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 and 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 go live with the expanded and improved version of www.ExecutiveHome.Services and SanibelLuxuryBroker.com. 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 here now.

Thank you 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 Executive Home Services. contact me right away regarding your home and the information these websites in Southwest Florida. Call me at 239.878.0637 today.

My Personal Real Estate Investment Picks

The press has said yesterday home prices are flattening or leveling. Sales have been picking up and inventory has been thinning, economics 101 tells us the prices will level. There is still room to move downward in some areas like north Cape Coral, Florida where the city continues with a water and sewer project that will attach an assessment of somewhere between ten and twenty thousand dollars to every property as it puts in a new water and sewer system. Considering Cape Coral is at the top of the national list for foreclosures and the well and septic systems work very well in that less populated area, that does not sound like a welcome action to the property owners. I own a property in that area and while the assessment does not affect me, especially since I already know it will mean my investment value will increase by the assessed amount or more and I will get a new road installed as well, there are those who are not so fortunate and cannot afford this assessment. While I feel bad for those people,  the best and only thing I can do is help them sell if they must, which is why I recommend that area as a great place to watch for upcoming investment deals.

My personal favorite investment now and over the next 24 months are the homes in the far southern end of Cape Coral with Gulf of Mexico access. Those homes generally peaked at over half a million dollars for basically tear downs and can now be bought for just over 100k. Not that I expect the old prices anytime soon, but consider the benefits of these investment properties: minimum 80 foot wide deep water canals with a standard lot size of 80ft water frontage and  120 to 150 foot lot depth, typical home is three bedroom two bath with a garage, usually just minutes out to the open water of the Gulf for fishing or pleasure boating, minutes away from Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach by water or land, direct access to the Atlantic directly across the State of Florida via the Caloosahatchee River which connects to Lake Okeechobee and exits near West Palm Beach. I hear people asking, “Where can I invest?” Buying an investment property at the bottom of the market in a location like this is hard to beat.

Here is my disclaimer, you need to do your homework before making any real estate investment. What is right for one person may not be right for another and if you buy a property without consulting a professional Realtor (see earlier article) and you pay too much or buy a lemon, don’t blame me. If you contact me and we get you a great property, then you are welcome to blame that on me to all of your friends.

New Listings In The Real Estate Industry

A large part of the real estate business for agents has always been about getting the listing. Sending the postcards, making the presentation even making cold calls if need be. As I built my real estate business that was an important part of my work as well. When  I began to specialize my real estate work into luxury homes, listings became more than just a piece of inventory to be placed in a file and on the Internet like most home listings are handled. Luxury homes need to be presented and advertised in the correct fashion to the right clientele. Advertising a million dollar home in a book that is only found in the discount store exit or a web site that no one sees is not usually going to put the information in the right hands. The right real estate marketing is a skill developed over years of practice,  media contacts and web site positioning. It is also a very large monetary investment to advertise a luxury home properly  which is another reason many agents should not attempt it for their clients sake.

As the real estate market changed over the past few years my business adapted. Why would I want to take on a listing that was dropping in value on a daily basis which drove off most all buyers. I consider every real estate listing into my business as an investment which I expect to make a return on. I only market a property the right way, so if I expect I will  spend $20k to $30k  in marketing for a luxury property, I will also expect a sale in a reasonable amount of time at or close to the price we set. For quite a while that has been a very difficult formula to justify when making this investment.

This year real estate buyers from around the world have realized the housing market in Fort Myers and Cape Coral has reached a price point that makes sense again and have slowly begun investing again in our properties. Many sellers have also realized they can sell their home at a fair market price and still be in great financial shape because their next home they buy, no matter where it is, can now also be purchased at a very good price. There are still the real estate sellers  holding out and  wishing for that extra  few hundred thousand  dollars or more that we just cannot justify with the facts.  Those people will have to wait until the next market peak to sell their property at that price. The sellers with realistic expectations and who are willing to work with facts for the purpose of actually selling a property are who I am willing to work with now.

As I mentioned in another article, I put together a business plan to sell your property. We will meet and discuss your property and your expectations. I will tell you what I will do for you and my expectations as well. We will decide on a sale price that will make you competitive in the marketplace, come to terms on a listing contract and then the fun begins. I do mean fun too; I enjoy bringing a property to the real estate market. I  use some of the most unique and high exposure real estate marketing tools on a local,  national and international level. The property will be exposed to all Realtors as there is a great possibility one of them will bring  our buyer, but our marketing is targeted to the right  clientele where ever they may be whether it is Miami, the Northeast, Lake of the Ozarks or California.  I also have contacts in Canada, Germany, the UK and other locations across the planet where our clients come from.

