Understanding Today's Home Buyer Critical to the SaleIn a hot market like we have today many agents and sellers believe anything will sell if you just stick it on the market.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are currently over 4,700 single family homes on the market that have not sold yet.  This number is low and we do have a hot market, but I’m trying to make a point here.  The bottom line is there will be sellers in any kind of market; Hot, Warm, Cold, that will not sell.

The most obvious reason is over-pricing.  If you over-price your home, chances are it will not sell no matter how good the market is.  In a rising market, the market will eventually catch up to your price and it may sell in time.  If you’re not in a rising market it will just linger, and if the market turns to decline, you’ll be caught chasing the market down.

Understanding Today’s Home Buyer Critical to the Sale

But this isn’t supposed to be a pricing article either.  Understanding your target market and who the buyers are today can make all the difference in selling or sitting.  Agents who work with buyers must understand today’s buyers’ needs or you’ll be a chauffer and nothing to show for it.

Our team works with a lot of buyers.  We also manage a condo sales center, so we see everyday the gamut of buyers and what their concerns are.  Not every buyer is the same, nor is every group.  We’ll talk about a few here.

First-time home buyers typically need a lot of information.  They haven’t been though the process before and they have a lot of questions.  They want to make a sound decision and can’t afford to make a mistake.  They don’t know the hidden costs like polybutylene plumbing or older wiring and how that can affect their insurance costs.

Typically a first-time home buyer will find a home, go to contract, pay for inspections, and then learn all the repair items through the inspection reports.  When they go to their insurance agent and find out the home cannot be insured, or it’s going to cost $5,000 year they get nervous.  When they give the insurance quote to the lender they find out it disqualifies them to buy the home because in makes their income ratios out of balance.

These were all preventable and predictable outcomes.  Having an agent and lender with experience could have saved everyone the trouble of going to contract.  The seller had their home off the market for 10-15 days.  The buyer is out inspection fees, and most first-time homebuyers are limited down payment money to begin with.

While nobody can predict the outcome of a property inspection, there are some things you should be looking out for.  Buyers need to do a better job of selecting an agent who has experience who can guide them through the process.  Sellers need to select an agent who won’t just take the first offer because it’s easy.

Sometimes buyers need creative help with the offer.  Structuring the offer correctly upfront can make all the difference.  If a buyer is tight on down-payment and closing costs, there are ways for the seller to legally help out and make the deal work.  If the buyer is tight on ratios, sometimes an interest rate buy-down can make the difference.

The key is you have to know upfront the way to go.  It’s usually (but not always) too late to go back and correct it later.

We haven’t even covered move-up buyers, relocation buyers, baby boomers, boomerang buyers, half-way backs, retirement, or 2nd home buyers.  The key is, when you understand the buyer, you have a greater chance of getting the buyer into the home they love and the seller onto next, whatever that is.

If you’re a buyer, you can search the entire MLS for free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Finding the right property is only half of the equation. Working through inspections, financing, HOA approvals, environmental, insurance, surveys, and title issues are the other half.  Working with an experienced agent is invaluable.

When we say it pays to work with someone with experience and cares, it’s true.  If you think it doesn’t pay, wait until you see what it costs if you don’t.

For the seller, it may cost you the sale.  For the buyer, it may cost you application fees, inspection fees, appraisal, etc.  It may cost you your dream home when you have to let it go.  And it may cost you your 1st backup, because it sold while you were messing around with the wrong deal.

We’re here if you need us..  239-489-4042

Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

This week’s featured communities:

Paseo Fort Myers

Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club-Estero

Gulf Harbour  Waterfront Community Fort Myers

Right now there is an imbalance in the market.  We have more buyers than sellers.  A few weeks ago we introduced a new website and it is attracting a lot of buyers.  We knew it was a better system than the one we were using before, but the registrations to use this new system has exceeded our best expectations.

Ellis Team Hiring Buyer Specialists

We have roughly the same number of visitors to our website.  The difference is because this new system is more consumer friendly and cutting edge, consumers are using it versus skipping over the old system.  If you’re a buyer or seller, you can check it out live at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

We just searched the MLS and right now there are only 3,858 single family homes on the market.  There are about 900 more if you count pending with contingency, but we’ll stick with just Actives for this discussion.  There are only 961 low rise condos (1-3 stories) 256 mid rise units and 292 high rise units on the market in Lee County.  There are 157 townhouse units on the market, and 217 villa units.

That’s not a lot of inventory, so buyers are hungry searching for deals.  There are 1197 closings last month in MLS, so roughly one third of the market closed last month.  If you’re a seller, this is good news and you might want to think about selling right now.  At the Fed meeting a few weeks ago they signaled they are ready to raise interest rates later this year.  They’re just waiting on a bit more data.

If you’re a buyer, you need access to all the data, and you need it now.  You don’t want old data that includes properties that are pending and sold months ago.  That’s what you get with some of the national online companies.  Your data is also sold to lenders and brokers.  We know because we see the data that comes to us and lenders.

Our system emails you each day new properties that enter the market as well as price changes.  You can also setup multiple searches.  I’ve spoken with many users who have told me it’s so much better than any other service they’ve tried, and they named names.

Because we wish to provide superior service, we need more agents.  The system is working. Our advertising is working.  We need experienced agents who can help people with their search to make sure it’s setup the way they want and returning the desired properties.

Once buyers favorite a property they either want to keep track of it or go see it.  We need more agents to show property and help people find their dream home.  As we add more agents we’ll keep adding to the advertising budget, which will create even more buyers.

Ellis Team Hiring Buyer Specialists

If you’re an experienced agent and not getting the leads you think you can handle, you may want to call us.  We have openings today, and chances are once we fill them we’ll have more openings in the future as we increase spending.  Call us for a confidential interview.

