I’ve been reading that nationally homes sales are down because of declining inventory. Locally, SWFL declining home sales have not been caused by declining inventory.  In fact, local inventory has almost quadrupled in the last 18 months.

SWFL Declining Home Sales Not Caused by Low Inventory

On February 15, 2022 I calculated 1,071 single family homes on the market in Lee County. Today, that number stands at 4,178. Low inventory cannot be the reason homes are not selling. Currently there is a 4.2 months’ supply of inventory on the market compared to 2.5 months’ last year.

SWFL Declining Home Sales

Hurricane Ian had nothing to do with the numbers. We were seeing declining pending sales, closed sales, and pricing before the hurricane.

Often, I go on listing appointments and the sellers ask me how much prices are going up. Most sellers are shocked when they see the numbers and realize home prices are not appreciating. They read national headlines about low inventory keeping home prices steady and assume that is happening here. All real estate is local.

While many parts of the country probably have low inventory levels, SW Florida does not. Our inventory levels are increasing, and we track them by the week. When you track listings, pending sales, closed sales, price reductions weekly you begin to see trends before others do.

These Stats are Not New

If you read this article or our Blog you’ve known for quite awhile what was really happening. When supply outpaces demand, it is hard for home prices to rise.  In July, median home prices fell .7% versus last year.  That is only part of the story. Median home prices have fallen 5 straight months versus last year. Median home prices are also down 2 consecutive months currently, and down 3 out of the 6 in month over month comparisons this year.

SWFL Declining Home Sales July 2023

While inventory is rising, home sales are going down. This July marked the lowest point in 6 years for home closings. Pending inventory is down 4.2% over last year, so we’re not too optimistic August closings will be any better when they are released next month.

Through it all, The Ellis Team feels good about the market in general.  We’ve been through shifting markets before. What hurts sellers more than anything is believing the market is what it was. The market rarely stays the same, and when it shifts, it pays to be ahead of the curve. Sellers who hold onto yesterday will be stuck holding a property and will eventually sell for less-than-ideal terms. Sellers that acknowledge facts and react invariably come out ahead of those that do not.

Market is Good

The market is good for those that market their property correctly and price it correctly. This is nothing new. Hiring an experienced agent matters more in a shifting market than a sideways market. 85% of agents in the business today have never worked in a shifting market. They are learning fast, or getting out of the business.

I talked to several agents that quit this past month. That is a shame, because a 4.2 months supply of homes is not bad at all.  A balanced market is about 5.5 months. 4.2 months seems bad compared to what we had, and it requires a different skill set for agents. A shifting market separates that salesperson from the order takers. Order takers are leaving the business, and salespeople are proving their worth.

Hire a Salesperson

Don’t be afraid to hire a good salesperson. You need that right now. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck holding a property you no longer need or accepting a price you’re not happy with simply because you hired an order taker. They took your order. You told them what you wanted, and they took it. It doesn’t mean they will sell it.

For the best salespeople around, Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500 Brett and Sande Ellis

Top 10 Buyer Questions

Would you like to know the top 10 buyer questions asked before they submit an offer?  We have them, because we work with buyers every day.  Answering these questions upfront helps keep your deal together and sell your home faster, so keep these questions handy.

Top 10 Buyer Questions Asked

Top 10 Buyer Questions Asked

  1. How Old is the Roof? Every buyer wants to know the answer to this question. Buyers are trying to figure out what type of maintenance or replacement costs they should expect in the future, and when.
  2. What is the Age of the Air Conditioner? Similar to the roof, buyers want to know how old the unit is so they can budget repair or replacement costs.
  3. How much is Homeowners Insurance? Buyers want to know how much the home is to insure, and if insurance is readily available.
  4. Is Flood Insurance Required? If so. How much is it? Does the seller have an assumable policy? With the new risk ratings, what will be the full risk rate once all price hikes are implemented?
  5. Special Assessments? Have there been any and what were they for? Has there been talk of future assessments? Buyers are trying to get a handle on association costs. Cost of ownership affects the price buyers are willing to pay.
  6. How Old is the Water Heater? Insurance companies are requiring water heaters to be replaced at 10 years of age, so buyers want to know this answer.
  7. What Type of Electrical Panel? Many electrical panels are on the recall list and insurance companies will not insure with a panel on the list. Most home inspectors will tell you if the home you’re looking at is on the list at inspection. The remedy is putting in a new panel which can be costly.
  8. Solar Panels- If the home has solar panels, were they installed correctly? Were they financed? Does the seller have enough money to pay off this loan at closing? Loan is not assumable if buyer is getting a mortgage. Solar salespeople erroneously tell people loans are assumable. Sales people also tell homeowners solar will increase the value of your home, but so far we have not found an appraiser that will give solar panels value.
  9. What do the HOA/Condo Fees Cover? Is internet included? How about lawn maintenance, water, and sewer? Buyers wish to compare total costs on a variety of properties before deciding.
  10. CDD-Does the community have a community development district? If so, what are the fees? How long will these fees last, or are they indefinite?

