SW Florida Real Estate News

Updated Buyer and Seller advice as well as lifestyle information for SW Florida areas including: Cape Coral, Ft Myers, Ft Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, Bonita, Estero, Naples, and Marco Island. Links to the SWFL MLS / FGC MLS allow home buyers to search for homes for sale as well.

Dec. 3, 2020




New construction front of home  

Homes for sale are in short supply in SW Florida. Few homeowners want to part with their piece of paradise. A new construction home may be just the ticket for you. 

New construction home pool

New homes have the latest features-granite or quartz counters, tile flooring, high ceilings, luxury bathrooms, open concept, smart technology, etc. New construction home kitchen



View new construction homes for sale in Cape Coral from $500,000 to $1,000,000

View new construction homes for sale in Cape Coral from $250,000 to $500,000 


 If you’re in the market for real estate and want information on buying or selling a home or condo in Cape Coral, contact Jill Winchel at 615-504-1185. I am a Realtor with The Koffman Group at Royal Shell Real Estate.

Start your home search now...

Cape Coral Gulf Access Pool Resale Homes for Sale up to $500,000

Cape Coral Gulf Access Pool Resale Homes for Sale up to $1,000,000



Dec. 3, 2020







I helped buyers purchase a beautiful Gulf access pool home recently and they only saw it via Facetime prior to closing!

Yes, it is possible to make a long-distance purchase in these challenging times.

My customers were interested in a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with a pool, a nice water view, and a short boat ride out to the Gulf. After noticing a new listing pop up that matched this criteria, I immediately called the buyers and suggested a Facetime showing. The buyers were prepared to make an offer after that showing.

They went under contract quickly. I was present during the home inspection and offered advice for repairs to the buyers. Repairs were made by the sellers.

The buyers came to town for the final walk-through and closing and were thrilled with their purchase.

If you are considering buying a home in Cape Coral, please get in touch with me so that I can provide you with the same personal service.

Click the address link to view pictures of this home. BUYING A CAPE CORAL HOME VIA FACETIME.  



If you’re in the market for real estate and want information on buying or selling a home or condo in Cape Coral, contact Jill Winchel at 615-504-1185. I am a Realtor with The Koffman Group at Royal Shell Real Estate.

Start your home search now...

Cape Coral Gulf Access Pool Homes for Sale up to $500,000

Cape Coral Gulf Access Pool Homes for Sale up to $1,000,000



Oct. 20, 2020

Lovers Key State Park


This is a beautiful, natural beach just south of Fort Myers Beach and north of Bonita Beach. There is an $8 fee per vehicle or $4 for only one person. The park offers plenty of parking, restrooms, equipment rental, and food. It is open from 8:00 am until sunset everyday. Lovers Key signage

The beach isn't very wide and doesn't have many shells but you have plenty of walking and sitting opportunities on the 2 mile stretch of sand.

It is similar to Bowman's Beach on Sanibel Island as you have a couple of bridges to cross over the intercoastal waters in order to reach the beach. There is a tram available to transport visitors from the parking lot to the beach. Lovers Key looking to the south

If you're interested in collecting shells you would be better off going to Sanibel Island but if you just want to enjoy the surf and sand on a pristine Gulf beach then make your way to Lovers Key.

One big shell

View my A Minute on the Beach series.

Lovers Key State Park

If you’re in the market for real estate and want information on buying or selling a home or condo in SW Florida, contact Jill Winchel at 615-504-1185. I am a Realtor with The Koffman Group at Royal Shell Real Estate. Learn more on my YouTube Channel, Facebook page and Blog

Cape Coral Homes for Sale

Cape Coral Condos for Sale

Cape Coral Lots for Sale


Lovers Key State Park

Posted by Jill Winchel

Oct. 9, 2020

Landscaping in SW Florida

Landscaping in SW Florida

Don't plant too much as everything grows so fast here! If you're not careful you'll be spending all of your time trimming, weeding, and carrying debris to the roadside. And don't get me started on seed pods...

No, seriously, we grow beautiful palm trees and tropical plants here which helps to make this area a paradise. A quick walk around your yard each day will keep it in check. Trimming or picking up palm fronds once a week the day before they get picked up is also a good idea.

Take care to keep bushes and trees trimmed away from your home to keep bugs and rodents at bay. You also don't want a large palm tree frond falling on your roof and damaging tiles or shingles.

