fort myers fl homes | Fort Myers FL Homes

2011 – By the Numbers

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We could spend a lot of time going over all of the big events of 2011.  It was, after all, a year of major current events, however, our main focus is the economy, specifically relating to how the economy has affected the Southwest Florida real estate market.  I will be the first to admit that I was WRONG about the market in 2011.  I thought we would continue the trend towards stabilization in the market and have minor appreciation of values.  Well, I was accurate about the stabilization part, but appreciation overall has been higher than I would have expected.  Here are the numbers.

Lee County:

In a superb article from Fort Myers Florida Weekly (seen below), the numbers speak for themselves.  Since January 2011, the median sales price of homes in the Greater Fort Myers area have risen 28.27%.  The overall number of transactions has inched down by 5.5% when compared to this time in 2010.  They go on to explain the increase in median sales price to be a product of an increased number of traditional (non-distressed) sales.  The number of traditional sales has increased from 33.5% in January 2011 to 52.2%.  Certainly this is an indication that sellers are FINALLY seeing a better opportunity to sell…and for good reason. Even more interesting is the fact that the overall amount of inventory is down 30% from just a year ago.  We only have 3 months worth of inventory at current demand level.  Very impressive.

Collier County:

Collier County has seen its share of good news in the marketplace as well, but not nearly to the extend of Lee.  The graph below shows you the average sales price of single family homes in Collier County.  The trend line has remained somewhat flat for the year, but I would expect that December & January numbers would help increase it.  Obviously the average price is much higher than Lee overall, but that is to be expected.

2012 Prediction: While I certainly do not have the super powers of predicting the future (my crystal ball speech), I believe 2012 will be another positive year for real estate in Southwest Florida.  We are not through the woods yet when it comes to foreclosures & short sales, as I think it will be several years before we see that pipeline dry up.  However, we will see less short sales & foreclosures coming on the market which inevitably means continued appreciation.  Demand will remain high even though prices are heading northward.  Consumer confidence is likely to keep rising, especially with the upcoming elections.  Mortgage rates are at record lows now, but it will remain difficult to obtain financing.  We have been seeing the majority of our clients purchasing with cash, and I would expect that to remain the same.

Conclusion: We are still in a buyers market, but the tide is slowly changing in favor of sellers.  There is still time to buy at great prices.  If you’ve been holding off selling hoping the market would bounce back, you may want to have us look at the numbers and give you an analysis…you just might be surprised.


Below is the Florida Weekly article mentioned above.

Should I Own it or Rent it?

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One of the most frequent question I hear is, “Does it make sense for me to buy right now or does it make more sense to rent?”  I have been saying for some time now that it is time to buy but other than market trends and gut instincts I did not really have hard facts to back that statement up.  Today, however that has changed.  Vanessa Wong, from Business Week has revealed a formula for quantifying this that takes much of the mystery out of this dilemma.  According to her formula, if you:

divide the purchase price by the annual rent the home will command, you can determine which is better as follows.


1 to 15                         Less expensive to own
16 to20                        Owning is more expensive but may make sense
Over 21                       Only makes sense to own in select instances.

Let’s consider a real world situation.  Let’s say a house that will sell for $159,000.00 will rent for $1,200.00 per month.  According to her formula you should divide the selling price by the annual rent ($14,400) and you will come up with the number of 11.04.  In this instance, it would be much better to own than to rent.  Of course there are always many variables that come into play.  In Southwest Florida HOA fees can be considerable and have an impact on the cost of occupancy.  On the other side is the uncertainty of market influences on rentals. When you rent you are at the mercy of the landlord every year at renewal time.  Buying must always be a careful decision and it is one that you live with for years to come.  The market we are experiencing in Southwest Florida defies logic.  When selling prices are only 50 to 60% of the cost of new construction it is hard to make the argument for renting.  One of the key incentives for ownership is the ability to build equity.  With the market prices of re-sales at historic lows compared to new construction it is very hard to envision that this gap will not close meaning an increase in value and equity for those who own.  In Southwest Florida, if you have the ability to buy, all indications are that now may be one of the best opportunities in history.

Fort Myers Home Prices Firm Up | Are We at the Bottom?

