Like clockwork Lee County summer real estate sales are heating up.  So why aren’t Lee County home sellers jumping for joy?  Many home sellers are happy, because their home was on the market all season and now it’s selling.  Others are happy because their home just sold while their neighbor’s home sits on the market.

This past season we saw many sellers priced at one point while the buyer’s perception of value was at another.  In many cases, the seller’s perception exceeded the buyer’s perception by 10% or more.  Sellers didn’t want to accept this reality, so homes sat on the market.  You’ll always have some sellers that refuse to accept today’s market prices, but when you have many, it causes the market to take note and listen.

The market always speaks to us.  It’s up to us if we’re ready to listen.  We’re humans, and we don’t always want to accept change.  For those that accept change and react quicker, the opportunity is the greatest.

Lee County Summer Real Estate Sales Are Heating Up 7 Day Market Watch

Right now, home sales are brisk $300,000 and below.  This makes sense because that’s where the bulk of the buyers are.  That’s what more people can afford. We just pulled up the 7-day market watch from MLS, and we notice there more pending sales (379) than new listings (365).  You’ll notice too there were more price reductions (385) than either.  These price reductions are leading to more pending sales as sellers get their home down to where the buyers are.

Selling a home is kind of like fishing.  If you place your bait 20 ft above where the fish are, you get nothing.  Lowering the bait 10 ft above where the fish are still yields nothing.  Fish tend to swim in schools.  You’ve got to place the bait where the fish are, not where you want them to be.  Pricing a home is the same.

If you price your home above where the buyers are, they don’t even look at it.  Typically, you should expect an offer with every 4-5 showings.  If you’re not getting offers, your home is probably still overpriced.  Sellers say, “We just reduced our price $10,000” so that can’t be it.  It can.  If you were $30,000 overpriced, that $10,000 reduction still places you 20 ft above the fish.  Until you get down where the fish are, you’ll attract few showings and little to no offers.

Lee County Summer Real Estate Sales 7 Day Market AveragesAre Heating Up

Of the 379 new pending sales, the median price was $249,000.  The average price was $335,540.  This confirms the $300,000 range and below as being the sought-after part of the market.  If you have a home $400,000 or more on the market right now, you’re probably still fishing for the correct asking price.  You may be wondering why buyers just are not accepting your price.  Your neighbor’s home may be sitting on the market too.  Occasionally one will sell, and you’ll be wondering what they did to attract that buyer.

It takes aggressive marketing.  Aggressive marketing alone won’t work.  Together with your agent, you’ll need to adjust that bait until you find where the fish are.  When you do, it will sell.  The SW Florida real estate market isn’t suffering from a lack of buyers.  The buyers are not aligned with some sellers’ asking prices.  When the seller gets down to where the buyers are, the buyers are biting.  This past week or so the Ellis Team has placed 7 properties under contract.  Some agents believe the summer is the slow time, but that’s a bad assumption.  We have buyers in all price ranges.  We just closed a property over $1 Million.

The agents out there hustling are selling homes.  It’s a great time to sell, so long as you’re willing to price your home at the market. Isn’t that always the case though?  Together with your agent you should ask yourself, “Am I willing to price my home at a price that will cause it to sell?”  If the answer is no, then why are you putting it on the market?

If you’d like to talk to Sande or Brett Ellis about selling your home, call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Next week we hope to share some exciting news that may make your home stand out and sell faster. Find out what your home is worth online.

Search the MLS like a Pro!  Get real-time updates, price changes, new listings, and All the MLS listings.

Don’t forget our Neighborhood Market Reports



River Hall

Fort Myers

Botanica Lakes

Caloosa Trace

Carillon Woods

Cross Creek Estates

Danforth Lakes

Daniels Park


Gulf Harbour

Highland Pines Estates

Fort Myers Waterfront Homes

Palmetto Point

Reflection Lakes

River District Fort Myers High Rise Condos

San Carlos Park

Shadow Wood Preserve


Town and River

Whiskey Creek


Cape Coral

Tarpon Point

This past week we’ve seen some wild fluctuations in the stock market, so we thought we’d answer some questions people have.  One question we’ve heard recently is does stock market volatility affect real estate values?