View my vlog series for more info on Cape Coral and SW Florida.

10 Things Your Realtor Probably Didn't Tell You

10 More Things Your Realtor Probably Didn't Tell You

If you’re in the market for real estate and want information on buying or selling a home or condo in Cape Coral, contact Jill Winchel at 615-504-1185. I am a Realtor with The Koffman Group at Royal Shell Real Estate. Learn more on my YouTube Channel, Facebook page and Blog

Cape Coral Homes for Sale

Cape Coral Condos for Sale

Cape Coral Lots for Sale


Landscaping in SW Florida

Posted by Jill Winchel

Aug. 7, 2020

Cape Coral Gulf Access Home Sales Explode in July 2020!

Gulf Access home sales in Cape Coral for July 2020 hit record numbers with 150 homes sold in the SWFL MLS, the highest number of recorded sales in this category since The Koffman Group began keeping this statistic in 2004. Median sales price for Gulf access homes ticked down to $456,000 from $465,000 in June. Strong home sales in SWFL continue during the covid-19 pandemic across all real estate categories.

Cape Coral Gulf Access Home Sales Historical ChartSee Historical sales on our Cape Coral Gulf Access Homes Market Report Page


Aug. 7, 2020





5214 Tiffany Ct Cape Coral Pool  

Timeless elegance is found throughout this home. In addition, it is located on a quiet street and it has direct access boating out to the Gulf of Mexico. Do you want a home that is better than all the rest? Are you ready to experience waterfront living in the Yacht Club? 



SPACIOUS CUSTOM INTERIOR- 5214 Tiffany Ct Cape Coral kitchen


TROPICAL EXTERIOR- 5214 Tiffany Ct Cape Coral front


BONUS- 5214 Tiffany Ct Cape Coral lanai



Don't let this one get away. What more could you ask for? 

Click any picture to see more pictures of this DIRECT GULF ACCESS BOATING FROM CAPE CORAL HOME FOR SALE.  Call me at 615-504-1185 for a personal viewing or start viewing similar listings on my website now...Cape Coral Gulf Access Pool Homes for Sale



If you’re in the market for real estate and want information on buying or selling a home or condo in Cape Coral, contact Jill Winchel at 615-504-1185. I am a Realtor with The Koffman Group at Royal Shell Real Estate.



Aug. 6, 2020





5411 SW 17TH AVE, CAPE CORAL FL 33914


Are you ready to experience waterfront living and the SW Florida lifestyle? Then don't miss this opportunity!









Pool and canal kitchen of 5411 SW 17th Ave

Don't let this one get away. What more could you ask for? 

Click any picture to see more pictures of this SPACIOUS WATERFRONT HOME FOR SALE IN CAPE CORAL.  Call me at 615-504-1185 for a personal viewing or start viewing similar listings on my website now...Cape Coral Gulf Access Pool Homes for Sale


Drive south on Chiquita Blvd S, turn right at the 4 way stop at El Dorado Pkwy W, turn right onto SW 17th Ave. The home is the 4th one on the right.

If you’re in the market for real estate and want information on buying or selling a home or condo in Cape Coral, contact Jill Winchel at 615-504-1185. I am a Realtor with The Koffman Group at Royal Shell Real Estate.

SPACIOUS WATERFRONT HOME FOR SALE IN CAPE CORAL. 5411 SW 17TH AVE Cape Coral FL 33914 Posted by Jill Winchel


July 23, 2020

#StayHome: How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home  During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us are spending a lot more time at home. We’re all being called upon to avoid public spaces and practice social distancing to help slow the spread of this infectious disease. While it can be understandably challenging, there are ways you can modify your home and your lifestyle to make the best of this difficult situation. Here are a few tips for creating comfortable and functional spaces within your home for work, school, and fitness. We also share some of our favorite ways to stay connected as a community, because we’re all in this together … and no one should face these trying times alone.  

Begin with the Basics

A basic home emergency preparedness kit is a great addition to any home, even under normal circumstances. It should include items like water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, first aid kit, and other essentials you would need should you temporarily lose access to food, water, or electricity. Fortunately, authorities don’t anticipate any serious interruptions to utilities or the food supply during this outbreak. However, it may be a good time to start gathering your emergency basics in a designated location, so you’ll be prepared now-—and in the future—should your family ever need them. 

