In case you had any doubt about inventory shortages, here are some facts.

In all of Lee County Florida there are only 40 homes for sale under $500,000 that are a minimum of 3 bedrooms, 2 baths built since 2010; 2500 square feet or larger (Under $500,000 search here). If I lower the price in my search to a maximum price of $300,000 there are only 13 homes on the market that meet the criteria.  (Want to try different criteria? Click here

If you are looking for a smaller home, how about 1750 sf, 3 bedroom, 2 bath home built since 2007 (to be certain there is no Chinese drywall ) and under $150,000? There are only 60 on the market today.

Gail and I went with my brother Bill and his wife yesterday to look at homes for us to buy, renovate and re-sell.  We are looking in Fort Myers under $200,000. (There are only 18 on the market).

This tight inventory picture can be viewed all over Florida. In Sarasota there were none that met the under $200,000 criteria above. In all of Sarasota County there were 44. In the city or Orlando only 19.

To compound the shortage of inventory problems many of the homes that are on the market never get to the general buyer because of one or more of the following.

·  They are being sold as an REO (foreclosed home) and will more than likely sell to a cash buyer. Most owner occupant buyers need to finance and don’t know how to compete with cash buyers. (We can help you with that)

·  The home needs substantial repairs and here again most owner occupant buyers don’t have the means to buy AND renovate a house ( We have a solution to that as well)

·  Many are short sales that can take weeks if not months to negotiate and most buyers can’t afford the wait. (For more about short sales click here).  

·  Some of the “good deals” are not on the MLS or at best poorly represented on the MLS by national liquidators.

·  The homes that are being sold as short sales or REOs are often presented very poorly, dirty, not secured, smell and have been robbed of their appliances and air conditioners.

·  Some have been on the market a long time unsellable because of price or condition or lack of approval by the bank.  These homes eventually ARE priced right and ARE sellable, but by the time they are, the buyer sees, for example,  222 days on the market(DOM) and they will not look at the home because they assume something is wrong with it since it did not sell in 222 days.

So, what does all this mean to you as a buyer or seller?

You need a good agent on your side. Look, I know you think I have a horse in this race, but bear with me. A good agent that watches the market daily, sees many homes, knows how to get pre-approval mortgages and can work with the banks, sellers, and other brokers is worth more than his commission.  Once you find a good agent that works well with you and understands your needs, be loyal to her.

If you are the buyer you need to look at many homes.  Our web site is wonderful, but nothing beats driving around and looking at neighborhoods and houses.   If you like a particular neighborhood, look at all the homes in the area. In this way will you will know a good deal when you see one.  Many times it is MY BUYER that calls me and says something like this, “I just drove by an area that I like, or a house that I like, can you help me?” 

At the end of the day it is YOUR decision, your choice, so it is important for you to know the market as well as the agent. Each of our agents has a specialty – and they see hundreds of homes.  Their knowledge of the market, coupled with what you tell them about your needs makes them invaluable.

Prices are going up. Of this there is no doubt in my mind. I see it every day. Buy now, not later.

Interest rates will rise. Money is still cheap (around 4%). This means that this is a good time to sell while your buyers can afford to borrow. ( For a valuation on your home click here)

Look for anomalies. Look for prices below replacement costs for homes built since 2005  (Like Oasis Condos); houses with low prices and long days on market DOM – go see them and find out why.

Get an appraisal on your house if you are thinking of selling – you may be surprised at current Values

Know how much home you should buy.  Want some help with that? Click Here

As a seller it is easier for you to make your home shine and stand out. Get some help with that here.

Buy New.  Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Market America Group has agents that are experts in the new home buying process.  In a new home you get the energy efficiency, size, and amenities you want.  Prices are still attractive because land costs have been low. This will not always be the case.  We represent many new home builders and their communities.

Make sure you use one of our agents when you go to a new community – you need someone to represent you. I am involved in a new community on Siesta Drive near Siesta Key entrance in Sarasota – and we are in the final  design stages on the West Indies style homes – The Enclave by Park Shore Homes. Click that link to be the first to get elevations and floor plans as well as pricing.

Think Pre Construction purchasing.  Those of you that have followed me for a while know that we were very big in preconstruction sales. Well, pre construction buying ( also called off plan) has returned and for a while there are deals to be had. Two reasons for this: 1. Low acquisition costs on lots and 2. Developers will cut deals on pre sells.  I have always liked pre construction opportunities in a rising market because you lock in prices today, but take deliver at a later time. We have a new project in Bonita Springs that I will announce soon, and one off McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers. Interested in preconstruction deals? 

Email me at GFous@marketamericarealty.com and I will call you.

Get your financial house in order.  We can get you renovation financing, mortgage money and construction to perm loans.   But spend some time getting all your records in one spot so you can easily provide a lender with all she needs.  I always like to get pre approval (not just pre qualified) before I go shopping. In this market when you find a house you want to buy, you will have precious little time to put all that together.

Folks, I believe we are in for an exciting real estate season, our move to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is one month young and I am more energized than ever.  

We have a superb team and excellent agents.  We will grow this business as I have always done – and that is by building relationships. Relationships built with Passion, Authenticity, Innovation, Growth, and Excellence.

I am actively seeking teams, companies, and experienced agents in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Naples, and Orlando.

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