Million-dollar homes with multiple offers

A home at 4329 Ewing Ave. S. listed for $1.4 million. Photo courtesy Sustainable 9

Luxury homes traditionally take longer to sell. But in a market that remains tight for yet another year, some agents are selling Southwest Minneapolis’ priciest homes without ever posting a sign in the yard.

“I just make a few phone calls and sell them,” said agent Al Theisen, who said he sold about four houses priced $700,000-$850,000 in the past six months without listing them on the open market.

Demand varies by house, but Minneapolis’ most-wanted homes are seeing multiple offers, regardless of price point.

A Linden Hills property that sold for a single dollar in 1993 was listed for nearly $1.4 million on March 30 at 4329 Ewing Ave. S. The firm Sustainable 9 built the modern house in 2014 to be energy efficient, with a glass-walled meditation room, four decks and a patio.

“The one who wrote an offer the quickest ended up getting it,” said Sustainable 9 Partner and realtor Chad Hanson, who said four buyers were interested in a purchase.

4329 Ewing Ave. S.
4329 Ewing Ave. S., listed March 30 for $1.4 million, is under contract.

The offers reflect a low inventory of homes for sale. Northstar MLS data indicate that the number of previously-owned Southwest Minneapolis homes priced at or above $499,000 is lower in 2018 than any time in the past 10 years. The houses’ median time on the market is 14 days, typically sold after 21 showings, receiving a median 99.9 percent of the asking price.

Theisen listed a $1.05 million home near 53rd & Vincent on April 7 and accepted an offer within four days. He said it’s a unique property, with a luxury office and wet bar over the garage  and southern exposure on one of the nicest corners in Fulton.

“If I put it back on the market, I would get three offers within the next day or two,” he said. “…For the last year or so I’ve been marketing those homes for at least $50,000 more than I have in the past, and they still fly off the shelf.”

Agents said that despite the tight market, luxury homes that aren’t priced right can linger on the market for a while. Luxury buyers who encounter too many objections, even easy fixes like paint colors, might not make an offer, Hanson said.

“If there is a common denominator here, it has to do with condition,” said realtor Cotty Lowry.

He said buyers in this price range are often busy with their families or their businesses and have no interest in renovations.

“I think the things that fly out the door are ones that are just really well done. Somebody else has put in the money and the sweat,” he said. “That’s why new construction sells so well. The architecture may be inferior to an older house, but you don’t get all kinds of maintenance issues.”

Lowry said he’s been surprised to see a number of homes in the $800,000 range sell in a day or two, or sell with multiple offers.

“Linden Hills and Fulton continue to be incredibly strong,” he said.

Realtors always quip “location, location, location,” but it’s truly the top criteria appraisers use to value properties, said Cassandra Wilkey, owner of Hillside Appraisals, based in Northeast Minneapolis. She said home sales are so low this season that it can be challenging to find comparable sales that meet lender criteria for financing. If multiple bidders drive up prices far beyond the appraisal, some sales have to be renegotiated, she said.

Appraiser Byron Miller said he’s watched home prices spike in Southwest Minneapolis to reflect the shortage of homes for sale, with gentrification moving eastward. He noticed one house at 38th Street & 1st Avenue South purchased in 2016 for nearly $265,000, then renovated and sold about six months later for nearly $400,000.

“We’re seeing some similarities we saw previously before the mortgage bubble burst back in 2006,” he said. “…But at the same time, it’s kind of a supply and demand issue.”

“It’s been gangbusters,” said agent Sarah Kenville, who hosted an April open house at 47th & Wentworth. “I stopped counting (visitors) after the first 20 minutes.” The house, listed at $350,000, sold in four days with eight offers.
“It’s been gangbusters,” said agent Sarah Kenville, who hosted an April open house at 47th & Wentworth. “I stopped counting (visitors) after the first 20 minutes.”
The house, listed at $350,000, sold in four days with eight offers.

In the Kingfield neighborhood, Chad Kampe and his realtor Cara Strauss told friends and neighbors via Facebook that he’d soon sell his house at 39th & Blaisdell.

“My phone started blowing up immediately. People wanted to see it before it went on the market,” Strauss said.

“One-hundred seventy five people came through the house on opening weekend,” said Kampe, who fielded nine offers well over list price.

Realtor Ross Kaplan said he’s missed many dinner plans as buyers rush to see new houses. He has clients who want to sell, but they’re locked in place because they can’t find anything to buy.

“Just when you think it can’t get any tighter, it gets tighter,” he said. “…It’s feeding on itself at this point.”

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