Time is of the Essence

The longer it takes for a seller to answer these questions, the more it sows doubt in the buyer’s mind. The longer a buyer waits to make an offer the more likely they are to not offer at all and buy another property. Similarly, studies have shown that each day a buyer delays making an offer, their offer price goes down. Answering questions up front helps buyers make faster decisions and removes doubt. Statistically, buyers pay more when they like a home and feel good about their purchase financially.

If you’re afraid buyers will not like something, it’s going to come out eventually anyway. You might as well disclose it upfront when the buyer is most happy about the purchase. When a buyer finds out there is an extra cost later, it becomes a bigger issue, especially if they’ve had even an ounce of buyer’s remorse.

Deal With it on the Front End

Get all the facts out there upfront. Wasting time with the wrong buyer means your not spending time with the right buyer who will accept your home in its entirety. Hiring a Top Agent with years of experience will also increase your chances of keeping your deal together. Experienced agents know how to gather and present facts.

If you’re considering selling, please call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-310-6500. Let our experience guide you. We can help you get Top Dollar and keep your deal together. Or check out www.SWFLHomeValues.com

We’re here to help. Happy Selling!

Also see last week’s article “Listing Agent Interview Questions”

How would you like a copy of Free listing agent interview, questions every seller should ask before signing a listing agreement?  Today we will cover some of the important questions you should ask and provide access to get this free report.

Sellers realize time on the market is going up, prices are coming down, and there aren’t as many pending sales as there used to be. Time on the market is not your friend when selling a home. The longer a home sits, the less it typically sells for.

Listing Agent Interview Questions Brochure

We have a full listing agent interview questions brochure we can email that will help you ask the right questions. #2 on the list deals with time on the market. The agent should be able to demonstrate a specific plan that will get your home sold so it doesn’t sit. Every agent will have their own marketing plan, but is it designed to influence buyers’ decisions?  Is it active marketing or passive marketing?

Listing Agent Interview Questions

Passive marketing is throwing the home on MLS, portal sites like Zillow and Realtor.com and waiting for buyers to make an offer.  What if there was a way to identify the best buyers for your home and actively market it to them? Most agents don’t know how to do this, so they do the only thing they can do, which is reduce your price. Don’t get me wrong, proper pricing is important. Pricing is no substitute against actively marketing the home to the best buyers.  These are two different strategies.

10 Step Process

The Ellis Team has a 10-step process for getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar. Some of these processes have several steps themselves, such as our 7-step showing process.

Our program not only identifies the best buyers for your home quickly, we can often tell you how much they will pay over their asking bid. Having a program that creates urgency from the buyer is important. Studies have shown that when buyers see a home and delay making an offer, their eventual offer goes down by the day. Our program helps streamline this process so our sellers net more, and the buyer gets their first choice of home.

If you would like a full copy of these interview questions, simply email Brett@topagent.com with Interview Questions as the subject line. I will email you this handy brochure that will help you make a better decision when hiring an agent. Of course, we’d love to be one of the agents you interview.  Either way, the report is Free and will help you make a better decision.

Hope Isn’t a Strategy

We have a short video that explains our program. Visit www.MyHomeSoldin8Days.com to find out more. If you’d like more information, we have a complete video on our 10 steps to Higher Prices we can send you, or Brett and Sande would be happy to see your home, give you your price, and explain the program.

Sellers who utilize the program average 9.4%-12.1% higher than other sellers in MLS, according to 6 different studies utilizing thousands of home sales.