Ready to start building an emergency kit for your home? Contact us for a free copy of our Home Emergency Preparation Checklist!

Working From Home

Many employees are being asked to work remotely. If you’re transitioning to a home office for the first time, it’s important to create a designated space for work … so it doesn’t creep into your home life, and vice versa. If you live in a small condominium or apartment, this may feel impossible. But try to find a quiet corner where you can set up a desk and comfortable chair. The simple act of separating your home and work spaces can help you focus during work hours and “turn off” at the end of the day.  Of course, if you have children who are home with you all day (given many schools and daycares are now closed), separating your home and work life will be more difficult. Unless you have a partner who can serve as the primary caregiver, you will need to help manage the needs of your children while juggling work and virtual meetings. If both parents are working from home, try alternating shifts, so you each have a designated time to work and to parent. If that’s not an option, experts recommend creating a schedule for your children, so they know when you’re available to play, and when you need to work.1 A red stop sign on the door can help remind them when you shouldn’t be disturbed. And for young children, blocking off a specific time each day for them to nap or have independent screen time can give you a window to schedule conference calls or work uninterrupted.  

Homeschooling Your Children Many parents with school-aged children will be taking on a new challenge: homeschooling. Similar to a home office, designating a space for learning activities can help your child transition between play and school. If you’re working from home, the homeschooling area would ideally be located near your workspace, so you can offer assistance and answer questions, as needed. If possible, dedicate a desk or table where your child’s work can be spread out—and left out when they break for meals and snacks. Position supplies and materials nearby so they are independently accessible, and place a trash can and recycling bin within reach for easy cleanup. A washable, plastic tablecloth can help transition an academic space into an arts and crafts area. If the weather is nice, try studying outside! A porch swing is a perfect spot for reading, and gardening in the backyard is a great addition to any science curriculum.  In addition to creating an academic learning environment, find age-appropriate opportunities for your children to help with household chores and meal preparation. Homeschooling advocates emphasize the importance of developing life skills alongside academic ones.2 And with more meals and activities taking place at home, there will be ample opportunity for every family member to pitch in and help.   Staying Fit With gyms closed and team sports canceled, it can be tempting to sit on the sofa and binge Netflix. However, maintaining the physical health and mental wellness of you and your family is crucial right now. Implementing a regular exercise routine at home can help with both. If you live in a community where you can safely exercise outdoors while maintaining the recommended distance between you and other residents, try to get out as much as possible. If the weather is nice, go for family walks, jogs, or bike rides.  Can’t get outside? Fortunately, you don’t need a home gym or fancy exercise equipment to stay fit. Look for a suitable space in your home, garage, or basement where you can comfortably move—you’ll probably need at least a 6’ x 6’ area for each person. Many cardio and strength training exercises require little (or no) equipment, including jumping jacks, lunges, and pushups.  And if you prefer a guided workout, search for free exercise videos on YouTube—there are even options specifically geared towards kids—or try one of the many fitness apps available.

Socializing From a Distance Even though we’re all being called upon to practice “social distancing” right now, there are still ways to stay safely connected to our communities and our extended families. Picking up the phone is a great place to start. Make an effort to reach out to neighbors and loved ones who live alone and may be feeling particularly isolated right now. And while parties and playdates may be prohibited, modern technology offers countless ways to organize networked gatherings with family and friends. Try using group video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts and Zoom to facilitate a virtual happy hour or book club. Host a Netflix Party to watch (and chat about) movies with friends. Or plan a virtual game night and challenge your pals to a round of Psych or Yahtzee. There are safe ways to connect offline, too. Rediscover the lost art of letter writing. Drop off groceries on an elderly neighbor’s porch. Or organize a neighborhood “chalk walk,” where children use sidewalk chalk to decorate their driveways and then head out for a stroll to view their friends’ artwork. Of course, there’s one group of people who you can still socialize with freely—those who reside in your home. Family dinners are back, siblings are reconnecting, and many of us have been given the gift of time, with commutes, activities, and obligations eliminated. In fact, some families are finding that this crisis has brought them closer than ever.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE Even with all of the tools and technology available to keep us connected, many of us are still feeling stressed, scared, and isolated. However, you can rest assured that you are not alone. We’re not only here to help you buy and sell real estate. We want to be a resource to our clients and community through good times and bad. If you and your family are in need of assistance, please reach out and let us know how we can help.   Sources:

  1. CNBC - https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/how-to-work-from-home-with-your-kids-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html
  2. TheHomeSchoolMom.com - https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/benefits-of-homeschooling-2/
July 20, 2020

9 DIY Improvements to Add Value to Any Home

9 Home improvements that add value to your home
Whether you’re prepping your house to go on the market or looking for ways to maximize its long-term appreciation, these nine home improvement projects are great ways to add function, beauty, and real value to your home.
The best part is, once you’ve secured the materials, most of these renovations can be completed over the course of a weekend. And they don’t require a lot of specialized skills or experience. So grab your toolbox, then get ready to boost your home’s appeal AND investment potential!  

  1. Spruce Up Your Landscaping

Landscaping improvements can increase a home’s value by 10-12%.1 But which outdoor features do buyers care about most? According to a survey of Realtors, a healthy lawn is at the top of their list. If your lawn is lacking, overseeding or laying new sod can be a worthwhile investment—with an expected return of 417% and 143% respectively.1 Planting flowers is another great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. And if you choose a perennial variety, your blooms should return year after year. For an even longer-term impact, consider planting a tree. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, a mature tree can add up to $10,000 to the value of your home.2  

  1. Clean The Exterior

When it comes to making your house shine, a sparkling facade can be just as important as a clean interior. Real estate professionals estimate that washing the outside of a house can add as much as $15,000 to its sales price.3 A rented pressure washer from your local home improvement store can help you remove built-up dirt and grime from your home’s exterior, walkway, and driveway. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully—and only use it on surfaces that can withstand the intensity. When in doubt, a scrub brush and bucket of sudsy water will often do the trick.  

  1. Add A Fresh Coat Of Paint

New paint can have a big impact on both the appearance and value of a property. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to revitalize a home’s exterior, update its interior, and make it appear larger and brighter. The best part? Painting is relatively easy and inexpensive! To get the maximum return at resale, stick with a modern but neutral color palette that will appeal to a broad range of buyers. According to a recent survey of home design experts, cool neutrals are a safe bet when it comes to interior paint. And respondents chose white and gray as the best exterior paint colors to use when selling a home.4 However, it’s important to consider a property’s architecture, existing fixtures, and regional design preferences, as well.  

  1. Install Smart Home Technology

In a recent survey, 78% of real estate professionals said their buyer clients were willing to pay more for a home with smart technology features.5 The most requested smart devices? Thermostats (77%), smoke detectors (75%), home security cameras (66%), and locks (63%).6 The good news is, many of these gadgets are fairly easy to install. And some of them, including smart thermostats and light bulbs, will pay for themselves over time by making your home more energy efficient. In fact, many manufacturers report that smart thermostats can cut back on heating and cooling costs by 10-20%.7   If you already own a smart speaker, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, choose devices that will pair with your existing technology. This will enable you to create a truly integrated (and in many cases voice-activated) smart home experience.  

  1. Modernize Your Window Treatments

Smart—or motorized—blinds are also growing in popularity, and several manufacturers make models you can order and install on your own. But they’re not the only way to modernize your window treatments.  If you have old aluminum blinds, consider replacing them with plantation shutters, which are energy efficient, durable, and have strong buyer appeal.8 Roman and roller shades are another stylish alternative, and they come in a variety of colors and fabrics, which you can personalize to meet your design and privacy preferences. Fortunately, upgrading your blinds has gotten easier and less expensive in recent years. There are a number of retailers that specialize in affordable window coverings that are simple to measure and hang yourself.

  1. Replace Outdated Fixtures

Drastically transform the look and feel of your home by swapping out dingy and dated fixtures for contemporary alternatives. Start by assessing your current light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware, door knobs, and even switch plates. Then prioritize replacing those that are particularly outdated or in highly-visible areas, such as your entryway or kitchen. Even if your home is fairly new, consider trading your builder-grade fixtures for higher-end options to give it a more upscale appearance. And forget the old rule about sticking to one metal tone throughout your property. According to designers, mixing metal finishes can add interest and character to a space.9

For more designer insights and decor trends, contact us for a free copy of our recent report: “Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade.”


