One of the things we have admired about Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams, was his ability to see and predict the future.  Gary does not see himself as smarter than everyone else but rather a student of the industry.  He looks at life and business with questions, and it is these questions that bring him and the company clarity.  The national housing supply shortage was predicted years ago by Gary, simply by studying the numbers.

National Housing Supply Shortage

Back in 2005 and 2006 we had an over-supply of homes being built.  We had a false sense of security about the housing market, and many people knew it.  Brett reported in 2005 the SW Florida real estate market was overbuilt.  We simply did not have enough demand.  We had flippers selling to one another, but not enough end users.

National Housing Supply Shortage

Today we do not have that problem.  In fact, it’s the reverse.  We have strong demand and not enough inventory.  Builders and banks were skeptical after the housing crisis in 2006 and held back.  As you can see from the graph, we had deficit home building starting in 2008 and 12 years later we are just now getting back to normal.  However, the damage was done and now we have a different crisis of sorts.  We have a national housing supply shortage.

Few places is it worse than SW Florida.  SW Florida has strong demand from northern states who have suffered from COVID-19 lockdowns and high taxes.  People are flocking to Florida in droves.  We don’t believe this is going to change.  The pandemic has taught us that people really can work from anywhere.

If you could work from anywhere, would you work in a high tax state?  Would you work in frigid cold temperatures?  Would you work in a big city?  The answer for more and more people is no.  They would prefer working and playing in Florida.  When you hear government talk about travel bans from Florida, they’re not really talking about Covid-19.  Transmission rates in Florida are nothing spectacular.  This isn’t about new strains either, as the new strains are or will be everywhere by March.  This is about protecting tax bases in other states.

Politicians are afraid because high tax states like California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey have budget shortfalls.  They simply have more bills and unfunded liabilities than income and if their top wage earners leave it puts more pressure on the people who are left.

Demand Outpacing Supply

This article is not about politics.  It is about math.  The simple math tells us more people are coming to Florida and will in the future.  The trend started years ago, and 2020 sped things up.

We are going to have to build our way out of this.  If you read this article frequently, you’ll know that we talked about builders shutting down or slowing new home sales.  They simply cannot keep up.  This past week we heard of a builder refunding buyers deposits and raising prices $70,000.

New home construction costs are going up.  Builders are raising prices.  They must.  Resale home prices were rising too, but they were limited because if they got too high buyers would just buy new construction.  When new home construction prices rise or slow down, it throws buyers back into resales.

It’s getting rough out there.  Realtors say it’s a war zone out there.  We are not making light of actual war, but it is a fight.  Buyers are in combat with other buyers competing for the home they want.  Sellers, this is the best market we’ve seen for you in 30 years+ years.

Would You Sell if We Had a Buyer for Your Home?

If you are thinking of selling, please call Brett or Sande Ellis today 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a free estimate of what we could sell your home for fast.

If you are a buyer, the Ellis Team knows where the inventory is.  It is limited, but we know how to find it.  We feel like a fishing guide where fisher men and women hire us to use our secret fishing hole. We know where the secret fishing holes are, and we can help you hook ‘em. Our fish finder can be found at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It will tell you where the fish are in real time.

Good luck and happy home fishing!

Lee County home sales outpace available listing inventory in Cape Coral year to date and it is only February 10 as we write this article.  The numbers in Fort Myers and all of Lee County tell a similar story.

Lee County Home Sales Outpace Available Listing Inventory

Is it possible to reach zero inventory?  We believe the answer is no, just like we will never see zero unemployment, for a variety of reasons.  Some sellers will never sell no matter how hot the market is, and some people will never get a job no matter how good the job market gets.

Lee County Home Sales Outpace Available Listing Inventory

We are at or near 1 month supply of inventory in several price ranges.  In my 31+ years of selling real estate in Lee County I have never seen this before.  To make matters worse, builders are turning on and off the building spigot.  We covered that extensively in last week’s article.

Where will inventory come from?  Buyers are still moving to Florida in droves from New York, Illinois, California, and other states.  Demand is not going away.  We have pressure on the market.  Not every buyer is going to get a home.  Only the buyers willing to step up and win the game are securing homes.

Many Realtors are asking, how low can inventory go?  We have been watching inventory draw down for the better part of two years, and now it is getting critical.  We have a message for both buyers and sellers.