Most sellers not only want a fair price for their home, they also don’t like the process of showing it for weeks or months on end. This program reduces the time you must keep your home “Show Ready” and inconvenience to your family.

Sande and Brett Ellis are here to answer your questions. Call us at 239-310-6500 We can schedule a time to meet at your home, or a Zoom call to talk about the process and your needs. If you’d like us to send you the 2nd video, we can do that too.

We are here to help. Our program works all year long, so whenever you decide to sell, we can help you. And remember, the full report is Free, so email us and we’ll send it to you.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

Today we’d like to update you on Lee County single family homes months supply by price range. Lee County Florida currently has 3.81 months supply, which is up from 3.55 months supply on June 1st This isn’t surprising because we know inventory has been rising all year.

months supply by price range

Million Dollar Surprise

What is surprising is that $1 million plus homes have less month’s supply today than it did on June 1st. This is primarily because there are less homes listed.  Million dollar plus closed sales fell in the last 365 days to 1,107. That is down from 1,128 back in June. However, the number of homes on the market fell to 635, down from 674 in June.  The decrease in homes for sale more than compensated for the decrease is closed sales, thus we saw a drop in monthly supply.

$300,000-$400,000 supply rose from 2.7 to 2.81 months supply. The $400-$600,000 range saw the biggest jump, going from 3.79 months to 4.46 months supply.  All other price ranges were relatively stable.

Expired Listings

On August 1 we saw 62 single family expired listings. This helped bring inventory down to just below end of June numbers. Pending sales fell too in the last month, so we will be watching supply numbers going into August.

Price Reductions

Price reductions stood at 10.22% of the overall single-family market this past week in Lee County. This is down from 10.92% last week, and off from the high of 11.43% back in June. We track price reductions to test motivation of sellers after they list their home, and it doesn’t sell. When we had an increase in pricing sellers were less motivated. Because prices have fallen since last year and sellers see increasing inventory, they have become more motivated. We will continue to track this metric, along with listing inventory and sales velocity.

Attract More Buyers

Knowing the current sales market on a weekly basis allows sellers to attract more buyers for their home. When a home is overpriced, less buyers see the home in person and online because it is not on their radar. Pricing a home on the buyer’s radar is critical to getting the most offers, which leads to a better sales price. Decisions need to be made at the time of listing, and the best way to do that is studying the daily and weekly statistics.

Time on Market

Time on the market is acid to a seller’s final sales price. The longer a home sits the more buyers lose urgency to offer.  The less offers, the less a seller nets at closing. The best time to create urgency for buyers is early in the process, before the market rejects the home’s price. People are afraid to miss out on something they perceive as new and fresh, and a value. When a home sits, buyers feel like other buyers rejected it, so why should I buy it?

Months Supply by Price Range

One thing that is helpful is to compare your list price to the months supply by price range graph.  If you see a large supply of homes in your price range, you know you need to price it competitively. Obvioulsy the best value homes in each price range stand out to the buyers, and those are the homes they choose. This graph will help you determine what your competition looks like when selling.

Program to Fix This Problem

The Ellis Team has a program to fix the time on the market problem. Sellers that utilize this program see their home sell faster and between 8.4% to 12% higher than the MLS average. This has been verified by 6 independent studies. If you are considering selling your home, call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams 239-310-6500. We’ll preview your home and show you how this program is better than what the traditional agent can offer. It doesn’t cost anything to meet with us, but not using us could cost you thousands. Why sell the traditional way when there is a better way that nets you more money and saves you from having your home on the market for months?

Compare this months supply by price range to April 2023 months supply by price range.

Find out what your home is worth online instantly.

Call Brett or Sande today.  We’re here to help.

Happy Home Selling!

SW Florida home price decreases help sellers adjust to the changing market. Typically, sellers look at past sales when deciding what price to put their home on the market for. This system works well, unless the market shifts.

Home Price Decreases Help Sellers Adjust to the Market

When the market shifts and inventory grows, past sales may not be the best indicator. We look at the totality of the market. By analyzing statistics, we can determine if past sales will be the best guide, or if another method is better.

Think Like a Buyer

Buyers don’t look at past sales, because they don’t have access to it.  What buyers do have access to are competing listings, so they look. And they look, and they look.  Buyers know the competition better than the sellers do. Seller’s hold onto past sales, and buyers look at current listings. These are two different things, and this is why some homes sit on the market and do not sell.