If you’re a seller thinking of selling, you might want to call a team that has lots of buyers.  Our marketing is working.  Our websites are ranked well.  Our print and online advertising is working, and now we have a MLS search site that consumers say beats all others. When interest rates rise it does cost buyers more money to buy a home, so they can afford less.  It will cost buyers to wait, but it can cost sellers too.  If more homes come on the market in the next year, and rates rise, your home may not be as Hot as it is right now.  Nobody is predicting a downturn, but it is more fun to sell when there is less competition and buyers are hungry to buy.

Call us to get your home sold now, while it’s fun!  Agents, call us now to get the leads you deserve and get back to making money.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

We have a long list of communities you can search on our new website  Here are a few:

Botanica Lakes Homes For Sale

Marina Bay Fort Myers

Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club

We recently updated our San Carlos Park Homes For Sale Page



Here we go again shaking things up in the real estate industry.  You might recall back in the 90’s we were the first agents to put the MLS on our website. Everyone asked if it could be done. The National Association of Realtors flew us out to Chicago to talk about it and this is how agent search sites were born, followed by Realtor.com We always believed consumers should have access to information even before anybody else did.

Since then, technology has come a long way.  We’ve used a few technology providers over the years and thousands have signed up and used our service.  Many of you have bought or sold homes from us using this technology and we thank you.

Property Search Site For Consumers in SW Florida

We wanted a better system though.  Good isn’t good enough anymore, we wanted great!  We wanted several things in a new system:

  • Advanced Search Capability with more options
  • Map search
  • Photo gallery display so can see all the pictures at once. We hate clicking to see each picture
  • All the listings
  • Quick Basic Search
  • Updated Daily
  • Daily E-Mail updates of new properties coming on market that matches my criteria
  • Price change alerts
  • Save favorite properties
  • Mortgage Calculator to see how much home would cost per month
  • Find Out What Your Home is Worth Online
  • Community Pages with search results
  • City pages with search results
  • One system buyers and sellers could use-No more need for separate systems and agents from all over calling
  • More consumer friendly-Ease of use

New Improved Property Search Site For Consumers in SW Florida

We designed it and it’s been live for about 2 weeks.  Already consumers love it.  They are favoriting properties and receiving alerts when prices change.  Many have thanked us.

When you have thousands of people using a system it’s a tough decision to make a change.  Perhaps that’s why we held off, but then again, we’re not satisfied with just providing good. You deserve Great, so here it is.  Simple go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com and see how you like it.

If you’re a buyer, you’re definitely going to love it. It’s so easy and the results are fast.  Sellers will like the home value tool.  As always, we’re here to talk to as well. 239-489-4042 We like to make your search fun and easy.  If you prefer searching on your computer or Smartphone, you can do that.  If you prefer calling and speaking to us, you can do that.  We’re here for you on your terms.

Good luck and Happy Searching!

It’s Independence Day here in SW Florida and across the great United States so it’s time to celebrate. What a great country we live in. Local sellers are rejoicing as well as new reports show more homeowners celebrate their independence from their underwater mortgage.

For years homeowners were trapped in their home because they owed too much money to sell it. Inventory is limited across the country because of it. In fact, it’s causing an affordability crisis in many lower end neighborhoods because they are 3 times more likely to be underwater as homes in the top third. Buyers are having a hard time finding an affordable home in these areas.

More Homeowners Celebrate Their Independence From Their Home

Here in SW Florida we have an inventory shortage. The good news is many that were underwater could sell now when they choose to. They are no longer trapped in a home they don’t need or a mortgage that’s tough to afford.

More Homeowners Celebrate Their Independence From Their Home

As you can see from the Home Prices graph media sale prices have increased 145.48% since January 2011. That’s just what the doctor ordered for many sellers. Our prices were over-valued but they fell too far and too fast. Our market has healed and the economy is doing better in Florida than the rest of the country.

We wrote last year that one of the final steps to a healing housing market would be an increase in financed sales. We’ve written on this many times. If you really care to research search the term cash sales on our Blog.

Cash Sales in SW Florida

Cash sales are at their lowest point since the downturn. This means an infusion of capital and confidence has come back into the market. Cash buyers were never going to propel this market to a normal healthy level. Cash buyers were limited, and many wanted a good deal when the market was down. They didn’t want to overpay.

Today it’s different. With inventory so low sometimes cash is King, but the difference is they have to pay market value even with cash to compete against all the other buyers. Several years ago we had multiple offers, but only because they were basement prices. Today we have multiple offers from end users who want the property to enjoy, not just flip.

Banks have become more confident in home values, appraisals, and lending again. Banks were gun-shy too, but now real estate is seen as a solid investment. Depending on how things turn out with Greece, Puerto Rico, and the Euro, hard assets may become king again and there may be a flight from stocks to real estate again.

If you’d like to search for your piece of paradise here in SW Florida check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com It has all the listings and it’s fun and easy to search. You can even find out how much your home is worth there too.

Making a move is a complicated process. Talking to a Realtor who understands the process and what it takes to sell a home so you can buy another one is Gold. We are experienced and we can help you. It’s just communication and working through your needs and finding solutions.

If you’d like to speak with us, call us at 239-489-4042 or send us an email Brett@topagent.com You can always use our website too and we can get back in touch with you.

Enjoy your weekend and celebrate your Independence, both as a country and possibly as a homeowner.

We have a new way to search the MLS we think you’re going to like.  To search the entire MLS go to LeecountyOnline.com

We have some additional pages you might like.

We’ve added popular neighborhoods, gated communities, luxury waterfront high rise condominiums and more.  Here are a few neighborhoods you can check out:

We have many more so head on over and check them out.