Thursday, April 26, 2007

Does "Minnesota Nice" Affect the Real Estate Market? "Yah, You Betcha!"

It is not necessary to be a Realtor in the Twin Cities to be aware of the slow real estate market. The Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area has experienced the same slow down as the rest of the country. It is a buyer’s market and the media has no problem reminding the public of the situation.

As a Realtor, I do find the situation a bit perplexing in Minnesota. After all most of us were instructed by our parents to be what we all know as “Minnesota Nice”. Being “Minnesota Nice” is when a person goes out of their way to open a door or let others go first. It is kind of like “Ms. Manners” on hyperdrive. Some joke that in Minnesota, a person can wait a long time at a 4-way stop sign, because everyone is waving the others to go first.

How does being "Minnesota Nice" affect the real estate market? I have read that currently in the Twin Cities, buyers and sellers are in a stand off, toe-to-toe waiting for the other to make the first move. Buyers are waiting for sellers to lower their prices, while sellers are waiting for an offer to negotiate. As a Realtor working in the
Forest Lake school district and Anoka County areas, I am seeing this situation first hand. So many buyers have indicated they love a particular house but don’t want to make an offer because the price seems too high. I also have sellers asking, “Why doesn’t someone just make an offer?”

This isn’t different that other buyers markets across the country, but when compounded with the “Minnesota Nice” factor, we may have a longer wait to see more houses sell.

As a buyer in this market, it is permissible to NOT be “Minnesota Nice” with your offer. I am not suggesting that
buyers lowball offers willy-nilly. No, I am suggesting that buyers, who are truly interested in a particular property, write that fair offer and justify why it is not at full price.
When I work with a buyer in this market, I help them to determine a fair number to put into the purchase agreement to start the negotiating process. Conversely, when I work with a seller and take a new listing, I make certain they are aware that in a buyers market, even a home that is priced properly, most likely won’t receive a full priced offer.

This is definitely the time to work with an agent that understands and is skilled in the process of negotiation. From the time an offer is received by one agent and presented to the other, the negotiation process begins. Where in a seller’s market, these negotiations were very quick and decisions made in minutes, in a buyer’s market, this process can take hours or even days while parties think over and discuss each offer. There are ways a Realtor with skilled negotiation tactics can move the process along. But the process has to start.

So Buyers, the ball is in your proverbial court! Sellers are waiting for offers. Is it time to stop being “Minnesota Nice”? Yah, you betcha!

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007