Category Archives: Real Estate News

665.7% Decrease in Foreclosure Sales

SW Florida Real Estate Foreclosures – Update

During the period after the real estate crash foreclosure sales were extremely high and the result was that many programs such as “Trump University”, Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Coaching”, Than Merrill’s “Flip this House” or and many others promoted how easy it is to make money flipping and rehabbing houses. The result was that many serious and also “wannabe” investors flooded the market and buying foreclosure homes for pennies on the dollar. The reality is that it is now 9 years later and these programs still claim to show how easy it is to make money flipping houses. We get daily requests from students of these programs to find them foreclosure homes to flip. The reality is that these homes are very few and far between.

A lot is written about Florida real estate foreclosures and this prompted some research on this topic. The result of this research was astounding:

  • In both the Fort Myers real estate and Cape Coral Real estate markets a total of 848 real estate foreclosure homes sold during the period 1 January 2015 to 31 May 2015 – Average sales price was $155,000.
  • During the same period in 2016 only 383 foreclosure homes was sold, representing a reduction percentage of 121.4% homes sold for the same period – Average sales price was $168,000
  • Looking back in history to 2009, a total of 2933 real estate foreclosure homes sold in the period 1 January 2011 and 31 May 2011 at an average price of $93,000.

Doing the math shows that real estate foreclosure home sales decreased by 665.7% in the past 7 years.

Today (20 June 2016) for the areas of Ft Myers and Cape Coral, a Grand TOTAL of 76 foreclosure homes are listed on the MLS, with prices ranging between $49,900 and $999,000, with only 22 of those available at below $150,000.

Still these programs go around the country promising to show potential investors how “easy” it is to make money flipping houses. There are 2547 fewer foreclosure homes available now in 2016 than was available in 2009, and 465 fewer foreclosure homes than was available in 2015 (One Year Ago)
These statistics may provide more clarity on what potential investors will experience as far as availability and price ins concerned when when they enter either the Cape Coral real estate market or the Fort Myers real estate market.

Gone are the days where homes were sold for pennies on the dollar, but having said that, buying foreclosure homes may still represent good value for money, just make sure you do proper due diligence. Your real estate agent will be a valuable asset in this research.

If you want more information on foreclosure homes or want to look at the list of available SW Florida foreclosure homes for sale just visit :  

Lee van Der Heyde
(240) 439-5256


Free Home Value Report

Most real estate agents will provide a free home value report to home sellers. They will do what is called a comparable market analysis or CMA, and it is important to remember that this is not an appraisal. It is only a price range that shows what other similar homes sold for in your immediate area.

Although this provide the seller with an understanding of the market in his area so he can set a price for his home, this does not mean that it is accurate. The dangers of pricing a home too high are firstly that the home will not sell at all or secondly and even more distressing that the seller accepts an offer and a bank appointed appraiser find that the price is too high and the buyer walks away. The seller now had his home off the market for 30 days and more disturbing have to do a price drop when he relist. Such a property may get stigmatized and other buyers now stay away. Free Appraisal

The way around this is to get an appraisal done before you list so you know your will sell and also appraise correctly.
At Team Florida Lifestyle we provide our clients with a free professional appraisal of their choice. At closing we repay the client the full cost of the appraisal.

A home priced right should sell in less that 37 days in our current market. The fact is that 20% of all listings expire unsold after 180 days in this same market and the main factor for this is overpricing.

Although a free home value report will provide the home seller with an idea of what his home may be worth, this will always only be an estimation.

To take advantage of the free appraisal offer contact one of our team members at 239 438-4397.

Real Estate Listings & Common Courtesy

Real estate agents frequently receive requests from clients requesting listings from the local MLS that match their criteria.
Real estate agents gladly do this as part of the service they provide.

Just a reminder to all clients that agents do pay a lot of money out of their own pockets for the access to the MLS listings so they can provide lists of homes for free to the potential buyers and sellers. Real estate agents only get paid when they help someone to buy or sell a home.