  1. Upgrade Your Bathroom Mirror

A minor bathroom remodel offers one of the best returns on investment, with a $1.71 increase in home value for every $1 you spend.10 We’ve already explored several improvements you can make to your bathroom: new paint, fixtures, and hardware. Now complete the look by upgrading your vanity’s mirror. Before you purchase a new mirror, examine your existing one to see how it is attached to the wall. Some vanity mirrors are glued to the wall and difficult to remove without shattering the glass or damaging the sheetrock behind it.11  If you prefer to keep your existing mirror, you can paint the frame—or add one if it’s currently frameless. There are several online retailers that will send you the frame components cut to your specifications, which you can assemble and mount yourself. Much like a work of art, your vanity mirror serves as a focal point for your bathroom, so let your creativity shine through!  

  1. Shampoo Your Carpet

Carpet is notorious for trapping dust, dirt, and allergens. It’s one of the reasons that most buyers prefer hard surface flooring.12 But if you love your carpet, or you’re not ready to invest in an alternative, make an effort to keep it clean and odor-free. To properly maintain your carpet, you should vacuum it weekly. Experts also recommend a deep shampoo at least every two years.13 Fortunately, this is a cheap and easy DIY project you can knock out in about 20 minutes per room. According to Consumer Reports, you can rent a machine and purchase cleaning fluid and supplies for around $90. With an average return on your investment of 169%, it’s well worth the effort and expense.14  

  1. Customize Your Closet

Real estate professionals estimate that a closet remodel can add $2500 to a home’s selling price. And while a professional renovation can cost upwards of $6000, there are many high-quality DIY closet systems you can customize and install yourself.15  Experts recommend taking a thorough inventory of your wardrobe and accessories before you get started. Make sure frequently-worn pieces are easy to reach, and store seasonal and seldom-used items on high shelves. Place shoe racks near the closet entrance so they are easy to access.16 A little planning can go a long way toward building a closet that you (and your future buyers!) will love.  

GET A COMPLIMENTARY ANALYSIS OF YOUR PROJECT We’ve been talking averages. But the truth is, the actual impact of a home improvement project will vary depending on your particular home and neighborhood. Before you get started, contact us to schedule a free virtual consultation. We can help you determine which upgrades will offer the greatest return on your effort and investment.


  1. HomeLight - https://www.homelight.com/blog/improve-curb-appeal-landscaping/
  2. National Association of Realtors - https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/landscape-renovations-that-pay-off/
  3. HouseLogic.com - https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/add-value-to-your-home/adding-curb-appeal-value-to-home/
  4. Fixr - https://www.fixr.com/blog/2020/01/14/paint-color-trends-in-2020/
  5. T3 Sixty - https://blog.coldwellbanker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/CES2018-Smart-Homes-An-Emerging-Real-Estate-Opportunity.pdf
  6. Consumer Reports - https://www.consumerreports.org/smart-home/smart-home-tech-upgrades-to-help-sell-your-house/
  7. American Council for Energy Efficient Economy -  https://www.aceee.org/sites/default/files/publications/researchreports/a1801.pdf
  8. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2016/07/05/10-upgrades-under-1000-that-increase-home-values-2/#47b0d3162e60
  9. Insider - https://www.insider.com/home-design-rules-you-should-be-breaking-2020-1
  10. Zillow - https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/roi-for-bathroom-remodel/
  11. Lowes - https://www.lowes.com/n/how-to/remove-a-bathroom-mirror
  12. HomeLight - https://www.homelight.com/blog/what-flooring-increases-home-value/
  13. Angie’s List - https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-often-should-i-clean-my-carpets.htm 
  14. HomeLight - https://www.homelight.com/blog/projects-that-increase-home-value/
  15. National Association of Realtors - https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/remodeling-impact
  16. EasyClosets - https://www.easyclosets.com/tips-ideas/2016/10/02/how-to-plan-your-walk-in-closet/
June 10, 2020

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate in SWFL?

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate in SW FL

Traditionally, spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate in SWFL. However, the coronavirus outbreak—and subsequent stay-at-home orders—led many home buyers and home sellers to put their moving plans on hold. In April, new listings fell nearly 45%, and sales volume fell 15% compared to last year.1 Fortunately, as restrictions have eased, we’ve seen an uptick in market activity. And economists at Realtor.com expect a rebound in July, August, and September, as fears about the pandemic subside, and buyers return to the market with pent-up demand from a lost spring season.2 But given safety concerns and the current economic climate, is it prudent to jump back into the real estate market? Before you decide, it’s important to consider where the housing market is headed, how it could impact your timeline and ability to buy a home, and your own individual needs and circumstances.