Stock Market Volatility Affect Real Estate Values Stock market volatility
Stock Futures Suggest Volatile Open

The simple answer is, not really.  There is a general correlation between stock market values and real estate values.  As the economy does better, both markets tend to do better.  However, we’ve seen instances where people pull money out of the stock market and place it into the real estate market.

Interest rates tend to affect sentiment in both markets.  Rising inflation leads to rising interest rates, which both markets dislike.  Investors will sometimes pull money out of stock market and into bonds for the yields.  Therefore, the stock market doesn’t like rising rates.  Rising rates also hurts borrowers as it zaps purchasing power from buyers in the real estate market.

Stock Market Volatility Affect Real Estate Values Housing vs stock market

However, we’ve seen inverted yield curves whereby sort term rates are higher than long term rates.  This breaks most of the rules as usually long-term rates carry more risk, so investors want more yield in a longer security.  Therefore, we have to look at the reasons for interest rate and stock market volatility before drawing conclusions as to its effect on consumer sentiment and real estate prices.

On Friday February 2 jobs data came out and showed wages climbed 2.9% from the previous year which was the best gain since 2009.  This spurred inflation fears and concern that the fed would hike rates unexpectedly, which naturally draws volatility from the stock market.

The bottom line is not much has changed in the economy in the last week or so.  The only thing that has changed is stock volatility, and the realization that rates will go higher.  We’ve been talking about it for a few years, and reality is finally here.  Everybody knew this day was coming.

The tax reform has spurred wage growth.  We expect to see a tight labor market.  Some jobs are moving back to the US, while some jobs will be lost as business reorganizes.  Retail stores and banks may continue to come under pressure as online wins the day.

I wouldn’t put much attention into the stock market other than seeing how it affects your retirement savings.  The smart money is watching interest rates.  Rising rates don’t necessarily kill the stock or real estate market, but it can stifle or limit its growth.

Wage growth will dictate how far real estate prices will rise.  The stock market doesn’t go one direction forever, and neither does the real estate market.  Wages must eventually rise if you want continued rise in prices.  Rising rates stymie price growth, and rising wages can offset some of that. Unfortunately, rising wages is correlated to rising rates as they can be inflationary.

The stock market did well 2008-2016 due to free money.  It did even better in 2017 due to rising expectations in the economy.  Free money is over, and it must be.  We’re heading into a period of normal market conditions controlling the markets.  This is healthy and a good thing.

We’ll be watching inflation, interest rates, oil, and the overall economy.  We’ve got a balanced real estate market here in SW Florida. Buyers are scooping up properties now to beat those rising rates, however they’re not over-paying either.

Buyers want to buy, but not overpay.  They’re being careful and doing their homework.  Inventory is rising, but still low.  Research and market knowledge wins the day whether you’re a buyer or seller.

One of the best websites to keep up with the market is  The database is updated every few minutes.  It not only has all the listings, it also has sold data in our market reports section.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty for professional real estate advice 239-489-4042.  If you’ve got a house to sell, ask for Sande or Brett.  Our team stands by ready to help you buy or sell, and educate you on the market.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

Danforth Lakes

9103 Falcon Pointe Loop

4 Bed 3 Bath  $330,000

9013 Falcon Pointe Loop

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Parker Lakes

14811 Crystal Cove Ct Unit 1102

2 Bed 2 Bath lakefront  $225,000

Parker Lakes Condo

Open House Saturday 1-4 PM

Island Park Village

17813 Port Boca Cir

2 Bed 2 Bath Lakefront  $215,000

Island Park Village Condo

Open House Sunday 1-4 PM

Olde Hickory

9071 Old Hickory Cir

3 Bed 3 Bath Golf Course View  $360,000

Olde Hickory Golf Course Home

For the past year we’ve been harping on new appraisal issues and their affect on real estate transactions.  Well, we’ve got another doozy to tell you about, and this appraisal ticking time bomb is set to go off January 26.

Appraisal Ticking Time Bomb

Traditionally an appraisal is performed and submitted to the bank and then the underwriter signs off on it.  Before you were clear to go if the underwriter didn’t ask more questions and if the adjustments didn’t exceed certain percentages.