By | Foreclosure Advice, Market Report | No Comments

The front page of today’s News Press reads “Lee County Home Prices, Sales Go Up”.  Optimism in the real estate industry has been hard to come by in recent times.  For the savvy home buyer, statistics prove the Southwest Florida real estate market is on the rebound.  The median price of a home in Lee County increased from $89,700 in September to $91,600 in October.  Those numbers may seem insignificant to the median home price of $322,300 in December of 2005, but the numbers are extremely important.

The savvy home buyer now knows that prices are on the increase, so much that 1,413 homes were sold in the month of October, just in Lee County.  Based on what we’re seeing, the deals are still plentiful.  We are receiving new notifications of incredible homes for even more incredible prices enter the market daily.

With the first time home buyer credit extension and deals of the decade, we anticipate sales will continue to rise as prices continue to firm up.  If you would like to be notified of the best deals as they enter the market, simply fill out the form on the top right of this page.  We will keep you in the “know.”

Fort Myers FL Real Estate – Historical Value Right Now

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If you follow my blog with any regularity you know that for the last 6 months that I have been shouting from the roof tops that now is the time to buy Fort Myers FL Real Estate. This area was home to the fastest growing real estate market in the country when the down turn hit. Over zealous investing created supply that just could not be absorbed once the slow down occurred. What has followed is a free fall in values as banks are forced to liquidate assets at 30 day prices. A November 11th article in the Fort Myers News Press outlines facts and trends that confirm my claims that the downward trend in values has bottomed. The following are a few bullet points from that article.
• In the past year alone the median price in Lee County has plunged 40% to just $98,000.00
• The nationwide median price is $177,900.00
• Veteran Real Estate expert says “Statistically, we are probably done with price drops”
• Buyers from the north know that this is the last year for bargain prices so they are motivated
• 64% of sales in Lee county in the past year have been cash sales
o Investors recognize this unique opportunity
• Passage of tax credits gives both first time buyers and current owners $6,500.00 to $8,000.00 incentive
What it doesn’t say is that Southwest Florida is one of the most desirable destinations in the country for its sun, beaches, and life style. We are watching a historical opportunity unfold. If you have any intentions of buying or investing in Florida real estate, I encourage you to jump off the fence and act now.

Tax Credit Extension

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Rarely will you see comments here regarding politics but this is one instance that I must speak out.  Today marks the day that the “first time home buyer tax credit” was extended and indeed expanded to include current home owners and our politicians deserve thanks.  It is no secret that this area has been pummeled by the melt down of the housing market.  I saw the previous credit give the industry a shot in the arm and watched in fear as the end of it approached.  Fort Myers FL homes have never been more affordable and combined with this credit, first time home buyers are foolish not to act.  Indeed, as a result they have not just been a part of the market; they have been the entire market.  Current home owners have seen their equity dry up and very few are bold enough to take on more debt in such uncertainty.  The extension of this credit is going to give retirees the incentive they need to act.  The credit is obviously not something that can go on forever but truly what is needed here and now.  I commend them.

How Will a Short Sale Affect My Credit?

By | Foreclosure Advice, Market Report, Short Sale Info | No Comments

This is the most often asked question and as always there is no pat answer.  It really depends on three factors:

1.) Your lender

2.) Your personal history

3.) Your representative handling the transaction.

Lenders are all over in their approach to short sales and can change strategy at any time.  Currently the general environment is that banks and lending institutions see short sales as a better alternative than holding properties through till foreclosure.  Of course they are going to force the homeowner to prove that they cannot honor the commitment they have made.  If you have the means to continue to pay banks likely will not forgive the debt just because home values have dropped.  They are not in the real estate business; they are in the loan business.  Taking back property is a last resort for them.  Currently lenders are ramping up efforts to deal with short sales.  They are finding that it saves money to deal with homeowners that are still living in the homes and caring for them.  Each lender has criterion for their own evaluation and operating structures which govern their actions and response times.

Finally, there is the representative that is handling the negotiation.  I encourage anyone interested in listing or purchasing short sale property to carefully scrutinize your representative.  All are not created equal.  At the Dohack Group we work hand in hand with an attorney negotiator who does nothing but work on short sales.  They deal with all of the lenders and know what is necessary to submit a complete package to their specifications the first time.  This assures that the timeline will be cut to the very minimum.  Additionally, we are finding that many financial institutions are increasingly willing to review the offer early in the process so that buyers know their potential for success in the end.  This is not widespread yet but is an early trend and long overdue.

