A few weeks ago, we reported that August pending sales were up in August.  We stated that this could lead to a rise in sales in the months following.  We’re happy to announce that September home sales rose 14.8%.  Furthermore, September new pending sales are up 19.6%, so you know what that means don’t you?  We could see further home sale gains in the coming months.

September Home Sales Rose

September Home Sales Rose

Ironically, we hear of agents complaining their sales are down.  If an agent’s sales are down and the market is up, it means someone else is taking market share.  We’ve been saying all year that certain agents are going to be vulnerable because the way you advertise and obtain leads today is different than it was 1 year ago.

It’s possible that successful agents doing the same thing get run out of business unless they change to the new way of doing things.  You can be the greatest agent in the world, but if you can’t attract leads like you once did your sales could plummet.  Sellers need to be mindful who they’re listing with now because it matters.  Gone are the days of just putting a home on the market and knowing it will sell.

Granted, you could get lucky, in which case you’ll believe all this talk is hogwash.  The same is true for agents.  Some do not believe this change is happening.  They’re sales may be down, but they refuse to believe there’s a change in the way agents are doing business.  Other agents haven’t noticed a slowdown, yet.  No slowdown, no reason to change.

I assure you change is happening.  Some agents have felt it, and some have been insulated and haven’t noticed it yet.  Some agents are absolutely flourishing. The difference may be how they’re running their business and how they’re attracting leads.

Some agents have spent a ton of money on various lead generating websites, spending as much at $15,000/mo.  They struggle to pay their bills and they’re a few missed closings away from being out of business.  Converting these paid for leads can be hard, and low percentage.  There is a better way.

I’m going to give 4 clues for agents to better lead generation conversions:

  1. Give people what they want.
  2. Provide something of value nobody else is delivering
  3. Be there the entire cycle, not just when they pop up and decide to buy/sell
  4. Use systems to develop relationships over time

There’s more of course, but if agents follow these basic 4 steps, they’ll have better lead conversion.  The problem is, most agents are good salespeople, but their follow-up and systems are terrible.  It’s time consuming, costly, and inefficient when agents are juggling various data systems.

So, agents hit the Easy button.  They buy leads from lead aggregators thinking this will generate business.  The problem is, one lead aggregator sold over 117 Million leads last year alone.  Ironically, there were only 5.96 Million homes closed last year.  Essentially this company sold the same leads to multiple agents, and/or sold leads that were never going to buy or sell a home.  Keep in mind, this was just one company.  There are many lead aggregators agents buy leads from.

Suffice it to say, this might not be a good lead generation strategy, and certainly not worthy of betting the bank on in hopes of a few sales.  There’s got to be a better way to market a seller’s home.

There is a better way, and we’d love to show you.  If you’re thinking of selling, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  We sell a lot of homes each month because of marketing.  We’re not buying leads from aggregators.  We tried that years ago, and it’s pointless.  Give Sande or Brett at call at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a Free instant online valuation.

See Last Week’s Article It’s a Seller’s market in SW Florida

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Internal numbers produced by the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty shows the local housing market has improved once again.  It’s a seller’s market in SW Florida, and it just got slightly stronger the past few months.

It’s a Seller’s Market in SW Florida

Most experts agree, a balanced market is about 5.5 months of supply.  Currently Lee County stands at 4.33 months’ supply.  It was 4.37 months’ supply back in August.  We can safely say we’re in a seller’s market, but there’s more to the story.

It’s a Seller’s Market

Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean the entire market is.  We have market segments.  We could segment the market by neighborhood, by waterfront, golf course, total cost of ownership, or several other segments.  Today we’ve picked the price range segment.

By and large, the higher the price, the more supply we have.  If you own a million dollar plus property, chances are it could take you awhile to sell your home.  If no other homes came on the market, it would take approximately 15 months to sell all the homes over $1 million.  We know not all will sell, because inventory never gets to zero.

There will always be sellers that overprice their home relative to the market.  There will always be homes that the market rejects due to condition, location, costs, liens, title issues, etc.  In the end, it usually comes down to price.

We could have done a segment on total cost of ownership.  This is when you add up taxes, HOA fees, mandatory club fees, etc.  Anything that must be paid each year is included.  Our team routinely gets calls for inexpensive condos in the $45,000-60,000 price range in a certain golf community that’s listed by other realty companies.  Buyers love the low price and the fact that it’s located in a prestigious golf course community.  However, when they find out the yearly condo fees, HOA fees, golf fees, and mandatory club spending exceeds $22,000 and there is a $50,000 one-time buy-in, they begin to realize this inexpensive condo is out of their price range.  In fact, the annual total cost of ownership is holding back the value because it’s so costly to hold the property.

This is one reason why time-shares are hard to sell, and many times go down in value.  The annual maintenance costs can exceed $1,000 for a week.  Multiply that by 52 weeks and you begin to realize somebody is making some money off those time shares, and it’s not the owners.

Keep in mind, anytime you mandate higher cost of ownership, you can limit the price.  Of course, amenities come with a price, and certain buyers demand certain amenities and they’re willing to pay for them.