Home Price Decreases Help

11% is the number of homes on the market right now that have reduced their price in the last 7 days.  This number has been remarkably consistent, ranging from 9.12% to 11.12% lately. 11% of sellers each week realize they overshot the market, and they wish to sell. They are doing something about it. Between 2-5.7% of the homes that reduced their price sell the week they reduce the price.  This tells us that they either didn’t reduce enough, or it will go pending soon and just didn’t have enough time during the last 7 days.

Special Form

 Our team has a special form that helps sellers identify if their home is priced correctly on the market. Nobody wants to underprice their home and sell it too cheap.  Conversely, we know the longer a home sits on the market, the less it eventually sells for.  Time on the market is no good for the seller, because it means buyers have rejected it, and other buyers lose motivation when they see it sitting on the market for so long.

186 homes came off the market in the last week. They either expired, were withdrawn, or terminated their listing. Typically, this means they do not like the current market and have decided not to sell.  For some, maybe it’s a temporary situation for the moment. For others, perhaps they tested the market and were unhappy with the results.

Pays to Know the Market

For us it’s easy, because we study the market.  Our team has more data than anyone else because we track it. The MLS gives data at certain points in time, sort of like a photo. By creating spreadsheets and tracking key data points, we can see movement, like a movie. A picture can be deceiving, but a series of pictures, or movie, can tell a clearer story. Ellis Team clients have the benefit of the movie, so they can make better decisions, especially when there is a market shift.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling, or perhaps tried before and weren’t successful, you should give us a call. We can go over exactly what is happening in the market, and how your home relates. Not every neighborhood is affected the same way. Computers aren’t very good at offering accurate home values because they don’t consider costs like homeowners insurance, flood insurance, HOA fees, and age of certain items. Brett and Sande can help you decide what your home should really sell for and devise a marketing strategy to get it sold before it becomes stale on the market and buyers lose their motivation.  Give us a call at 239-310-6500. We’re easy to talk to and we can answer your questions, and help you move on your time frame.

Sell Your Home in 8 Days

We have a program to sell your home for Top Dollar in only 8 days.  Watch our video to find out how we do it.

We look forward to speaking with you. Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

The Lee County housing supply demand gap widens to its highest point in years. Supply is rising while demand is falling. This is a sign of a slowly shifting market.

Housing Supply Demand Gap Widens

The Fed raised interest rates at the fastest pace ever in the past year, so it’s no wonder demand has fallen off.  In fact, people are wondering how it’s held up so well. The data suggests it only looks like it’s held up so well.

Housing Supply Demand Gap Widens

We’ve had such low inventory numbers it masked falling demand. The whole thing worked because, so few sellers had put their home on the market. It appeared that demand exceeded supply, but we know that changed last summer because we track the numbers.

Looking back at the charts, inventory levels still are not bad. Inventory levels are now back to about May 2020 levels but heading higher. The SW Florida real estate market appears to have entered a balanced market. This is normal as markets rarely stay at the exact same place for long. Markets are always moving, and when you apply pressure to them it can begin the move. In this case, the pressure is rising rates, companies calling workers back to the office, and a slowing economy.

Price Direction

Where do home prices go from here? It’s hard to imagine prices rising substantially in the wake of rising inventory and slowing demand. At some point the mask comes off. Perhaps this is why we are seeing so many price reductions in MLS. This past week 423 single family home sellers in Lee County reduced their price. Sellers are not reducing their price because they want to. They are reducing their price because the market has spoken and rejected their current price.  They can sit where they are and fall further behind or adjust to the shifting market.

Marketing Matters

The other thing that can most benefit home sellers is an active marketing campaign. Listing it on the MLS is not enough in a shifting market, but unfortunately 85% of Realtors in the market today have never been in a balanced or buyer’s market. This requires more advertising. Many agents didn’t get into the business to spend their own money, they got into it because it looked easy and could make them money.

Folks, this is a normal market, and it is going to require agents to spend money marketing a property. The easy days of listing a property and selling it within 4 hours with 16 offers are gone. Experience matters now. The housing supply demand gap is widening. The agent’s pocketbook matters now. Handling buyer objections once the inspection is completed matters now, because buyers are anxious. To the buyer, everything has gone up. Interest rates, insurance, prices, etc. They feel like they are paying for it all and they want a house with no troubles.

