It’s that time of year again folks.  SW Florida home sellers begin reducing prices as season drags on.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In season, homes fly off the shelves, but not all homes.  Each year some sellers get greedy and hope that an out of town buyer will overpay for their home because they just love it so much.  What’s different this year is that inventory levels are higher and the monthly supply of inventory has grown. Market data shows price decreases amid growing inventory.

Market Data Shows Price Decreases Amid Growing Inventory
SW Florida Market Watch

Motivated sellers are finding out that they cannot overprice a home and expect it to sell.  It’s been a seller’s market in years past.  This year it’s more of a balanced market.  We have perhaps one of the healthiest markets we’ve had in a decade.  By that we mean neither seller nor buy has an advantage.

When the market shifts like this it’s an opportunity for educated sellers to use their knowledge and jump ahead of other sellers before they figure out what’s going on.  It’s not that hard to do.  Many sellers are reluctant to hear the truth, so they tell themselves the market is better than it is.  They study neighbors asking prices and add some more simply because their home is nicer.  Never mind the fact their neighbor’s home has been on the market for over a year.  They judge their competition by asking prices instead of sold prices.

Market Data Shows Price Decreases Amid Growing Inventory Listings
Listing Inventory

The educated seller looks at other sellers who have won the home selling game.  It’s kind of like asking a group of fishermen how the fish are biting today.  You wouldn’t ask the ones going out in the morning who haven’t caught anything yet.  If you truly want to know how they’re biting, you’d ask the ones coming in at end of day with fish in their boat.

Market Data Shows Price Decreases Amid Growing Inventory Months Supply
Month’s Supply Inventory

The same is true with the real estate market.  We must look at actual sold data and compare to the subject property.  And we should look at what the conditions were at the time of those sales versus today.  If a home sold 5 months go back when we had less inventory to compete with we may have to discount that a bit now that we’re competing with many more homes.  We must take all conditions into account.  Otherwise we may misjudge the market, and that only hurts the seller in the long run.  Sure, they’ll feel better about themselves for a month or so until they realize the price they thought their home was worth was just pie in the sky.

Sellers may blame the market. They may even blame their Realtor for not selling it.  We’ve been through shifting markets before.  Many times, we’d call a seller and talk to them about market conditions.  Some just do not want to hear they need to reduce their price.  No Realtor enjoys that conversation anyway, but ignoring changing conditions can be at your own peril.

We have a good market right now.  Chances are if your home hasn’t sold yet it’s due for a pricing checkup.  Marketing becomes more important as inventory grows.  Pricing is equally important.  It could just be that you were a little too aggressive initially and re-positioning your home in the marketplace could do the trick.  As you can see, a lot of sellers are selling, and the one’s that aren’t are reducing their price.

If you need to get your home sold, call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams for expert pricing and marketing 239-489-4042.  If you’d like to shop and educate yourself online first, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has all the listings and it’s updated every 5 minutes.  No more looking at homes that sold months ago, or old prices.

If you’re looking to buy or sell, our team can help!  We make the process easy and we handle all the details.  Let us help you with your next SW Florida transaction.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Perhaps you’ve been reading about the shift in the local and national real estate market. Some experts haven’t noticed a shift while others have predicted dire results because they have noticed. The real experts are aware of the shift and realize this appears to be a minor correction as the market just got ahead of itself. Markets often chug along until one day it does get ahead of itself, both on the way up and the way down. Today we talk about how the market responds as sellers heed advice from agents.

Back in 2009 we said the market had over-corrected and was due for gains. It did. This past February we sounded the alarm and said the market may be ahead of itself, and it was. Sellers have heeded the advice of agents and are actually selling homes.

You see, homes will always sell, even in up, down, and sideways markets. It’s a matter of marketing and price, and the sellers that market properly and price properly win the selling game. Owners that fail at either of the above may not win. Sometimes the best team on the field doesn’t win the game. Sometimes the best home on the block doesn’t sell. You have to be the best today to sell today. It’s not enough to be the best 6 months ago.

Buyers judge houses on features, size, location, age, and price among others. If you’re great in all areas except price, buyers will reject your home. You’re not the best today if your home is overpriced.

