Last spring, my family and I relocated to Rochester from St. Paul. Naive to the housing market at that point, my husband and I proposed putting our house up for sale months before our move date. Our real estate agent laughed. Why? Because he was tuned into the competitive housing market.
BUYERS BE READY TO JUMP
“Right now, we are seeing a seller’s market,” explains Karen Becker, CEO of Southeast Minnesota Realtors. “Homes priced correctly are selling quickly, often with multiple offers.”
The intense market is driven by the low inventory, which Becker points out is indicative of markets across the country. Becker continues, “This type of market can create frustration for buyers. Buyers need to be ready to move quickly and practice a lot of patience.” And with interest rates low, it’s still a good time to buy. Becker advises receiving pre-approval for a loan before beginning the search.
ROCHESTER RIGHT NOW
Several factors are influencing the shift in the market. Melanie Schmidt, a licensed Realtor in Minnesota with an independently owned RE/MAX Results, has lived in the Rochester area for 33 years. “I’ve watched the market shift,” Schmidt recalls. “As more families relocate to the area, houses simply aren’t being built fast enough to accommodate them. And there are too few affordable houses to keep up with the demand. But we Realtors are doing the best job we can to find each family a home in our community.” Schmidt also frequently sees multiple offers, cash offers and contingent offers, saying, “Sellers need to be sure they have a home to go to when their home sells.”
Marcia Carrigan with Counselor Realty of Rochester explains, “With rent so high, the monthly cost of ownership is often less when purchasing a home, and families can then build equity in a home. In addition, it is anticipated the Rochester market will remain strong with the expansion of DMC and other community growth.” Becker and Schmidt agree, believing the trend will continue for the next several years.
The foreclosure market decreased at the same time inventory began to decrease. This is a nationwide phenomenon to some extent. When this happens, scarcity raises the price of available homes. “Since 2013, Rochester has seen a 29% increase in the median sold price of a home – up from a median sales price of $146,000 in 2013 to $205,000 in March, 2017,” according to Becker.
“It’s simple economics,” Carrigan says. “The demand is greater than the inventory. This is what drives up the value of homes and why we see them selling for more than asking price.”
ENSURING STRONG OFFERS
If you happen to be on the other side of the market, you’re in luck. There will likely be interest in your house. But how can you ensure you are getting the most money for your home? Carrigan explains, “Paying close attention to detail will ensure strong offers. Spend money on hanging baskets to add color and warmth to the curb appeal of your home. Keep the yard manicured and sidewalk swept. It sounds simple, but it’s the first impression.”
Other tips to get your home ready include repairing nail holes, shampooing carpets, buffing hardwood floors, cleaning the basement and replacing light bulbs. But Carrigan’s number one bit of advice? “Declutter!” she exclaims. “Put things in storage to make your home look bigger and cleaner.” Carrigan does not advise any major remodel as you may not recoup those dollars.
In my family’s house quest, we saw each of these trends. But with the aid of a helpful real estate agent and a dose of patience, we placed an offer just four hours after our home hit the market and were able to beat out the other offers. And our home in St. Paul? It sold in two days for over asking price. Find the right agent and enjoy the ride.
Gina is a writer and communications manager happy to be back in Rochester after five years in St. Paul.