It is no surprise that real estate transaction dollar volume dropped in May.  May closings were a result of March and April pending sales which were impacted by covid-19 and stay at home orders in Florida.  Going forward, new pending sales have been strong, and top agents are having an exceptionally good year.

Real Estate Transaction Dollar Volume Drops in May

Dollar volume is the number of transactions multiplied by the average sales price.  That number dropped from $569.1 million last year to $326.0 million this year.  That is significant.

One of the things holding down sales is the limited inventory.  The other is travel has been limited during this period from other states.  That is not to say the motivated didn’t find a way to get here and purchase, but it did limit many.  Properties at the lower to mid end have been doing well.  Because of this, it has pulled the median price down .7% and the average price down 6.2%.  I would not say prices are falling though.  Right now, it is more of the mix of properties that are selling that is causing this.

We have seen this pattern before.  When real estate transaction dollar volume drops, it is not long after that agents start looking for the exit door.  These agents do not head directly for the door, they take a detour.  First, they are attracted to low cost brokerages with higher splits and fees based per transaction versus monthly.  It is an attempt to salvage their fledgling real estate career, and it does not work.  They were struggling before the crisis, and the real estate transaction dollar volume drop exacerbates it.

The detour is simply a speed bump to slow down the inevitable.  The exit door is approaching.  Sellers should be leery of listing with an agent who does not have listing transaction experience and has not had recent sales.  One question you might ask is, how long you have been with your current company?  Another would be how have your sales been in the last two months?

If you are considering selling, we have a list of questions you should ask the Realtor you are interviewing before you sign any agreement.  Another tell tale sign is when they agree to cut their commission.  This tells you two things.  Number one, they need a deal badly, and since profit isn’t a predominant factor, survival is, they may not be around by the end of the transaction.  Secondly, if they cannot negotiate their own transaction, how in the world can you trust them to negotiate on your behalf? Lastly, if they say they can do it for less, you must wonder if they’re spending money marketing your home, or just relying on the price and MLS to sell it.  If they don’t do anything for you, why pay them anything?

The whole point of using a Realtor is because they put more money in your pocket at closing than selling By Owner does, and that is a fact.  Realtors spend money, and each has their own value proposition.  If their value proposition is dropping, it means their value to you as a seller is dropping too.

Before you shortchange yourself and hire the least expensive agent you can find, call us, and explore the difference.  If netting more in your pocket at closing is more important than the low fee you pay, we need to talk.  Most people believe the less cost you pay the more money should flow to your pocket, and that makes sense.  The only problem is it is not necessarily true.

Brett and Sande will answer your questions and show you how we are able to get more money for our sellers.  In times like we are in today, experience matters.  Put the experience of Brett and Sande Ellis to work for you.  239-489-40402 Ext 4 or email us or

We’re excited to talk to you!  Good luck and Happy Selling!

See last week’s article “Hurricane Damage Roof Claim Settlement Deadline Approaches

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Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

14120 Reflection Lakes Dr

New Listing in Reflection Lakes
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SW Florida homeowners need to be aware that the hurricane damage roof claim settlement deadline is approaching for Irma claims September 10, 2020.  We are at the three-year mark for such claims.  You do not need approval of your claim, but your claim does need to be submitted to your insurance company by that date.

Hurricane Damage Roof Claim Settlement Deadline

Hurricane Damage Roof Claim Settlement Deadline

Here is what is so important about this.  Many people had roof damage and do not realize it.  When they go to sell their home, it will come up on a roof inspection.  The seller will be required to make the repairs or put on a new roof if the roof is not repairable.  Many roofs are not repairable because the tile system on their home is not made anymore, or because the percentage of damaged shingles is too significant.  In that case, a new roof may be required.  Many tile roofs cost over $50,000.

If an insurance claim is filed and not closed it would be on record and the new buyer might not be able to obtain insurance.  Choosing a roofer with extensive experience dealing with insurance companies is a must.  The attorney they work with when the insurance company says no the first time is important too.  Filing a claim is a big decision and should be done if you have damage, but you need to be prepared to follow through because the insurance company will not just hand over the money.

