The Ellis Team has been selling hurricane damaged homes as-is in some cases. Many homeowners don’t realize they have this option.  Sellers have several options if their home was damaged.

Selling Hurricane Damaged Homes As-Is

Selling Hurricane Damaged Homes As-Is

Some sellers just don’t have it in them financially or emotionally to go through the entire repair and insurance process. Fort these types of sellers, there are a few options. The homeowner can sell and keep the insurance proceeds or transfer the insurance proceeds to a new buyer. If the seller has a mortgage, and there is enough in the sale to satisfy the mortgage, this becomes an option. For owners who own their home outright, it isn’t an issue.

A seller may sell for more if they can transfer the insurance claim to the buyer, but not in all cases.  We recently sold a hurricane damaged home whereby the seller retained all hurricane claims, both flood and homeowners, and the new buyer accepted the home in its as-is condition.

Obviously a new buyer is going to look at the home and determine how much they think it is going to cost to fix it up. Is the home subject to the 50% Rule? They will probably want some sweat equity for doing all the work and taking on the risk. Additionally, this new buyer may not be able to get insurance on the home. The new buyer could get a builder’s risk policy if the home previously had insurance, even if the seller is keeping the claim money. Additional 50% Rule article.

In other cases, no insurance will be available to the new buyer until the home is repaired and inspected. We do have insurance companies writing policies again for repaired homes.


How do you know how much you should ask for your home as a seller? It helps to know the pre-hurricane value of your home. Then, we calculate the repair costs to bring the home back. If the home is subject to the 50% rule, the costs would need to be calculated as brought back to it’s original pre-hurricane condition. Once we know or estimate the cost to repair, a calculation can be made as to what a reasonable person might pay for a damaged home assuming all the risks and work.

To get an estimated value of your home pre-hurricane, visit Do so right away because new sales might start influencing the post-hurricane values. Or better yet, call us at 239-310-6500 and let us help you evaluate your options. We may even know some contractors who can help with some of the work.

Heavy Damage

What if your home is missing, or heavily damaged beyond the 50% and you don’t wish to rebuild? We may be able to sell for the land value and net you more money than rebuilding. Some homeowners didn’t have flood insurance because it was so expensive. In other cases, the flood insurance payment won’t make a dent in what it would cost to rebuild. The point is, you have options, and we can help you determine which is best for you financially and emotionally.

Brett and Sande ask a lot of questions. Many times, it’s not about what we would do. It’s about what is best for you. Is there money to do the repairs? Is your heart in it? How long are you willing to fight the insurance company? We’ve had a few sellers choose an option we would not have chosen, but it is their house and their decision. We absolutely respect and support those decisions. Therefore, we present all options. We feel the best decision is an informed decision based upon your needs.

Your Partner

We are your partner in the home selling process.  We may not know all the obstacles that will come our way during the transaction, but rest assured we will be there with you to help navigate those obstacles should they occur.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. We are your partner in success!

New 50% rule modifications benefit Lee County Homeowners by changing the way damage repair is calculated.

50% Rule Modifications Benefit Lee County

In the past, if a property suffered more than 50% of the home’s improved value in total damage the homeowner would be required to rebuild the structure to today’s codes, including new flood and height requirements. This could cause a total rebuild and would be very costly, exceeding flood insurance coverage if the homeowner had any.

New 50% Rule Modifications Benefit Lee County Homeowners

By adopting a Permit-to-Permit mode, each permit must stay within the 50% rule.  So, let’s say a home suffered severe damage and needed several permits to repair the home.  All told, the permits together total well in excess of the 50% of the improved value of the home. By breaking out each permit, the homeowner can file for one permit, complete the work, then close it out.

Each subsequent permit only needs to be within the 50% of the total value, and so on.  The only drawback is you may be forced to do some work, close the permit, and wait for the next portion of the project. This may slow down the project, however the benefit is the home is rebuildable without having to change codes. Sure, the new roof may need to meet new codes, but the elevation and building height could stay the same.

This is a game changer for many residents. So far, this only applies to unincorporated Lee County. If you live in a city like Cape Coral or Fort Myers, you may need to wait and see if they adopt similar language. We find it hard to believe they wouldn’t, but it is the government, so you never know.

FEMA Controls the Flood Insurance Discount

I’m sure FEMA won’t be completely happy, but each entity oversees implementing their own floodplain plan under FEMA. Fort Myers Beach isn’t taking the same approach, and this video explains why.

This past week we have attended two insurance seminars, so we have learned a great deal about insurance after Ian. Of course, insurance is changing weekly. It’s not that the Ellis Team is smarter than other agents about things like insurance, it’s that we talk to more people, so our learning curve is faster. Having connections is valuable, especially after a disaster like Ian.

Having the reputation and clout to get top people on the phone when you call is valuable. We can offer ways to sell a property when others say it cannot be done. There are options to get insurance even when there is an existing claim, and it is challenging.

Here to Help

Our team is here to help. If you’d like to buy or sell, there may be a way.  We are experts at listening to your situation and helping find resources to accomplish your goals. There are some people that are unrealistic with what they are trying to do, and that’s OK. We listen and help where we can. In some cases, the goal is unrealistic today, and then something changes, like the new 50% rule implementation.

Insurance carriers are opening back up, and so are the options. A seller’s ability to get Top Dollar or sell the property at all will be determined by who they hire to sell their home. The same with a buyer. A buyer’s ability to purchase a home will be determined by the agent they choose to work with.

We have a way of searching MLS and finding damaged home or undamaged homes. Knowing inside tips on searching MLS along with keeping up on insurance and building permits enables us to better serve our clients. We don’t know everything, but we are willing to get in there and talk to people and help figure stuff out.

