Fort Myers and Cape Coral Florida Home Buying Season

Season is arriving early this year it seems. Our stores are filling up with friends from up north here for the winter. Our restaurants are busier and calls for information about our homes for sale in Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Sanibel are steadily increasing. Home prices are still great and interest rates are still near record lows. Our inventory is also on the low side so if you are interested in finding a great home here in Southwest Florida I would suggest giving us a call very soon. If you would like to sell your home this season, now is the time to contact us an put your home on the market. Come visit us at our main website www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com.

 

Unique Luxury Home Marketing on www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com

I am very proud to own one of the top organically ranked real estate websites for Fort Myers Luxury Homes for Sale and Cape Coral Luxury Homes for Sale which is www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com. From that website I have the opportunity to reach out to and be contacted by many people who are in the market for buying and selling their beautiful luxury and waterfront homes in Southwest Florida.  Years ago I decided to focus on the luxury home market in the  Fort Myers and Cape Coral areas because it is the area of expertise I am most interested in and comfortable working in.  Having the ability to focus my resources on this specific point in the real estate market allows my website to provide a unique style of marketing that showcases the finest homes in the area.

After creating the platform to present these homes for sale,  I am pleased to say I am about to go live with the expanded and improved version of www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com in August in preparation for our clients coming this season. Upgraded searches and featured homes as well as even greater photos of luxury homes for sale in Fort Myers and Cape Coral as well as Sanibel Island and the beaches are all coming.

Thanks to all of you who have commented on the site now.  I’m certain you will find the new design to be the finest luxury home website of all of the Fort Myers area. If you would like the exposure of the combined marketing strategy of www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com and Berkshire Hathaway, then contact me right away regarding listing your home on these powerful websites where you will have the greatest exposure and unique marketing in all Southwest Florida. Call me at 239.878.0637 today.

 

Luxury Rental Homes in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and the Islands.

For most of my extensive career as a Realtor I have not been very interested in the rental and rental management aspect of real estate. I am certainly capable of rental property management and my wife who is soon to get her real estate license has expressed an interest in heading up a rental division of our business. Myself, I enjoy working with my clients in buying and selling homes in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral area. The fact remains though, I receive many calls requesting assistance in placing a home for rent and for property management. Plus, many calls are from individuals seeking to secure a rental home on Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel Island or Ft. Myers and Cape. Coral. It is just bad service to be unable to provide this service to my rental customers so I am very fortunate to have one of the finest rental agents and property managers in the Fort Myers area as a close friend and colleague.

Just yesterday I received a call from a person asking me to rent and manage his half million dollar home in Fort Myers. This was a beautiful home complete with fine furnishings in a gated community on a golf course. I was considering taking this on as a rental property myself, but in my way of doing business my customers best interests always come first. Yes, I could place this property in the computer and internet as a rental property, I would eventually find him a good tenant and I could manage the property. In order to best serve the needs of this client I instead put him in contact with my colleague who, instead of occasionally works with rentals, works in fine luxury home rentals every single day. He provides the corporate connections, international contacts particularly from Europe, and all the marketing in place geared towards providing the finest rental program in Lee County. He also provides the contracts for seasonal rentals, annual rentals and even vacation rentals to our clients. There is no question about maintenance or anything at all really because he has everything in place to provide a magnificent rental program from day one.

Now with that said, when it comes to selling a home or one of these rental investments, I am the best choice for the buyer and seller of any luxury home in Southwest Florida. My luxury home marketing and body of knowledge are as prolific as my colleagues knowledge of his rental business.  While there are Realtors who manage rentals and also dedicate time to home buyers and to marketing home listings, few can do both businesses extremely well at the same time. My Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty business is unmatched in luxury home marketing and sales and my personal service for my luxury home buyer clients is unparalleled partly due to my focus on my market niche. That is saying a lot considering the size of the egos of some of my competition in business, but I believe it to be the truth as do my clients. My colleagues dedication to his niche in the industry has made him the best at what he does. I feel it is better to be the best at what you do for your clients rather than to attempt to be everything for everyone.

When it comes to finding a luxury rental home in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel Island Ft. Myers Beach or South to Bonita, I will provide for you the finest in service by connecting you with the best luxury home rental and property management business in Fort Myers, with whom I work closely. When you want to purchase or sell an luxury rental home or any property in Southwest Florida I am here to provide you with the finest service in the industry. Contact me anytime at homes@floridaluxurybroker.com or for more contact information you can view www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com.

