The past several weeks we’ve been providing some nice articles on tips to sell your home, information on online real estate scams in SW Florida, updates on inventory supply, and understanding today’s home buyer and why that’s critical to a sale these days.  By the way, you can catch up on these great articles at in case you missed them.

We’ve kind of gotten away from pricing updates so we thought it’s time to revisit.  New statistics will be out between the time we write this article and the time it’s published, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  We’re releasing unofficial stats but we’re pretty confident they’ll come in pretty close to our numbers.

SW Florida Price Gains in July

New numbers suggest some nice price gains in July. In fact, if we’re right, median sale prices should be up around 13.95% and average sale prices up around 15.07% Our numbers were pulled August 18th and official numbers are pulled around August 10.  Some Realtors could have reported July sales after Aug 10 which wouldn’t make the official numbers.

SW Florida Price Gains in July

Across the country markets are either rising or topping out.  Here in SW Florida we have very limited inventory and a tight rental market.  We have end users and few places to put them, so demand is outpacing supply right now.  It’s a good time to be a seller.

Our MLS search site is getting good traffic from buyers both locally and from up North.  If this trend continues, we could be in for another good season, but what about all the permanent folks looking for property now?

This past month our buyer specialists have been busy putting deals together for our buyers.  Basically our agents stay on top of new listings or pending sales that fall out and we jump quickly.  Our clients love using technology to stay on top of the market as well, so they setup saved searches on our website that alerts them to price changes, new listings, recent sales, and of course pending sales that fall out.

In this way we have a more educated buyer who’s ready to pounce.  You have to be like a cat waiting for prey in this market, because if you’re not prepared, another predator will beat you to it.  And all this is before season arrives.

My advice to buyers would be it’s never too early to begin the process.  If you wait until you’re ready, it’s already too late.  We need to have you speak with a loan officer to see how much you qualify for and if there are any issues you can work on now that will get you a better rate.

Most people prefer to wait until they see something they like.  If you like it, other buyers will too and because they are ahead of you, they end up getting the prize.  It’s really easy to get pre-qualified these days, and the technology available to you makes research fun and exciting.  Let us show you how.  In a half hour consultation we can show you your options and how making a move can become a reality for you, but you’ve got to do some homework or your dream will go to someone else.  We can help you by sitting down with you for a few minutes and talking about your needs.

Sellers, you too should do some homework.  Just because headlines read “Market up 13% doesn’t mean every home is up.  You may also have some work to do on your home to get top dollar.  We can help you with that too.  And maybe, just maybe, we already have a buyer for your home.  Several times this year we’ve sold homes we just listed to buyers we’ve been working with for weeks.

It pays to call us.  We’ll sit down with you and go over your options, just like we do with buyers.  The market is the market.  We’re here to educate buyers on how to score their dream home and sellers on what it takes to have a successful sale.

If we can help you, we’d love to help.  239-489-4042

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Search the Southwest Florida MLS Like a Realtor

It is no secret that a buyer looking for a home is impressed by its upkeep.  And occasionally you will see a seller described in an ad like “Mr and Mrs Perfect”  or “Mr and Mrs Clean”  are moving away and offer their meticulously kept home for sale.  Buyers spring into action on these homes because sellers meticulous about cleanliness are generally meticulous about repairs as well.  And we all know most people do not live perfect.  Most sellers have a few things to do before putting their homes on the market.  This article is dedicated to those who have a few things to do.

15 Tips to Get Your Home Ready to Sell

The Ellis Team has always passed along tips to get a home ready to sell.  Recently we had the good fortune to hire Michelle Hendren who has a strong background in Property Management.  Property managers are said to have “seen it all.”  Michelle contributed several of the tips.

15 Tips to Get Your Home Ready to Sell

Tip #1  If the woodwork does not need painting use fabric softener sheets to clean the woodwork.

