Welcome to the New Year.  Let’s look at some things we’re watching this New Year in our January 2018 Southwest Florida real estate market update.

Many agents we talk to are focusing on the fact that sales are down 12.4% in November.  Others notice that total dollar volume was down 10.5% in November.  Those are two data points we also look to gauge the overall health of the market, but it must be done in context.

January 2018 Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update

January 2018 Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update

We’re choosing to look at other data points right now and we’ll explain why. New pending sales are up 8.1%.  That bodes well for closed sales heading into season. New listings rose 9.8% in November over last year.  One could argue that sales have been riding even or ahead of last year, but down from 2016 levels is the fact that inventory has been low.  We’ve had a low inventory market for the past few years.  It is slightly rising now and that may be a good sign.

This gives home buyers more choices.  It also signals home sellers that have failed to sell that it’s time to re-evaluate their price.  If the market hasn’t responded to your price in 2017, it may not in 2018 either if inventory rises.  A new year is always a good time to re-evaluate and make changes.

While new listings increased in November, total available inventory fell.  Pending inventory increased which took out some available inventory.  Declining dollar volume in November makes agents feel like the market has slowed, but it’s a now indicator.  That now is a direct result of the hurricane.  The future indicators tell us the market could be picking up steam.  Therefore, it’s dangerous to evaluate the market by a sole month or single data points.  They must be evaluated in their entirety, and even then, it’s difficult to predict the future with certainty.

We always tell people season begins to pickup around January 12-15th, and it builds from there.  Very soon the 2018 season will come into focus.  We see some good signs moving forward.  As always, proper pricing matters.

Proper Pricing Critical For Home Sellers

No matter if it’s an up, down, or sideways market it’s critical to price your home to today’s standards.  Overpricing will get you in trouble regardless of how you perceive the market.  We do not have a runaway market to the upside.  We do not have a falling market.  The 2018 Southwest Florida real estate market is holding its own.  We have buyers and sellers, and that’s a good thing.  Buyers want to pay a fair price and sellers want to sell at a fair price.

As an agent, buyer, or seller, you can’t ask for anything better than that.  The difference between success and failure could well be determined by the agent you select.  Proper pricing and presentation to the market are critical.  Not every agent has the same skills or background to properly present your home to the market.

A great website to check out prices in your neighborhood is www.LeeCountyOnline.com You can be alerted when new properties come on the market in your neighborhood.  You can even get an online evaluation of your home for free.

Buyers love this website too because it is updated instantly directly from the MLS.  It has all the properties, so you don’t miss out on new properties hitting the market or outdated data.

Always Call the Ellis Team

If you’re looking to buy or sell, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042.  We make sure our buyers and sellers understand the market.  Buying and selling real estate is easy when you have a pro backed with data that can help you make the best decision for your family.  It’s scary when you’re not confident you’re making the right choice.  An experienced agent backed by years of research can really help.  We’re not here to sell you anything.  The Ellis Team is focused on accomplishing your goals.

Call us if we can help, or research yourself at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Good luck and happy New Year!

Some agents say the number of home sales is up.  Some say it’s down.  The data show 2017 SW Florida home sales trending between 2015-2016 levels.  As you can tell by the chart, home sales fell off the 2nd half of the year the past two years.  Home sellers wishing to sell now might get a little nervous reading this chart, but don’t be.

In fact, this can be good news for home sellers.  We’ll let you in on a little secret.  There were 2,001 fewer listings last August than there were this February.  Some sellers make the decision to sell in season because an agent told them there were more home sales in season.

2017 SW Florida Home Sales Trending Between 2015-2016 Levels Homes Closed

It’s true, there were more home sales in season.  However, there were more homes to sell too.  When inventory goes down home sales go down.  Not because there isn’t demand, but rather because product isn’t there to sell.

If you’re a home seller contemplating selling, the end of summer and fall can be an excellent time because you’ll have less competition from other sellers.

2017 SW Florida Home Sales Trending Between 2015-2016 Levels Median Sales Prices

The median sales price is up 7.6% in June over last year, and the average sales price was up 6.1%. Not too shabby.  You can wait until season to sell your home, and there might be more lookers for your home.  There will also be more competition from other sellers for those lookers.

We’re seeing new construction coming in and competing now too, which is good in a way for sellers because many local sellers don’t want to sell until they know where they’re going.  Local sellers just couldn’t find an appropriate home to move into even though they’d like to make a move.