It is just common courtesy to let these agents know that you have received the lists and also to thank them for their efforts and diligence in getting these listings it to you, just as you will expect someone to acknowledge when you provided them with something of value.

Common courtesy is unfortunately often forgotten in today’s environment.

Zestimate Home Evaluations – Why it’s not always accurate

While getting a Zillow Zestimate for your home is very convenient, please remember that this may be far from accurate.
The reason is that although the Zillow Zestimate home evaluations take into account similar sized homes that sold in an area, and what homes are available in the area to determine a possible value for a home, these Zillow algorithms may not take into account features such as Gulf access, updates, or condition of these comparable homes.

The result of this is that the Zestimate for your home may be significant higher or lower than the true market value for your home.

To determine the true market value of your home it is recommended that you either pay for an appraisal done by a professional real estate appraiser or the other option is to request a professional home evaluation also called a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) from a local real estate agent. Your local real estate agent should provide this service to you free of charge.

Rather than relying an Zestimate home evaluations, our team provide free no obligation CMA’s to home owners in the SW Florida area. Call us at 239-438-4397 or just complete an online application at

First Time Home Buyer Assistance News

Check out the news story about 1st time home buyer assistance in the Miami Herald-CLICK HERE!

First Time Buyer Down Payment Assistance Available in Florida!

SW Florida real estate team promotes home ownership and educates first time home buyers on programs available for down payment assistance.

Ft Myers, FL, July 22, 2015–Local Real Estate Agent, coach and team leader of Team Florida Lifestyle in SW Florida, Lee Van Der Heyde, says that very few renters in Florida realize that as a first time buyer they may qualify for substantial first time home buyer down payment assistance.

Many first time buyers are under the impression that they need a substantial amount of cash saved in order to buy a house, and this is simply not the case says Lee Van Der Heyde.Although it is always advisable to have sufficient cash available to cover some of the cost, there are programs available in Florida and also in Lee County to provide first time buyers with down payment assistance. In addition to down payment assistance, home buyers also have the option to request a contribution to their closing cost from the seller. As an example a first time buyer in the area recently moved into a house with just $2200 out of pocket. This is less than what many renters have to put down in order to rent a property.

There are some requirements for 1st time buyers to receive the down payment assistance such as being a Florida or a county resident, have a minimum credit score, some employment requirements and their income should not exceed a certain amount. The income amount is determined by the number of household residents, Van Der Heyde explained.

In order to assist with home loans for first time buyers in the Florida Housing program a lender has to be certified by Florida housing. It is also recommend that a first time buyer find a real estate agent who is certified by Florida housing. In order to get certified the agent has to attend the necessary training and a certified agent will be able to provide valuable assistance and guidance.

These programs are implemented to promote home ownership by making it highly affordable for  1st time buyers to move out of the rental home or apartment into their own home.

As a courtesy feel free to contact a Team Florida Lifestyle first time buyer representative to assist or answer any question without obligation to you or visit the website and submit a request for information.

Lee Van Der Heyde (240) 439-5256
-Team Florida Lifestyle @ Starlink Realty,
1567 Hayley Lane, Suite 205, Ft Myers, FL 33907

Reasons to Use Our Team

5 Biggest Reasons Why Sellers Choose Team Florida Lifestyle:

    • We have More Buyers  – We have Over 1200 Buyers in our Database.
    • Sell your Home for More Money – Sellers following our guidance sell their home on average at 99% of listing price.
    • We Will sell your Home Faster – Sellers following our guidance sell their home on average within 8 days.
    • Your Home is More Likely to Sell – In 2015, 0% of our listings expired unsold.
    • We Guarantee* our Service in Writing – We will sell your home in 37 Days or less, or we’ll deduct $2000 from our commission.

