t sell your home, presumably because he doesn’t invest much in advertising.

We’re currently tracking dozens of sellers who listed with less experienced agents, sometimes at inflated prices, and their homes are still on the market.  They’re locked into listing agreements and they regret their choice.  The time to really ask questions is upfront, and make sure you ask probing questions to seek answers, not to hear what you want to hear.

Everyone likes to choose people based upon who makes them feel good, but in real estate feeling good is best defined at the closing table, not who lists the home at the highest price or tells you what you want to hear.

If you list your home and go to the bother of keeping it clean so people can march through your home at anytime wouldn’t it make sense to work with someone who can shorten that process and get you top dollar, not bottom dollar after the market has rejected your home because it was over-priced?

If you have a home to sell, give us a call.  We’ll give you the facts so you can decide, and we’ll get your home sold for top dollar!  Not Peter Pan money, but real money!

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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Is the SW Florida Real Estate Market Changing? Listing inventory rose slightly in Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate markets in February from 6,192 single family homes on the market in January to 6,271 last month. Listing inventory typically peaks in January and declines slightly in February before Declining rapidly in March due to so many seasonal sales occurring. This year inventory actually rose in February and internal numbers we’re tracking in March show they’ve risen slightly again.

SW Florida real estate market single family home inventory

This may be a sign that sellers have been a little too ambitious pricing their home and buyers have backed off bidding up prices. Prices typically peak in season then level off or decline a little bit the rest of the year. This is because most of the higher priced sales occur when we have the most visitors, but if that trend is peaking it will be interesting to see where the market heads from here. New pending sales in February are down 10.6% from last year. New listings are up 5.4% over last year. So we have increasing inventory and declining pending sales in the height of season. We’ll be tracking March numbers very carefully. It’s still possible March and April could be great as Easter is late this year but the pending numbers we’re looking at don’t bear that out plus we see rising inventory.

SW Florida real estate market new pending sales and Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers Beach single family

SW Florida Real Estate Market Prices

Prices did rise in February up to a median price of $185,000 from $180,000 in January. Average prices rose from $301,035 in January to $311,536 Has the market peaked? Markets rarely stay constant. It’s possible the market is taking a break until it figures out where it wants to go. Properties in the $250,000 or less range are still flying off the market. Homes priced higher than $400,000 really need to make sure they’re priced competitively in the market as inventory begins to build the higher the price. Interest rates are rising again and it has put pressure on buyers. We just received some good news on flood insurance which will help the SW Florida real estate market compared to what we could have seen had the President not signed HR 3370 into law this week. New buyers will receive the same flood rates as existing homeowners do. Rates may still climb, but there are caps to how much and how fast, and before the new law was signed, there was no grandfather clause when a purchaser bought a property. This should provide some stability to costs for buyers which does affect their purchasing power. We’ve had some excellent weather down here and the weather up North has been dreadful. 2014 might be the year many will vacation down here and put plans into place to move here in the coming months. A few companies are also bringing jobs to SW Florida in the next few years. If the economy improves, our real estate market has more room to grow. If it doesn’t, our market may stagnate and remain at these levels. Like I said, the market rarely stands still. Forces affect the real estate market. Rising interest rates affect it negatively. Jobs and the economy do affect the market as well. We’re not sounding the alarm that we’re at risk of a downturn. We are saying we’re watching the numbers and we have a few things to keep our eye on going forward. The continued trend of rising prices may still occur, or it may subside and take a breather.  If your plans depend on one outcome or the other this is information that may be useful to you. Nobody knows where the market is going exactly, or exactly when it will get there. If you’ve got a property to sell, give us a call and we’ll guide you through the market. If you’re a buyer, it pays to know what areas are hot and where inventory is building. We have the information. Let it work for you. 239-489-4042 or search the MLS at www.swfloridamls.Topagent.com Good luck and Happy Selling/Buying! 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 Search the MLS View Larger Map Feel free to view our Virtual Tours . Visit our Google+ Business Page  

The beautiful thing about advertising is that you’re free to choose which venues work for you.  Some people complain that newspaper advertising is dead and costly, so they quit years ago.  Others complain that Yellow Pages are dead and costly, so they quit that too.  Many brokers are in a fight to get their website ranked as highly as possible to avoid paying advertising. SW Florida Real Estate Brokers Find Buyers in new ways.

