Searching for an annual rental in Lee County can be stressful. To help with the process, consider using a professional Property Management Company such as Malt Realty. One benefit of using a professional is avoiding falling victim to a rental scam.

Rental scams are not always easy to spot. Scammers know that finding a rental is hard work and that a good deal is hard to pass up. Below is a list of best practices on spotting and avoiding scams:

  • Wire money – The easiest sign of a rental scam is when someone asks you to wire money via Western Union, MoneyGram or Prepaid Visa card.  Don’t send money for any reason.
  • Request money before viewing property – It is not common to pay a lot of money for something sight-unseen. If a landlord expects you to pay a lot before you lease an apartment, there is a reason to be concerned.
  • They say they are out of country – Though some scammers will readily meet tenants in person, many, especially those operating from over-seas, will not. A personal meeting with the landlord will allow you to screen out some con artists. Insisting on a local landlord or Property Management Company will lessen the risk of fraud.
  • The landlord seems too eager to lease the apartment to you. Many landlords want to know your credit score. They may also want further information such as criminal background check and employment verification. If a landlord doesn’t seem interested in any form of tenant screening or appears too eager to negotiate the rent and other lease terms with you, it’s suspicious.
  • You feel unwarranted sales pressure. If a landlord acts too pushy, it can be a red flag.



Preventing the most sophisticated scams can be hard, but the following tips will help minimize your risk.

  • Never dealing in cash – Most criminals will insist on difficult payment forms to reduce trace of payment. If you refuse, they will seek an easier victim.
  • Demanding a written lease – Lease should still be in writing to prevent fraud and to lay out the rights and responsibilities of the parties. Not only should a tenant require a written lease, the tenant should also demand a copy of the lease signed by the landlord.
  • Never renting sight-unseen – So many bad rental situations begin with a tenant signing a lease for an apartment without seeing it. Viewing an apartment helps prevent fraud and also ensures that the tenant is aware of the condition of the unit.
  • Meeting the landlord in person –A personal meeting with the landlord will allow you to screen out some con artists and will also allow you to get an impression of the landlord’s personality. Though many out-of-town landlords are legitimate, insisting on a local landlord or Property Management Company will lessen the risk of fraud and usually leads to better service.
  • Identifying the actual owner – When considering an apartment, take some time to do a Google search. Google the address of the apartment and also the landlord’s name and the name of the management company.
  • Using a Property Management CompanyMany rentals in Fort Myers are managed by licensed real estate agents and it is not uncommon for tenants to have their own agent. Having an agent represent you is a substantial safeguard because there is less risk that a scammer will list a property with an agent and also because if you are scammed you can hold the agent responsible. Keep in mind that some scammers claim to be agents and really sophisticated ones even manage to hijack the agent’s accounts and substitute their contact information. All licensed real estate agents in Florida must be registered with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.


Malt Realty is one of Southwest Florida’s only full service real estate businesses serving both rental property management and home sales. In effort to STOP internet fraud, we highly recommend that you DO NOT send funds to someone who cannot allow you to enter the home for a showing. If you live out of the state and cannot verify a rental, we urge you to perform a Google search on the address. This should reveal the true rental listing agent. You may want to drive by the property to see if there is a sign indicating the true rental listing agent, although many association communities do not allow signage.


Have you been a victim or spotted a rental scam? Share your story and tips in the comments below!




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MAY 2017

Welcome to our Lee County Multi-Family and Single Family Market Snapshot!  Hopefully, you will find the summary provided to be informational and helpful with your rental investments.

Rental / Single Family Home Market Analysis

 A quick Snapshot of the market in Lee County.  This summary provides growth information relating to proposed growth, new development activity, sales trends, population trends, apartment rental analysis, economic indicators, and renewal market outlook.