There is a lot of disinformation on the streets. You must be careful not to listen to the roofing salesman. We have heard some whoppers and not all of their claims are true.  For instance, the homeowner will have to pay the deductible.  Insurance companies reserve the right and will go back and verify later that the deductible was actually paid.  Some roofers entice homeowners to choose them because they scheme up ways to avoid this and the homeowner thinks they are going to get a free roof.  This is insurance fraud, and it could come back to bite the homeowner.  Yes, the roofing company may be committing fraud too, but when they are out of business it will not matter to the homeowner who also committed fraud. Water restoration is a specialized service that removes water from your home and restores it to a livable, pre-damaged condition. Restoring a home after a water damage emergency must happen quickly. Standing water and moisture create a perfect environment for bacteria and mold growth.

Roof May Determine Sale Ability

The bottom line is if you’re thinking of selling during the remaining useful life of your roof, you should have it checked. If there is damage you may not be able to sell your home with the damage.  You also want to use a reputable roofer who knows what they are doing, It may be possible to sell the home if the damaged work in the claim was repaired.  We can submit that info to new insurance company and coverage can be bound.  We work with some excellent insurance companies. That is the other end of the equation people do not always think about.

If you need the name of some roofers we’ve had good experience with, we would be happy to supply them to you.  Simply call Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 or email and we’ll pass along the information.

New Roof May Increase Home Value

It pays to work with experts in their field.  When you have a home under contract it’s sad to lose the deal over something that could have been prevented. A new roof may help improve the value of your home too. Buyers consider the price of a home combined with all the improvements, upgrades, and maintenance items they’ll have to make.  The more repairs and maintenance items eat into what they will offer for a home, if at all.  Maximizing your bottom line is a consultation between you and your Realtor.  An experienced Realtor can guide you to help you make best decisions.  Mistakenly, some sellers believe hiring the cheapest agent they can find will save them money. In fact, this strategy may cost them thousands.

If you want to save thousands on your next sale, ask Brett or Sande how we can save you money. Besides our experience, we have some programs that save our clients thousands of dollars.  It pays to know what they are. Call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 or visit to find out how much your home is worth.

Have questions?  Brett and Sande are here to help!

See last week’s article “Changing Real Estate Trends We Are Watching

We thought you would like to know some changing real estate trends we are watching and how we are adapting.  This is only the 2nd time in my 30+ years in real estate I can remember changes so significant like we are seeing today.  The trends we are seeing today in are different than normal economic cycle’s ebb and flows.

The last changing real estate trends we saw was back on 9-11, 2001 The United States was rocked by an enemy.  The country banded together, and Americans decided it was safer to nest at home versus travel abroad.  So, they did.  People hunkered down, traveled to within driving distance of their home and made home renovations, because home is where they were going to enjoy life and their family for a while.

Changing Real Estate Trends

Today, we are seeing similar tendencies.  Cruises, airline travel, and International travel are scary to many considering covid-19.  Workers learned to work from home, and companies learned it’s feasible.  Once companies learned this, they also learned they can save on high cost lease space in the city and setup shop in either the suburbs, or far away from where they originally thought they must be.

Two things happened.  Workers realized if they could work from home anywhere, why be in the city, and why be in high tax states?  Why not move to warmer climates that are tax friendly?  Not long after that, companies realized the same things.  If our workers are moving, why couldn’t we?  Companies have been reluctant to move for fear of displacing so many workers and not having talent in the location they might move to. Now that workers are willing to move, combined with fact they can still work and not have to live where they work opened the doors for companies to explore options.

Then another thing happened; the unfortunate death of George Floyd, the protests that ensued, and more specifically, the riots and mayhem.  Combine this with talk of disbanding police departments and it sent some companies over the edge.  Companies like steady, predictability. Chaos and mayhem are not business friendly.  The thought of closing stores, losing inventory, and putting employees in harms way was too much to stomach, and many businesses are leaving.  It’s not good business practice to operate in unstable environments.

This is also a reason why some companies are relocating from China back to the US; predictability and stability.  So, who benefits and who loses in such a scenario?