The economic aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak has been severe. We’ve seen record unemployment numbers, and economists believe the country is headed toward a recession. But people still need a place to live. So what effect will these factors have on the housing market?

Home Values Projected to Remain Stable

Many Americans recall our last recession and assume we will see another drop in home values. But the 2008 real estate market crash was the cause—not the result—of that downturn. In fact, ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed real estate prices during the last five recessions and found that home prices actually went up in most cases. Only twice (in 1990 and 2008) did prices fall, and in 1990 it was by less than one percent.3  Many economists expect home values to remain relatively steady this time around. And so far, that’s been the case. As of mid-May, the median listing price in the U.S. was up 1.4% from the same period last year.4

Demand for Homes Will Exceed Available Supply

There’s been a shortage of affordable homes on the market for years, and the pandemic has further hindered supply. In addition to sellers pulling back, new home starts fell 22% in March.5 In fact, Fannie Mae doesn’t foresee a return to pre-pandemic construction levels before the end of 2021.6 This supply shortage is expected to prop up home prices, despite recessionary pressures. Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors predict housing prices will rise slightly this year7, while Zillow expects them to fall between 2-3%.8 Still, that would be a far cry from the double-digit declines that occurred during the last recession.9

Government Intervention Will Help Stabilize the Market

Policymakers have been quick to pass legislation aimed at preventing a surge in foreclosures like we saw in 2008. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress gives government-backed mortgage holders who were impacted by the pandemic up to a year of reduced or delayed payments.10 The Federal Reserve has also taken measures to help stabilize the housing market, lower borrowing costs, and inject liquidity into the mortgage industry. These steps have led to record-low mortgage rates that should help drive buyer demand and make homeownership more affordable for millions of Americans.11 HOW HAS THE REAL ESTATE PROCESS CHANGED? As the pandemic hit, real estate and mortgage professionals across the country revised their processes to adapt to shifting safety standards and economic realities. While these new ways of conducting business may seem strange at first, keep in mind, military clients, international buyers, and others have utilized many of these methods to buy and sell homes for years.

New Safety Procedures

The safety of our clients and our team members is our top priority. That’s why we’ve developed a process for buyers and sellers that utilizes technology to minimize personal contact.  For our listings, we’re holding online open houses, offering virtual viewings, and conducting walk-through video tours. We’re also using video chat to qualify interested buyers before we book in-person showings. This enables us to promote your property to a broad audience while limiting physical foot traffic to only serious buyers. Likewise, our buyer clients can view properties online and take virtual video tours to minimize the number of homes they step inside. Ready to visit a property in person? We can decrease surface contact by asking the seller to turn on all the lights and open doors and cabinets before your scheduled showing. The majority of our “paperwork” is also digital. In fact, many of the legal and financial documents involved in buying and selling a home went online years ago. You can safely view and eSign contracts from your smartphone or computer.

Longer Timelines and Higher Mortgage Standards

The real estate process is taking a little longer these days. Both buyers and sellers are more cautious when it comes to viewing and showing homes. And with fewer house hunters and less available inventory, it can take more time to match a buyer with the right property. In a recent survey, 67% of Realtors also reported delays in the closing process. The top reasons were financing and buyer job loss, but appraisals and home inspections are also taking more time due to shifting safety protocol.12 Securing a mortgage may take longer, too. With forbearance requests rising, lenders are getting increasingly conservative when it comes to issuing new loans. Many are raising their standards—requiring higher credit scores and larger down payments. Prepare for greater scrutiny, and build in some extra time to shop around.13

IS IT THE RIGHT TIME FOR ME TO MAKE A MOVE TO SW FLORIDA? The reality is, there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to whether it’s a good time to buy or sell a home because everyone’s circumstances are unique. But now that you know the state of the market and what you can expect as you shop for real estate, consider the following questions:

Why do you want or need to move?

It’s important to consider why you want to move and if your needs may shift over the next year. For example, if you need a larger home for your growing family, your space constraints aren’t likely to go away. In fact, they could be amplified as you spend more time at home.  However, if you’re planning a move to be closer to your office, consider whether your commute could change. Some companies are rethinking their office dynamics and may encourage their employees to work remotely on a permanent basis.

How urgently do you need to complete your move?