SW Florida Real Estate Brokers Find Buyers

We believe getting your website ranked highly is fantastic, and we’ve strived for that for years with good results.  In fact, we’re changing over our website right now in hopes it will achieve even higher rankings.  Mostly we want it to work for the consumer.  You can check on the progress at www.Topagent.com 

Online Advertising Report for CNN USA Today New York Times Search MLS Fort Myers

While getting ranked is important, search engines are adding more paid content to their front page, effectively squeezing out the free search results.  There are fewer and fewer spots left on front pages eaten up by paid advertising.

For those that believe newspaper advertising is dead, we can look no further than 2 weeks ago.  I wrote an article entitled “Thinking of Selling” That weekend we had over 130 sellers sign in to our website to find out the value of their home.  That’s quite a response.

People believe we’re foolish to take out full page ads in the Yellow Pages.  Yet each week we receive calls from buyers and sellers from the Yellow Pages.  Some are visiting in hotel rooms.  Others still use it at home.  The real advantage may be the online component of Yellow Pages.  Dex is a large advertiser that gets ranked on the first page of Google and Bing.  If you’re an advertiser in print, you’re an advertiser online.

The same goes with the Newspaper.  You’re not just advertising here locally as Gannett covers many papers across the US.

Our advertising philosophy can best be described as “Cornering the Market.” We use print, TV, Internet, radio, mail outs, etc.

The Ellis Team advertises our listings online in sites like USA Today, CNN, Trulia, New York Times, Fox News, and many more.  Relying on search engines is great if you’re looking to pick up a few buyers here and there on the cheap, but if you really want to market your seller’s property it’s worth spending money to reach buyers everywhere.

Advertising isn’t expensive if it works.  The newspaper still works.  It costs money, but if you’re consistent and don’t try to cram too much into a small ad it’s effective.  Yellow Pages work.  Radio, TV, Internet; they all work.  The trick is learning what’s effective.  Certain ads work.  You can’t blame the advertising medium if you post a crappy ad and nobody calls.

So when you hear an agent say they don’t advertise in the newspaper, or Yellow Pages, or whatever because it costs too much, ask yourself this question “If I buy a cheap cup of coffee and it tastes bad, did I really save anything by buying cheap coffee?”

When you’re interviewing real estate agents you have to ask pointed questions about where your home will be advertised and how often.  It’s not rude.  It’s your home and you’re paying the commission.  If the commission includes advertising it pays to find out how much exposure your home will have versus other brokers.  Many sellers assume all agents are the same when in reality brokers advertise differently.  The brokers who advertise more may be better negotiators too because they’re spending more money on your home and they need to be.

If you have a home you’re considering 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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Last week we reported that home prices were down the past few months but not to get too concerned as they were expected. This week we provide a graph that illustrate median home prices and average mean home prices so you can see what we’re talking about. What Price Ranges are Hot?

What Price Ranges are Hot Median and Average Fort Myers Cape Coral Florida home sales

Each year our home prices increase in season because we have more affluent buyers here purchasing more higher end properties than we do other parts of the year, and this pulls the averages up and sets the tone for the year. When we have bad seasons we really have to watch the summer months to spot any meaningful trends. Last season was another good one, so we’ve had a few good ones in a row,

It’s not unusual for prices to retreat after the season, so we look at year over year prices out of season and we see prices are still up over last year by the same percentages as they were in season, so we’re fine.

Now let’s delve into which price ranges are hot. As you can see from the price range chart, the $400,000 $599,999 range is the hottest with a 82.5% gain. This is not only true for the July 2013 data but also many months prior, so we can definitely say the $400-600k range is doing well. Really all the price ranges except for maybe the $300,000-$399,999 range is doing particularly well. This could be for the same reasons the less than $100,000 range isn’t doing well. We have little to no inventory anymore at the lower price range. They’ve graduated up, so those same sales are occurring in the higher ranges. It’s entirely possible many of the $300k+ range homes have graduated into the $400k= range and thus more homes are selling in that range.

Fort Myers real estate sales by price range Cape Coral

I tend to think some of that is possible, but more likely we’re seeing strength at the bottom of the market and the upper middle of the market as those that can afford $400-600k either have local businesses on the mend in SW Florida or they are out of town buyers buying second home and retirement homes.

We are also seeing some relocations coming into the market and buying property, although companies like Hertz are recognizing that fewer existing employees took the relocation offer and instead their recruiting and hiring more outside employees to take jobs here in SW Florida.

Hertz will hire some locally, however many are coming here and being recruited from other companies with certain specialty education and job history in the field. It doesn’t really change how many people Hertz brings in but it does change from where they bring them. Less of these employees coming to Hertz are actually from Hertz.