Florida is Attractive to Buyers

States like Florida are big winners.  Florida has done well with covid-19.  Riots have been well contained in Florida and leadership at the state and local levels have been strong.  Sure, some will always disagree with this stance or that, but leadership itself has been strong.

Consumers are looking to migrate out of cities and move to suburbs, smaller towns as well as rural. RV sales have picked up tremendously.  RV dealers are practically sold out in some cases.  I checked with an RV dealer locally who confirmed sales are off the charts and they are having a hard time keeping inventory.  Sound familiar?

Gun sales have increased.  People are worried they may rely less on the government for protection.  The events of 2020 may shape real estate decisions in a way we have not seen since 2001, and this time it appears to be more dramatic.

People crave predictability and stability.  Companies do too.  When they do not have that, they take control to the extent they can, and that’s their family’s personal safety and housing.

Changing Real Estate Trends We are Watching

Shifts in Advertising

We have shifted our advertising.  We still advertise locally, and we are bumping up our advertising into areas where we know people are migrating out.  It is working.  We have buyers coming in from all over.  Our artificial intelligence can identify where buyers and referrals are coming from for any city.  For example, here is the map for incoming referrals to Tampa.  Each city has its own patterns.  Hire us and we’ll put the SW Florida data to work for you.

The Ellis Team is forging relationships with top agents in each of these cities, as well as taking out targeted ads directly to buyers in those cities.  They are coming here and buying.  Our team sold 3 homes last weekend to leads we have been working using targeted ads.

If you are thinking of making a move, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4, or visit to see what your home is worth, or to find your next home.

See last week’s article “Agent You Choose Matters When Listing Your Home

Agent You Choose Matters When Listing Your Home

Ellis Team Open House

Today, more than ever, the agent you choose matters when listing your home in SW Florida.  Pending sales are down 7.1% year to date, and down significantly in March and April.  Obviously, the economy took a big hit from Coronavirus, but that is no excuse to sit back and do nothing.

One thing we know is when pending sales take a big hit, closed sales will fall in the coming months.  When closed sales fall, agents get out of the business.  The agent you are thinking about hiring to list your home may be hanging on by a thread and may not make it to closing.  Furthermore, even if that agent has a side gig and can withstand a sales pullback, they may not have the experience to guide you through a shifting market.

Agent You Choose Matters When Listing Your Home

Agent You Choose Matters

Our team has been through several shifts, so we know what to do.  In times like this, you work harder, and your experience pays off for clients. Ellis Team sales are up year to date, as are a few other experienced agents we talked to.  But for the most part, agents will feel the brunt of the pending sales slowdown.

Believe it or not, even though pending sales are slower, pending sales are outpacing new listings about 2 to 1.  This means it can be a good time to sell.  While new pending sales were down 36.9% in April, listing inventory is down 22.9%.  We believe the month’s supply of inventory will go down.  Officially it stands at 4.3 months in April, even though we had it falling to 4.2 months back in March.  For April we have it at 3.85 months supply.  This puts us firmly in a seller’s market, which means an experienced agent should be able to get you Top Dollar and get your home sold fast.

Speaking of fast, in April the median time to contract was 48 days.  Contrast that with April 2019 when it was 71 days.  That is a 32.4% reduction in time to sell a home.

Thinking of Selling?

If you are thinking of selling, you should talk to Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4. Brett and Sande have the experience of selling over 5,000 homes in SW Florida and have been through several market cycles.  This market cycle is different than others.  One thing we know about shifts, and this is true no matter what the cause, they happen gradually then suddenly.  When markets shift, buyers and sellers have fear.  Fear causes people to pause or do strange things.  It is not strange at all when you realize what is happening.  It takes skill and trust to turn that around.

Brett and Sande have the skill and trust of buyers and sellers.  Because we have experience, our deals are more likely to close, and when problems arise, we know ways to keep them together.  Quite often the buyer still wants to purchase, and the seller still wants to sell.  We simply must overcome the obstacles the lender or the parties put before us, and this leads to a successful transaction.