5 Biggest Reasons Why Buyers Choose Team Florida Lifestyle:

      • Our Unique VIP Buyers Program – Immediate access to the best listings as they come on the market.
      • We Give back – Through our Heroes program* we contribute a portion of our commission back to the buyer at closing to assist with closing costs.
      • Exclusivity – We work with our buyers exclusively to protect their interest
      • Our Cancellation Guarantee* – Buyers can cancel our service if they are not 100% satisfied
      • Our Systematized Team approach – You work with a knowledgeable team to get you the best deal possible


Lee Van Der Heyde, leader of Team Florida Lifestyle, is a real estate salesperson licensed in Florida (previously an active agent licensed in Virginia) and is a coaching member of the “Craig Proctor Quantum Leap Real Estate Program”.  Lee graduated from University with a Bachelors degree in Marketing and Economics. Apart from being an active real estate salesperson, he has extensive experience in online and direct response marketing, USP marketing, online lead generation and development of real estate website marketing websites. developing lead generation websites. He is a published author of two books and numerous articles and real estate press releases published online and on CBS News Money Watch and several other news feeds throughout the USA.

 * Conditions apply

Why Buy a Fixer Upper Home?

Handy Man Special, Fixer upper homes

These homes are called handy man specials or fixer uppers because they are in need of repair, but because these homes require a large number of repairs and improvements, you can often find great bargains buying such a home.

Buying at these discounted prices is not only a money-saver when purchasing the home, and it will provide you with the ability to make improvements as time allows so a very BIG positive is that you will be able to design the home that you want to live in, and in addition also build equity with every improvement that you make.

When looking at Handyman special, fixer uppers, make sure you can see the potential of the house rather than focusing on its drawbacks. You never know, your dream house could be hiding behind warped floorboards or outdated paneling.

To get a full list of Fixer Upper / Handy man special homes for SW Florida that fit your criteria – CLICK HERE!

What is a Short Sale?

What is a Short Sale?

In short (pardon the pun) a short sale is a real estate transaction where the proceeds from selling a home is less than the outstanding debts secured by liens against the property.

A short sale is undertaken by a homeowner who cannot meet their mortgage payment.  The bank or institution who holds the mortgage agrees to the short sale because it rids itself of future losses in the form of foreclosure penalties or auction fees.

To get a full report on Short Sale vs Foreclosure CLICK HERE!

Grants First Time Home Buyers

1st Time Home Buyer Grants in Florida

When looking to own your own home, rest assured that there are 1st time home buyers programs available through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

Florida Housing’s First Time Homebuyer Program offers not only 30year, fixed rate first mortgage programs for 1st time home buyers buy also offers down payment assistance (only available to borrowers who utilize one of Florida Housing’s First Mortgage programs), to first time buyers who meet the requirements. While it is always the worry where to get the best possible home loans, first time buyers do have options with these programs and could get into their own home for very little down.

Requirements to qualify include completing a home buyer education course and meet Florida Housing’s minimum FICO requirement. The home buyer education course is generally provided free of charge. Your real estate agent should be able to provide more information about purchase limits in your county, provide you with a list of Florida Housing approved loan officers or even better introduce you to such an approved loan officer. He/she should also be able to provide you with information on where and when you can attend the free buyer education training required.

If you are in the SW Florida area you can visit to find out more about how these programs can benefit or you can also visit .


Fort Myers Real Estate Sale Statistics for June 2013 – Lee County Market Statistics

The report released by Florida Realtors for the Fort Myers Real Estate sale – Lee County Market statistics for June 2013 shows an average 17% price increase for homes sold in June 2013 compared to homes sold during June 2012.

The year on year increase for distressed single family homes sold shows that foreclosure sales had a 20% increase and for Short Sale sales there was a 39% increase.

Just click on the image to view the full statistics.

Monthly Market Summary – June 2013 – Single Family Homes

Market Summary June 2013

Monthly Distressed Market Summary – June 2013 – Single Family Homes

Distressed Homes Market Summary June 2013