SW Florida home sales climbed in March to 1,068 sales for single family homes.  This is down 7.1% from last year but up 37% from February’s home sales figures.  We would say this is good news for the local real estate market as sales are holding up nicely.  We think they could have been higher if there were more listings on the market ready to compete for buyers.

Cape Coral real estate sales prices Fort Myers real estate

In speaking with several real estate agents and new home communities it seems that buyers this year watched the huge price increases we’ve seen over the past few years and many decided it was time to consider new construction.  For many years new construction was priced out of the market because existing homes were far less expensive.  Existing homes were undervalued and new home construction basically had to sit on the sidelines or risk building at a loss.

SW Florida Home Sales and New Construction

With the recent run-up in prices builders can compete again.  This will be news for many sellers in SW Florida as they’re not used to competing with new construction in many years, but those days are back.  Our market was undervalued and had to rise. Now that it has, competitive forces come into play and will temper large price increases going forward.  We may be back to a normal market where we’ll be watching indicators that may affect our market like supply and demand, along with inflation, the economy, interest rates, consumer confidence, insurance rates, and others.

All these forces affect the local and national market.  Because we’re no longer undervalued by a wide margin, and because free money is leaving the scene, and flood insurance rates may rise, the market now must react to natural market forces.  We were insulated the past 5 years.

This market wasn’t a lot of fun on the way down, although it was fun on the way up, but now we’re getting close to market equilibrium.  There is still much room for market growth, but it may need to be sustainable growth based on reasonable market factors.  Most agents would agree it’s actually kind of healthy to get back to a stable growing market.

Even in a stable growing market there will be pockets of sub markets that will thrive and some may struggle. Some areas of town will be hotter than others.  Some subdivisions are still fighting off remnants of short sales and foreclosures, or the association is making up deficiencies left by members that didn’t pay.

Some price ranges have less supply and more demand, and vice versa.  You cannot price your home by how the overall market is doing, just as we can’t price SW Florida based upon how the National market is doing.

If you’re considering selling, it pays to consult an agent who understands the market and what is really taking place.  You don’t need an agent that simply reads the headlines and prices your home based upon where they heard the market is heading.  By the time you read about it in the papers or see it on TV, chances are the market has already shifted.  The market rarely stays in one place for long.

Listing inventory is rising again.  In the next few weeks we’ll be introducing a new system that will really shake things up in the SW Florida real estate market.  We’re not ready to release details just yet, but if you’re considering selling your home, now might be a good time to call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042 or stop by our office at 7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr Fort Myers, FL 33907

We’ll make sure you understand the market forces so you can make a good pricing decision, and you’re going to love the new program coming soon!

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!
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When we show up on listing appointments where the seller was previously listed with another broker we often ask them how they arrived at their price.  Inevitably the answer we receive is the broker priced it that way.  When we look at comparable sales sometimes we find that the home was priced correctly and just not marketed effectively.  Other times we find that the home was overpriced and had no chance of selling.

If Your Home Didn't Sell This Season

If the broker recommended a price higher than the market would allow, it’s not your fault.  Some agents honestly don’t know the market..  Keep in mind a small percentage of agents sell 10 or more homes per year.  In fact, many agents didn’t sell a home last year.  Last time I ran numbers the average agent sold less than one single family home in the previous year.  This tells me that a large percentage of the homes are being sold by a small group of producing agents.  It could be something like the top 15% of all agents sell 80% of all the homes.  You get the idea.

Or, perhaps the listing agent needed listings, so taking over priced listings was the only way they could compete.  You see, each listing generates buyer calls.  The agent who receives the buyer call doesn’t actually have to sell that listing to make money.  They can convert those buyer calls into sales on other listings priced at fair market value.

In fact, the longer they keep that over priced listing the more buyer calls it generates, and potentially the more sales the agent can convert.  Your over priced listing becomes an asset to the agent.

Regardless of whether the agent didn’t know better and took an over priced listing, or used the seller to generate other sales, you the seller lost.  It cost you time and money.  And either way, it’s not your fault, unless:

1. You ignored an experienced agent’s advice and selected a price higher than the market.

2. You interviewed several agents and selected the agent who gave the highest price.

3. You priced your home compared to what other sellers in your neighborhood were asking vs. what they were actually selling for.

4. You became emotionally attached to a price. Perhaps you Need a certain amount. The market only cares about what the home is worth, not what a seller needs out of it.

5. You have the nicest home in the neighborhood.  If we could pick it up and move it you’d probably get more money, but the neighborhood you’re in is probably holding you back.

We may have to reposition your home in the marketplace to account for this.  Selling a home in today’s market isn’t easy.  Prices have climbed to a level recently where buyers have turned off if the list price vastly exceeds value.  Many buyers have decided it’s time to buy new now that used home prices have climbed so much.

Your home may be worth more than you think.  Prices have climbed nicely in the past few years.  It is not however a license to over price your home.  Selling a home is a lot like fishing, and when prices reach a certain point the fish stop biting.  If your home is priced where the fish are it will attract some bites.  If your bait is located 20 feet above where the fish are, the fish don’t even know it’s there, because they’re not looking there.  Fish swim in schools, and so do buyers.  If you have a $200,000 home and price it at $250,000, the $200,000 buyers never go see it.  The $250k buyers might look, but quickly realize it’s not what they’re shopping for.  You miss the market both ways.