Occasionally sellers will plan to replace a newer carpet because of a spot or stain

Tip #2 Wet the stained area.  Spread a sufficient amount of baking soda over the affected area.  Wait.  Come back later to find the baking soda has magically lifted the stain (even nasty red stains).  Michelle mentioned that on one occasion the entire carpet was treated.

Tip #3  They will think you have a green thumb.  Your plants will look healthier after you spread the used coffee grounds around them.  And bugs will take a hike because of the coffee smell.  How about that?

Have you ever had a shower door or glass in the bathroom that you had cleaned but lacked the luster of new.  You knew that it was clean but would still look scruffy to a buyer.

Tip #4  Use Turtle wax or another similar car wax.  Apply to tub, shower, tiles and doors.  Poof … a shiny bathroom as old water stains disappear.  Keep the look fresh by wiping down the shower door with baby oil.  Water will bead on the doors.

Tip #5  Dishes and utensils will appear more sparkly clean when you place the concentrated pouch in the silverware rack and not in the door dispenser.  We got this tip from an appliance salesman.  I tried it and loved the results.  I would never have thought of it.

Tip #6   Extend the life span of washing machine and dishwasher by using liquid products.  We have been told that the powdered products are made of paper and will clog the appliances.  Who knew?

Tip #7  Freshen the smell of the appliances by running an empty cycle with 1 c fresh vinegar.

Tip #8  If you can smell it; you cannot sell it.  Remove the cause of any stench or smell.  Sometimes we all become accustomed to certain smells in our homes.  A buyer walking into your home does not want to become accustomed to a smell.   We will share some thought with you depending on your situation and the cause of the smell.  Remember we are here to help.  While we do not profess to having seen it all, we have seen a lot and have had many successful sales after sellers followed a few suggestions.

To get the rest of the Ellis Team Tips just go to  If you have a tip you’d like to share with us that we may publish in a future issue simply email me at  Let us know if we can give you credit for the tip by using your name or if you prefer your tip to be incognito.

Search the SW Florida Real Estate MLS property database.

It’s happening up and down the coast of SW Florida everyday.  It’s gotten so bad it’s forcing buyers and sellers to only deal with reputable agents.  It’s practically destroying the credibility of companies like Craigslist and VRBO and yet they can’t seem to do anything about it.  It’s really Buyer Beware of Online Real Estate Scams in SW Florida!

Buyer Beware of Online Real Estate Scams in SW Florida

Last week our phone started ringing off the hook and it hasn’t stopped since.  We’ve received hundreds of calls from prospective tenants calling about a rental in Tanglewood. The good news is we have a rental listing in Tanglewood.  It’s a gorgeous 3 bedroom 2 bath home with 2 car garage and nice back yard.  It’s a bargain at $1700/mo.  The problem is people are calling on the online rental ad for $950/mo.

People are driving by and then calling us from our sign because they’re confused.  They see the online ad with no Realtor and then see a Realtor sign at the property.  It’s good that they called because the scam wants them to check out the neighborhood and view the online photos then send them money after filling out a rental questionnaire.

The emails tell customers not to contact the agent and ignore the sign as they’ve decided not to sell and they don’t have an agreement anymore.  It says Realtors tend to over-price properties and they just want to rent the home, and money isn’t important to them.  They just want a tenant to take very good care of the home.

Thus they are renting it for half its market value.  This should be a warning sign.  The other should be “Don’t contact the agent for any reason.”

They are taking photos we took and put in MLS and scraping them and posting on Craiglist and using them in follow-up emails to prospects.

What makes this so funny is this isn’t a normal listing.  Sande Ellis is the owner of this home.  We’d encourage at a minimum for people to use Lee County’s Property Appraiser’s website to verify who the owner is of any property.

The rental questionnaire they send out is also disturbing.  They ask questions like, Are you married, Do you have a pet, Do you work at night?  Once they steal your money you send them they have information about you.  This information could be used for identity theft, or worse.  They know if you work at night, have a spouse that might be at home, or a dog that might be a problem for someone breaking in.