Last November we started seeing spikes in the average sale price in Lee County Florida and it wasn’t until February of 2013 before we saw significant price swings here in SW Florida, so we may have a few months more to go before we start seeing if a new price trend emerges for next year. Inventory is still tight, so with any economic luck we’ll be in for another good season, assuming we have enough inventory to sell this upcoming season. Feel free to search the MLS at TopAgent.com. Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

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If you haven’t read the News Press story “Anatomy of the Deal” about Hertz selecting Lee County Florida to relocate its world headquarters to you’re missing out on some fascinating behind the scenes tales full on mystery, intrigue, and suspense as if it was right out of a top selling suspense novel.  Hertz Deal Underscores Importance of Confidentiality.Hertz Deal Underscores Importance of Confidentiality

It was fascinating to read about how that deal transpired from beginning to end.  It further underscores why confidentiality is a requirement in deals like this.

In the past we’ve worked with professional athletes, movie stars, and other famous people so we’ll shed a little light on some things people don’t always think about confidentiality.

We had two athletes who played in many Super Bowls interested in buying property in SW Florida.  They both purchased and one bought multiple properties because of the confidentiality extended to them.  One man was rather large and tall, in excess of 340 lbs.  Before he came to SW Florida we sent him video tapes of selected properties that met his needs.  We’d go out and video the properties on his behalf.

At one SW Florida community the salesperson stopped us and said they would do the taping for us, that we were not good enough and they wanted to show their product in the Best possible way.  We’re sure they would have done a marvelous job, but what they didn’t realize who the client was and what they were looking for.

We were videoing entrances to the closet so he could tell if he would fit.  The same was true with doorways and bathrooms.  The salesperson thought we were nuts and not very good, but we knew what was important to him.  He knew we selected nice properties, but they were no good to him if he couldn’t enjoy life within the property.  That’s what he wanted to see.

We couldn’t disclose who the buyers were as they were fairly well known and they valued their privacy.  They wanted to come down to SW Florida and enjoy it, not be mobbed by fans or interested onlookers.

A few years ago I heard a rumor that Kenny Chesney was looking at property in Key West but nixed the deal when word got out he was buying.  I have no idea how true this rumor was but it could be as famous people like to keep secret what they’re doing for as long as possible.

I remember negotiating land deals and in many cases the original contract was an unnamed buyer.  Sellers don’t like this but there were reasons.  Children’s Miracle Network wanted to build a facility but needed confidentiality.  We met with company representatives out of state and began the process.  They knew that we were contributors to the network as we had contributed money from every Ellis Team closing to CMN for years.  We still do today.  Sande is a CCIM so they wanted local expertise and someone they could trust. They knew we believed in them and they believed in us.  Their facility now sits on Colonial Blvd and helps children from all over SW Florida and reduces many trips to Tampa.

We worked with builders who were competing with other builders for communities so they didn’t want it known which land parcels they were bidding on.  If word got out, prices could go up or another builder could speed up a development order and take away chances another community would be allowed given the existing road and water resources.

In the case of Hertz, employees back home hadn’t been told yet.  Tulsa was a competitor to SW Florida.  I can just imagine many from NJ wouldn’t move to Oklahoma, and many from Oklahoma wouldn’t go to NJ.  SW Florida just seems like a nice place key employees from either might go to, and we agree.

In the end, it all worked out for SW Florida.  We weren’t in the know in this deal, and that’s OK.  We didn’t need to be, and neither did anybody who wasn’t closely involved.  Companies choose locations for their reasons.  The fact that we all found out who the mystery company was the day it was announced served everyone well, and that’s the way it should be.  Relocation is a stressful thing and involves a lot of people so it wouldn’t do a lot of good getting people riled up about various locations.  7 sites were considered locally for Hertz.  Imagine the public interest had Hertz been revealed and speculation as to which location was selected.

Welcome to Southwest Florida Hertz.  We think you’re going to like it here.  I know I’m joining the Hertz #1 Club.  We hope everyone here does too.

SW Florida sure dodged a bullet with Tropical Storm Isaac. A few people actually seemed kind of let down the storm was a dud for our area. Not us, we’re glad the storm sideswiped us so we can get back to business.

When things are going well you don’t need a timeout. Have you ever watched a sportscast and noticed it’s usually the team that’s struggling that calls a timeout? A timeout gives them a chance to regroup, catch their breath, re-energize, formulate a new strategy, or think of something different to change their plot.