Marketing is also key.  Many agents will tell you it is all price.  Price is important, but so is marketing.  We have had great success marketing into northern markets and pulling buyers.  Every shift presents obstacles and opportunities.  We prefer to focus on the opportunity, and when we do that, the obstacles seem to melt away.  Let us show you how we are attracting buyers with our marketing.

Of course, we must also price your home correctly for the market.  No amount of marketing is going to overcome and overpriced listing.  If you have a home that failed to sell in the past, let us take a look at it.  Today’s low inventory, proper pricing, and our marketing might just be the winning formula to get you on to your next venture.  We are experts at making dreams a reality.

Find out what your home is worth for Free at

And remember, the agent you choose matters when listing your home.

See last week’s article “Rising Home Sale Price Trend Continues Despite Pandemic

2020 has been a good year in real estate for buyers and sellers alike.  Both have benefited for different reasons.  The rising home sale price trend continues despite pandemic concerns.

Year to date median home prices are up 5.6% and averages home sale prices are up 9.8%.  Most experts did not know how the shutdown was going to affect real estate sales or prices for that matter.  Busy Realtors on the front line saw a developing trend and we reported it to you as it became apparent.

Rising Home Sale Price Trend Continues

Rising Home Sale Price Trend Continues Despite Pandemic

Quite frankly, we were not surprised and in fact predicted this, because we have seen similar events in the past shape consumer behavior.  If you read our weekly article, we have talked about 9-11 and how that changed people’s travel and home buying preferences.  Covid-19 may be a similar such event with similar results.

Interest rates are low which is helping home buyers.  We are seeing more financed deals than cash deals.  For instance, closed deals were down 14.1% in April.  Cash deals were down 39.3% For people that have jobs, they are financing.  Another boom down the road will be homeowners who refinanced.  Those homeowners will have more disposable income in their pocket after this is all over which may help the economy going forward.

The economic stimulus is not all out and in the hands of the people yet.  Some are predicting a v-shaped recovery, while others predict a u-shaped.  A few predict a w-shaped, and this is what we don’t want.  We believe the 3rd quarter will be robust compared to 2nd quarter, and the growth rate will set all-time records.  It will not bring us back to pre-covid 19 levels, so people should not read the headlines and think the economy is all the way back.  It may take years before it’s all the way back, and yet recovery will be welcomed.

Housing inventory is down 22.9% from last April, and we have noticed an uptick in sales activity in May.  These numbers will not be reported yet for another month, so you’re getting inside information early.  It pays to know a busy Realtor on the front lines.

Some speculate that with near 20% unemployment, home sales and prices must go down.  This would be true if we had excess supply.  We simply do not right now.  With record low interest rates, and people going back to work, we may not have the opportunity to slide much, if at all.

All real estate is local.  Not only are we seeing buyers coming in from out of state to escape regulations and living conditions where they are, we are also seeing it in-state buyers.  While inventory is shrinking here, it’s also shrinking other places in Florida.  We are seeing more people coming over from Miami area and purchasing here, which is putting further pressure on inventory.  We saw this back in the boom.  The only difference today is we do not have an over-supply of homes like we did back then.

Our Office is Moving

Keller Williams and the Ellis Team office is moving south on Summerlin.  Our new address is 12840 University Dr in South Fort Myers.  It is located directly across from FSW college.  This is kind of like old times for the Ellis Team as were in a nearby office on University Dr for years with another company before moving to Summerlin Lakes Dr, and eventually over to Keller Williams.  We look forward to seeing past and future customers at our new location.

Our team and company are growing.  We might be the only real estate company expanding right now, and that’s because our lead generation and technology are second to none.  If you have a home to sell, please call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 or visit for a free analysis of your home.  You can tell us how accurate you believe it is.

If you’re looking to purchase, visit The information is updated in real-time, so you’ll never miss out on new listings or price changes.

We are moving this weekend to better serve you.  Make your move with the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  Knowledge and experience matter in changing times.  Put our experience to work for you.

See last week’s article “Buyer Beware Listing Inventory Disappearing Quickly