Market Responds as Sellers Heed Advice

We have good news to present however. In fact, I had to double check the numbers because I didn’t believe the numbers. Month’s supply of inventory is down to 5.07 months by my numbers. Official numbers by Florida Realtors shows 4.5 months however they calculate slightly differently than we do. In any event, and by any measure, we both have inventory coming down.

Market Responds as Sellers Heed Advice

You can see by the graph that inventory levels have come down in virtually all price ranges. This is because sellers have taken their agent’s advice and reacted to the shift in the market. The sellers who have not repositioned their home in the marketplace are still on the market or their listing has expired.

Selling your home is a pretty easy math equation. mm x cp = ss Mass Marketing times Correct Pricing equals Successful Sale. If your home isn’t marketed to the entire market it may not sell. I’ve seen homes priced correctly that have not sold. We’ve come in and upped the marketing and watch them sell.

An overpriced home will not sell. No amount of marketing can cure an overpriced listing. If you’re willing to follow the formula, success will follow. If you deviate from the formula, you won’t get your desired result, so you have to ask yourself the question, “Which is most important? Selling my home or staying because I want or need too much money?”

Unfortunately, the market doesn’t care what you need, and Mick Jagger explains beautifully that you can’t always get what you want. The answer lies with you. Are you willing to price your home where the market is? Are you willing to hire the best agent to sell your home?

Owners mistakenly believe all Realtors are the same and MLS will sell the home. It doesn’t work that way. There is a lot of expertise that goes into negotiations and the best way to present a property to the market. Some Realtors don’t know these tips because they’re not experienced enough. If Realtors in the business don’t all know, how is a seller supposed to know?

You have to interview agents with experience and a track record. If you’re thinking about selling, or perhaps have tried it yourself to no avail, give us a call. We’ve got some new ways to reach buyers we think you’re going to like. Call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 and find out what’s new and how we’re reaching today’s buyers. We think you’ll be amazed, and most importantly, on to your next home. Feel free to search the MLS at  and get an automated free estimate of your home’s value.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

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This past week we’ve been speaking with agents who have noticed lower sales counts across the county, which begs the question “Is something happening to the local real estate market?”

June’s official numbers won’t be released until a few days after this article is written, so we decided to look at May’s numbers and combine some current data from MLS and a few large real estate companies in SW Florida.

Agents Reporting Lower Sales Counts Across Lee County
May 2016 SW Florida Housing Numbers

Agents Reporting Lower Sales Counts Across Lee County

If you look at May’s data you’ll notice pending inventory is down 12% from last year. New pending sales are down 6.4% while inventory is up 14.1% This chart lends credence to the fact that the number of sales counts are softening.

At Keller Williams our office tracks Listings Sold Volume. The board was down 13.21% in June while our office was up 25.33% That’s a differential of 38.54% I spoke with 2 large RE/MAX offices and they both said they were up about 38% and 50% respectively. I’m not sure if that was sold volume or units, but either way they’re up.

So why are some offices increasing sales while others are obviously losing sales? The answer can be complicated. Perhaps the office had 1 or 2 large sales skewing the volume numbers. Perhaps they sold a chunk of homes to an investor. Or, perhaps their agents are just more tuned in to what’s going on in the market and making adjustments.

Agents Reporting Lower Sales Counts Across Lee County Market Watch
7 Day Market Watch

I pulled a 7 day Market Watch available through our MLS. Price decreases are outpacing new listings. I was excited to see pending sales outpacing new listings as well, although we know not all pending sales will close. You’ll see some sellers giving up by looking at the terminated, expired, and withdrawn counts.

It can be frustrating to bring a property to market and have little to no showing activity. When this happens it tells you that you’ve overshot the market. If your home is priced at market it should receive showings. If your home is way above the market, it’s not really on the market and is shunned by potential home buyers.

Sometimes the sellers believe the market is at one point and the buyers believe it to be at a lower point. When this stand-off occurs, activity lessens. The sellers that want or need to sell react and make a move to find the buyers. When this occurs, a property will sell.

We recently had a property go under contract. We picked a price and had lots of showings. It was priced close enough to where buyers would look at it, but not make an offer. We reduced it once and got even more showings and one low-ball offer. We reduced it a second time and it sold, for much higher than the low-ball offer.

The home initially was priced right where it should be based upon past sales. However, the market rarely stands still. In that price range we noticed a shift in the market. If this seller would have stayed at yesterday’s prices, the home could still be on the market.