 

Back to a Fort Myers real estate office from Cape Coral.

I recently moved my office location from the Berkshire Hathaway Cape Coral office to the Fort Myers office. I have been asked why that is important to me since both are beautiful and highly productive offices. This seems to be more of a matter of opinion, but it seems to be a widely shared view. A Cape Coral real estate agent is very adept at selling homes in Cape Coral, while a Fort Myers Realtor can sell anywhere in Lee County easily. When I started my real estate business in Florida back in about the year 2000 I picked the most productive Fort Myers real estate office I could find because even then I recognized, and had myself, this perception. From there I worked with investors and home buyers and sellers all over Lee County from Bonita Springs and Sanibel Island to Cape Coral. I still do not work in the Naples Florida real estate market that often except by special request just because of proximity. Most Fort Myers agents are expected to know the entire Fort Myers and Southwest Florida area just as I do. When you are a Cape Coral real estate agent you are really just expected by the public to know Cape Coral. There is nothing wrong with that perception because it is typically an accurate one. Cape Coral even has its own “Cape Coral Board of Realtors” while the Fort Myers Realtor association is called the “Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach, Inc.” implying the greater Fort Myers real estate market including Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Estero, Bonita Springs and Sanibel Island. Each of these smaller entities also have their own Real Estate Associations typically who share their data with Fort Myers.

As a Broker who focused on luxury and waterfront homes, I can hardly limit myself or the perception of my business to just one area. When I had a client with a 75 ft yacht that he wanted to dock behind his new home and stay below $700,000 we searched all over Lee County including Cape Coral and Fort Myers real estate. We found a perfect home in Fort Myers close to Sanibel Island and the Beaches that accommodated his family in the home and the yacht behind the house on a deep water access canal with plenty of turn around room. We looked at numerous Cape Coral homes as well, but we didn’t limit ourselves in any way. While any licensed Florida agent can sell anywhere in the State of Florida, it is the buying customer looking for an agent who typically first picks the area based on their perceptions.

I am very happy to be back in a great Fort Myers real estate office where I am serving all of Southwest Florida. If you are considering buying a property anywhere in the Fort Myers area of Southwest Florida or selling your home, contact me right away. You can read more about me and my services at www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com.

Property Values on the Rise

Just a quick post for anyone still on the fence about whether or not to buy or sell your Fort Myers or Cape Coral Florida home right now. Property values are on the rise. There are still fantastic bargains to be found and the financing is still favorable, but the shocking low prices are fading away. I do not believe there will be an unrealistic increase in values as before and I do not think home builders will make the same overbuilding mistake again. Sellers are enjoying gains on their investments and should be holding the line more times than not when negotiating their selling price. The selling prices are fair and realistic so buyers are also in a great position.

Now is the perfect time to make your purchase and the perfect time to list your home in Southwest Florida. Contact me anytime by calling 239-878-0637 or going to my web site www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com for more information.

“What’s in a name?, International Real Estate”

I remembered those famous words spoken by Shakespeare’s Juliet when I returned to the Fort Myers / Cape Coral, Florida area to conduct international real estate after some extensive traveling.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.”

I found myself with my license hanging in a fine small brokerage firm filled with good people and friends, but not an office focused on home sales opting for rentals instead. This arrangement was fine when I was selling properties by referral only and not focused upon growing my real estate sales business as I am now. It was not an ideal situation for my business or my customers. I also couldn’t help but notice as I approached new clients, even with my credentials, it was more difficult to get my foot in the door mainly due to being someone unknown and working in an unknown real estate office. Driving down the streets in Southwest Florida I noticed a large number of new signs in yards from tiny independent real estate companies. As I looked into some of the properties listings, I found that the entire brokerage firm was mainly centered around a couple agents selling to their family and friends. I respect that willingness to take on the challenge and risk of running a brokerage firm. There was once a “Michael Nolan and Associates Inc.” out there in the past. We are all Realtors and “What’s in a name?” right? Romeo’s name was insignificant to to Juliet, (granted he wasn’t trying to sell her home), but is a good agent working under a small, local office name just as effective as one committed to a well known international real estate organization? I have found by working both inside major real estate companies and as an independent agent that there is no substitute for the support and tools of an international real estate company. These companies offer an incredible amount of tools and benefits for the agent to offer their customers that will never be matched by a local real estate business. I know there are small companies with big advertising and technology just as mine was once and some of my friends in the business are now.  Even so, more times than not it is still another agent who will bring the buyer for your listing and that agent is typically from a major brand real estate company because of the global brand recognition and trust they have rightfully earned with the consumer. That which we call a house for sale is in itself more sweet to the buyer when it is listed with a real estate company that presents it to the market in the best possible fashion thanks to the trusted major name brand marketing tools utilized by a professional agent.

