The Florida Association of Realtors reported home sales for Florida today. They reported a 9% slowdown in single family homes for the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area and a 44% slowdown in condo sales from February 2005. Single family home sales were down 9% from January 2006, and median price was down 2.54% from January 2006.

Condo sales were down 44% from February figures last year as mentioned above. Condo sales were down 14% from January 2006 numbers as well. Median price was actually up 12.78% over January 2006 numbers.

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group has reported an increase in sales over last year. This is partially due to a "Flight to Quality" when the market conditions change. Consumers are no longer willing to settle for an agent or company who is perhaps the lowest price. Sellers are demanding more service, more advertising, and better negotiating skills, and just won’t settle for less. Sellers realize in a Hot market they could attempt to go with an agent who provided less services, because if the first deal fell through, there were other buyers waiting.

This isn’t true anymore. Sellers want aggressive marketing. They realize inventory has risen, and buyers now have choices. They want to be first in line, not at the back of the line. This is why pricing, and the choice of the Listing agent becomes crucial. It really does matter who you list your home with, what services they will provide, and what counseling you will get. The expertise you receive from a seasoned experienced agent varies vastly than from soomeone who hasn’t been in the business long enough to see up, down, and sideways housing cycles.

We’ll provide some of these differences in a subsequent post.

Are limited service brokers the good deal they advertise themselves to be? A study out of Texas suggests no. The study proves that homes sell for more money the more experience the agent has, among other things. And discount brokers get less for their homes, actually costing the sellers more money than the comission they saved.

So the question is, did the seller really save anyhthing, or did it cost the seller? Answers are provided in the linked article.

The Ellis Team was recently awarded Top 100 Team Internationally out of more than 115,000 sales associates.

The Ellis Team ranked #46 U.S. and #54 Internationally again in 2005. It is a great honor to represent RE/MAX and accept this award. We strive each year to offer the best service, marketing, negotiating, and customer experience to our clients, and each year our hard work and dedication pays off.

We also enjoy sharing with other agents around the country our secrets to success. We feel by sharing what we do well, we help raise the bar for the entire industry, and that makes us all better; Realtors and consumers alike.

We continue to speak and teach at various conventions, Universities, and workshops. By teaching you also learn, and it’s also great networking opportunities. Many agents across the country refer to the Ellis Team, which in turn helps our clients sell their homes faster.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, lot, condo, second home, or investment property in SWFL, please call us. 800-860-4042 We can help.

Major news unveiled at RE/MAX Convention. For the first time in history, and due to public demand, RE/MAX will offer every listing in MLS accross America on their website, It is a large project, and will be phased in. Other companies, like, have tried unsuccessfully to include all listings. Entire boards were able to opt out of That will not be the case with as they are working at the broker and board level.

This is a bonanza for the consumer, because now they will have one place to look for current listings, as well as past sold listing data, demographics, neighborhood information, community, and school information.

This extraordinary announcement helps in another way too. Many unsuspecting consumers would log on to various websites in hopes of obtaing information. What they didn’t realize is these websites were collecting their data and then selling to the highest bidder. As a real estate agent, we can’t begin to tell you all the offers we receive to purchase consumer data collected from these sites.

The shame of it all is the conusmer thinks they’re being referred to the best agents around. Truth is, they were referred to the agent willing to pay the highest referral fee. Because the Best agents have business, they would always pass on the high referral fees. The consumer was left with newer agents or agents who could not attract much business on their own and would take any business at all just before starving. This didn’t insure quality service, and in fact, left many consumers with a bad taste in their mouths.

RE/MAX has long been known for the Top agents in the business. By going directly to, you’ll be assured of getting a good agent, one who isn’t the high bidder for your data. In fact, the data will never be sold. All data collected goes directly to agents in the field to help you. It is not sold to third parties. You also get to remain anonymous until you’re ready to contact an agent. This keeps you as the consumer in control.

RE/MAX has a long history of moving the market, and this is one move the customer will surely love.

Of course you can view all listings in Lee County simply by visiting All data provided stays with us, and is never sold. Let us know how we can help you.

If there’s Big news in real estate, typically it is announced at a RE/MAX convention, the world’s most successful real estate company in the World.

RE/MAX not only donminates North America, but also countries accross the globe, and with their significant dominance in the worldwide marketplace, it matters when they make major anouncements.

Each year at convention it is not uncommon for us to learn about major news events, and we’ll be sure to pass them along. We’ll post to this Blog, and our engineer has armed us with fancy equipment so we can report directly from the floor an interview powerful newsmakers as the news is announced,

Tune in in SWFL to AM 1240 Saturday at 11:00 AM and AM 1270 in Naples. For those outside of SWFL, our radio show is Podcast under Future of Real Estate-SWFL in Itunes, as well as the Podcast Directory.