Always call the Ellis team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 or visit to get your home’s value instantly, or to search the MLS.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Since Hurricane Ian the Ellis Team has generated lots of listing calls that have created coming soon listings opportunities. The issue however is many of these homes are not easily sellable due to insurance claims, hurricane damage, or other reasons.

Coming Soon Listings Opportunities


Coming Soon Listings Opportunities and MLS Clear Cooperation Policy

MLS rules state that when a property is marketed publicly the property must be submitted to the MLS within 1 business day for cooperation with other MLS participants.  The thinking here is that it is in the seller’s best interest to gather as much exposure as possible for the sale. Some Realtors in the past would hold back listings and attempt to sell the property themselves and keep both ends of the commission. In the business we call this double-dipping.

What if the property is not ready for sale? What if the seller does not want their property listed in MLS? There are provisions for that. Most people do not realize that when a Realtor takes a listing and advertises it publicly on social media, newspaper, or other forms the property must be able to show within a reasonable amount of time.  If a property cannot be shown, a Realtor is supposed to mark the listing withdrawn.  The listing can be returned to active status once the property is available to be shown again. There are some new exceptions to this rule after the hurricane, but that is the gist of the rule.

Brokers Can Contact Their Database

Brokers can contact their database of buyers regarding coming soon listings opportunities without marketing a property publicly. In doing so the Clear Cooperation Rule is not invoked. Once a broker advertises or posts a specific property in an online post, newspaper ad, blog article, or anywhere else meant for the public it is considered public advertising and should be in the MLS. However, we have several sellers that would like to sell but do not want their homes listed publicly.

Some have hurricane claims in and are leaving the state once the home is sellable. They do not want their employer to know they will be leaving at some future unknown date. They would sell their home today though under the right circumstances.

Others are going through a divorce, while still others have health or family issues. There are many reasons why a seller wouldn’t want the public knowing about their sale today. Down the road, maybe, but not today.

Hidden Inventory Buyer Database

The Ellis Team is creating a hidden inventory buyer database for just these types of cases. We can reach out when a potential seller matches a buyer’s needs. These types of listings will not be marketed to the public yet because the seller doesn’t want it marketed, or the home is simply not ready. You will never see us publicly market a property in violation of the Clear Cooperation Policy as we believe in its goal. We do however have several opportunities where we can reach out to our private database and help both parties.

For instance, a seller may agree to a showing to a buyer if the public doesn’t find out. If the buyer doesn’t purchase it, the employer or neighbors are not tipped off the seller was even contemplating a sale.

Some sellers don’t want to go through the hassle of getting their home ready and showing dozens of times, especially if there is damage or extenuating circumstances that may make sale precarious. Therefore, they ask us if we have buyers that might be interested without going through the process.

The truth is we receive lots of calls and emails from buyers looking for off market properties. We have never created a database just for these types of buyers. Today that changes. Whatever your motivation, we are creating a private opportunity database.

Signup to be Notified

Go to to fill out an easy form. Tell us your name, phone number, and email address along with your preferences. We will contact you when we have off-market opportunities we believe might work for your situation.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Are all homes sellable listings in MLS? Technically, the answer is yes. Even hurricane damaged homes can be bought and sold. Practically speaking, many damaged homes will require significant hurdles and obstacles to overcome before they can be sold, unless the buyer is willing to give up several things.

Sellable Listings in MLS


Many insurers refuse to write new coverage without a statement of no loss, a statement of condition, and a new post-hurricane 4-point inspection with photos. Homeowner’s carriers are only writing new policies in flood zones X, B, or C. They are not writing in Flood zones A, AE, AH, or V. You might ask the question, why are homeowners not writing in certain flood zones? Flood and Homeowners insurance are two separate things. The reality is, while they are separate, disputes arise whether water damage was caused by rising water or falling rain caused by wind damage, so they must be steering clear until that is sorted out.

Citizens Insurance may write new policies with damage with exclusions, but so far insurance agents aren’t willing to write those policies.

Currently nobody is writing new flood policies, but there is a way around this. Experienced agents know how to get around this.

Sellable Listings in MLS

Our team knows where the sellable listings in MLS are. It is difficult for the average consumer to know which homes they can buy. In the confidential remarks section of MLS agents must list if the property has damage and if there are open claims. This information does not show up on Zillow or, or any other portals. It takes a lot of time and investigation researching which homes have damage, and which flood zones they are located in.

New Construction

We also have access to new construction homes that are not in MLS yet. This data changes daily. Being a Top Team in Lee County puts us in a direct pipeline with the largest builders. Builders like working with large teams because they know we have experience in getting results after a hurricane and our clients are well informed. They also know we have a large database, so it is cheaper for them to pay us a commission and get deals done than try to market to 100% of their sales. Builders don’t have enough money to market to the entire market. The price a buyer pays is the same whether they use a Realtor or not, so they might as well use an experienced one with some clout.

Interest Rates

Interest rates are headed higher. Buying a home now secures today’s lower rates. When rates eventually come down later, a buyer can refinance. This way you lock in today’s lower rates and have the opportunity to get even lower in the future. It also takes away the uncertainty in the rental market. Landlords are raising rents because they can. The tenant has no control. Or, the landlord may sell the property, leaving the tenant without a renewable lease. Buying gives the tenant control over the cost of their housing.

Buyer Consultation

The process all starts with a buyer consultation. We ask you what your needs are. We can then tailor properties that will meet your needs and are sellable. No sense wasting good inspection money on a property you’ll never be able to finance of get insurance for. Our team listens to your needs. We are not here to sell you anything. Perhaps that is why the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty has been voted Best in Real Estate by News Press readers 9 years in a row.

Always call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 or visit to search online for your next home. If you find something you like, we can talk about if it’s sellable and right for your situation.

Good luck, and Happy House Hunting! Always work with a professional. It matters now more than ever!