By now you’ve likely guessed I have switched to a major international real estate organization. Recently as I was interviewing potential brokerage firms for myself, I came across a great office that is affiliated with a highly respected organization globally. My real estate brokerage firm of choice is Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. I chose this office not only because of the Berkshire Hathaway corporate name and its many advantages, but because this office understands the need to operate in the global real estate market not just the Southwest Florida real estate market. Make no mistake, most all real estate in Florida is a part of the global real estate market.  We are a growing destination for the world. Visit my web site www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com to see just some of the benefits I can offer just by my affiliation with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty. Contact me anytime to discuss how this affiliation along with my experience and knowledge makes me the best choice for your real estate transaction representation.

 

 

Around the World and Back to Fort Myers Florida

2013 was an amazing year for me personally and professionally in Florida real estate. Personally I remarried, had a new baby girl, traveled by car the entire length of the United States from Fort Myers, Florida to Seattle, Washington and then lived in Asia for a few months. Professionally it was a fantastic experience to see more of the United States and visit some luxury real estate clients and corporate suppliers. I traveled to Asia, seeing Japan and Guam which opened my eyes to grand new business opportunities in both real estate and for my corporation.

One of the first things I noticed in my travels was that so many people from around the world love Florida. I know Southwest Florida is a beautiful place to live. I know from experience the boating is the best in the country and the beaches are ranked as some of the best in the world. The Southwest Florida lifestyle in general really is paradise by comparison to many places. I also just spent time in Indiana for one of their worst winters in decades, so I was seriously missing Fort Myers as I drove through the mountains of snow in the bitter cold. I am actually a fan of winter too. Our tranquility in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, yet proximity to Miami, Tampa and Orlando (Disney) by car and the entire midwest and east coast by short flight is perfect for the vacationer and resident. The yachting routes up the west coast of Florida or straight south to Key West; across the state to the Atlantic though Lake Okeechobee or by way of the the Florida Keys is just unparalleled. If you don’t want the yacht, you can utilize a small boat through the countless islands and parks that line the Gulf coast and enjoy typically calm waters. Our cost of living is similar to the midwest and less expensive than most areas from what I can see. I always knew and loved these things about Southwest Florida real estate, but to have all of these things told to me by people all across this country and on the opposite side of the planet further bolstered my confidence in our beautiful community and makes me that much more proud to serve my luxury Florida real estate clients as they find their own piece of our paradise right here.

I’m very happy to be back home now and I am enjoying working with my real estate partners again. The market is in fantastic shape and prices are rebounding. I will write more on this later, but it is safe to say that now is the time to buy real estate in Southwest Florida as property values and prices continue to rise. Contact me with your questions or thoughts and visit www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com for more information.

The Difference Between Home Mortgage Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval

A Fort Myers mortgage broker who is now  working in my office emailed this to all of the agents today and  I thought it was great information. I have seen  people in all price ranges speak to an ambitious mortgage broker who tells them they can get a loan and then they  come  to me, pre-qual letter in hand,  wanting to go home shopping. Then they find out the pre-qual letter  the broker wrote is meaningless because it is by no means an approval for a loan or acceptable to a seller as proof of real estate financing.

I made the mistake in the past once,  which I remember all too well, of taking the word of a very legitimate  banker who wrote a glowing pre-qual letter for  the owner of an enormous company and I wrote a $600k + home contract for that buyer based on the pre-qualification. The offer was accepted because of my strong reputation, not the letter. Then in the approval process for the loan there arose a mountain of tax and corporate legal issues that would have made it difficult for this guy to buy a Toyota. Needless to say that  will  never happen to me again, but I am still approached by buyers with pre-qual letters only. Here is a good explanation of the difference.