2006 State of the Market Report

The real estate market is much like a finely tuned jet airplane. To fly at optimal speed and efficiency, the pilot sets the course at optimal altitude, which provides for greatest speed and least resistance. The SW Florida real estate market flew at high altitude from 2001-2003. In 2004, the jet airplane transformed itself into a space shuttle and left the earth’s atmosphere. For two years the shuttle flew at super sonic speed, at altitudes never experienced before.2005 was a year where nothing could stop the shuttle. It was flying faster than the engineers said it could, and seemed unstoppable; until the oxygen sprung a leak. Suddenly, the shuttle was forced to return to earth as there wasn’t enough oxygen to sustain this altitude. Like all re-entries, it can be bumpy and chaotic. The 4th Quarter of 2005 wasn’t bumpy or chaotic. It was as if the world had stopped, and we were flying in slow motion. Speed and altitude dropped quickly. Once the shuttle emerged on radar, it didn’t fly like a loud and confident jet airplane. It felt more like a hot air balloon, drifting slowly, silent and quiet, awaiting word on its future course from the tower. The tower didn’t answer. The flight became choppy in the 1st Quarter of 2006 when everyone realized we were back to flying at earthly speeds and altitude. Sellers began to grasp the gravity of the situation, and made adjustments.

The final altitude has not been set. Once our market finds its optimal altitude, it will once again be in balance. Once our market reaches balance, it will again rise, fly at great speeds and take us all to new heights. No one can say for certain what the correct altitude for this market is, or exactly when we will reach it. One thing we can say with certainty is that the market is balancing itself right before our eyes, and quickly. We are starting to see activity pick up again, either from pent-up demand or price corrections, or both. Once the plane levels we believe we’ll be in for another long and smooth ride. This plane will never land.

Download the full State of the Market Report


If you purchased a home in Florida in 2005, you’ll want to file for the Florida Homestead Exemption. Not only will you save approximately $400/yr in taxes, you’ll also cap the amount your taxes can go up each year. If you do not file, there is no cap.To be eligible you must have purchased the home by December 31, 2005 and use the home as your primamry residence. Lee County Florida has a Homestead Exemption Form you can download. Florida is very strict about the property being your primary residence, and they will prosecute you if you cheat. Lee County hires investigators who search for rental listings on the Internet, etc. They even invite the public to tell if they suspect a neighbor is cheating on the exemption, so you only want to fill out this form if you really qualify.

If you purchased in 2006, you’ll have to wait until next year to file. If you purchased prior to 2005 and have not filed yet, you still can. If you qulaify, it’s a wise decision to file. Do not wait as it can cost you much more than the $400/yr because you won’t get the cap.

Florida has two bills pending in the legislature regarding Homestead Exemption Portability. We’ll cover what these bills mean to you in a future post.


Look for 2006 to be a year of change. It changed from a "sellers Market" to a "Buyers Market" seemingly overnight. The reasons are many, and we predicted this was coming last September.<br /><br />Recently we did a news story for NBC-2. <a href=";p="><span style="color:#3333ff;">Find the story Here</span></a>.<br /><br />Soon we will be publishing our State of the Market Report. To receive a copy, simply call our office at 239-489-4042 and we’ll mail you a copy. A few of the graphs from the State of the Market Report were used in the NBC story.<br /><br />If you are buying or selling real estate in Lee County Florida, you’ll definitely want to find out the latest on the market. The market is changing fast, and there will be winners and losers. 2005 was a year of all winners. 2006 will still have lots of winners, unfortunately there will be some losers as well.<br /><br /><span class="technoratitag">

The Ellis Team and NBC-2 broke a story of concern regarding reported housing statistics reported by the Florida Association of Realtors. These numbers have been unintentionally inflated due to multple MLS boards reporting sales on the same home, because the listing agent listed the property into more than one MLS.

Real Estate Numbers May Be Inflated By Duplication

When the Realtor closes out the sale in MLS, each MLS reports a sale up to FAR (Florida Association of Realtors). FAR compiles the data and releases a report and chart for the entire state. The report each MLS sends to FAR is raw data, a compilation of summary totals. There is currently no way for FAR to realize the duplicate reportings, so the end report contains inflated data.

This is important for a few reasons:

#1. Billions of dollars worth of decisions are made in the SWFL real estate market, and these numbers are one of the benchmarks builders, developers, investors, businesses, and the buying and selling public use to make decisions about building shopping centers, businesses, homes, communities, and what product mix and at what price points.

#2. Once the duplication problem is rectified, 2006 may appear to be a much worse market because it won’t appear to stack up against 2005, even though 2005 was artificially higher than it really was.

#3. The general public reads that homes appreciated at a certain pace, so they believe their home is worth a certain amount. All real estate is local, so because the overall market was believed to be at a certain appreciation rate, it never was fair to expect every home appreciated at the exact same rate anyway. However, the entire market may have been accidently exagerated, so sellers shouldn’t draw conclusions about today’s market based upon inaccurate data.

If you’re considering buying or selling in today’s market, it pays to consult a professional. Making a mistake in today’s market can cost you in untold ways. We’ll discuss how in a later article posted on this Blog.