Inspection Formula

 We have a formula that helps buyers understand the inspection and repair process. It makes it logical for sellers to come to an agreement over inspection issues. This formula helps reduce things buyers and sellers fight over and keeps more deals together.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, please call Brett and Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500. We have the marketing muscle to get your home sold, and the experience to keep deals together when possible. We also have a program that speeds up the home selling process along with a video that explains how we could do such a thing. If you’d like your home sold for Top Dollar, and quickly, simply email Brett@topagent.com request the video and I’ll email it to you.

Sande and Brett Ellis are here to help. Good luck and Happy Selling!

Be sure to read our “Advanced Home Neogtiationg Techniques” article on how to better sell your home in today’s market, or watch our video below.

Ellis Team Weekend Open House

Reflection Lakes Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

7674 Bay Lake Dr, Fort Myers

Reflection Lakes Open House
Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Let’s analyze home prices nine months after Hurricane Ian. We did this post Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Irma as well.

Home Prices Nine Months After Ian

Official median home prices last September in Lee County were $414,495. Average home prices were $534,035. Official numbers are not out yet for June, so we went into MLS and extracted data that should be close to actual numbers when they are released.

Home Prices Higher After Ian

 Unofficial June 2023 Lee County median price was $449,000. That is an 8.32% gain from September of last year. The average price in Lee County for a single-family home in June was $589,991. That is a 10.48% gain over September last year.

We know that home prices were coming down prior to the hurricane. Rising interest rates surely played a part in that decline. Much like hurricanes Charley and Irma, it doesn’t appear that the hurricane had much influence on home prices. Perhaps the greatest influence was which home sellers decided to sell. While demand has fallen with rising interest rates and insurance costs, it hasn’t gone away. Demand is still there. Sellers must price correctly for sure.

Because there is still demand, we may see lower prices if more lower end homes enter the market, and higher prices if more higher end homes hit the market. Obviously when supply outstrips demand it can lower prices, but through last year inventory was low, and the hurricane didn’t help that.

Rising Inventory

 Today we are seeing much more inventory.  Single family home inventory has almost quadrupled since February of 2022. If inventory keeps rising, we will be entering a balanced market. If you talk to most real estate agents, they will tell you this market feels like a balanced market.

We don’t have 50 offers for every property, but homes don’t sit forever either, if they are priced and marketed correctly.

We are seeing agents leaving the business. At last count 60,000+ agents nationwide have left, and we are expecting hundreds of thousands more. This happens with every shift in the market. So many agents come into the business and work in one part of the market. There are three different markets and how you consult and transact are completely different in each.

Three Markets

 The three markets are a buyer’s market, seller’s market, and a balanced market. Once the market makes a move, it’s very easy to slide through all three, or drift back and forth depending on market conditions. We’ve just gone from a severe seller’s market to a balanced market.  Interest rates are on the rise again. Mortgage rates hit their high for the year this past week and may go higher.

The economy is expected to slow down as rising debt is weighing on consumers. Student loan payments begin in October which will take spending money out of the economy.

For Florida we will be watching to see how many people continue moving to our state. As taxes rise in other states and people continue to move out of cities, where will they go? To date, many have chosen Florida which helped push our prices up. With rising prices, interest rates, and insurance costs it remains to be seen how many and how fast they will continue to relocate here.

It is possible a slowing economy might force people to relocate when they lose jobs up north. Others may simply decide to retire. Whatever happens, you know that we will be studying the numbers. Ellis Team clients always know the trends before other home buyers and sellers because we track the market so closely. We have years of data and analytics.

Search Like a Pro

 To search the MLS like a real estate pro, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com It has features and data other sites do not have. Of course, Sande and Brett Ellis are here to answer your questions as well. 239-489-4042. Brett and Sande have worked in all three markets multiple times. There is no substitute for experience, hard work, reputation, data, and analytics. That’s what you get when you call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.

Advanced Negotiating Techniques

Last week we shot a video  utilizing advanced home negotiating techniques which you can find on our YouTube Channel  We also posted the video on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ellisteam.

Advanced Home Negotiating Techniques

We thought we’d share with you these advanced home negotiating techniques. The best part of the first technique is that it benefits both the buyer and the seller if used properly.