  • Apartment rents have grown aggressively over the past four years, with operators having sustained annual rent growth of approximately 7% to 11% over much of that time.
  • The most Recent statistics for March 2017 sales indicate this was a good month for Lee County. Closed sales for single family homes jumped 18% last month compared to March 2016. Condominium sales jumped even higher, with a 29% year over year increase. Condos sold at a median price of $193,650 compared to $172,500 last year. In the year ending 1st quarter 2017, a total of 36,600 homes were sold, up 9.7% year over year.
  • Fort Myers/ Naples has experienced the greatest population growth among Florida markets. Lee County’s current population is expected to grow from approximately 700,000 to 1,100,000 by 2040.
  • Southwest Florida International Airport served 1.03 million passengers in April 2017. That’s 14.7% above the April 2016 count and is the best April recorded in the airport’s 34 year history. Florida welcomed the highest number of quarterly visitors in the state’s history. An estimated 31.1 million, in the first quarter of 2017.
  • Moving forward, Fort Myers/Naples remains well positioned for future rent growth. One head wind could emerge from the single family and condo sectors. Hard hit in the downturn, those sectors are becoming more competitive in the rental markets as the for sale housing continues to gain momentum.

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MARCH 2017

Welcome to our Lee County Multi-Family and Single Family Market Snapshot!  Hopefully, you will find the summary provided to be informational and helpful with your rental investments.  Watch for our Snapshot coming soon to our Malt Realty website at .

Rental / Single Family Home Market Analysis

 A quick Snapshot of the market around your property.  This summary provides growth information of proposed new development activity, roadway improvements, population trends, apartment market analysis, economic indicators, and overall market outlook.

  • Annual rent growth averaged roughly 9% over the past three years.  The annual increase for 2016 averaged approximately 4.2%, compared to the national average of 3.8%.  Moving forward, Fort Myers/ Naples remains well positioned for future growth.
  • Median sale prices for single family and multi-family homes were up in 2016.  Single family homes had a median sale price of $227,400 compared to $210,000 in 2016. (8.3% Increase).  Median sales price for condominiums and townhomes were $181,000, up 2.8% from $176,000 in 2015.  In 2016 Lee County closed 5831 recorded sales for condominium and townhome units.  Also, in 2016 Lee County Recorded 13,296 Single Family home sales.
  • Fort Myers/ Naples has demonstrated the greatest population growth among Florida markets with the population growing 12.4% from 2010 to 2015.  This was the third fastest growth rate nationally.  Characteristics of many Florida metros, the 55+ age group continues to drive population growth as many retirees or those close to retirement flock to Florida.  As such, many are foregoing home ownership, opting for more flexibility in renting.
  • A recent survey conducted in January 2017 indicated participants believe the market to be improving in most sectors and areas.  Lee County multi-family market was designated strong.  Rental rates have been designated as improving to strong.
  • The three Southwest Florida airports experiences passenger activity of 914,818 in November 2016, up 3% over November 2015.
  • Florida’s economy is in a good growth mode, more jobs are being created and mortgage interest rates, while rising, remain at historic low levels, which will continue to spark buyer demand in the coming months.


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If you’ve been thinking about moving up or downsizing, now is a great time to do so. Home sales are rising across the nation, and according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average property spends 32 days on the market—the shortest time since the NAR began tracking this data point in 2011. In many geographic markets, homes are selling even faster, especially when they’re well-maintained and priced just right. Before you begin calculating how much your home may be worth to prospective buyers, consider these factors that could affect your resale value.

1. Location

We’re not just talking about the city in which your home is located but the actual geography that surrounds it. Is the backyard adjacent to a busy highway? Does the master bedroom have a beautiful mountain view? Is it situated on a quiet cul-de-sac or in the middle of a noisy mixed-use zone? Even two identical homes in different locations will almost always have different resale values because of details like these.

2. Renovations (or lack thereof)

Maybe you enjoy cooking so much you elected to demo your old kitchen and dining room to create one large restaurant-grade workspace. Or perhaps you’re not into decorating and are still living with the original bathroom fixtures, paint colors and flooring that were there when you purchased your home in the 1970s. Renovations—or the lack thereof—can do a lot to your resale value. Making big modifications that only appeal to one particular taste can be just as detrimental as failing to update anything at all.

3. Reputation

You probably already know that if you live in a high crime area, your resale value will suffer. But are you aware that homes in good neighborhoods that were once considered bad may still be negatively affected by the area’s reputation? The same goes for local schools. If your home is in a district that includes schools with great ratings, your property values will be higher. If schools in the surrounding area have a poor reputation, your resale value will be lower.

4. Bedrooms and Bathrooms

One of the first factors any homebuyer considers when looking at a property is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms included. Even couples without children tend to prefer homes with at least two bedrooms and bathrooms—and large families need even more. For this reason, adding a bathroom is generally a renovation that will improve your resale value. On the other hand, combine two bedrooms into one large one and you may actually reduce the value of your home.