SW Florida Traditional Real Estate Sales Versus Distressed Sales
SW Florida Traditional Vs Distressed Sales

SW Florida needs no timeout right now. In fact, I think we can handle some more. We’re firing on all cylinders and actually could use more listings. Sales would be higher if we had more inventory to sell. The proof is in the pudding, so let’s take a look at the numbers.

Traditional sales rose 6% in the 2nd qtr of 2012. Remember not too long ago distressed sales accounted for 71.86% of all single family home sales in Lee County in 2009. In Lehigh Acres it was worse at 88.5%. Fast forward to today and we have a much different picture. In fact, traditional sales were not only up in percentage, they were also up in actual units rising from 1,896 the 1st qtr to 2,188 this past qtr. Short sales declined from 20% down to 17% as the actual units dropped from 647 the 1st qtr to 566 this past qtr. Bringing up the rear was foreclosures which were 20% 1st qtr and 17% 2nd qtr. Actual units were 628 foreclosure sales 1st qtr and 560 the 2nd qtr.

This wasn’t a case of all three types of properties falling and only the percentages changed. There was an increase in traditional sales and a decrease in distressed sales, all indicative of a recovering market.

Some wonder if the market’s as good as we say it is, why haven’t prices gone back up to 2006 levels and the answer is those were artificial numbers and were not sustainable There were voices speaking back in 2005 that the market was in trouble but few would listen. The economy didn’t support those levels then and they sure won’t support them now. The economy has worsened since then and until we see a rise in jobs, income, and savings we won’t see whopping price increases. However, most agree our market is undervalued while it is steadily progressing in price. Our market is ready to take off once economic conditions improve. In the meantime, we’ll take the slow and steady gains of the past year or more.

Our nation and economy is at a crossroads, and the outcome should arrive fairly soon with the election in November. The politicians have not been straight with us because they’re afraid we’ll fire them. The truth is we spend more each year on entitlements than we bring in, so it wouldn’t matter if we cut the entire budget, there isn’t enough to pay our bills. We either need to grow revenue to the government or cut entitlements, or perhaps both.

The big argument will be how to cut entitlements, and how to grow revenue. Obama says raise taxes on the rich. Others say cut taxes on the rich and revenue will grow like they did under Reagan. Taxes are just half of the equation and it’s a losing proposition if you don’t also look at entitlements. It’s a conversation America needs to have, not one which we want to have.

Entitlements eat up the entire revenue, and yet Bush increased them with prescription drugs and Obama did with health care. If we can’t afford what we have, why are we adding to the debt? Greece had austerity measures forced upon them by their creditors and they didn’t like that. We won’t either. Right now we have choices. In a few years we won’t. America was founded upon us choosing our destiny. I’d hate to see the world tell us in a few years how we should govern ourselves, but if we can’t do it, assuredly someone will soon.

As we said earlier, our local real estate market will ultimately be dictated by jobs and the economy. Jobs and the economy might very well be dictated this coming election, so our crystal ball should be arriving sometime in November. Stay tuned, and Happy House Hunting!

We’ve recently been testing a concept to gauge consumer interest at a subdivision level. For years agents have been sending out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards, or even market updates to communities. Typically this only reached sellers. This was OK because the target was always the sellers who might list their homes. It’s a practice in the industry known as “Farming.”

Map with Homes for Sale and Solds in Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes Interactive Map

We thought buyers might also be interested in similar information, but reaching them in addition to targeted sellers in that area can be dicey. You can’t just mail to a certain area as the buyer could come from anywhere.

We thought “What if we could target both worlds, the buyer and the seller?” One way to target buyers is to reach them on the Internet for specific search items. For instance, let’s say a buyer is looking to buy in Reflection Lakes. If we could somehow provide this list of data when buyers are searching, would buyers find that helpful?

We don’t know, but our hunch says they might. We’ve researched a way to provide a map of an area which shows all the homes available for sale, all closed sales within a certain time frame, and all pending sales and pinpointed them on the map. Additionally, if you click on the pin, you get additional information on the home, like list price, sold price, size, age, pool, waterfront description, bedrooms, bathrooms, and much more. You can customize it to display about anything you want.

We even went so far as to provide links to additional information if available, virtual tours and more. In this way, a buyer or seller can quickly see a homes location on a map and compare it with other like kind homes for sale. It is color coded and sorted by status, so you can look at the solds to get an idea of what homes are selling for or just actives. Perhaps you’re riding down the street and just want to know what it’s on the market for.