To find out more and  to contact me about listing your property, go to my web site www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com or call 239-878-0637.

Approved Home Financing and Cash Home Buyers

I am a broker who is well positioned in the local marketplace. Because of that  I am usually contacted several times a day by people wanting me to make appointments to  show them properties and make  offers  before they even talk to a lender about home financing or  verify they have the cash to buy any property.  That is not the way the professional real estate business works.  You can easily find  other  agents who’s experience leads them to think real estate transactions are supposed to be a  series of  hazards,  headaches, and obstacles or you can work with me  and follow  simple steps to  create a professional transaction. Making sure you have the money in place is the first step, but one that is too often blundered.

Before we set up any showing appointments:

  1. If you do not need home financing and are paying cash, you will need your bank to prepare an evidence of funds letter to accompany our offer on the property and to show me you actually have the funds as well. Banks are happy to print those up for good customers like you. People have tried to lie to me about their finances in the past just to get the luxury home or investment tour. Some sellers will not let a buyer on the  grounds of  a luxury home without first  proof they can afford it.  Don’t be offended,  we will do the same thing when you have me sell it someday. Be sure you have the cash available to pay closing costs as well which I can  help you determine. If you are writing a check from a line of credit, fund or something similar, that is still cash and we would need a letter showing your line is open, sufficiently large  and available to you.
  2. If you are going to use home financing, you will need to talk to your lender before we schedule  on site showings  and have them approve you for the  general loan amount. That means you will need to tell them what you have in mind, show them some of the price figures and properties if needed which you and I  will discuss before  you approach them.  You must then provide them with all of the information they need to submit to underwriting so you can get the loan commitment  very soon after we have an accepted contract on a property. That means you give them your tax records, asset documents, whatever they need. You do not give that information to me, I do not want or need it. The lender will then give you a very professional letter on their letterhead which you will give to me that states you have submitted all of the information required to obtain a loan for “X” amount  and  your information  has been completely submitted to and approved by their institution with certain exceptions like the appraisal, survey, insurance,  inspection results, sales contract and such items related to the actual home and transaction that we can not provide yet. That letter will accompany the offer when I present it to the sellers. You can provide all the information and ask the lender how much you are approved to borrow and they  may give you an upper price  limit, but the more specific information you can provide the lender, the better the information you will get in return. Without working closely with your lender your answer from home financing underwriting may not qualify as an actual approval but instead just a pre-qualification which will not work for us. If there is any additional issue that comes up in underwriting your lender should be able to resolve it quickly with you if everything else has been done properly. If you are only home financing a small part of a purchase you need to show evidence of the funds to close as mentioned in the “cash” section above for the cash portion. Don’t even think about  asking to make a contract contingent upon the sale of your current home unless you have enormously overwhelming evidence that the other transaction is about to successfully close.

Why is this all so important? Because most sellers now will not look at an offer without this evidence or home financing approval from the bank. I don’t blame them considering how difficult it can be for even well qualified people to be financed. Even if it is not difficult, it can be time consuming and time is always of the essence in a real estate contract. Sellers do not want to take a property of the market unless they know the person can actually buy it. In the past, anyone could get quick, easy financing. There are still people out there who do not realize those days are gone and  go shopping for  a home when they can  not even  finance a car. This is the reason I can not physically show homes before we address home financing and one of the two above conditions are met. It is completely unfair to the sellers and my busy schedule if you are not qualified.  If you need advise on a good lender, I will recommend several excellent professionals who you can speak with and will take good care of you. I do not pretend to be a lender myself, I already have a good job. If you have the cash, you have the easy job. The bank can fax or email me what we need in minutes. Many banks are in trouble and I have had fully approved buyers have their loans denied in underwriting for no fault of their own. Chase Bank just recently did that to a very well qualified buyer of mine. We changed lenders and  closed, but the closing delay was  over a month. Just another very important reason to have the right agent like me to smooth over these types of contract difficulties.