FNMA is doing away with the adjustment percentages in section B4-1.3-09  Before agents and appraisers jump up and down and celebrate beware of the new changes.

Fannie Mae is introducing a new software tool called Collateral Underwriter that essentially will produce up to 20 comparable sales ranked by risk to compare against sales the appraiser uses in their report.

After studying some of the training on FNMA’s website it’s apparent that we’re in for a bumpy ride.  I’m going to introduce you to a term called CBG (Consensus Block Group) This term will cause lenders and appraisers agita. Basically appraisers are supposed to use comparables in the same neighborhood when possible, and if not possible then use a similar nearby neighborhood.

With  Collateral Underwriter the system will select up to 20 properties in the same CBG regardless of whether the neighborhood is similar or not.  As you can imagine here in SW Florida, we have hundreds of neighborhoods with a certain set of values that abut another neighborhood with a different set of values.

For instance, think of Renaissance near I-75 and Daniels.  Renaissance features homes over $1 million, while nearby Danforth Lakes features homes in the $200’s-$300’s range.  This is not a knock against Danforth Lakes; it’s just not a good comparable for Renaissance.

Let’s also talk about the “Risk” factor.  Collateral Underwriter will rank comparable homes it identifies by “Risk” and compares those 20 comps against the comps the appraiser used.  You can bet the higher the sale price, the higher the risk.  So now appraisers might be inclined to not select the best comparable but rather the comps with the least risk of being flagged because of “Risk”.

Guess what happens when the appraisal is shot back to the appraiser for clarification.  The appraiser must now justify why the comps he used were better than the ones the computer used in a separate area but in the same CBG.  Who is going to pay the appraiser for the extra time?  The consumer will.  If they don’t allow the appraiser to pass along the extra costs, they’ll take shortcuts to save time and use less expensive comps.

Does this ultimately protect the banks?  No. It can put a false constraint on prices in the market which doesn’t protect the bank, and certainly not the public.

Why even order the appraisal if you’re not going to trust the boots on the ground?  It seems the computer is taking over and the systems are flawed.  Remember, garbage in, garbage out.  And this goes against the Market Conditions Addenda FNMA requires appraisers to fill out using only neighborhood data.  It’s like FNMA is breaking their own rules.  Appraisers will be expected to reconcile any differences between the addenda and CBG trends.

Lending has become so complex it’s virtually impossible for anyone to Sell By Owner anymore.  It’s also becoming harder for a part-time or inexperienced agent to tread the constant tidal waves coming ashore by new regulations.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, be sure to call a professional.  Doing it over and losing a sale is always more costly than doing it right the first time.  We can be reached at 239-489-4042.  Search the MLS at


Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907


Below is a mild recap of what the Board had covered from 3/05-3/06. The accomplishments made, things in the works and special thanks to many who had devoted their time or helped out in some way.

I know I may have missed some and I apologize but do know everyone is greatly appreciated who has contributed their time, services and/or assistance either on or helping committees and even monetary donations for events. You are helping to make our Community a success. We look forward to even a greater year ahead!

Danforth Lakes Annual Recap—3/15/05-3/6/06

3/15/05—Current BOD elected

3/22/05—Decided on positions and responsibilities, bank acct sign—set up HOA website to keep all informed

4/06/05—Reviewed all current contracts/ins & financials in place w/MMI—started punchlist items for turnover w/Beazer—discussed problems w/sprinklers/swales & clubhouse. Discussed current rules & regs/condition of community –in order to enforce rules & regs determined changes should be made first.

4/25/05—Began review of current R&R.. Created turnover punch list for Beazer with Community wide meeting/suggestions.

5/05/05—Discussed clubhouse vandalism/things stolen/procedures, cleaning personnel & security. Discussed walk-thru w/Beazer on punchlist items created—towing contract discussion—discussed committees needed—S&W/B&G/Finance/ ACC

5/23/05—Clubhouse issues w/cleaning personnel/ Rules & Regs review line by line/ surveillance bids reviewed for clubhouse.

6/27/05—Met Community wide to review 6 pages of changes to Rules&Regs—new security in place at clubhouse.

7/11/05—Committees formed –B&G/S&W/Finance/ACC—towing co. in place. Speed humps discussed.