Property taxes are another consideration.  Some buyers will pay more for a home in the county than in the city because taxes are lower in the county.  Some new home builders build in multiple locations.  They justify their higher price in one community over another community they build in on taxes alone.

This is why people are flocking to Florida.  Taxes in Florida are lower than high tax states like Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and others.  Not only are property taxes higher up North, but they also have a state income tax.  We now have a $10,000 limit on local state and property tax deductions.  It’s easy to hit that number up North, while most properties down here don’t hit that, so we’re a bargain when people do their federal income tax returns.

People look at more than just the asking price.  They look at taxes and the total cost of ownership.  The data we’re providing today is a market overview by price.  Keep in mind, there are other segments and factors that influence pricing.  If you have a home to sell, you need an agent that understands these issues.  The market understands total cost of ownership.  It’d disclosed on every listing.

If you’re thinking of selling and looking for Top Dollar, always call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get an instant, Free online valuation of what your home is worth.

See Last Weeks Article:  “Pending Home Sales Rose in August 2019

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Official September closed sales numbers have not been released yet, but we can report that pending home sales rose in August which means September and October numbers could come in stronger than last year.  Pending sales are always a precursor to what may come one to two months out.

Pending Home Sales Rose in August

Pending Home Sales Rose in August 2019

It’s a good time to be a seller.  We have a fairly balanced market, however statistically it favors the seller right now.  To make things tougher for buyers, new listings were down 17.8% in August.  This pulled the overall listings on the market down 3.9%, a direct result of less listings coming in August.  Officially we are down to a 4.9 months’ supply of homes on the market.  We will run our numbers in a few weeks that will show current supply numbers by price range.

As a seller, right now is a good time to put your home on the market.  In January there will be a rush of sellers placing their homes on the market.  Today you can beat that rush.  The Ellis Team has placed several homes under contract the past few weeks whereby the seller won’t have to compete with all the new listings entering the market.  They got out now and were happy with their price.

Buyers are more motivated now than ever.  There is less supply, and rates are historically low.  We’re not saying rates will go up overnight.  We are saying nobody knows when they will.  Buyers have low rates and not as much inventory to choose from.  Buyers are motivated.  There’s an old saying that says it’s always best to strike while the iron is hot.  The iron is hot right now.

We’ve got a new system for homeowners thinking of selling their home sometime in the future.  We’ll show it in a future article, but basically the gist is this.  The system will email you a neighborhood report with photos and details about nearby homes for sale, pending, and recently sold.  In addition, at the click of a button there are neighborhood stats that will tell you how many homes are for sale in your neighborhood, the average price, the price per square foot, and the days on market. It provides commute times to your favorite places, as well as reviews of local neighborhood businesses.

If you’d like to see stats and info with your neighborhood, send me an email to Brett@topagent.com with your name, address, and phone number.  I’ll put you in the system and it’ll email you new stats every two weeks.

If you prefer a quick price estimate, you can check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com This site gives you an instant price estimate that is surprisingly accurate in many cases.  Of course, before listing your home we’d want to verify the information.  Homeowners like this site because it is Fast and Free.

Buyers, we’ve got you covered too.  You’ll want to go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com  This site gives you a leg up on the competition because it includes all of the listings, and it’s updated every few minutes.  There is nothing more frustrating than not seeing all the listings or looking at a home that sold months ago.  Our site will help you win!

Speed wins in today’s market.  That’s why we work so hard to bring you tools that will provide you information very fast.  What you decide to do with it is up to you.  All we ask is that if you ever need real estate advice, you’d think of the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.

We study the market.  We’re full-time and we take this seriously.  Isn’t that the kind of agent you want working for you?  If you’re a seller and want to speak with Brett or Sande, call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  If you’re a buyer, call our main line and we’ll get a buyer specialist in touch with you today.

Or just visit one of our handy tools and surf away on your time.  We’re here to help you on your schedule.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See Last Week’s Article “Mortgage Applications Rise Sparking Important Questions

Mortgage applications rise sparking important questions this past week 8.1% as mortgage rates fell.  We are consistently seeing rates below 4%.  Recently we had a buyer receive 3.25% on a fixed rate loan.  With rates falling, it’s sparking two important questions.

Mortgage Applications Rise Sparking Important Questions

If I own a home, should I refinance?  The answer depends on two things.  What is the differential in the rate you have currently and today’s rates, and how long do you plan on staying in the home?  Does your current home meet your needs?  We are at a historic time.  This is an opportunity to lock in a low rate for your home, or an opportunity to find something better and lock that in. If you need  some help getting a good loan for your home project. this mortgage broker can help you, just visit the linked website.

You May Qualify For More Home Now

You might qualify for much more home than ever before due to these low rates.  Your dream home you thought was an impossible dream might just now be a reality.  The question is, are you content where you are, or do you aspire for something better?  Now is the time.  There is no right or wrong answer, It’s your answer.  What we can say is there is a right or wrong time, and now is the right time.

