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The average Minnesotan may have noticed it last spring (2005). The real estate signs popped up right on schedule with the spring tulips just as the snow melted and ground thawed. Soon neighborhoods were filled with signs advertising new listings and open houses. But as Memorial Day came and went, many Twin City residents began to question why the house down the block had not sold. At spring baseball practices and graduation parties, people across the metro were asking, “Hasn’t that house been on the market for over a month?” The usual answer was, “Something must be wrong with the house.” As the summer progressed and more houses came on the market, observant neighbors began to realize no “SOLD” signs were going up. Minnesota homeowners were hit with the reality of a Buyer’s Market.
So what is a Buyer’s Market? For many Minnesotan’s it may be hard to remember. After all for the past eight years or so we have experienced a red hot seller’s market. There were many, many more buyers looking for houses than sellers wanting to sell. A homeowner who chose to sell could set a price on his property, put the listing on the MLS and get an offer in days. Many sellers were faced with multiple offers with some exceeding the asking price by thousands. Ah, the good old days!
A Buyer’s Market is just the opposite. The Twin Cities (and greater Minnesota) now has an inventory of homes on the market that is expected to last 3-4 months, with no new listings. In a typical area, a buyer might have 10-20 homes that will meet their needs and price parameters. If the buyer is flexible on location and amenities, they can have upwards of 50 homes to choose from. With so many options, home buyers are taking their time, becoming educated, and being very picky before making a home purchase.
So what should Minnesota homeowners do if they are considering selling their home? It may be hard to wait out; a typical market swing can last 5-7 years. (It was a seller’s market for almost eight years, after all.)
*Get your home in tiptop shape! Fix everything! Yes, that does mean you need to put on a new roof or fix the shower or strip off the ugly wallpaper in the kitchen. Whatever needs repair or is outdated needs to be fixed. Project houses do not sell well in a buyer’s market unless they are very, low priced.
*Work with an experienced Realtor to price your home realistically. The refinance appraisal you received last fall will not be applicable. It is very important to look at the current competition in your neighborhood and surrounding areas and compare all of the amenities. If there is a better deal out there, the buyer’s won’t consider your home at all.
*Consider FSBO only as a last resort. This is not a market where an MLS listing and a sign in the yard will sell your home. Work with a professional Realtor to get the most from your investment.
*Be Patient! Even with professional marketing, it will take time but homes do sell in Buyer’s markets. It just takes longer both in preparation and duration.
Copyright 2006 Teri Eckholm.
Written by Teri Eckholm, Realtor Keller Williams Premier Realty http://www.terieckholm.com
Teri Eckholm is a Minnesota Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty serving clients in the Twin Cities metro area for over five years. Selected as a 2004 and 2005 Super Agent by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, her extensive sales and marketing background has allowed her to assist hundreds of clients move from across town and across the U. S. Find additional information on Teri and the Twin Cities metro real estate market at http://www.terieckholm.com.
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