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Moving in the Right Direction

Don't Put Off Your Dream of Owning a New Home

Like most industries, the real estate market has had to find innovative ways to safely serve clients. Despite COVID-19, the desire to purchase one’s own home has not diminished, and sales in Minneapolis are going strong.

“People are doubling down in the investment of their homes,” says Matt Basil, a Realtor® at Lakes Area Realty. 

What’s hot in the market; what’s not

Some of Basil’s clients who purchased their home three years ago recently decided to sell; it took only 11 days on the market with 19 showings.  And, the number of showings scheduled has surpassed levels at any point in 2019.

Steve Havig, Owner and Broker at Lakes Area Realty sees most sales in the range of $250,000-$450,000, often leading to a multiple offers scenario. Cabin properties are also experiencing a lot of interest; sales over the summer were up by 20%. With COVID-19 severely limiting travel options and people being wary of flying, cabins are a smart alternative. They allow families to get away while distancing themselves from others.

On the other hand, the luxury housing market has been negatively impacted; houses are slower to move in the higher price ranges.  Condominiums have not fared well either due to concerns about shared spaces and multi-family buildings.

Patience is the key when buying your new home

For sellers, multiple offers are, of course, a boon, often leading to much higher selling prices. But for buyers, these situations can lead to continual disappointments.

“Buyers are frustrated with the multiple offer scenarios and losing out on properties they are seeking to acquire”, says Havig.  “Lakes Area Realty had a client who put offers in on five homes until finally getting one they wanted, paying $20,000 over the asking price.”

Havig and Basil stressed that buyers need to keep their expectations realistic. When they lose a bid on a home to someone who offered a higher amount, they have to go back and start from square one. However, both expect that there will be a potential boost in home supply coming this fall, so buyers should be ready.

Take advantage of low interest rates

Low interest rates are another factor that has led to a high demand for properties.

"Mortgage rates are very indirectly tied to the Prime Lending rate and have a direct and inverse relationship with the bond market; bonds go up, rates go down," says Basil.  “Real estate rates fluctuate often, but have been anywhere from 3.0-3.25% in July 2020.”


Safety first

Sellers may be cautious about allowing strangers inside their homes during this pandemic. And buyers may be leery of entering others’ homes.

Lakes Area Realty has implemented strict guidelines for Open Houses. Social distancing will be in effect, and masks must be worn at all times. If gloves are not worn, hand sanitizer will be given out at the door by a Realtor® or an assistant. Another Realtor® will then take one group at a time through the house and wipe down anything that is touched. Use of bathrooms will not be allowed.

“Do what you are most comfortable with,” says Basil.  “And go about showing your home or touring potential homes in a way you feel good about.  Lakes Area Realty has been getting creative with offering a hotel stay credit while your home is being shown over a weekend… to be able to get showings done in a manageable way in a more condensed time period.”

There is also the option of renting an ozone machine. These can help clean the air after multiple showings.  Opening windows, and leaving cabinets, pantries, and other doors open is a good way to deter people from touching these spaces in order to see what’s inside.

Put on the best show

As always, when selling a home, the better it looks the easier it will sell. Remove any clutter, layer on a fresh coat of paint, and keep the home sparkling clean. Realtors® can help with staging so buyers can see all of the home’s potential.

“Staging and cleanliness still apply,” said Basil.  “It is key in selling a property and putting your best foot forward.”

Make the move

“Lakes Area Realty is not a corporate real estate relationship and you are not being passed along,” says Steve Havig. “We like to consider ourselves collaborators instead of competitors.”  

The REALTORS® of Lakes Area Realty stay up to date on the inventory available while also keeping track of what will soon be coming on the market. They pride themselves on the ability to connect with their clients, having the knowledge to structure deals (such as multiple offer scenarios), and working hard for the desired outcomes of their clients.  They are also highly familiar with the neighborhoods and the school districts in their areas. To find out more, go to