Sellers

Sellers now is your time.  You are in the driver’s seat.  It has never been more fun to sel a home than right now.  If you are priced and marketed correctly you will have multiple offers to choose from.  The agent you hire to represent you will make all the difference.  Choosing the wrong offer can cost you, just like choosing the wrong agent.  If you have questions about how that is possible, talk to Brett or Sande Ellis before you list, and we will talk about that.

Choosing the wrong offer is just as bad.  If today you knew the offer in hand would not close, would you take the offer?  Of course, you wouldn’t.  This is another reason why hiring the right Realtor with experience matters.  Experience is the ability to see the future because the agent has been there before.  The Ellis Team has closed over 5,000 homes, so we have seen some things.  We have that Spidey sense because of experience.

Buyers

Buyers, you are in competition with all the other buyers.  Forget about trying to out negotiate the seller.  You will out negotiate yourself right out of the deal.  In a balanced market where you are on equal footing, it is a different story.  This is not a balanced market.  You must play the game to win, or you are going to lose.  This may not matter if you do not really need to buy and you are comfortable in your current housing situation.  If you need to buy, get comfortable being uncomfortable. You need an agent that knows how to win.

Back to Sellers

Do you know what your home is really worth today?  Is there a number at which you would sell?  What if your home is at that number and you did not realize it?

Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLHOMEVALUES.com to get an instant value.  The best part is the system will email you your home’s value every month as it changes.  You will know when your home finally hits your number.

Good luck and let us know how we can help you in this market.  Experience wins.  We can help you with that.

Zillow buys ShowingTime and what that means for the industry.

We have seen several home builders halt new construction sales for several reasons.  The two major reason are costs and quality control.

Home Builders Halt New Construction Sales

Costs are rising rapidly.  For instance, lumber costs have skyrocketed recently.  I found an article online that said the lumber price spike has added about $16,000 to the typical home nationwide.  Lumber is just one component in a home.  Home builders are literally outselling what they can build in SW Florida, and they must be careful. When your plant & machinery is down and you need a hydraulic repair service, you want FAST evaluation & diagnosis, & and a first-class professional repair done in the shortest possible time.

If you outsell what you can build, it adds to the build times.  As you add to the build time, there is more chance for increased costs.  In a hot market you would hate to contract for a home and lose money on it by the time you get it built.  Even if they do not lose money, they want to maximize profit.  Home builders halt new construction sales simply to protect themselves.

Homebuilders Selling Too Fast

One home builder said they were selling a home every 50 minutes.  We know of several custom home builders locally that have limited what their sales agents can sell.  These limits can change daily.  Overselling is bad for two reasons.  You do not want to set the expectation it will take 6-9 months and deliver the home in 18 months.  Customers will not like that. Secondly, they do not know what costs 18 months from now will be.  Costs are going up, so they need to raise the home prices to cover those costs.

When shopping for a new home it pays to work with a Realtor that knows who can build and where the inventory is.  Occasionally new home sales fall out and the buyer cannot close.  If you work with an experienced Realtor with connections, you may find out about these homes first.  If you’re late, you’re last.

Resale Market Hot

The resale market is still a place to keep an eye on too.  New resales enter the market daily, but not enough to satisfy demand.  Speed is the name of the game when it comes to securing a new or resale home.  Make sure you are pre-approved for a mortgage.  If it takes you a day or two to get pre-approved, you have already lost.  Do that first before you go home shopping.

Remember, you are not negotiating against the home seller.  Your competition is all the other buyers shopping to get the same home you are looking at.  Structuring your offer to win is the key.  This is where an experienced agent can help.  What seems like good terms to you may not be the best offer to the seller.  An experienced agent knows how to make your offer look stronger.  Price is just one factor, and you can only bid so high.  There are plenty of other factors along with price that can make or break your offer.

Sellers Pay Attention

Sellers, it is time to pay attention!  There has never been a better time to sell your home.  I just put my own home on the market.  I am taking my own advice.  There is more demand than there is supply.  Buyers are forced to offer full price or more in many cases to win a home.

As builders raise their prices it will help pull resale home prices up with it.  We have seen home builders increase their prices over $100,000 in some neighborhoods in the past few months.