5. Neighboring Houses

You can own the largest, most beautiful, well-maintained property on the block but if the homes surrounding yours are in disrepair, outdated or significantly smaller, your property value will take a hit as a result. Not only do neighboring houses with poor curb appeal tend to drive away buyers, they also have a negative effect on the comps—or comparable sale prices—appraisers consider when calculating the value of your property. Even if a buyer agrees to pay your asking price, his or her mortgage company is not going to extend a loan for more than what the appraiser determines your home is worth.

Source: Ghost Post   Text by Angela Rose , Photo by Ugis Riba/

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What to Expect at Your Real Estate Closing

Unfamiliar situations are nerve-wracking for everyone. From blind dates to root canals, it’s natural to dread the unknown. Fortunately, closing day—also known as settlement day or escrow day—doesn’t have to be a panic-inducing experience. When you know what to expect, you can anticipate one of the most important days of your life with joy instead of uncertainty.

Expect a crowd. Closing requirements are determined by your state and county, but it’s not uncommon for a half-dozen or more individuals to attend the event. You’ll be joined by your real estate agent, the home seller, the seller’s real estate agent, representatives from your lender and the title company, and a closing agent. Depending on your location and situation, one or more attorneys may also be present.

Expect to sign your name dozens of times. Numerous legal documents are reviewed and signed on closing day. These include documents related to your mortgage as well as those transferring ownership of your new home. Take time to read through each one and ask as many questions as necessary to understand the transaction fully. Don’t sign documents that are incomplete or contain errors—even minor ones.

Expect to bring a cashier’s check. Buying a home generally requires the payment of fees—such as those for the appraisal and title insurance—that are due on closing day along with the balance of your down payment and any fees for points that you haven’t chosen to roll into your mortgage principal. Under new rules established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your lender is required to provide you with a Closing Disclosure document three days prior to your closing. In addition to reviewing the details of your mortgage, the document will clearly state your closing costs and how much cash (in the form of a cashier’s check) you’ll need to bring to close.

Review this document carefully as soon as you receive it, comparing it to the Loan Estimate you received from your lender after submission of your mortgage application. In addition to confirming that the loan terms—including amount and interest rate—are the same as you were originally quoted, pay particular attention to origination and third-party charges.

Expect to pay property taxes in advance. Most lenders will require the creation of an escrow account at closing for the advance payment of property taxes (and sometimes homeowner’s insurance as well). You’ll need to bring a cashier’s check to fund the escrow with the minimum your lender requires. You’ll continue to make deposits to the escrow account with each mortgage payment you make. Your lender will then disburse payments for your property taxes (and homeowner’s insurance, if required) to the appropriate party as they are due.

Expect to prove you have homeowner’s insurance. If your lender allows you to purchase your own homeowner’s insurance, you’ll need to prove that you’ve done so. Bring a copy of your policy showing your new home will be covered as of the date of your closing. You’ll need to bring proof of payment—often of a year’s worth of insurance in advance—to the closing as well.

Once all the documents havt3C7yUrC-shutterstock_439087672e been signed and funds transferred, you’ll officially become a homeowner and can walk away from the closing table with keys to your new property and copies of the forms necessary for the transaction. Put those papers in a safe place; experts recommend holding on to them for as long as you own the home, plus three years.

Source: Ghost Post  – Text by Angela Rose | Photo by Micolas/

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The Women’s Council of Realtors National REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo Suzanne McGuire- 2016 WCR Local VP of Membership-Fort Myers

I would like to thank our members, the governing board, and specifically to our 2016 president Suzanne Sherer for making my trip to DC possible. Without the support of our chapter, I would never have been afforded this opportunity.

For me this was a week of firsts, first time to DC, first time attending a National WCR event, first time attending a Florida State event, and my first time to the hill to discuss our issues with the people who can do something about them.

AMy week started off by flying into Dulles (on a really tiny plane 35 seats, tip: Fly into Reagan!)  I arrived around 1:30 pm and made it to the hotel at about 2:45 pm. Suzanne Sherer invited me to drop my bags, change my shoes, and head out the door for the legislative meetings on the Hill. Which I did!

Our group which included members of our local board of Realtors met with Congressman Curt Clawson and his staff to discuss issues affecting Realtors in our community, such as 1031 exchanges, housing issues, and financing issues.