If you have a new baby on the way or want to be settled before schools open in the fall, we recommend that you begin aggressively searching as soon as possible. With fewer homes on the market and a lengthier closing process, it’s taking longer than usual for clients to find and purchase a home.  However, if your timeline is flexible, you may be well-positioned to score a deal. We’re seeing more highly-incentivized sellers who are willing to negotiate on terms and price. Talk to us about setting up a search so we can keep an eye out for any bargains that pop up. And get pre-qualified for a mortgage now so you’ll be ready to act quickly. If you’re eager to sell this year, now is the time to begin prepping your home for the market. A second wave of infections is predicted for the winter, which could mean another lockdown.14 If you wait, you might miss your window of opportunity.

How long do you plan to stay in your new home?

The U.S. real estate market has enjoyed steady appreciation since 2012, which made it fairly easy for owners and investors to buy and sell properties for a profit in a short period of time. However, with home values expected to remain relatively flat over the next year, your best bet is to buy a home you can envision yourself keeping for several years. Fortunately, at today’s rock-bottom mortgage rates, you can lock in a low interest rate and start building equity right away.

Can you meet today’s higher standards for securing a mortgage?

Mortgage lenders are tightening their standards in response to the growing number of mortgage forbearance requests. Many have raised their minimum credit score and down payment requirements for applicants. Even if you’ve been pre-qualified in the past, you should contact your lender to find out if you meet their new, more stringent standards.

How Much House Can I Afford?15

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you might be wondering, “How much house can I afford?” Catherine Alford with Money.com has a great article to reference.

Is your income stable?

If there’s a good chance you could lose your job, you may be better off waiting to buy a home. The exception would be if you’re planning to downsize. Moving to a less expensive home could allow you to tap into your home equity or cut down on your monthly expenses.

WHEN YOU’RE READY TO MOVE—THE KOFFMAN GROUP IS READY TO HELP! While uncertain market conditions may give pause to some buyers and sellers, they can actually present an opportunity for those who are willing, able, and motivated to make a move.  Your average spring season would be flooded with real estate activity. But right now, only motivated players are out in the market. That means that if you’re looking to buy, you’re in a better position to negotiate a great price. And today’s record-low mortgage rates could give a big boost to your purchasing power. In fact, if you’ve been priced out of the market before, this may be the perfect time to look.  If you’re hoping to sell this year, you’ll have fewer listings to compete against in your neighborhood and price range. But you’ll want to act quickly. Economists expect a surge of eager buyers to enter the market in July—so you should start prepping your home now. And keep in mind, a second wave of coronavirus cases could be coming in this winter. Ask yourself how you will feel if you have to face another lockdown in your current home. Let’s schedule a free virtual consultation to discuss your individual needs and circumstances. We can help you assess your options and create a plan that makes you feel both comfortable and confident during these unprecedented times.


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.   Sources:

  1. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenparis/2020/05/08/latest-housing-market-update-from-realtorcom/#20bf7829113e
  2. HousingWire - https://www.housingwire.com/articles/realtor-com-housing-market-will-bounce-back-this-year-but-the-rebound-will-be-short-lived/
  3. Curbed - https://www.curbed.com/2019/1/10/18139601/recession-impact-housing-market-interest-rates
  4. Realtor.com - https://www.realtor.com/research/weekly-housing-trends-view-data-week-may-9-2020/
  5. Money.com - https://money.com/coronavirus-real-estate-home-prices/
  6. Fannie Mae - https://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/emma/pdf/Housing_Forecast_051320.pdf
  7. HousingWire - https://www.housingwire.com/articles/pending-home-sales-tumble-on-covid-19-shock/
  8. HousingWire - https://www.housingwire.com/articles/zillow-predicts-small-home-price-drop-through-rest-of-2020/
  9. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CSUSHPINSA
  10. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-mortgage-forbearance-what-you-need-know/
  11. Bankrate - https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/federal-reserve-and-mortgage-rates
  12. National Association of Realtors - https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2020-05-11-nar-flash-survey-economic-pulse-05-14-2020.pdf  
  13. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2020/04/17/buying-a-home-during-the-pandemic-dont-expect-your-everyday-home-purchase/#fadad3d33b0c
  14. Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/21/coronavirus-secondwave-cdcdirector/
  15. Money.com - https://money.com/how-much-house-can-i-afford/