You never want to get caught chasing the market down. You want to get ahead of it. People read that prices are up, and they are up 4.7% in May versus last year. That doesn’t tell the whole story. That is median price, and some price ranges are increasing while some are decreasing.

Knowing where your home fits is crucial. Sure, you can interview 5 agents and pick the one who says the highest price. But have you done yourself any favors? If your home sits on the market and 6 months later you’re shaking your head because it hasn’t sold, are you going to be happy you selected the agent with the highest price?

We’d suggest interviewing agents who know the market, will be brutally honest in regards to price, and markets the home in a way to reach the entire market. If you do that, you will have success. If you don’t, you can find that agent the 2nd time around and hope that prices haven’t declined further. If it was priced right the first time, it should have sold. Keep in mind, just because you overprice it today doesn’t mean the market can’t fall further. If it does, you’ll just be chasing the market down.

See Also Business Observer Article on SW Florida Real Estate Market

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Zillow-Trulia Deal Effects on Real Estate in SW Florida

The simple answer is probably not much.  Zillow and Trulia are online portals meaning they take data from agents and brokers and display it to the public.  This is nothing new as agents display the data as well on their own websites.  Companies like Zillow and Trulia bank on the fact consumers will hit their site as they are nationwide versus agents who are in each local market.

 Zillow-Trulia Deal Effects on Real Estate in SW Florida
Zillow Purchasing Trulia for $3.5 Billion in Stock

Zillow collects money from agents who pay to advertise on their site.  They sell consumer leads to agents.  Agents basically pay for views in a zip code, or to have their presence as a featured agent on certain listings.

In the past year Zillow has been raising rates significantly.  So much so that agents are falling out and zip codes are becoming available right and left as agents decline to renew their agreements, so they look for new agents.  I get calls weekly telling me zip codes are opening up.

Let’s say Zillow’s traffic increases in zip code 33919.  Zillow sells chunks of impressions by the thousand, so if they find they have 3,000 more impressions in that zip code, they’ll sell 3,000 more impressions.  Agents used to get overflow but not now.  Zillow is diluting the lead generation and charging more for it.

If we used to pay about $400/mo for 10,000 impressions, Zillow has raised the ante.  They call now trying to sell me 3,000-5,000 impressions for $800.

Zillow has a problem.  They are raising prices and selling more impressions than ever before, but their net income is going the wrong way.  In fact, revenue increased 70% while net income was a loss of 6.26 million last quarter.

So what does Zillow do, but up #2 competitor Trulia. I looked up Trulia’s financial situation and last year revenue was up 142% while their net loss was 11.1 million.  So Zillow is purchasing Trulia for 3.5 billion in common stock.  Both companies are losing money.  How does this deal make sense?

Zillow says they can grow revenue and cut costs.  Of course they mean they’ll cut employees.  They intend to operate both businesses separately to try and generate more revenue.

If they raise prices too much agents will revolt.  I predict they’re going to sell more consumer data to agents in segments.  They’ll use more menu pricing whereby agents can purchase leads of sellers thinking about selling their home.  If you fill out a Zestimate on their website, they’ll sell those leads.  On Trulia if a consumer makes an inquiry on a home that lead info is sent out to multiple agents and it becomes a war as to who can hammer the consumer the fastest and most often to convert the lead.

We don’t think this is what the consumer is asking for when they go online.  The consumer just wants information without talking to someone.  They don’t want agents calling them hammering them with solicitation until they’re ready.

Consumers don’t like it when they’re information is sold.  Agents don’t like it when they receive a lead and it’s also distributed to other agents.  Real estate is a one on one transaction.  It’s personal and about trust, and this business model doesn’t recognize that.  It’s just money.  If a consumer wanted to be contacted by lots of agents they could just signup on multiple agent websites.  That way the consumer is consenting.

Zillow came to fame by providing home value estimates.  In the beginning these estimates were way off, and still are in many cases.  Agents and consumers alike complain that Zillow’s data is old and inaccurate.  Zillow and Trulia obtain information from multiple sources and it’s not always accurate.

We provide home value estimates on our website. www.Topagent.com  We also provide the MLS feed for searching the MLS.  The difference is it is accurate because it comes directly from the MLS.