If you don’t currently own a home, now is the best time from a financial standpoint.  Only you can answer if it’s a good time job wise, relationship wise, etc.  It’s been proven that owning a home is key to accumulating long-term wealth.  Putting money in the stock market may not work out the way you want.  Income stocks and bonds, CD’s, and interest bearing accounts aren’t paying much either.  Real estate may be your best bet, and now is the time.

You may need help deciding whether to keep your existing home and fix it up or sell it and buy another.  You’d probably think a real estate agent would only want to sell you something, so no sense consulting with an agent.  A good agent will listen to what you’re trying o accomplish and make suggestions for you to consider.  This is a moment in history, and you may not get a do-over.

Real Estate Sales Versus Consultant

Good real estate agents know things the general public does not.  We can offer advice based upon your needs, even if it’s not deciding to sell.  When you receive good advice, you’re much more likely to recommend your agent to people you know.  Great agents know that if they take care of their customers, their customers will always take care of them.

We help a lot of people buy and sell property in SW Florida.  Sometimes we don’t take a listing because we can’t help the seller.  Sure, we could take a lot more listings, but in the end, if you know it’s not right you’re not helping anybody.

Most sellers don’t know for sure where they’d go if they sold.  They know their current home isn’t ideal for them anymore, but they don’t know how they’d get to another home.  It’s logistics.  This is where a great agent can help.  You must have a plan to get from point A to point B.  There are steps, and good agents have a track record of accomplishing this.  Sellers see the task as daunting, so they give up before they start.

Mortgage Applications Rise Sparking Important Questions

Sometimes homeowners look back on their life and hate how they’ve been stuck someplace that doesn’t make them happy.  We’re not saying you should sell today at all costs.  What we are saying is if you have a home that isn’t working for you anymore, there are options, and today more things are possible than they were in past. You can also read about the pros and cons of balloon mortgages here.

Call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and schedule a sit-down appointment to go over your needs.  If you’re just looking for a quick, free online evaluation, we provide that service as well.  Simply go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com and it does a pretty good job of estimating your home’s value instantly.  Did we say Free?

Of course, there’s no substitute for consulting with us.  We’re here when you’re ready to talk, and we have tools for you if you’re just curious and beginning the thought process.

Good luck and Happy Home Buying/Selling!

See last week’s article “Median Time to Contract Increased 20.6% in August

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Ellis Team Facebook Page-Open Houses

 

One of the things we look at in evaluating the local real estate market is how long it takes to sell a home.  New statistics just released indicate the median time to contract increased 20.6% in August 2019 versus 2018.

Median Time to Contract Increased in August

Median Time to Contract Increased

If you look at the chart, we see a 15.9% year over year increase in the time it takes to sell a home.  This tells us it’s not a one-month blip on the chart.  It’s taking longer to sell a home in 2019 than it did in 2018.

There is good news though. New pending sales were up 2.9% in August versus last year, and inventory is actually down 3.9% The numbers tell a story that at least in August, it’s kind of a mixed market.  We’ll keep our eyes open for trends that will swing the market one way or another.

The local real estate market is sort of like the economy.  There are positive signs like employment numbers, interest rates, etc.  There are also signs of consumer confidence perhaps swinging while people wonder what the outcome of the China trade agreement will bring.

What all this process is that the Internet does not sell homes.  Experienced agents that price homes properly and aggressively market homes sell homes.  It’s not enough to throw it up on MLS and hope another Realtor sees it, or a buyer sees it online and falls in love with it.

Marketing Still King

There is competition for the buyers, and buyers are still swayed by marketing.  As an example, we get a certain number of leads through a paid advertising program we use.  It costs a lot of money, and it’s very successful.  When we launch additional targeted online advertising promoting our listings or our open houses, we get dozens more leads looking to buy now.  Had we not done that extra advertising, we would not have gotten those buyers.

We can track which ad each buyer came from and which property they clicked on.  We know exactly which ads work.  This knowledge helps us repeat the process.  Each time we list a new property we can design ads that bring in buyers for that property.

Chances are we might already have a buyer.  Yesterday I was at a listing appointment and we searched for leads looking in their subdivision.  We had 572 leads looking in their subdivision, complete with name, phone number, and email address.  Once this property goes on the market, our team of agents have built-in leads they can call announcing the new listing and giving these 572 people first crack at seeing the home.  That’s the power of marketing.

Agents that sit back and wait for other agents to show their home don’t have a database of buyers like the Ellis Team does.  At last check we had 8,373 in one system alone.  The advertising platforms cost money, so not every agent can afford to market like this.  When you’re interviewing agents, you’ll want to ask to see their online leads and how many they have for a home like yours.  Is the data good, or is it just email addresses?  Good data to us is when we have their contact information and we know the buyer’s What and When.

If we have the buyer’s What we can help find them what they’re looking for, and on their timeline.  If a buyer is 5 years out, that’s not going to help any of our current sellers today.  Building up a consistent pipeline is key to getting seller’s homes sold quickly.

If you have a home to sell, call Brett or Sande Ellis 239—489-4042 Ext 4 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com We can sit down with you and show you how we’re different.

In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out on the market for you.  Good luck and Happy Selling!