Pre-qualification is the first step in obtaining mortgage financing. A potential borrower answers a  few questions to provide the loan consultant with a quick snapshot of the borrower’s income, existing debt, accumulated savings and whether or not there is a co-borrower. Signature(s) allow the loan consultant to run a credit report and begin to determine what loans are good candidates for this particular client. However, there are literally thousands of loan programs available. It is important for the loan professional to know the long-term financial objectives of the prospective homeowner.

Pre-approval is a written documentation that proves the borrower has full support of a lender. It means the form 1003 Uniform Residential Loan Application has been completed and reviewed by an underwriter. Based on the borrower’s income, debt ratio and savings, the underwriter will provide a dollar amount this borrower is eligible for. Now the borrower has the convenience of shopping for a home in the price range agreed upon by the lender.Pre-approval allows potential homeowners to shop as cash buyers, and that means negotiating power. Sellers will take an offer from a pre-approved shopper much more seriously and may even accept a lower bid because they know the financing is in place and the deal is secure.

I am more than happy to put you in contact with several Cape Coral and Fort Myers Mortgage lenders  if you do not have your own, but when we shop for properties you will need a pre-approval if you are financing the transaction. You need that prior to making an offer on a property. Preparation is the key to a successful transaction and I am here to assist you anytime. For additional information on a Fort Myers mortgage please go to www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com.

Online Real Estate Information

Real estate  transactions are a part of life where  I don’t think too much information is ever really a bad thing, except when the information  ends up being  completely wrong.  Customers contact me completely confused  due  to  all of the online real estate information, good and bad,  they receive from websites.  Frankly, even I do not understand why  a property can show  as active  when it really has a contract accepted on it.  Web sites  have become polluted with bad information.  Yes, I know  the  reasons about why some distressed properties need to stay active so they can try to receive more than one contract  or if they need to  advertise for backup contracts. If you see a property offered on my site as active and  the true status  is contingent, meaning it has a contract or it is even sold, I have no way of knowing that either  until  I do the  direct research work. Yes that is a problem, but it is not within my ability to fix as the online real estate database information is only as good as the outside agents who enter it. It is important that  a  person takes the time to  contact me  to ask questions and discuss their real estate goals since the website searches  are really just for the general  research of online real estate.

Years ago when  internet real estate  research was new, companies could only show the properties online that they offered for sale with signed  listing agreements  from their clients. You could go from site to site of each good company and see the properties, just like  the real estate sections of local newspaper used to be.  That has  completely changed.  The majority of online real estate searches now  offer  all properties available from centralized database systems. This abundance of property information  is made available for purchase by any agents  regardless of qualifications and to anyone who  is willing to pay for it, including companies who sell your personal information.  When you contact  me on a property you  found on my site it is not  always  my  personal clients home  that I  have under a listing contract, but as a  broker I  am very well trained to provide real services to property buyers and sellers who want to make an educated  real estate transaction.  I think one of the greatest internet disservices  has been  the ability of practically anyone to  display  real estate  listing information.  I am certainly in favor of maximum exposure for  sellers and the federal government involvement in the matter has ensured that those online  freedoms are legally upheld.  What has  harmed the quality of service in the industry is the  online real estate business model that involves web sites showing property information, collecting the personal information of potential home buyers  or sellers and  then  selling that persons information to any agents and who knows who else. Sometimes  it is  claimed that they have screened  the agents in the area you are interested in and will send you to the most qualified person. Those  online companies actually have no interest in your quality of service or well being at all. The truth is  you will just be sold to the agent who  needs to buy your information, no matter who they may be.  It is usually called a referral, but a  real referral is when legitimate,  licensed agents  call me  because they  have personal clients in  their  location  who need my  professional real estate service here in my location.  We  make  referral  arrangements in writing  between offices and  their clients  are now my clients who get my full attention, service and duties. You can go to www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com for more information.

