Carol Hilleary


Thinking about selling your home in southwest Florida?

For the first time in a decade the inventory of available properties is dropping, county appraisers are increasing property values on their websites, and we are seeing a decrease in the number of distressed properties such as short sales and foreclosures. This means you can get more for your house and sell it in a shorter amount of time. We are once again seeing bidding wars on regular sales. That's right – regular sales - not short sales or foreclosures.

What does this mean for homeowners contemplating putting their house on the market? According to in their online June 28 th issue entitled “The Housing Market's Latest Problem: Lack of Inventory” there are bidding wars and multiple offers resulting from the low inventory. We are seeing this “buying frenzy” in southwest Florida as well as a gradual gain in home prices. Waterfront properties have always been in demand, especially if they provide access to the Gulf of Mexico. We are seeing baby boomers and investors searching for these houses and making their purchase before the property values and interest rates begin to climb. Interest rates are still low making this a good time for investors and buyers of primary or seasonal residences to make their move. Baby Boomers are coming of age for retirement and this is increasing the demand for housing in southwest Florida.

What factors should you consider as you decide whether this is a good time to sell your property?

* Lower inventory means less competition . This is especially true for waterfront properties but also houses in gated communities, and houses in all price points. This situation creates a higher demand than supply and this means a quicker sale for a higher price when compared to a few months ago.

* What are you paying in expenses for your house and do the advantages of ownership outweigh the cost of maintaining your property . Consider the cost of property taxes, homeowner's insurance, maintenance of the interior and exterior, repairs and replacement, pool and yard maintenance, power washing and painting, fees such as homeowners association and condo fees, mortgage interest and monthly utilities.

* Should you sell now or would it be better to wait? Once you determine the cost of maintaining your property then it is time to see what you could sell it for in the current market. Your realtor can do a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) to help determine what properties comparable to yours are selling for and approximately how long this will take. If selling now will save you significantly and fits into your overall plans then it is time. If your property is low maintenance, such as a parcel of land, and expenses are low you may be better off waiting until you could sell for a higher price.

* Are you planning to upgrade to a larger house, waterfront property, a new house or to build your own dream home? If so it may be the time to have your realtor do the CMA on your house as well as houses of interest. This may be the time to upgrade and get what you have dreamed of owning or to sell and scale down to a house that is less maintenance and expense so that you can enjoy life without the extra work and expense.

If you are thinking about buying or selling and have unanswered questions, we are here to help you find answers that will help you to make the best decisions. Our offices in Florida and Europe have caring, experienced and well informed realtors and contractors on call to help you.