When you own a Fort Myers FL home and find that a short sale is your only option, procrastination is the WORST possible idea.  The more proactive you can be in working on an alternative to foreclosure, the better. It is worth the effort and in the end it could be the best overall solution to a mortgage that you can no longer afford due to uncontrollable circumstances.  If you find yourself having these considerations I encourage you to act quickly.  The worst response is no response. The earlier you begin the better your chances of a successful conclusion.  We at the Dohack group are here to help you answer your questions and offer whatever help is in your best interest.

Cash is King

By | Foreclosure Advice, Market Report | No Comments

We have all heard the term but rarely in the context of real estate. It is amazing though how much it applies in this market. It is commonplace for banks to turn their noses up at full price offers on foreclosure properties only to turn around and accept a lower offer for cash. Once a property makes it through the lengthy process of foreclosure they are anxious to write it off their books. They are all too aware of the pitfalls that await financed homeowners in bringing the deal to a close. It is for this reason that I make the following recommendation to anyone hoping to cash in on the deals on Fort Myers FL homes. It is indeed wise to work out financing before you start shopping.

One way to accomplish this is to borrow against other assets. Do you have equity in your primary residence? Do you own a piece of property that has ample equity? Better yet do you already have a Line of Credit in place that you can utilize? Borrowing against other assets is wise for other reasons. Other costs associated with the purchase of a new home can be avoided. First and foremost is the Doc Stamp tax on the mortgage. Another is that an appraisal is optional. Add to that a price that will surely be thousands of dollars less and you quickly begin to understand my point. The money you save will pay any costs associated with procuring the loan. Add to that the fact that you can close in weeks instead of months.

What is that worth in saved aggravation? Planning ahead always makes sense, in this case it makes money. Plan ahead and take advantage.

Should I Buy in Fort Myers – Continued

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Originally being from St. Louis, I am often asked this question.  As with most questions there is no blanket answer.  For the most part I would answer YES.  Fort Myers FL homes are undeniable bargains.  As an investment vehicle or as a vacation or retirement home absolutely, YES.  My only reservation would be for those who want to relocate and find local employment.  The factors that have combined to depress real estate values include unemployment rates in excess of 13%.  The decline in real estate values and joblessness go hand in hand.  There have been record home sales in the past three months and I fully expect that as a result the first positive trend in unemployment in years is just around the corner.  This area has always been driven by tourism and construction and with those industries suffering the area’s economy suffers.

Until now the biggest segment of foreclosures has been low end homes.  Much activity has centered in Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres.  The trend is now moving to more expensive homes in those communities and in Fort Myers.  Investors were the first to fold as a result of over leverage.  Now the effects are being felt among those in primary residences. Anyway, you get the point.  Fort Myers FL homes are a true value for those with the ability to buy and own them.  Nobody has a crystal ball but I look at current prices, current rents, and the ability to cash flow on investment properties, along with the potential for gains in 3 to 5 years and find it hard to be pessimistic.

Investment Properties Fort Myers FL – So You Think You Are Ready?

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So you think you are ready to jump in and buy that Fort Myers FL home.  You have 9 days to come to sunny Fort Myers, relax, soak up some sun, and oh yea buy a vacation home.  As crazy as this sounds to some, my wife would just shake her head and say here we go again.  It is hard to admit but sometimes her reasoning is just better than mine.  Fortunately, we live in an age where making this work scenario is not impossible.

Thanks to the amazing internet investment properties in Fort Myers FL are purchased regularly by investors who never step foot in them.  Do I recommend this?  Yes, but only in rare situations.  If you have worked with an agent several times in the past and have good rapport then it is possible to succeed in this manner.  If on the other hand you are seeking a home that will be your personal residence I would certainly encourage you to be personally active.

A house must feel like a home.  While a picture is worth a 1000 words, nothing takes the place of walking the property and the home.  This being said the process does not need to consume your vacation.  The amount of information available on the internet is nearly limitless and coupled with an agent that knows the area and is comfortable with the technology available today the process can certainly be taken from drudgery to invigorating.

