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Home Buying in Minnesota Today: What You Need to Know

Family looking at house for sale

Thinking of buying a home in Stevens County, MI? Here’s a look at what to know when buying a house in Minnesota today.

Home values are rising but prices are going down for the winter

Minnesota’s housing market continues to be strong in 2019, with the median home price up 6% in October, 2019 compared to October, 2018. However, home buying and selling activities have slowed down as expected as the state’s long winter season sets in. The median home price in September decreased by 3% compared to the previous month, signaling the start of the slow season.

The best time to buy a home in Minnesota is during the spring and early summer. But if you’re looking for a great deal, it may be wise to go home shopping in the winter when there are less competition and more motivated sellers.

It’s currently a seller’s market

Zillow has tagged the Minnesota real estate market as very hot and predicts that real estate values will rise another 3.6% in the next year. Housing inventory in the state is low, but lately, builders have been more aggressive in starting new housing construction.

As a buyer, expect to face plenty of competition and some difficulty in finding the right home. Work with an experienced local Realtor who understands a sellers’ market and can help you come up with a strategy to get the right home fast and at the right price.

Communities outside the Twin Cities offer great home values

Around 60% of Minnesota residents live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and this is where there’s the most competition for housing. Many newcomers to the state are discovering the benefits of living outside the area.

One of the best choices is the West Central Minnesota region, which offers a high quality of life with great employment options, excellent health care, family-friendly amenities and lifestyle, highly rated schools, and lower housing costs. For example, according to the Minnesota Housing Partnership, Stevens County was found to be the least homeowner cost burdened in the state. Owner income in the county has also increased by 25% since 2000.

It’s best to first get mortgage pre-approval

Pre-approval is essential to home buying in Minnesota. Most sellers will only show their homes to buyers with pre-approval. This assures them that a lender has checked the buyer’s credit and finances, and has guaranteed they can finance the home purchase up to a certain amount. Pre-approval also helps you as the buyer in determining how much loan you’ll likely qualify for, which you can use in setting a budget. When you look at homes for sale, you can confine your search only to the price range you’re qualified for.

Most homes have basements

Basements have historically been part of Minnesota homes. With the state’s long, snowy winters, it’s essential to build the foundation below the frost line to protect the house from shifting due to the freeze and thaw cycle. Basements are great features – they provide extra storage, or with the right finish, add living space. However, they can also easily get flooded or damp, which can create problems in the foundation. Make sure to have the basement inspected closely to reveal any hidden issues.

Home inspections are typically part of the buying process

In some metro communities, homes have to be inspected by a professional before they’re put on the market, with the seller paying for the cost of inspection. However, most buyers also order their own home inspection after a purchase agreement is signed. This is highly recommended to protect you from unexpected repair costs when you’ve already moved in. In addition to closely inspecting the basement, it’s also recommended to test for radon, as it was found by the Minnesota Department of Health that around 2 of every 5 homes in the state have a significant radon problem.

Check your home insurance for tornado coverage

Minnesota falls along the Tornado Corridor and gets its fair share of twisters each year. Most insurance policies in the state include tornado coverage but it’s best to make sure yours include one. Depending on your policy, you might need to get a special rider for tornado coverage.

A Realtor can help you buy a new home and sell your existing one

In Minnesota, a Realtor can practice dual agency, meaning they can represent you as both a buyer and a seller. If you’re selling your present home and buying a new one, working with only one Realtor who knows all your needs and preferences can be highly convenient. However, all buyers and sellers must first agree to this arrangement. In addition, a dual agency Realtor cannot reveal confidential details about the price, their client’s motivation, and other matters related to the sale or purchase of a home.

Work with a Realtor you can trust in Minnesota

We at Prairie Real Estate are local experts who can guide you in buying the perfect home in Morris, the Lakes Area and other parts of West Central Minnesota. Call us today at 320.589.2159 or contact us here.