Real Estate Guide // In demand: homes for sale

Home sellers are in a good spot these days as the inventory of homes for sale in the Twin Cities is at an 11-year low and prices are up 12.6 percent compared to the same time last year.

Southwest Minneapolis is no exception with for-sale signs a rare sight on yards in the neighborhoods.

Barb Jandric, president of Edina Realty, has tips for buyers and sellers to navigate the 2014 spring market.

Sellers with homes priced fairly and in move-in conditions in desirable neighborhoods will likely find themselves facing multiple offers, she said, adding buyers will have to be prepared to act quickly.

“Chances are you will have to make an offer more quickly than anticipated, and things can move very rapidly in a multiple offer situation. So the most important thing to do is to be prepared,” she said.

Buyers should be pre-approved by a lender and have as much cash on hand for earnest money.

“If there are already multiple offers on the table, there’s only one opportunity to make your offer, so it must be your best,” she said. “At all costs, avoid making an offer with any contingencies, with the exception of making it contingent upon a home inspection. If your home doesn’t have any major issues, such as a cracked foundation or a leaky roof, which a home inspection should uncover, a ‘clean’ offer with no contingencies is usually more attractive than the highest offer with contingencies.”

As for sellers, Jandric urges home owners to act now.

“If you’ve been waiting to sell, the time is now. The market clearly needs more inventory to keep up with demand. Homes that are coming on the market are selling quickly and getting very close to their asking price, and buyers are benefitting from historically low interest rates so they are making their move now.”

The average time homes are on the market is down 27.7 percent compared to a year ago, according to Edina Realty. Homes are selling within 82 days, on average, and sellers are getting 96.1 percent of their asking price.

Jandric said first-time homebuyers are also entering the market in larger numbers than they have in recent years. Investors aren’t as large a part of the market as they have been in the past, she said.

“It feels like a more traditional kind of market than I’ve seen in many years,” she said.