I have experienced lazy agents who think nothing of wasting their clients’ time.  They haphazardly assemble a list of properties that they have not viewed and begin an aimless day of trudging through property after property.  Would you spend time touring countless Chevrolet dealers if what you really wanted was a Mercedes?  Why would you?  While it the price of the Chevrolet is appealing, in the end you will not be happy with it.

As an agent, I am responsible for knowing the area and what it has to offer.  I am in and out of homes in every price range and every community and combined with your communication can steer you to a home that will please you.  The market is dynamic right now.  It is driven by foreclosure and short sale homes that are undeniable bargains.  We have all heard the used car salesman’s line, “ act now or this one will be gone”.  For lower end homes I am happy to tell you that this is indeed the case.  Higher priced homes are not moving quite as fast right now but the bargains are being snapped up in every category.  My advice is, “do your homework before you arrive and be ready to commit.”

I have witnessed the disappointment associated with delayed decisions that ends in losing the perfect home.  Define your budget and expectations and share them openly with your agent.  Allow him to familiarize you with communities, HOA associations and fees, and individual homes so that the process of home buying can be enjoyable and your vacation can be a vacation.  Hope to see you in sunny Florida soon.

Take a Break! Bonefish Grill Fort Myers

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For the most part these pages are filled with facts and advice pertaining to Fort Myers FL Homes for sale.  Once in a while though, everyone needs to take a break.  What is more enjoyable than a night out for dinner or cocktails or both?  I spent more than 30 years as a restaurant owner dedicating my life to providing that enjoyment to others so I have a very real appreciation for the dedication it takes to offer first rate dining with consistency. 

My hat is off to Butch Murray at Bonefish Grill in Fort Myers.  My wife and I dine there bonefish grill fort myersregularly and we are always impressed.  The staff is meticulously trained and knowledgeable and delivers quality food and service without fail.  All of this is in addition to the spectacular atmosphere which is refined but comfortable.  Bang Bang Shrimp is mandatory so arrive hungry and be ready to be wowed.  Honorable mention goes to Leroy Selmon’s for their spectacular wings.  More on that later.  Enjoy!!

First Time Home Buyers in Fort Myers

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It is the age of the stimulus.

The government – in an effort to jump start the economy – has instituted a number of programs most of which have fallen short of the intended purpose.  The foreclosure nightmare has created an unprecedented number of Fort Myers FL homes for sale at historically low prices and one of the most generous programs offered to the general public is the “First Time Home Buyer Program”.  This program offers 8% of the purchase price of a home up to $100,000.00 or $8,000.00 in the way of an income tax credit to first time home buyers.  This program is somewhat narrow in focus, and in many ways falls short of accomplishing its intended purpose, but if you fall within the designated criteria you cannot afford to let this pass you by.  Essentially the government is stepping up and making your down payment through a dollar for dollar tax credit.

The bottom line is that Fort Myers FL homes are being purchased at bargain prices with minimal or no down payment.  In order to assure that you qualify however it is recommended that contracts are submitted and accepted by the end of September so that banks can complete paperwork before the November 30th deadline.

This is an incredible opportunity for first time home buyers to begin building net worth and a bright future.

First Time Home Buyer Assistance

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Time is Running out for First Time Home Buyers

OK – so you have heard about the “First Time Home Buyer” assistance program that the federal government has offered and you have wondered if maybe you would be eligible. Well there is only one way to find out and that is for you to apply. The reality is that there are plenty of Fort Myers, FL homes for sale that are priced to take advantage of this but time is running out. If you have questions I encourage you to call me and allow me to work with you directly but I have located a video that does a very good job of outlining the program. Just watch the video below.

In summary, this program is unprecedented and very easy to qualify. I have seen many cases where owning one of these homes is actually less costly than renting and it gives you an opportunity to build equity and a bright future. DO NOT WASTE ANY MORE PRECIOUS TIME. CALL ME AND APPLY!

Welcome to Fort Myers FL Homes

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Thank you for visiting the “home” of Fort Myers FL Homes. With the ever changing market, we are always coming across amazing new opportunities to buy or sell in Southwest Florida. Feel free to search around the website and even look at the “Find A Home” tab above for current deals on the market.

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