I don’t know if they’re trying to look smart and ask pertinent questions so you’ll send them money or if they have nefarious intentions.  Either way these are not good people, and chances are they don’t even live in the US.

We reached out to law enforcement who sees this every day.  Quite often they try to get as many people as possible to send them money, all expecting to rent a deal that’s too good to be true. Judging by the hundreds of calls we’ve received most people don’t fall for this, but enough must or they wouldn’t keep running this scam.  There is no telling how many people send in money only to find out later they’ve been scammed.

If you’re looking for a nice rental home in Tanglewood, we have one.  Give us a call. 239-489-4042  We’d suggest only dealing with reputable companies whether buying or renting.  If you insist on taking your chances, make sure you’re dealing with the actual owner.  And use common sense.  If the deal appears too good to be true, it probably is.

We hope this article benefits anyone trying to buy or rent. We hate to see anyone get burned by scammers.  You can always search for homes for sale on our  SW Florida Real Estate Search Site  This is a trusted site and all the homes on this site are actually listed in the MLS.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See previous property scam article October 2014

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update


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By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907



We’ve been talking about price increases and low inventory for months, so this week we thought we’d revisit some data and provide an update on inventory supply in SW Florida.

Update on Inventory Supply in SW Florida January 2015

Back in January we analyzed the supply of inventory and compared it to May of 2014.  Since January there have been some changes.  All price ranges of inventory supply fell except one.

The $600,000 to 1 Million range actually increased from a 14.12 month supply back in January to a 16.64 month supply today.

Update on Inventory Supply in SW Florida July 2015

The overall market stands at 4.52 months compared to 5.5 months back in January.  Anything less than 6 months is considered a seller’s market and the overall market certainly qualifies for that.  In fact, anything up to about $400,000 is a sellers market and up to about $600,000 is a neutral market.  Once you start getting up over $600,000 there’s more competition for the buyers as there are less buyers and more inventory available.

For instance, back in January there were 579 homes on the market priced between $600k-$1 Million.  Today there are 807.  That’s a 39.38% jump in inventory. Thankfully we had 90 more sales in the past year in that price range which helped offset the large jump in inventory or the months supply would have been larger.  It would have jumped to 19.68 months were it not for the increased sales.

Otherwise listing inventory pretty much dropped across the board. In the $100,000-$150,000 price range listings dropped from 721 to 457 while sales actually increased in that price range.  Hence why you see only 1.87 months supply of inventory.

Even the $1 Million+ price range saw a shrink in inventory and an increase in sales.  It’s no secret that prices have been rising in SW Florida and now you can see in clear detail the reason why.

If you’re a seller it pays to know the inventory levels.  If you have a home in the $400,000+ range you may need some extra advertising to stand out from the crowd, and you want to make sure your price is in line as buyers have more choices.  You don’t want to price yours and help sell your neighbors home.

If you’re a buyer this is useful information as well.  It’s easy to focus on your search and see other homes, but when you get a bird’s eye view of the market you can better decide how strong to make your offer and how quickly you may need to step up.  In some price ranges you’re not really in competition with the seller.  You’re in competition with all the other buyers looking for the most desirable homes in your price range.  The real question is, if you don’t get your first choice home, how happy are you going to be with your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th choice, assuming there even are other choices?  In some neighborhoods you’re lucky to find 1 or 2 homes on the market.

It’s very frustrating missing out on Hot properties.  One way to stay on top of the market is to search the MLS at Not only can you search the MLS for exactly what you want, the system will also email you when matches reduce their price or when new homes enter the market that match your criteria.  This helps buyers beat out other buyers to Hot new listings.

If you’re a seller, we’ll sit down with you and analyze where your home stands in the market, the best pricing strategy for your home, and how we would market it to make it stand out from the crowd.  We can even help you sell your home and help you search for another one. Give us a call at 239-489-4042


Good luck and Happy House Hunting!