The other difference is we don’t sell consumer data to other agents.  This is a big win for the consumer.

If agents spent the same amount advertising their own agent website that provides more accurate information as they do on Zillow and Trulia, that online business model would crumble.  In fact it already shows signs of it as neither is producing a profit.  As they raise prices on agents, agents may wise up and shift advertising dollars back to their websites, or sites like Realtor.com

You heard of the Internet bubble back in the 90’s full of online companies that had high valuation with no real net income.  This could be Zillow and Trulia if they don’t find a way to turn a profit.  They’ll try, and agents better be prepared to pay more.  Consumers should be prepared to be bombarded.  Whether this deal passes antitrust or not, these companies have to find a way to turn a profit.  Wall St won’t continue to pour money in forever.

So if you’re an agent and someone asks you how the  Zillow-Trulia Deal Effects on Real Estate in SW Florida

In the meantime, just remember Topagent.com in SW Florida.  We won’t sell your data and you can search away.  Then when you’re ready, call us and we’ll have a one on one conversation.  That’s a novel idea!

Read our Newest Article about how showings will change in SW Florida

View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

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By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

SW Florida Home Prices Rise

Local numbers were just released and June 2014 single family home sales were up 8.1% over last year with a median sales price of $200,000.  That’s up from $185,000 last year and up from $195,000 last month.

SW Florida Home Prices Fort Myers Real Estate Market Update July 2014
SW Florida Real Estate Single Family Home Sales

Average SW Florida home prices have been holding steady all year around $300,000, bouncing between $299,000 and $319,000.  Median prices are definitely up for the year while average sale prices are level.

Listing inventory is falling as it usually does this time of year, however it is up from last year about 5%.  This is a positive sign and indicative of a healthy market. There will always be a level of homes that never sell because they are priced too high for what they offer.  Having more inventory creates visible competition for sellers.  When prices outpace the market, buyers shut off like a hose spicket. We have not seen that, but there is invisible competition coming to the market some sellers may not be aware of.

SW Florida Home Prices and Listing Inventory
SW Florida Real Estate Market Listing Inventory July 2014

We’ve been warning sellers for months that new home inventory is arriving.  Builders have been ramping up and we know of many new homes coming to the market and available starting in September.  These new homes will add to the inventory, but they won’t show up in the numbers.  Sellers won’t necessarily know about them, but buyers will.

Nationally inventories are at their highest levels in over a year which is tempering price gains.  We could see the same here in SW Florida heading into next year.  What’s different in SW Florida versus the rest of the country is the economy.  Locally we have positive driving forces.  Companies are hiring and relocating here.  Bringing higher paying jobs to SW Florida helps our median income.  Nationwide, wages are stagnant which keeps a lid on rising prices.

Traditionally SW Florida fares well against the national real estate market, although it does affect us to some extent. Some people need to sell up North before buying here.  In the past 7 years or so SW Florida trailed the national market, so it’s kind of refreshing to lead again.

Rising inventory is leading to increased sales.  We always said if we had more inventory we could surely sell it, assuming it’s fairly priced inventory.  If a home is priced over the market then it’s not really on the market.  We wish there was an index of inventory levels of correctly priced homes.

Several years ago we invented the Current Market Index which accurately predicts home sales going forward.  We’re working on a new index that measures inventory levels by price so we can determine how much of the current available inventory is actually on the market and how much is over the market and not truly available.

Next season buyers will have choices between existing homes and new homes built and ready for delivery.  We’ll be watching to see if builders can keep up the pace with delivery homes versus building on contract for a buyer.  The bottom line is this will cause sellers who wish to sell an existing home to be competitive.

Builders can offer a new never lived in home with new features, but they can’t always offer the same location.  There will always be a premium for location, i.e. west of 41 and closer to the beaches.  Many new communities are inland so the land costs will be less.

As always, if you want to sell you’ve got to price it correctly.  Many sellers are choosing to sell and purchase something else that fits their needs better today.  Interest rates are still low so it makes sense to do it now.  When rates change, some sellers may not want to make the move because the new home will cost more to finance.

The bottom line is the SW Florida real estate market is healthy and more balanced and our economy is good.  We’ll keep an eye on shifting forces and see which way it directs SW Florida home prices and by how much.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

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By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

This past year our team has sold several new homes in the The Plantation Gated Golf  Course Community in Fort Myers Florida so we thought we’d tell you a little but more about this community. Here is an aerial view of the clubhouse.