We can help with that.  Our team knows about several new communities and builders the public doesn’t always know about.  Why?  Because builders don’t advertise like they used to, so buyers don’t know where to find them.

Even when buyers do stumble on a builder or new community they don’t know if it’s a good deal.  That’s where a professional agent comes in.  Builders advertise to agents because they know we can bring in repeat business.  We find out about deals and incentives the public doesn’t hear about.

If you’re looking to make a move but you don’t know where, a free consultation with a friendly and informative Ellis Team agent might just do the trick.  We can show you how much we can sell your home for and what you would net out after sale paying all expenses and mortgages.  We can then calculate how much you’ll have to put down on the next home, and what you can buy for a similar payment.

Perhaps you’ve had a promotion, or perhaps a loss in income and you’d like to downsize.  Either way, you want a great home for the value.  We can help with that.

If you’d like to take your time and search on your own, try out www.LeeCountyOnline.com.  You can search all the homes for free and even find out what your home is worth.  If you’d like to sit down and talk to us, you can call us at 239-489-4042.  Brett and Sande are easy to talk to and we like to answer questions and solve issues.

We know buying and selling isn’t always as simple as picking up the phone and going shopping.  There are many factors to consider, and timing it all can be important.  We’re patient and helpful.  If you’d like to discuss your options, we’d love to talk.   Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty!  We’re here to help.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

3 Bed Home in Cape Coral

Open Saturday 1-3 PM

3835 Palm Tree Blvd, Cape Coral, FL 33904


3 Bed, 2 Bath 1,771 SQ Ft Living Area


There’s an old saying in real estate that says if your home is priced over the market then it’s not really on the market.  Essentially an overpriced listing is invisible to the buyer because it’s attracting the wrong prospects.  These are called invisible listings.

The correct prospects never see it on their radar because they search up to a certain point and cutoff anything over that.  The prospect that can afford the overpriced home is looking at other homes as well, and they quickly see other homes offer more value.  Perhaps it’s more size, better location, better condition, more amenities, etc. Overpriced listings miss the market both ways, and therefore they linger on the market.

Periodically we publish the local market’s month supply of inventory by price range.  We decided to take the monthly supply of homes in each category and consider how many homes are currently on the market in that category that exceeds the average monthly supply.

Invisible Listings Southwest Florida Real Estate market

When a home doesn’t sell it’s either overpriced or not marketed correctly.  Many times, it’s both.  If you have a home worth more than $ 1 Million we know there is a 22.58-month supply of homes on the market.  When you list a home you should ask yourself, when would I like to move?  If the answer is less than 22 months, you’d better price it and market it effectively.

The good news is only 8.3% of the homes over $ 1 Million are invisible.  The overall Lee County single family home market is 15.4% invisible.  This tells us that 15.4% of the home sellers have overpriced their homes such that they’re probably not going to sell unless the owner takes action.  They will expire.

Putting your home on the market is not a fun experience.  You have strangers coming through your home when they want and you must keep the home in show condition all the time.  Nobody would want to go through that experience unless they were serious about selling.  And yet, some are not serious because they overprice their home and it’s invisible.

When you list your home you not only want it visible, you want it to stand out.  Therefore marketing and pricing is critical.  The seller controls the price.  The market determines the value.  Not all Realtors market the same.  Some market very little while others do much more, and a select few market a lot.

Some Realtors don’t believe marketing sells homes and only price sells homes.  That’s simply not true.  If you were in the market for a new car I can guarantee you there are a few dealerships you’ve heard of.  Why?  Because they market and it works.  If you could buy a new car and get a TV or a cruise would you take it?  Only if you knew about it.  If you liked that brand and the value was there, you’d at least consider it, because their marketing works.

The same is true in real estate.  It’s not enough to have the lowest price and pray that’s enough to sell your home.  The world needs to know about it, and listing it in MLS isn’t enough.  Sure, listing in MLS can get your home on some websites, but it’s not promoting your home.  This is where Realtors who understand marketing stand out.  Besides, not every seller wants to give their home away just to sell it.

We believe you should receive fair market value.  To get that, you need marketing.  To expect more than fair market value insures it will not sell.  If we listed a home worth $300k and marketed it at $600k no amount of money spent on marketing would sell it.  To get full market value requires correct pricing and full-blown marketing.

If you have a home to sell, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams. 239-489-4042  We’ll help you get Top Dollar and make your home visible, and stand out. You can also visit our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search for homes.  We look forward to meeting you!