The fact is we are  usually pretty smart  as consumers. We  are sometimes misled because we  want to trust others, particularly in what should be regarded as a serious matter like real estate transactions. We look for the best value and efficiency for our money and the internet can often provide that. In a business as complex  as real estate there are some corners that  just can’t be cut  such as  the direct contact and interviewing of  a good  professional agent, regardless of how  many pictures, prices and information  some website developer  creates online. Simply put, research heavily online real estate if you need to, but when it is time to do business you need to contact me  and let me do my job. There is always going to be  too much bad information on the internet, but it is a simple matter to have me sort  out your online real estate search  and help you achieve your Florida home buying or selling your goals.

My review of the book “Activate Your Passion – Create Your Career” written by Madison Hildebrand

Like many real estate agents, the Bravo channels “Million Dollar Listing” show with Madison Hildebrand caught my eye while I was surfing the channels and I had to watch. I am not  a TV person. I do not mind knowing nothing about TV shows. I just don’t sit around long enough to watch any entire show. I am almost proud to say I have never seen an entire episode of American Idol; it makes me unique.  If it were not for my DVR I would never be able to  watch a complete program.  From a real estate agents perspective, the “Million Dollar Listing” show  is  very entertaining. The interaction and differences of the three personalities  are easy to relate to in our business and  the show just cracks me up constantly. Few of us ever get to see the luxury homes of the Los Angeles area and I  have considered that many of their clients are the type of people that buy properties and investments anywhere, especially in Southwest Florida  where I work.  The show  is actually useful market information  for me.  Not knowing anything  about how these reality type shows are put together, I first assumed the three characters on the show were  actors playing the roles of agents. Hollywood is right there after all. When I noticed the three guys were actually engaging in some serious and highly professional  real estate business practices I had to consider if they were being  heavily coached or maybe they were actual agents. I Googled the names and the first  I found was Madison Hildebrand who is a real  agent at Caldwell Banker in Malibu. I heard in an episode he had a book and I saw it for sale on his site. I was still skeptical of the whole idea of the  celebrity Realtor.  My wife and I  stood right next to Sylvester Stallone on the sidewalk  at South Beach in Miami once as he was waiting for his car to get brought around. I know he is a  real person because I saw him in the flesh, but I also know he is not actually Rambo or Rocky. Both characters who I enjoyed immensely. Out of curiosity and an appreciation  of the personality I see portrayed on TV, I purchased  Madison’s book. I fully expected to receive a Bravo channel promotional pack or something of the sort, but that is not what this book or what Madison Hildebrand is about at all.

I was amazed and inspired by this  relevant,  empowering  and concise book. Plus, it often had me smiling and laughing as I read which  kept it genuinely entertaining. I own stacks of books on professional sales, corporate training manuals,  motivation, even the how to  books. As a professional in  marketing and sales it  has always been important to me to stay well informed.  I have a  couple books on the shelf half finished because they just bored me too much.  They really do just  sound alike sometimes.  I received Madison’s book in the mail and  had the time right then  to open it up  and begin reading. The next thing I knew I had read the entire book. It is not a very long book which is perfect for  busy people and it was just enjoyable to read. I felt like I was reading a long letter from a friend giving me some great advice. Some of the topics covered  include goal setting, effective business  planning,  tips on making good choices personally and in your career and sound business building practices. He also makes  outstanding points on ethics, professional presentation, and  for anyone starting a new  position working with the public. To me, what makes this book different than the stack of books  on the shelf is that it is written in a way that is not preaching or from an  overly egocentric point of view.  Madison Hildebrand writes a cleaver and engaging narrative  from a real world perspective and without even realizing it, you receive the fundamentals for a great career. What I appreciate most  from the book personally  is how it reminded me about the importance of attitude and passion not only  in my professional life, but in all important endeavors. I am 43 years old, I own companies and manage people and  sometimes  see myself  too deep in  the business end of it all.  This week after I read this book by Madison Hildebrand I  re-evaluated  how I  was interacting with my clients, especially some of my past clients and  I was able to identify and open  several outstanding new  business opportunities.  If you have been around a while, this book will remind you why you got in business and how to stay on top, if you are new it will show you a clear path to success. The book has a focus on the real estate industry, but is relevant to  most any career path especially any entrepreneur. I am hardly a professional book reviewer or critic, but I enjoyed this book and got something important out of it. I recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You can buy the book on Amazon at the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Activate-YOUR-Passion-Create-Career/dp/1419697676/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261178726&sr=1-1