The map is set for a particular point in time, however it can be updated at any time. The agent selects the fields to display. The consumer can zoom in or out, as well as click on street view to look up and down the street and view the homes photos, or even take a satellite view to get an idea of the terrain and the surroundings of the community.

We exported all this information into a Google map., so the possibilities are endless on how you can view these homes. It’s really kind of fun. We liked it, so we thought consumers might too,

We selected fields we thought the consumer would be interested in. These fields are flexible and we can add or subtract when building the next map. It took me about an hour to setup this map in Reflection lakes. If you’d like to view it, simply go to www.Reflectionlakes.com

We can setup a map like this for any area and import data from the MLS. If you live in a community you think would benefit from something like this, give us a call at 239-489-4042 or send me an email Brett@topagent.com and I’ll look into it. If you think it’s missing something, or have feedback, we’d like to hear it.

If you think we’re nuts and nobody will use it, you can let us know too. Feel free to email us or comment on our Blog http://blog.topagent.com

We honestly don’t know if the public will use it or like it. We do know it’s cool and useful to us, and we enjoy trying new things if they have the potential to help in the buying or selling process.

Stay tuned for future updates for other areas around Lee County on our website at Topagent.com

Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX is accepting new listings. We’ve sold practically everything and we’re ready to help more people. If you haven’t heard this before, you probably will in the future. It should be a common theme.

Prices have been rising, that’s well documented. Let’s illustrate why. We’ve created a few graphs that show official inventory levels and added a month’s supply of inventory graph.

Months Supply of Inventory in SW Florida
SW Florida Listing Inventory and Months Supply

Last month only 868 new single family listings came to the market compared to 1,413 at this time last year. Fewer listings coming to the market shows why we have fewer listings on the market today than in months past. Officially we’re down to 4,169 single family homes which includes villas and duplexes. It also includes Charlotte, Hendry, Collier, and Glades county properties listed in our MLS. In the coming months those other counties will be dropping out of the official numbers, so look for Lee County numbers to fall even further.

Combining a trend of less properties coming to the market each month is the market’s ability to absorb everything the supply side throws at it. Let’s just say the demand side’s appetite is larger than the supply side’s ability to deliver.

If you’ve ever hear the phrase “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach” you know the concept. Well, in this case, the eyes aren’t bigger. The stomach is easily devouring everything it sees. Buyers in many cases are in bidding wars. That’s not to say transactions are easy. In fact, perhaps they’re more difficult than ever to close.

This market has a large appetite, but it needs teeth to chew on it and fully digest what it’s about to consume. Some properties have title issues. For instance, we’ve been working to close a file that had an open pool permit from years ago. Another had old code violations that must be cleared up including hearings with the city or county. All these take time, and some buyers aren’t willing to wait.

We’ve seen buyers walk believing they can just go find another great deal. That’s until the realization sinks in that they might want to hang in there on their current deal because the alternatives may not be as nice, and may cost a lot more. And who’s to say the slim pickings left on the market don’t also have unknown issues that need to be worked on. Though frustrating it may be worth it to hang in there.

Professional agents are the teeth that get in there and chew on the issues and get them worked out. In the end, everyone is happy, but it can be frustrating when you’re scheduled to close only to find out a week before closing there are issues that will take some time. We tell our buyers not to get too attached to the closing date on the contract, because issues have been creeping up that must be dealt with.

When you look at the month’s supply of inventory standing at 3.5 months, you quickly realize buyers are not in the driver’s seat right now. Choices are slim, prices are rising, and time is ticking. Buyers want to capitalize on this buying opportunity with lower prices, low rates, etc.

Buyers should realize the seller or the title company isn’t the enemy. The competitor is other buyers. If a buyer opens up that contract even for a second, it gives another buyer the chance to swoop in and take it.

When you find a property you like, ask yourself how much more will this property cost me down the road if I wait? Ask yourself, what if I don’t find something I like as much? Back in 2009 properties were entering the market fast and furious. Times have changed, and the selection just isn’t there.

Don’t be discouraged. There are great properties out there, and more coming. You just have to be educated ahead of time so when that great deal comes, you’re ready to pounce. The time to learn the market isn’t when the property hits the market, it’s before. If you wait to learn, you’ll have your lunch handed to you by another buyer who took the time to seek advice before their desired home hit the market.

And if you encounter a few hiccups, work with an agent who’s used to digging in and getting problems solved. As the market continues to rise in value, you’ll be glad you did.

Good luck and happy house hunting. Call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042 if you need the assistance of a professional.