Obviously with everything going on, nothing is more important than our collective efforts to try and get through this pandemic as healthy and quickly as possible. It is critical to follow the guidelines laid out by the CDC and Governor Walz. Within that space, life goes on, people get restless… and there are parts of the economy that are still operating, deemed essential. So if you are fortunate enough to be financially and occupationally stable right now, here are a few opportunities in the real estate realm that may be worthy of consideration.  

(1) It Could Be A Great Time For Exterior Maintenance/Remodel/Facelift/Landscape Projects

For the first time in years there are contractors in our market with holes in their business pipeline. This may be the time to negotiate a facelift or catch up on deferred maintenance. Exterior work keeps contractors relatively safe from you, and you safe from them. (Exterior contractors are considered essential per the MN Stay at Home order.) It could be a great opportunity to inject a little into the local economy while perhaps getting a project done for a little less than it may have cost you in recent years, when these companies were in such high demand that it was hard to even get a lot of them to return your phone calls!


If you have been thinking of doing a project and want to bounce any ideas off me or get any input on how it could impact the value of your home, please reach out! I’d love to hear what you have in mind, and we can Zoom over it! And as always, let me know if you could use a referral for your project.


(2) Refi

Interest rates, along with the markets, have been very volatile the past few weeks. The conventional wisdom is they are poised to soon settle into record-low territory, perhaps below 3%. This could provide a massive opportunity to build long-term wealth not only through interest payment savings, but also possibly through debt consolidation. And remember, a referral through me to Keller Mortgage gives a borrower access to the Keller Mortgage Zero Cost loan, which waives origination and underwriting and processing fees and provides a $1,000 credit on loans greater than $150,000. Full disclosure: I make no commission or referral fees (that’s illegal) by referring someone to Keller Mortgage. I offer it simply as a huge value-add in hopes that I can help my past clients and friends save money by tapping into a program that is truly unmatched in the industry. I know it sounds too good to be true. I’m telling you, it’s as good as it sounds. My clients who have used Keller Mortgage typically save costs in the neighborhood of 1%-2% of their loan amount, and get an interest rate that is in line with the best rates being quoted in the market.


(3) Buy An Investment Property

We don’t know what tomorrow may bring, only what we are seeing today. The market is still pretty active. Showings and new listing activity are decreasing, but there is still pretty robust activity, multiple offers and quick sales on many properties, especially below $350,000. I sold two in multiples in the last 2 weeks, and I saw quite a few sell this weekend*. Can’t help but think though, that in the days ahead, there may be opportunities that present themselves that we have not seen in years–I’ve already seen a few. No matter what is going on in the world, there are always people who need to buy or sell homes. There were over 700 new listings that hit the market this week through mid-day Thursday in the 13-county metro. Some of these sellers will be reluctant to approve a lot of showings, or maybe they sit on a market for a short while and start to worry that if things get worse, they won’t be able to sell. As I said, there will probably be instances where good buying opportunities present themselves. And it works the other way as well—great listings that are super-attractive in photos and well-presented will sell for a premium to buyers who are in need of a place and probably finding fewer and fewer homes listed that they are able to shop. In most cases, the buyers and sellers with the best representation comes out ahead.


Realtors in our market are doing a nice job evolving their practices in order to help buyers and sellers continue to come together. I’m seeing widespread adaption of better vetting of homes before showings, enhanced use of virtual tours, live-video tours using Facetime and Zoom, eliminating overlapping showings, and closely following CDC guidelines, to name a few.  


(4) Move-On-Up

I realize most people are not thinking of moving right now, and I am not here to tell people they should move. For those already considering it, just know that in times like this, it is normal for luxury price segments to see activity slow much more than entry-level or mid-level price segments. Essentially, the higher the listing price, the higher the percentage of the buyer pool exiting the search process.  Early data does confirm this. Mpls. Area Realtors association data wizard David Arbit reported Wednesday that showings over the prior week had started to decline across the board. But the declines in showings of homes at in the entry-level price points were negligible. They were fairly significant in the mid-range price points, and already quite substantial in the luxury segment.


*This is partial screen-shot of an MLS page showing activity in the last 24 hours — note 4 houses went under contract from A (active) to A,i (sold subject to inspection) and one to Pending. Someone even put a new listing on this weekend (Zenith–please note that none of these are my listings).