In a shifting market with rising inventory most sellers realize they must be competitive. Reducing the price is one way to get in the game, but what if there is another?

Simultaneously, the reason we have rising inventory is because buyers are struggling to pay higher prices and higher rates at the same time.  Today we’d like to share a concept that will help both.

Permanent Rate Change

Let’s say we have a $500,000 home. Also let’s say we have a buyer putting 20% down and financing $400,000.  The buyer could offer $490,000 to help make their payment a little better.  We ran a scenario last week, and by offering $10,000 less the buyer would save about $72/mo.  Not bad if the seller is willing to participate.  But what if the buyer still does not qualify?  This particular buyer might have to offer $450,000 to qualify. It’s a shame because this buyer loves the home, but the seller won’t come down to $450,000.

Now, let’s take the exact same home and the exact same buyer and look at it a different way. What if the buyer offered the list price of$500,000 but asked the seller to pay closing costs up to $10,000? With that money we buy the rate down from 7.5% with $2,000 in points to 6.25% with around $10,000 in points. By buying the rate down the new payment lowers by $333.99. The buyer qualifies for this payment when they did not qualify for the previous payment.

It is the same $10,000 just used a different way. The results can be enormous. You can watch the entire video online that explains it. Our example only shows the principal and interest portion. Obviously there will be taxes and insurance which varies by property.

Additionally, these numbers change by credit score, amount down, etc. Every buyer and every scenario is different. What stays the same is the concept. Once you understand the concept, we can run scenarios that best help your situation.

2/1 Buydown Option

We looked at a 2/1 buydown, but the day we ran it the permanent buydown was a better deal. A 2/1 buydown lowers the rate by about 2 percent the first year and 1 percent the second year before setting in on the permanent rates the final 28 years.  The buydown is temporary.

There are many more types of loan products we have access to. Keep in mind, we are not lenders. We are real estate agents that understand the process because we’ve worked through several interest rate cycles and have experience. Many new agents have never worked in these conditions, so they don’t have that knowledge to put and keep deals together. It’s a shame, because many times there is a willing buyer and seller, and they just don’t know how to keep it together.

Putting it All Together

The key is working with people with experience and a great team. We work with lenders who have decades of experience. Sometimes all the elements of a great deal are there, and people just need help structuring it to make it work. The days of 50 buyers bidding on every property and paying cash well in excess of the asking price are over. Financed deals are back in play, and this is where experience matters most.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search for your next home. We’ll show you hot to use this and other adnaced home negotiating techniques to work for you.

Advanced Home Negotiating Techniques

, More Florida insurance changes are on the horizon. House Bill 799 is one bill among several recently passed and going into effect. We’ll bring you up to speed on this bill.

Wind Discounts

One significant change brought about by the bill is the requirement for insurance companies to consider the impact of wind uplift prevention mitigation techniques when filing residential property insurance rate filings. This provision emphasizes the importance of implementing measures to prevent wind damage and encourages insurance companies to take these factors into account when determining insurance rates for residential properties.

Citizens Rate Increases

Another notable change pertains to the exclusion of new policies issued by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) after November 1, 2023, from the annual rate increase cap. This means that rate increases on these policies can now go up to 50%. However, it is important to note that this exclusion specifically applies to policies for non-primary residences and properties previously covered by companies that became insolvent.

Furthermore, the bill establishes specific requirements for securing flood insurance based on the replacement cost of the structure or unit dwelling. For properties covered by Citizens, the deadlines for obtaining flood insurance are as follows:

This table outlines the different thresholds for the replacement cost of the structure or unit dwelling and the corresponding deadlines by which flood insurance must be secured. Properties with higher replacement costs have earlier deadlines for obtaining flood insurance. Other personal lines of residential properties insured by Citizens have until January 1, 2027, to secure flood insurance.


More Florida Insurance Changes Effective July 1, 2023

It’s important to note that certain Citizens policy types are exempt from this requirement. Policies that do not cover wind damage and condominium unit owners are an example.

Faster Mediation

Additionally, House Bill 799 enables Citizens to enter into contracts with the Division of Administrative Hearings. This allows for the resolution of claim disputes between Citizens and policyholders through this administrative process. This provision aims to streamline the claims resolution process and ensure fair and efficient handling of disputes.