Interest rates are low. Demand is high.  If you are thinking of selling, call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500.  For a free instant value of your home check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com.  Not only will you get an instant price, our system will also email you each month your home’s value change in value.  That is a handy tool in this market.

If you are buying, go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It is updated in real-time which means you will have the best data.  Remember, speed wins in this market.

Good luck, and Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty with your real estate needs!

You’re Not Going to Believe This

New Listing in Reflection Lakes

13855 Bald Cypress Cir

Lakefront Home in Reflection Lakes

Video Tour

Official Lee County real estate sales price statistics are out, and it reveals a 20.2% increase in the last year.  Median sales price rose from $262,000 December 2019 to $315,000 December 2020.  Average sales prices show an even greater gain.  December 2019 average sales price was $346,857 compared to $455,685.  That is over $100,000 gain and a 31.4% increase.

real Estate Sales Price Increased 20.2%

The rate of gain is not sustainable.  Do not expect prices to rise 30% year after year.  There is room for further price gains, but not at that rate.  Low interest rates are helping buyers afford more home.  High interest from out of state buyers is also fueling demand.  This trend picked up 4 years ago and we expect that to continue.

Florida a Work From Home State

Covid-19 has taught us much of America can work from anywhere.  With that being said, many are choosing to exit big cities and work in less crowded areas with better climate and lower taxes.  Florida stands out as an excellent choice.  I read an article yesterday that showed Florida is now the most attractive state for net migration from other states.

Fort Myers was also named the fasted growing city in America by Business Insider.  The Fort Myers/Cape Coral area has been undervalued for years.  If you go back and read our past articles, we talked a lot about Florida having 67 counties, and two saw price gains below the state average.  Those two counties were Lee and Martin counties.  Eventually this equalizes, and the world has taken notice.  If you are an out of state buyer looking for sunshine and a nice place to live, you are not necessarily tied to one area.

Naples and Bonita have always been expensive compared to rest of Lee County.  I remember the day when Bonita was not expensive, but recently it has been as growth filled in.  Growth is marching right up the coast and now Fort Myers is the bullseye.  Therefore, we are seeing price increases greater than some areas and it will continue.

Excellent Buys if You Know Where to Look

There are still some excellent buys out there, both in resale and new construction. We need more new construction to help with demand.  We are seeing builders raise prices dramatically on lots, home construction, and pool costs.  Some of that is demand, and some is increased costs for lumber and supplies.

New construction prices rising dramatically will help pull resale prices even higher.  When new homes go up $100,000, resales follow.  We expect 2021 to be another great year, but some buyers are getting priced out of the market.  The market does not care who buys the home.  An out of state buyer with more money may be able to pay more than a local buyer.

We are seeing buyers having to adjust where they want to live as some are getting priced out of their desired neighborhood due to real estate sales price increases.

Getting Top Dollar Not Easy For Everyone

We are also seeing For Sale By Owners giving up and hiring Realtors.  Getting top dollar is not easy if you do not know how to reach today’s buyers and you do not know how to close the transaction.  Anybody can find a buyer, but can you find many?  Today there is typically more than one buyer for every property, you just have to find them.  When you have more buyers to choose from, you will get a better price.

An experienced agent also knows how to select the best offer.  It’s not always price.  We are looking for the buyer most likely to close.  If you have questions on that, reach out to Sande and Brett Ellis at 239-310-6500

Some people like our Free Instant Home Price Evaluator. If you are thinking about selling, we can validate the price and make sure it is accurate.  Prices are changing by the week, so do not leave money on the table.  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty!

Currently sellers control the real estate market across the state, but for how long?  We can say with absolute certainty that 2021 is the best time for a seller to sell that we have seen, ever.

What typically happens is sellers see the market going up and they believe it will always be higher next year, so they wait.  The problem with that strategy is twofold.  Prices may be higher next year.  If they are, when they go to sell, whatever they buy next year will also be higher.

Sellers Control Real Estate Market
Sellers control real estate market in Florida

If prices max out in 2021, they waited too long and missed the mark.  In a rising market sellers generally hold out. The market does not give you a warning sign that it is about to turn.  It just happens, and sellers inevitably wish they had sold the year prior.  We saw this after 2005.

We are not saying market conditions are the same as 2005.  Back then we had over-supply of homes.  We do not have that now.  In fact, construction needs to pick up the pace to keep up with Florida demand.  All we are saying is, the market is hot right now, and that will not last forever.  When it eventually runs out, some people will wish they pulled the trigger sooner.