If your home didn’t sell, it may not be your fault.  But then again, you are the one paying the price.  It pays to find a Top Agent and listen.  The market will speak.  A Top agent will help you understand the market before it’s too late.  If you have a home to sell, or if you tried once already and gave up, perhaps it’s time to call in the professionals.  Always call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX  239-489-4042     www.TopAgent.com

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Sometime today the Ellis Team YouTube channel will reach the 200,000 view mark. We thought it might be a good idea to recap some of our top videos over the past few years that has drawn our team so much attention.

Ellis Team YouTube Channel Fort Myers Real Estate
Visit our YouTue Channel www.youtube.com/brettellisfl

Our latest video is our April 2014 SW Florida Real Estate Market Update where we update viewers on some current changes we’re seeing in the market.  Prices have been rising however there may be some surprises on the way when new March 2013 official sales numbers are released later this month.

Ellis Team YouTube Channel

Our most popular video of all time is the Fort Myers Beach-Sanibel Island-SW Florida Video we posted in September of 2011.  It is a fantastic video about the Fort Myers and Sanibel Island beaches and is a great overview of the Islands.

Our next most popular video would be NBC Nightly News 10-8-08 Flip Side of Foreclosures  Brett did with Brian Williams on the NBC Tonight Show back in October of 2008

A fun video we did was when Hillary Clinton was running for President of the United States.  She commented on a story we did for the Today Show about how Florida would vote and how real estate was affecting the vote back in the 2008 election.

Some people really like our client testimonial page Dex put together.

A lot of agents nationwide appreciated our Split Screen commercial where we showed all agents are not alike.

Still others really liked the Innovative Sales Techniques story NBC-2 did on our team and how we sell homes versus the competition.

Let us know your favorite video. There are over 150 to choose from. Most of all, thank you SW Florida for making us one of the most watched YouTube Channels in SW Florida.
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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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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When the headlines come out in a few weeks experts will be talking about how sales prices are up over last year’s numbers, and that would be true.  At the Ellis Team we like to study the market and identify trends for our customers, and today we’ll pass that along to you. Fort Myers Real Estate Prices and Cape Coral Looking Flat.

Fort Myers real estate sales prices Cape Coral real estate

We first reported some possible trends we’d be keeping an eye on back on Feb 26th in a blog post Are SW Florida Real Estate Sales in Trouble?

Again last week we wrote about some subtle changes we’re seeing in the market. Listing Inventory Rises Slightly in February, Sales Increase- Is the SW Florida Real Estate Market Changing?

Today we’d like to talk about some pricing trends we’re seeing.  I pulled up March 2014 sales data the morning of April 1. Keep in mind it takes many days for some agents to input closings into MLS after they close at the end of the month.  Not sure why, but it’s been a reality for years.  Based upon preliminary numbers we’re seeing, median price for closed single family homes in Lee County Florida remains at $185,000.  This is the same number as officially reported in February.   In other words, median prices did not increase in March.

Fort Myers Real Estate Prices and Cape Coral Looking Flat

Average sale prices came in at $265,386 in March, down from February’s $311,536.  While both numbers are higher than March 2013, they are the same or lower than February 2014.  So what does this tell us?

It tells us experts will be telling us how much better the market is this year because prices are up over last year, but it doesn’t give us perspective.  Typically prices begin an upward trend in February culminating around April-May, and sometimes June.  This year we’re not seeing that.

Season tends to set the trend for the rest of the year.  For the past several years we’d see our big price gains during season then the market would ride the train for the rest of the year, typically with prices dipping back down a bit after season until the following season.

If preliminary numbers for March pan out, we appear to be flat lining at a time when prices normally increase.  It’s called seasonality of the market, and we’re not seeing the seasonality.  If this trend holds true, our market may have peaked and retrench a bit later this year.

Or, it could be a blip on the radar and mean nothing.  I try not to read too much into data until a developing trend emerges.  I do like to inform readers and agents as to some of the trends I’m watching.

A good agent shouldn’t be tied to the outcome.  Far too often I’ve seen agents make predictions and then choose data that supports their predictions. Right now we’re not predicting anything, just reporting some things we’re keeping an eye on.  As a seller, this is information you might want to consider when pricing a home.  We do similar analysis at the subdivision level as well, as all real estate is local and just because one area of the county is hot or cold doesn’t mean all subdivisions are at the same rate. Last week we posted a more complete analysis on our YouTube channel with graphs and trends you might find useful.  Go to www.Youtube.com/brettellisfl to watch that video.

Where is the market headed?  Will it pick up steam or cool off in 2014?  Nobody knows the answers, however we will keep you posted every step of the way.  Knowledge is power.  Not having knowledge can cost you money, both on the buyer and seller end.  People think the value of a Realtor lies in their MLS data.  Sure, you can search the MLS at www.Topagent.com. That’s not the value of a Realtor though.  The true value is a Realtor’s ability to guide you through the tricky real estate maze and help you make the best decisions for you.  We take that very seriously as do many full-time Realtors.

Always hire an experienced agent.  Finding out the hard way later on can cost you in more ways than you know.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!
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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Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

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