The Plantation Gated Golf Course Community in Fort Myers Florida Clubhouse
Aerial View of the Clubhouse

With over 30,000 square feet The Great House as it  is called by the developer features an interior similar to a British Colonial manor home. It features restaurant and a bar with two fireplaces.  RE/MAX has had our Holiday office party at the clubhouse twice and a good time was had by all. The clubhouse has a golf pro shop, men’s and women’s locker rooms, a billiards room, gathering room, and a meeting room.

Overhead golf view the Plantation Fort Myers
Overhead View of Golf Course

 

The 18 hole championship golf course was designed by Hurdzan-Fry and is perfect for players of all skill sets.  It is a 7,233 yard course with a variety of tees that provide various angles of play and is generally considered a fun but challenging course.

Clubhouse Outdoor Seating Area
Outdoor Seating Area Overlooking Golf Course at Night

 

Somerset Hall is the hub of the Somerset at the Plantation community. It is a large activity center where the community can meet and socialize and features an on-site activities director.  Somerset Hall features a resort style pool, spa, fitness center, aerobics room, massage and sauna rooms, locker rooms, tennis courts, billiards room, TV & Internet lounge, library, and community room.

Somerset Hall Activity Center
Somerset Hall Activity Center

Residents enjoy the resort style pool as a place to unwind or get some sun in.

The Plantation at Somerset Community Pool
Community Pool

The Plantation Gated Golf Course Community in Fort Myers Florida

To view more photos and video of the Plantation and the recreation areas check out our video on the Plantation Golf Course Community in Fort Myers

The floor plans aren’t bad either.  Here is a photo of the kitchen in the Dartmouth II model.  By the way, we hear they’re building all new models.  The Plantation also has another section called Bridgeport at the Plantation with different floor plans as well.

Dartmouth II kitchen
Dartmouth II Kitchen

We have plenty more photos we could show you, but there’s no substitute for seeing the Plantation in person.  Let one of our buyer specialists help find your dream home at the Plantation, or wherever your dreams take you.  We know the area, we know the development, and we know the builder.  It pays to work with an agent who can listen to your needs and recommend the best product for you.

 

We can be reached at 239-489-4042

 

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By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

If you recall back in March and early April we reported that preliminary March Sales weren’t as strong as hoped and indeed the official numbers confirmed that prices weren’t rising in March at a time when they typically do.

Sales numbers in SW Florida real estate

Strong April Sales Numbers in SW Florida

We are happy to report that April numbers appear to be coming in a bit stronger.  Official numbers won’t be reported until later in the month and agents are still changing pending sales to closed and adding final sales prices to the MLS, so it’s impossible to gauge for sure.  As of May 6 we are seeing median sales prices rising to $191,950, up from $185,000 in March and up from last year’s April figure of $182,000.

Now here’s where it really gets interesting.  Our phones and Internet leads have blown up the last week of April and first week of May.  Contracts are coming in very strong and buyers are buying. It’s stronger now than all of season was.  Many have speculated this could happen.

Here’s the buzz we were hearing from buyers all season.  The weather up North was terrible.  In fact, it was so terrible many couldn’t get here.  Many waited for the weather to improve and now they’re making the trip to purchase.  Many who did make it down are returning.  I don’t think we can underestimate how impactful this past winter has been, but it isn’t the sole reason we’re strong.

The economy is improving some.  Interest rates have risen and are expected to go higher.  Many people have been locked in their homes for so long due to negative equity and when they’re finally able to break out it’s like a jail break.  We’re seeing locals moving up, down, and laterally.  We’re finally returning to a healthy market after years of healing.

Are we completely healed yet?  That depends on your situation.  Some are still in negative equity so they would say no.  For many the answer would be yes.  In any event, opportunities have opened for those in a position to take advantage, and this is the way it always is.  The market doesn’t care what you owe or what you need out of the property.  It never has.  The market only cares about what a home is worth today.  Markets are always on the move and rarely stay constant.

The good news is we have a market, and it’s a vibrant flowing market with money on the move.  This beats a market where homes just don’t move.  If you price your home correctly, there is a market.  If you over price it, chances are it will not sell, and that is true in an up, down, and sideways market.  It’s always true.  It is perhaps the only constant in real estate.