Unfortunately, many will miss this opportunity, and they will not be able to sell in the future.  Perhaps they owe too much, or interest rates move higher and they cannot afford as much home as they could this year.

When interest rates rise, and they will at some point, it hurts buyers and sellers.  Buyers can afford less, which is less fuel for the market to rise.  Sellers who decide to sell when interest rates are increasing will face higher financing costs too.  In essence, it will limit how much they can afford if they are getting a mortgage.

Essentially sellers get hit with a double whammy.  Increased costs when they buy their next home and fewer buyers able to afford their current home.  Rising interest rates can put downward pressure on home prices unless demand is sky high.  Today demand is sky high, but what if it’s not next year?  And, what if interest rates are higher next year?

When the market gets so one-sided there is generally opportunity in there somewhere.  Right now, we believe the opportunity lies with the seller.  Sellers have everything to gain by selling now and have the most to risk by holding out another year or two.  We are not saying prices will drop or the market will turn.  If things stay the same, there is more fuel for this hot market.

All we are saying is, what if things do not stay the same?  We have a new administration coming into Washington.  They will implement new pans, new taxes, etc.  Some of these things may take a while to implement, while others may be sudden.  The long-term effects of such policies might take a while to kick in.

Nobody knows the future.  We do know the present, and presently the sellers control the real estate market in almost all scenarios. Visit Reali for more real estate information and guidance.

If you have been thinking about taking advantage of this market and just want to know your options, reach out to Brett or Sande Ellis. 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com We’ll be glad to look at today’s pricing with you and discuss your options.

Next year you may look back on 2021 and wished you had called us.  A phone call to find out cannot hurt you but waiting could.  Brett and Sande are easy to talk to, and we present you with your options.  We are not pushy, and we like to have fun with our clients.  Give Sande or Brett a call, you’ll be glad you did.

What do these eleven homes have in common? These eleven top dollar residential property listings recently sold at or above asking price with more pending sales on the way.  The Ellis Team listed each of these homes for top dollar and marketed them.  In most cases our marketing created multiple offers which results in a higher price for our sellers.

Top Dollar Listings Recently Sold at or Above Asking Price

When people hear the words “multiple offers” sometimes they assume the home was listed below market value.  The logic goes, if it’s a deal, of course everyone will want it.  At the Ellis Team, we believe sellers are entitled to top dollar, and the home does not have to be a deal to generate interest from multiple buyers.  The home simply must be marketed to more people, which generates more interest. More interest is what helped the Ellis Team sell top dollar listings recently.

Don’t Give it Away

If you are giving something away, many people will be interested.  You should not have to give something away to create interest.  I see the ads on TV.  Price sells cars, price sells appliances and price sells homes.  That is that company’s value proposition.  Buy from me, you will get a better deal.  That is fine when they are selling their products.  But what about when someone is selling your product?

Do you really want to list with someone who is going to give your house away? Do you really want an agent that will sell your home fast and for the least amount of money?  What if you could sell your home fast and for top dollar?  Doesn’t that sound like a better deal?

We have been conditioned as consumers we must be the lowest price to sell.  Think of it this way.  If you only had one buyer for a widget, would you get top dollar for it.  What if you had 10,000 buyers bidding on that same widget?  Do you think the seller would sell for a higher price?  Of course, the more interest in a product brings you closer to top dollar.  Minimal interest means you had better be the best priced.

So why list a home with a Realtor with minimal marketing?  If the Realtor’s marketing plan is put it on MLS and pray somebody sells it, that is not really marketing.  I know, some Realtors will tell you the MLS gets picked up by Zillow and Realtor.com so everybody sees it.  That is not true.  Everybody does not see it, and the ones that do simply look for the best priced listing online.  They look at metrics like $/sq ft which does not tell the whole story.

Upgrades Count

One home may have a pool while the next does not.  One may have quartz counter tops, upgraded flooring, cabinets, counter tops, etc. while comparables do not.  One seller may have maintained their home while recent sales may need some attention.  All this should be factored in.  When the buyer shows up and sees the home in real life, it matters.

Minimal marketing creates minimal interest and does not always produce top dollar.  Most Realtors do not aggressively market because it costs money.