Effective October 1, 2023, insurance companies that issue wind coverage and require policyholders to have flood insurance must verify the presence of flood insurance at the time the policy is issued or renewed. Master flood policies are deemed acceptable for this purpose.

No Flood No Wind Claim

Failure to comply with the requirement of having flood insurance may result in the denial of a wind damage claim by the insurance company. To further emphasize this requirement, policyholders are now required to sign a written acknowledgement of their understanding of the need for flood insurance.


More Florida insurance changes that may be on the way are companies that provide wind coverage may soon require flood insurance. We have heard of companies implementing this. We will be following to see if this bears out. If it does, will they require it in zones like X that are not required to have flood insurance?

Other Bills Passed

Senate Bill 154 tackles condominiums and co-ops. AdditionallySenate Bill 1002 covers Vehicle windshields and how the repair process will work. Senate Bill 7052 brings in new oversight to insurance companies in Florida. House Bill 837 brings changes to the way lawsuits are filed aimed at bringing down the cost of insurance. House Bill 881 brings more discounts to eligible homes in Florida.

Lastly, House Bill 1185 adds consumer protection for things like solar panels, adjusters, when deductibles apply, and when an insurance company can cancel your policy.

These changes are aimed at providing consumers with more protection at less cost. Insurance has become the 800-pound gorilla in the room in Florida. Together the legislature and the governor worked at improving the situation.

You can read more about these bills at https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/ica/propertyinsurancechanges

For your real estate questions, Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042. Real estate is more complicated than ever. It pays to hire a seasoned agent who can guide you through the complexities and keep your deal together.

Happy 4th of July!

oday let’s talk about some creative real estate marketing strategies for homeowners you might not think of. These strategies may sound counterintuitive, but they work.

Creative Real Estate Marketing Strategies for Homeowners


Less is Better

I remember years ago marketing experts would say white space is your friend. Back then agents would use display ads in the paper.  Some agents would cram as many words as possible into that space trying to sell the home. The truth is the ad is more likely to be read if there is white space, or blank space. It makes the ad stand out and compels the reader to check it out.

Back in the days when Realtors used property flyers the same concept applied. The more you put on the flyer, the more likely a buyer will find one item that eliminates the home. That’s a shame, because if they ever made it inside, the home could have wowed them. Today agents use open house flyers. At least with an open house flyer, the buyer has been in the home, so we design that so they remember the home against all others they might see that day.

Fewer Better Photos

It only takes one photo to turn off a buyer. This is why we use better photos, but not necessarily more. We accentuate a few key features. In doing so, we entice a buyer to want to see more, or call and ask about something they couldn’t see online. You must remember, there are over 4,000 single family homes on the market in Lee County. Buyers do not want to see 4,000 homes. They must eliminate homes to get it down to a manageable number. Buyers are not experts. They do not know the market like a full-time Realtor even though they think they might by having access to all the listings. Instinctively they seek to narrow and eliminate. We do not want your home to be eliminated.

Creative Ad Copy

We write our ads and captions such that a buyer would want to call or click to find out more. When you just blurt out features, you look and sound like every other ad. We want your home to stand out. This is why our ads receive more calls or clicks than other agents.

Targeted Marketing. We can target buyers looking to buy homes rather than shot gun marketing to the world. Your advertising dollar doesn’t go as far you advertise to the world rather than people looking to buy right here, right now. Call us to find out how we’re able to do this.

Hidden Features

Each home has some hidden features the buyer wouldn’t know about unless they lived in the home. These are different than home features like counter tops and pools. We sell the hidden features a different way, and it helps our sellers get more money for their home with our trademarked home showing process.

Showing Process

The Ellis Team has a showing process that maximizes your home’s value and separates you from the competition. There are 7 steps to this process, and when you see the 7 steps, you’ll know why they are critical to getting your home sold faster and for more money.

Of course we have several more tips for our sellers to get top dollar, and not enough room to share them all here. We have a brochure that explains the entire system we use to sell your home. We can go over the system when we meet.  Identifying the two price depressing problems that plague most sellers and how to overcome them to achieve top dollar is critical.  Simply call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500 or visit www.MyHomeSoldin8days.com for a short video that explains part of the program.


Sande and Brett look forward to hearing from you and answering your real estate questions.