Some say it’s all about location, and I won’t argue that.  I will say it’s all about Price.  A home with a better location will fetch a better price.  If you over price the best location, it will sit.  Conversely, the worst location will sell too, at the correct price.  So, location is secondary to pricing.

If sales like this keep up we may head back to a market where the summer months are the best months for single family home sales.  In the old days Season was best for condos and the summer months best for single family homes.  SW Florida used to be a year round market and we may be returning to that.  Summer sales never left, but they may actually rise going forward.

We’ll keep our eye on it.  By the way, if you’re considering selling, we’ll be introducing a new way to market homes in SW Florida.  We’re pretty excited about it, and we think you will be too.  Don’t list your home until you talk to us. 239-489-4042

Good luck and Happy Selling!

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Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

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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Most people don’t realize that their Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) could be facing some stiff payment increases in the coming years.  If you bought a home in the 2000’s chances are your lender discussed adding on an interest only line of credit to your first mortgage in case you needed money in the future.

 

Lines of Credit Payments About to Skyrocket

Home equity lines of credit origination chart by year
HELOC Origination Chart

Some people used the line of credit from the get-go to avoid paying PMI insurance.  It was an attractive option as it was probably interest only and the payment was affordable.  Many are as low as 3.25%  Rates are still that low today but the rates can go up at anytime, but that’s not what has the banking industry worried.

The part that wasn’t fully explained to consumers is that the interest only portion lasts for the first 10 years.  After that, the borrower must begin making principal and interest payments, which will add money to your monthly payment even if rates don’t rise.  But here’s the kicker.  The new payment is amortized over 15 years, not 30 years, so essentially you have to pay back the entire HELOC over 15 years in addition to your 1st mortgage.

Let’s say you have a 1st mortgage and a $200,000 interest only HELOC.  At 3.25% the HELOC monthly payment is $541.67.  With the new amortization that payment increases to $1,405.34  If it was based upon a 30yr amortization the payment would be $870.41, still a substantial increase.  Unfortunately it’s not, so get ready to pay a lot more.

Now, let’s assume the interest jumps to 4.5%.  These rates can adjust at anytime as the market changes, and most economists predict they will go up.  At 4.5% amortized over 15 years that same payment jumps to $1,529.99

You can see from the chart when the HELOC originations started jumping.  Many SW Florida homeowners are up against this reset now and many more will be hearing about this subject in the next few years.  It is a shock when you’re not expecting, but homeowners who act now have a chance to do something about it.

You can start making the extra payments voluntarily now which will reduce the principal when your loan does reset.  This also gets you used to the higher payments and allows you to budget properly.

For some this will not be feasible.  If you have equity now and good credit you might look at refinancing both loans into one mortgage.  It’s much harder to get a loan today than it was 10 years ago, but if you can that may be a great option.  If you cannot refinance, you may want to look at selling now, especially if you have equity.  It would be a shame to come up against the deadline and be forced into delinquency because you can’t afford the higher payments if you have equity.

If you are upside down on your mortgage, you can either start talking with your lender now or look at doing a short sale.  Nobody wants to go into foreclosure.  Many have resisted a short sale up until now, but a short sale is much better on your credit than a looming foreclosure would be.

We’re not here to tell you what you should do. That’s a personal decision and maybe one to be discussed with your attorney or accountant.  We are here to educate you on what’s coming and tell you about your options.

If you think you may want or need to sell, please give us a call.  We’re experts at looking at the situation and listening.  We’ll get you top dollar for your home and help you move on.  So many people have been locked into their homes waiting for the market to rise, and it has.  Perhaps the market has risen enough for you to sell now.  Perhaps it makes sense to down size, upgrade, and move to another location, etc.  We can help.  Give us a call at 239-489-4042  If you’d like to search the MLS first, go to www.Topagent.com and you can see what homes like yours are selling for.  Of course there’s no substitute for meeting with us and us evaluating your home.  We look forward to working with you to sell your home, or to buy one.
To search the MLS for properties go to www.TopAgent.com or give us a call at 239-489-4042 You can even search for waterfront property in Fort Myers, Cape C oral, or all of SW Florida    Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

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