One mistake sellers make is assuming all agents do the same thing.  If that were true, I would go out and hire the least expensive agent I could find and let the MLS sell my home.  Unfortunately, this is not true and the agent you hire matters.

We talked about marketing.  Another factor is hiring an agent with experience that works at the best Residential Real Estate Company.  Find an agent that does not take the first offer simply because they are worried another offer will not come along.  If they are aggressively marketing your home, you have the luxury of choosing the best offer, not the only offer.

Talk to Us Before You List!

Before you list your home, talk to Sande or Brett Ellis 239-310-6500  Hiring the wrong agent could cost you thousands.  We have the marketing and experience to get you Top Dollar.  Just ask the happy sellers of these 11 homes.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a free instant online estimate of your home’s value.

Ask us for a list of Top Dollar Listings Recently Sold by the Ellis Team.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Good news for home buyers and home sellers in Lee County.  Conventional loan limits increase to $548,250 in Lee County.  The previous loan limit was $510,400.  Because sales prices have increased this past year the loan limit was increased.

Conventional Loan Limits Increase to $548,250 in Lee County
Conventional Loan Limits Increase to $548,250 in Lee County

If a buyer wished to finance over the $510,400 it made the loan a jumbo loan.  The interest rate may have been higher and the underwriting guidelines in some cases could be stiffer because jumbo loans are not insured by FNMA or Freddie Mac.

Conventional Loan Limits Increase

The increase to $548,250 means a buyer can pay more for a home and still meet conventional loan guidelines.  Interest rates are around 2.5% for people with good credit.  This eases down payment pressure for many buyers who need a conventional loan.

Let’s say a buyer wanted to buy a home for $600,000.  Under the old guidelines the buyer would have had to put $89,600 down to stay in a conventional loan.  Today the buyer could put down $51,750 and still meet conventional guidelines.  That would be 8.6% down payment which is acceptable.

With conventional loans the buyer can put down as little as 3%, but 5% is more realistic for most people.  The PMI rate (Private Mortgage Insurance) declines the more a borrower places in down payment, and it disappears entirely if buyers put 20% down.

Buyers Can Afford More Home

The bottom line is buyers can absolutely afford more home today than they could last year.  Down payment requirements are less and interest rates are less.  This is good news because prices have been going up, so this alleviates that pressure.

This is one more reason we believe there is still fuel to power prices higher.  Of course, low rates will not help if the economy crumbles or demand falls.  We do not see any signs of demand falling.  In fact, Florida is more attractive than ever to northern buyers in high tax states.  Companies are leaving northern states and relocating to Florida, so it is not just remote workers making the switch.

Conventional loan limits increase benefits sellers as much as buyers because more buyers now qualify for the same property.  We already have multiple offer situations on many properties, and the conventional loan limits increase may add to the demand for properties priced $535,000 and higher.

In the coming weeks we will report final 2020 real estate market numbers.  To date we have official numbers through November, and we expect 2020 to end with a bang.  Traffic on our roads is busy, and our team has been busy working with buyers from all over the country attempting to purchase a home.

By all accounts, 2021 should be another great year.  The only thing that may hold it back is lack of inventory.  Sales could decline simply because we do not have enough inventory.

Considering Selling?

If you are considering selling, please call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Now may be the best time.  Our marketing is reaching local and out of town buyers, and they are making offers.  Our team is working harder than ever for our clients. We are getting sellers who list with the Ellis Team top dollar.  It is always more fun to sell when we attract multiple buyers for your home.  Sellers can sit back and select the best offer, but that is only possible when you saturate the market.  Advertising locally and nationally is the key.

Or you can check your home’s value instantly at www.SWFLhomevalues.com Prices are changing by the week so it pays to keep up.  Is there a price you would sell your home at?  If so, perhaps we should talk.  Always ask for Sande or Brett Ellis.  There is no substitute for experience.

January 2021 SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

 

Real estate sales prices rose over 20% since last November in Lee County.  The median sales price last year was $262,500.  This year it was $319,150 for a 21.6% gain.  Average real estate sales prices last year were $335,357.  This year it stands at $422,452.  That is a whopping 26.0% gain.

Real Estate Sales Prices Rise over 20%

October year over year numbers saw similar gains, so it was not a one-time anomaly.  If you read our articles regularly you know that we have talked ad nauseum about the reasons the Florida real estate market is on fire.