Buying  or selling  property can be a lot of fun and a great experience, if you do it right. Otherwise it can be a very costly, hectic and even legal nightmare. These home financing requirements are important steps in handling your transaction properly. They are not the only steps, they are your first priority.

Ok, I’ll talk about the real estate market.

I was hounded to write my opinion about the real estate market. This is a new blog and I was avoiding that because everybody talks about the market. I would rather have an open exchange of relevant real estate ideas and thoughts. My take on the market in general is similar to everyone else. Low priced properties like the foreclosures and short sales are moving very well and giving the  Realtors something positive to talk about. Those properties  are not really my area of expertise, but I watch what is happening and the sales numbers are impressive. It can be difficult for the small investor to buy the best deals because we are seeing a different class of investors in the market now who are buying these homes like the pros they are. Multiple offers, multiple closings, some for rentals and some for fix and maybe flip.  I hope they keep it up because they are fixing up a lot of ugly homes and messed up neighborhoods created by the previous owners and investors owning homes they never should have been able to buy and destroying them.

Homes off water are a great buy and you can find many foreclosures and builder inventory at bargain prices. Homes on a Gulf access canal can even be an older and ugly house, but still a great investment for the future. Think long term or maybe boat house.

You can expect to get a beautiful foreclosure luxury home in the half million dollar price arena and of course up.  I found that there are many people who are still holding out for hope and change in this price range, particularly in some of the higher prices on the golf courses in south Lee County and waterfront homes in Cape Coral. I truly wish I could get you that million dollars or more the appraiser told you  it was worth  back in the real estate market of yesteryear.  I know some of you took out those equity lines and used your home like an ATM machine. You are fully entitled to your own opinion about your home value, but not to your own facts about the real estate market. Your buyers are educated  and they don’t really care why the very comparable home down the street sold for two hundred thousand less than you are asking, they just know that it did and the bank will know it as well when they get the appraisal and they will not lend money on a home that is overpriced for the market.  I would like to sell your home for the old prices, I would make more money that way as well, but that is not the way the world works.

In the true luxury home market it is more difficult to determine a real trend in the real estate market because if you want the best, it still has great value in any sales environment. The undeniable fact is that those prices are deflated across the board as well compared to the peak of the market and bargains are most certainly to be found. I have seen some multi-million dollar foreclosures that are stunning deals. Comparable sales and comparable homes in general can be hard to find when pricing or making an offer on many of these homes so be certain to call me.

If you are financing, the interest rates are still great. I think it would be foolish to think that will remain true. I am not a professional economist, but I hear many of those who are saying rates will be rising in the near future.

The lines I hate to say, but can’t avoid  are ” Now is a great time to buy!” and “You should really buy now!” It is true, especially right now as summer is here in Florida and the real estate market is slower.

Each home, neighborhood and circumstance  is different, especially in this crazy real estate market. If you want to buy or sell we will need to speak and prepare a business plan of sorts to get you to your goal successfully. That is what I do. Go to www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com for more information.

Beware of the amazing internet house deal.

Every day I am contacted by  people who have seen a house on some web site that just looks amazing, incredible, unbelievable whatever. Every day I have to  let them  down  by telling them, “No that condo is not for sale for $3500. That is the weekly rent.” or “No that home for $100,000 is is not really on a Gulf of Mexico access canal” or “Sorry that house shows active on that site, but it is really under contract.”

The point is the information you see in the automated property search sites is not accurate sometimes due to  the lag time between the information update between the real Multiple Listing Systems, the IDX systems and the sites themselves or just because of human error in typing info and updates into the system. It has also been a trend by lesser agents  in this competitive market to pad a listing with attractive, but inaccurate info just to  lure potential buyers to contact  them. That is the same principle as the phishing email scam. The MLS administrators and good brokers try hard to weed out that garbage, but there is a lot of information to cover.

The bottom line: if the house looks too good to be true it probably is. Don’t get hooked by a scammer or con person and if you want real, current information on properties in Southwest Florida just ask me. I  will look at the real MLS which is the first hand information from our Board of Realtors and send the information right to you. On my website www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com I have a search page that is different that anyone else. It is actually the map search directly from the Realtor MLS. Its is not flashy, but you can zoom into the exact area you want to see properties and see what is available in real time with the raw data from the Realtor. When it is time to get serious about looking at a house to buy, call or email me to get all of the information you need and the professional service that come with a professional real estate Broker.