See also Southwest Florida Real Estate Inventory Rises as Sales Grow in March

Check back for our Weekend  Open House List-Coming Soon

This time of year you’re either in 7th Heaven or purgatory with all the football games.  There are about 38 bowl games alongside NFL teams fighting for playoff spots, so there’s no shortage of games to watch this year. It’s time for the SW Florida Real Estate market 2 Minute Drill.

With football on my mind it seemed appropriate to describe the SW Florida real estate market as entering the 2 minute drill.  We’ve had a pretty good year, and it’s time to put the finishing touches on the year and set us up for the next game beginning in January.

SW Florida Real Estate Market 2 Minute Drill

SW Florida Real Estate Market 2 Minute Drill

The Southwest Florida real estate market is definitely in the hurry-up offense.  As you can see from the single family inventory graph, Realtors have been hard at work bringing more properties to the market. We need them all as active inventory is down 13.2% from last year, and last year we were complaining about low inventory levels.

Next month we also have the Draft. About mid January the Draft begins whereby the best homes are selected. General Managers (Buyers) scour the market for the best properties.  We need more sellers to declare for the Draft or by the end of March buyers will be selecting Mr. Insignificant.  You’ve probably heard of Mr. Insignificant.  This is the last person selected in the NFL draft.  While it’s an honor to be selected, you know that you’ve been passed over by every other team and selected dead last.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Sales Prices

If you’re a seller, you don’t want to be picked dead last.  You want to move your draft position higher by properly valuing your home in the market.

If you’re a buyer, you don’t want to pick dead last.  You’d like to trade-up and improve your draft position so you can select a nicer home for the money.   You can do this by being pre-approved and turning your finance offer into a stronger offer.  You can employ little tricks that look good to a seller.  A good Realtor is like a capologist and can help you select the best property based upon the funds you have to work with.  Sure you have a spending cap, just like NFL teams do.  The goal is to select the best value at the position you’re drafting from.  You must study the market or you’ll end up selecting the wrong property or paying more than you needed to.  Essentially you could have had the same property in a later round when you make a mistake.

Likewise, that franchise prospect only comes around every so many years.  When you see a property that fits your team’s needs, it pays to go grab it while the choice is yours.  When you’re time is up, the next team is On the Clock and will snatch that pick up.  You snooze, you lose.

Winning an NFL game takes an experienced coach with good players who knows how to manage the clock.  The same is true in real estate. Whether you’re buying or selling, you need a great coach to help you through.  The outcome can affect your life for years to come.

Always draft the best property you can, and no matter what, Always select the Best Coach.  The Ellis Team has some of the Best coaches you can find, and we’ll guide you through the process.  We look forward to watching you spike that ball in the end zone.  Give us a call at 239-489-4042 or search for your dream home at Topagent.com

Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

Search Gated Home Communities in Fort Myers

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours

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


By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907



The past several months we’ve been reporting rising home prices in SW Florida.  Everyone seems to agree the Southwest Florida housing market is in recovery.  For awhile we’ve had tight inventory with escalating prices.  Periodically we like to go inside the numbers and breakdown various facets of the market.  June 2013 SW Florida Real Estate Numbers.

June 2013 SW Florida Real Estate Numbers
June 2013 Home Sales Breakdown

Today we’re looking at traditional sales versus distressed sales.  As you can see from the attached chart foreclosure sales are down 35.1% from last year and short sales are down 43.9%.  Traditional sales are helping to pick up the slack but the limited inventory is holding sales down.  In other words, if we had more inventory to sell we’d surely sell it.

Traditional median sales price increases to $210,000 which is allowing many more sellers who were previously underwater the ability to sell their home without being a short sale.  However, there are still plenty of underwater homeowners who’d like to sell but are trapped.  They’ve held out this long and don’t want to jeopardize their credit by selling short, so they wait.

People talk about shadow inventory from the banks as if they’re holding back inventory waiting for prices to rise.  We don’t believe banks are holding back.  We don’t believe there is a glut coming to the market.  There will still be more foreclosures in the future as economic growth is anemic and underwater owners are still susceptible to changes in their personal employment situations, however we believe it will be a manageable number.

The real shadow inventory is the trapped homeowners waiting for the market to come back to a point where they can afford to sell.  In a normal market sellers buy and sell locally as their wants and housing needs change.  This hasn’t been happening here locally until recently.

In the past few months we’ve had several sellers placing their home on the market only to buy a different home that better serves their needs locally.  This trend will continue as prices rise, and especially in light of the fact interest rates are still relatively low, currently in the mid 4% range.