How Long Will it Last?

The real question everyone wonders is how long it will continue.  We believe there is good reason for this market to continue for a while.  Interest rates are low, and we expect them to stay low. Oil could rise with new energy policies by a new administration.  Typically, when oil rises it is inflationary and interest rates rise as well, but that may not happen for a few years.

Rising oil prices could eat into consumers wallets which might limit how much they can spend on things like housing.  This could tamper the positive effects of low interest rates, but only to a degree.  Florida still stands to win big because companies are seeking low tax states.  Companies and residents are fleeing states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California in droves.

Making matters worse, as residents flee, these states are raising taxes on the residents who are left to make up the shortfall.  It is a vicious cycle, and at some point, it is game, set, and match.  Florida sits in an exceptionally good position going forward.  You have seen the benefits the last 4 years and it is possible this may accelerate the next four years.

How to Win in Fast Paced Market

So how do buyers and sellers win in such a fast-paced market?  Experience!  Simply put, you must work with an experienced agent who has been through up and down markets.  Experienced buyer agents know where to find inventory, even when it is not on MLS.  Sometimes there is hidden inventory that is sold before ever hitting the market.

Other times it is having relationships with builders who call the top teams when a deal falls out, or when a new inventory home is about to become available.  Lastly, in a world where speed wins, technology can play a crucial role.  Having all the listings on a website updated in real-time is crucial.  Ours does. www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Many buyers are surprised to learn that the big portals do not have all the listings, and sometimes the data is old.

Sellers Benefit Too

Sellers benefit from experience too.  Multiple offers are good, but taking the wrong offer is not.  Experienced listing agents help weed out the good offers from the mediocre.  The highest price is great but evaluating the most likely to close is a skill onto itself.  Every offer is a gamble, but you can have the odds in your favor with some knowledge, skill, and investigation.

For instance, we call the loan officer if we have any question at all about the buyer’s ability to close.  We also look for the way items are worded in the contract which can yield clues.  Sometimes contracts are craftly worded to disguise a hidden contingency.  The contingency is not revealed because they feel it would hurt their chances of getting their offer accepted. This is exactly why sellers need the sharpest agent they can hire.

If you are looking to buy or sell in SW Florida, always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  We have experienced buyer agents on our team ready to put our skills to work for you.  Sande and Brett Ellis handle the listings on our team, and nobody is more experienced than we are.  We would love to help you sell your home and get you to your next destination.  You can reach Sande and Brett at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Low housing inventory levels in SW Florida are driving prices upward. Buyers struggle to find available homes in their price range and it is happening across the board.

Typically, only a few price ranges get hot when the market moves.  Later, more price ranges may catch fire, or the market may run out of steam before all price ranges are affected.  What we are witnessing here in Florida is an all-out assault on inventory levels, and it is affecting pricing.

Low Housing Inventory Levels Driving Prices Upward

Low Housing Inventory Levels Driving Prices Upward

If a contract falls out for some reason it may be sad for the seller, but in many cases, we put property back on the market and raise the price and it sells again.  In the time the home was tied up and off the market it still appreciated.

Some buyers get scared and begin to doubt their decision after they were the winning bidder.  Perhaps they question if they paid too much, or they have unrealistic expectations about the home inspection.  Others get nervous about HOA costs or insurance costs and find reason to talk themselves out of buying. For whatever reason, they panic and walk.  Buyers need a reassuring hand to tell them it is OK to buy.

What these buyers do not realize is when they walk there are dozens of other buyers right there to scoop it up.  Buyers from last year are kicking themselves they did not purchase and are amazed at what has happened.  Their agent probably told them we had a great market.  Inventory levels were going down before the pandemic hit.

Record Low Supply

Back in October 2020 our months supply stood at 2.15 months.  We had never seen it that low, and yet we knew it could go lower.  Today it stands at 1.77 months.   Today everything below $600,000 is below 2 months supply.  Back in October it was everything below $300,000.  Buyers are being forced to go higher or not get a home at all.

Interest rates are expected to stay low through 2023.  There is still room left for more appreciation.  Sellers should be cautious though, because holding out for higher prices on the selling end may cost you on the buying end.  If what you are selling today is going up in value, what you plan to purchase tomorrow may also be rising.