8/08/05—Overcharges from MMI reviewed w/new committee/ reviewed Beazer punchlist items and status/(really started questioning MMI with financials and other items not followed up on)

9/12/05—reviewed overdue hoa assessments//pool conditions reviewed//common area discussed//2006 budget talk//reviewed banking concerns and audit.

10/05— delayed to hurricane Wilma & Halloween

11/7/05—resig of a BM—terminated curr pool service—2 clubhouse break-in’s—setup personal contact with Beazer this month. Discussed concerns w/MMI services and lack of follow-up

11/17/05—budget workshop review with finance comm.

11/21/05—Discussed meeting had w/Beazer/reviewed turnover audit/discussed all concerns w/MMI over last 7 months//provided termination notice for 12/31.

12/5/05—agreed on credit due for janitorial services–budget approval—appt KO for BOD vacancy—Comm Welcome packs ready—discussed new bids from Mgt Companies—agreed on Hayden—delays started do to everything on hold for mgt co trx. Had the Entrance light lit on 12/15, and fountain out on the 20th…had to wait for new mgt co in place as of 1/1. But was told fountain would be shipped back to Wisconsin for service.

1/09/06—Met w/New Mgt Co./Rev of new bank accts/new contracts for cleaning & grounds—clubhouse procedures—new towing co discussed—request replanting quotes. Discussed fountain plans. Irrigation repaired. New landscaping Co. in place

1/26/06—Discussed roundabout incident 1/15—invoices not being pd by MMI—final turnover 1/23.

2/06/06—New financials reviewed/ delq assess rev/ violations & how to handle discussed—over 40 violations addressed since then—planned replanting of Blvd—approved clubhouse & roundabout replantings.

3/06/06—arbitration comm Appointed–up to 60 violations ///financial review of monies on hold by Beazer.///working on reviewing/pursuing over 11K assess fees due.//parking regulation changes made to eliminate street parking

Communication provided thru our website and Community emails throughout the year.


1.Thermostat in clubhouse
2.Clubhouse tiled
3.Added microwave, coffee pot & trash can
4.Blinds in workout room
5.Ceilings fans in workout room.
6.Workout room equipment fixed
7.added surveillance at clubhouse
8.Caught two break-ins to clubhouse and pursued
9.Clubhouse painted and decking power-washed— bathrooms repaired & painted
10.Resolved ant issue in clubhouse
11.Pool temp stabilized
12.New doorway in clubhouse hallway to alleviate moisture buildup & bugs.
13. Most all trees replaced/removed or staked
14. Tennis courts repaired
15. New drainage system around tennis courts.
16. 2nd block paving in Sheffield
17. Swales cleaned out
18. sidewalk replaced
19. Bike rack and benches in place
20. speed humps/sl signs in place
21. Rules & regs revised
22. Lighting at roundabout
23. Purchased folding tables for Social Committee
24. 60 violations sent in 3 months–yards, comm vehicles, & street parking being addressed.


1.Fountain hopefully in place by 4/15
2.Entrance sign by end of May(depends on permitting)
3.Replanting of Blvd begins the 24th (possibly 17th)
4.Roundabout finished hopefully by 4/15
5.Remaining mulch for Community by mid May.(tent)


1. All four committees: Building & Grounds(Glenda,Carol,Steph,Rich/Sean)///ARC-(Dan, Matt, Yvette, Robin & Crosby)//Finance-(Kathy,Randy) ///Social & Welcoming-(Kelly,Anissa,Christy,Jennifer)
2. Marty & Brenda sheets-(generosity in helping with all Holiday events)
3. Jim S for our cement pad for the bike rack
4. Sean Dean for all his time spent in completing many of the clubhouse tasks
5. Jim T for his assist with our sec sys and hrs spent with us at times of break-ins
6. Dawn for her help with copies made when needed
7. Donna R for assistance with distributing flyers
8.Tracy R, Misty K, Claudia & Sherry for help at Events
9.Social commitee again especially for the qrtrly newsletter/welcome packs that were started in January(see list for includes), Events planned for the past 3 holidays, coordinating a playgroup…working on coordinating a family picnic at Lakes Park THIS JUNE as we did 2/3 yrs ago—participation needed…volunteers needed for the new year!!