As prices rise we could see a little more inventory which will increase sales volume.  Builders are building again which is helping to pickup the slack due to the shortage in inventory.

We are seeing more homes come on the market in the $200,000-$300,000 range which should boost home sales in that range on inventory levels alone.  We’ll begin to see move-up buyers, lateral buyers, and transitional buyers who may not want as much yard or as much home due to their age.

One thing is constant is that the market is always changing, and we’re witnessing some pretty phenomenal positive changes in our market right now.  Because our market was healing for so long some started to believe we’d never see this day.  It’s easy to get bogged down on what has been and lose focus on where the market is today and where it’s going.  Real estate is a lot like a sports team.  “What have you done for me lately?”  The glory years of yesteryear don’t matter.  What your home used to be worth on paper is in the past.  The only thing that matters is today, the here and now.  A property’s value is not what someone paid for it a long time ago but rather what it’s actually worth today independent of its former value or cost.  Cost does not always equal value.

We’ll keep our eyes focused on the numbers and keep reporting them to you.  If you’d like to search the MLS you can at www.Topagent.com  If you’re a seller and you’re considering selling, you might be surprised to learn what your home is really worth today.  To find out, give us a call at 239-489-4042

Good luck and Happy House Hunting/Selling!!!!

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Visit our Google+ Business Page


Real estate agents have been complaining that appraisers have been under-valuing property again. Recently the National Association of Realtors listed the Cape Coral – Fort Myers real estate market as the #3 fastest rising home price markets in the country. Appraisals an Issue Once Again!

Appraisals an Issue Once Again

Appraisals are one person’s opinion of value based upon recent sold data.  The problem is in an upward rising market, past sales are yesterday’s news and today’s values are higher then a few months ago.

In a declining market appraisers are quick to make a time value adjustment as sales from 3-4 months ago would be worth more than today’s market.  Appraisers aren’t as quick in a rising market if you ask many real estate agents, and therein lay the problem.

Buyers and sellers quite often sweat out the appraisal which unfortunately doesn’t always occur right after the contract.  Many sellers are requiring the appraisal number to come in within 15 days of contract acceptance to remove this obstacle.

Typically a buyer gets pre-qualified for a loan and then goes out shopping for a home.  With inventory so limited in SW Florida it’s getting hard to find suitable homes in a buyer’s price range, and when you do find a home for the buyer the buyer isn’t holding all the cards.  The sellers are pretty much able to dictate certain terms as there are several buyers looking at the limited inventory in some price ranges.

The banks usually order the appraisal from an appraisal management company who hires the appraiser.  The management company serves as a middle man to keep the lender from influencing values.  A problem is if the appraiser is not local or is unfamiliar with the area, or simply chooses bad comparables, there isn’t a good way to fix a bad appraisal.  The bank is typically stuck with that number, so the buyer is stuck, unless they’re willing to switch lenders.

We work with one local lender who has access to 3 appraisal management companies, so if we get a bad appraisal from one company they can seek another opinion without being stuck.  This does add time to the process though and isn’t ideal.

This forces sellers to take the best possible buyer, and price isn’t always the most important issue.  True enough, in a tight supply market, all buyers are going to be at a high price, but what really makes a buyer stand out from another buyer are the “Other” terms, like closing date, and amount in escrow.

If you have a buyer putting 20% down but only putting $1,000 in escrow it looks suspicious to a seller.  The escrow money is counted towards the down payment money anyway, and it is refundable if the buyer cannot get their financing assuming the contract is written properly, so sellers ask themselves, “Why isn’t this buyer putting more money down upfront?”

If a seller has 2 or more offers and one has $10,000 in escrow and one only has $1,000 down, which offer sounds better?  Even if there isn’t another offer Yet it still screams weak offer and throws up a red flag.  In a competitive market where a buyer isn’t in competition with the seller but rather with others buyers, it pays to make your offer look strong anyway you can.  If you’re financing there is a limit to how high you can go because it has to appraise.  Do the other things to make your offer stand out.

Listening to your agent will help.  If you don’t make your offer stand out, you’ll be on your 4th or 5th favorite home instead of your 1st, and in this market many times there aren’t more than 3 to choose from.

If you do run into an appraisal problem, there are things you can do.  Perhaps the seller may consider pre-paying the mortgage insurance which might eliminate the need for the property to appraise.  Speak with your agent and lender about these options.  Don’t let a bad appraisal Kill your sale.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!!

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Visit our Google+ Business Page