For the past few years, most homebuyers I’ve met have spoken of the housing market the same way baby boomers speak of Woodstock: Absolute chaos. Hordes of people descending on the same location. Cars being flipped and lit on fire. Somewhere in the distance, for some reason, a Jimi Hendrix solo.
It’s no secret that the Minnesota real estate market—and this is a national trend, too—has been extremely strong for sellers for quite a while now, due to a low housing inventory that sharply increases buyer competition. I won’t sugarcoat it: I’ve seen adorable homes in Northeast Minneapolis, smack in the middle of the price range for first-time homebuyers, sell in multiple offers within mere hours of hitting the MLS. That is a real thing that happens. As it turns out, I am not the only one who would very much enjoy living equidistant to The Coffee Shop NE and Young Joni.
So: Is it all a hopeless charade? Should homebuyers looking to buy in 2019 drive back to their overpriced apartments, put on a vinyl of Adele’s greatest hits, and weep into their couch cushions? While this accurately describes my usual Friday night, no they should not.
Though a low-inventory market imposes measurable challenges to any homebuyer, I view this kind of market as the perfect opportunity for a buyer’s agent to shine. This is where truly great representation can make or break a transaction, as offer presentation matters just as much as the terms of a purchase agreement. The first thing I always tell my clients is that on the surface, the overarching concept of “buying a house” might sound like a lofty endeavor. A lot of folks ask, Should I buy a house? with the same nervous vocal cadence as someone might ask, Should I paraglide over an active volcano without sunglasses? I always say the same thing: If you’re going to do the volcano thing, please do it after you successfully close on the property. Volcano-based paragliding can really compromise a person’s financial pre-approval. And make sure your sunglasses are polarized.
Lava flows aside, with the right up-front education and the right network of professionals—your buyer’s agent, your loan officer, and your title representative—a process that may be inevitably fast-moving doesn’t have to seem murky or rushed. They aren’t synonymous. In fact, a strong sense of how home-buying works, coupled with an agent who employs unique strategies in offer presentation, will set you up to know exactly how to handle a competitive situation and give you the best shot at winning the home you want.
On our team, we have six full-time Buyer Specialists. We spend a dedicated 3+ hours per week together in our office, discussing market trends and agent strategies. It sounds like an old cliché on real estate teams, but in our case, it is absolutely true that when you work with any individual agent on The Michael Kaslow Team, you’re getting the whole team behind you. We are invested in each other’s clients; we make a point of aggregating our knowledge and doing things differently to set our buyers apart and, ultimately, to make them feel just as empowered and informed in a low-inventory market as they would at any other time.
What are the strategies that make MKT different, you ask? Well… we’ll have to get together in person to discuss those. (I’ll bring along my binder of volcano-related facts.)