BAs we were leaving the meeting with Representative Clawson there was a commotion in the hall, noise, and cameras, then all of a sudden we were face to face with Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, to whom we were introduced. He was meeting with members of Congress to discuss the Zika virus.

I also attended the Florida Realtors Reception and met involved, like-minded Realtors from around the state. It was fantastic to see what opportunities are available both through Women’s Council and the National Association of Realtors.

CMy Thursday was spent in class with Marki Lemons teaching Networking and Referrals: Building Business and  Profit. I can’t say enough about Marki.  If you ever have an opportunity to see her speak or take a class she is teaching DO NOT miss it!!!  She is fantastic. We worked through tons of social media strategies, programs, and apps. I’m now using Evernote, Snapchat, Twitter and too many others to list. Let’s just say my social media plan for my business and my chapter has broadened.  I had lunch with Sandra Huber and Christine Mantilia VP’s of Membership for Cape Coral and Bonita.

Friday we attended the Game Changer Sessions which covered How To Set And Keep Goals with Joseph Rand, The Balancing Act with Juanita McDowel, and my personal favorite, Step Up and Stand Out with Laura Leyser. In Laura’s class, we learned how to set ourselves apart from the crowd. What do we do that is different? I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with the chapter and really take some of these lessons and apply them not only to my business but to our chapter to create an experience for the membership!

DOn Friday evening, I was fortunate enough to accompany our President Suzanne Sherer to the Old Ebbitt Grill for an assocation dinner hosted by The Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association.

A huge thank you to (in no particular order) Beate Jones, Karen Swanbeck, Jason Jakus, Josh Burdine, Bill Steinke, Jeff Miloff, Donna Stout and any of the other fine members of our local association who took time out of their experience to talk to me and discuss opportunities on the local level.

ESaturday I attended two Ignite classes, Leadership Pipeline with Brenda Lee Szlachta and Supercharge Your Chapter Website with Sam Powel. Both women were funny, engaging and these classes were full of practical information that we can put to use for our chapter right away.

I can’t wait to begin putting some of these great ideas into practice for both for my Chapter and Malt Realty & Development.

No trip to the Capital would be complete without a sight-seeing trip. After the Governing Board meeting, the Fort Myers team had an opportunity to catch up over dinner and socialize. It was such a great opportunity to spend time getting to know my traveling companions Local President Elect Debbie Phillips, Joanna Coleman, Ways and Means Chair, and of course my roommate Local President Suzanne Sherer. Ladies thank you so much for your guidance and support on this trip it was wonderful. FG

Members, Thank you again for the opportunity to serve.
Suzanne McGuire

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Vacancies Happen!

The Landlord Dream

  • Invest in an income property . . . CHECK
  • Find the perfect tenant . . . CHECK
  • Tenant lives happily ever after and forevermore in your rental property . . .


The Landlord Reality . . . VACANCIES HAPPEN.

Tenants come and go, in some cases, regularly. Vacancy periods dramatically impact cash flow; we call this period property down time.  When a property is empty, you, the property owner, must cover the monthly property expenses out of pocket.


What do you do?

How can I fill my vacancy as quickly as possible?


Scrambling to fill the vacancy, landlords typically lower their tenant standards in order to locate a tenant. Ultimately leading to a poor tenant placement resulting in; property damage, late rent, missed rent and even evictions.  Don’t get caught in this vicious landlord cycle that ends with landlords asking the same questions


What do I do?

How can I fill my vacancy as quickly as possible?


Don’t fear!  Malt Realty has a proven system to minimize property down time and maximize owner income.  With over 40 years of experience, Malt realty’s knowledge of the Southwest Florida rental market has allowed them to develop unparalleled services such as a “30 day Rental Guarantee”.  In addition, Malt Realty’s Rigorous tenant screening process has resulted in minimal late payments and one of the highest lease renewal rates in the area. Thus allowing Malt realty the ability to pay owners on the first of the month regardless if your tenant pays late in Malt Realty’s “Owner Paid on the 1st” program.


Malt Realty has taken filling vacancies to the next level.   Their property management professionals have been successfully filling vacancies for years and are ready to locate a qualified tenant for your property.   Stop the vicious landlord cycle of placing poor tenants and take back your sanity, life, and money by contacting Malt Realty today to schedule a free market analysis.

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