Florida is sitting in a good spot.  Not only do we have sunshine and a great economy, we also have low taxes and freedom.  Businesses are not shut down.  The vaccine is out and relief to people’s health is on the way.  What can never be fixed are all the business that shut down and closed forever.  Many businesses up north are shutting down and opening down here before they are bankrupt forever.  Florida is gaining residents from northern states, and it is adding to demand with little supply.

We see the Florida real estate market poised for another great run in 2021.  More sellers may decide to list and take profits, and that would be a good thing.

If you are a seller, we have some resources for you.  We have neighborhood market reports that will show you all the properties active, pending, and sold along with price, $/Sq Ft, and photos.  Yes, photos of the sold homes too, so you can see how your home compares.

Instant Price Analysis

You can also check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com It is a fast and Free way to get your home’s value.  While it is fairly accurate, we like to validate it in this fast-changing market.  Sometimes even the computers cannot keep up with the market. Low housing inventory levels might mean your home is worth more than you think.

If you are looking to buy, www.LeeCountyOnline.com is your best bet.  It has all the homes listed, and it is updated in real-time.  That is important in a fast-moving market like this.  You want to beat out other buyers to hot new listings, or listings that suddenly come back on the market.

Always call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 for selling advice.  We’d love to help you.  We have a team of buyer specialists if you are looking to buy who can help guide you.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

See last week’s article “Confusing Statements Lenders Make to Buyers and Agents

The other day I received a call from a lender saying “Good news, the loan is approved.  We are now ordering the appraisal.”  If they left the same message for the borrower, they might think the loan was a done deal.  The truth is, the loan has only begun, and it is confusing. Let’s talk about confusing statements lenders make to buyers.

Confusing Statements Lenders Make to Buyers and Agents

Confusing Statements Lenders Make

Just recently a buyer quit her job because the lender told her she was approved for the mortgage.  On the day of closing the lender reverified employment and found out she left her job 3 weeks ago.  Her family lost the house and has no place to live and the seller must put their home back on the market and find a new buyer.

These are true stories, and they happen more often than you think.  Real estate agents can tell you stories about deals they’ve lost because the buyer did something after pre-approval to cause their loan to be denied.

When you hear the words loan approved, or clear to close, the deal is not closed.  Many lenders have a final compliance department that catches new credit items, or employment issues up until closing.  I even saw a loan pulled after closing.  The buyers had clear to close and closing instructions were sent to the tile company.  The wire never arrived from the lender because they found something right after signing.

10 Helpful Tips from property manager melbourne

  1. Do not buy a new or used car until your home loan is closed
  2. Do not purchase furniture for the new home or home improvement items on credit card prior to closing on your new home
  3. Never co-sign a loan if you plan to buy in the next few years, and certainly do not do so while you are purchasing a home
  4. Keep credit card balances low through the closing
  5. Do not cancel credit cards unless the lender asks you to. Believe it or not, established available credit can help you
  6. Always pay your credit on time. If there is a 15-day grace period, that is not considered on time.  Pay your bills by the due date, not by the penalty date
  7. Be careful with forbearance. Even if politicians say using it will not hurt your credit, be cautious, and only use that if you really cannot pay your mortgage
  8. Do not buy items on impulse simply because the store will finance it for you. If you cannot afford to buy it now, do you really need it? The item you buy today may block the big things you need in the future
  9. Do not switch jobs just before purchasing a home, or during the process
  10. Do not purchase a home while going through a divorce unless your attorney says it is ok

Loan Is Not Done Until Funded

By no means is this a complete list.  For some reason lenders terminology has changed over the years.  Loan approvals have so many conditions they are not really approvals until all the conditions have been removed.

We mention these 10 items because we have seen loans denied or deals fail from all 10 of these items.  Agents assume all buyers know these things, and the truth is they do not.  Some inexperienced agents do not know these things.  How could they?  You only learn through experience.

Remember, there is no substitute for experience.  Always hire the most experienced Loan officer and the most experienced Realtor you can find.  Experience can help you avoid costly mistakes on both the buying and selling end.  If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire inexperienced people.  That gets expensive.

To search the MLS like a pro, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com It’s better than the national sites and has all the listings in real-time.  Or call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042.  Our team will be glad to help.