While the Twin Cities housing market is improving, those wanting to buy a condo in the metro downtowns will need to do their homework and be prepared to act quickly. That's because we're seeing a lot of homeowners putting their condos up for rent, rather than listing them for sale. What this means for buyers is there will be a limited selection of condos available this summer, and prices will be very competitive.
There are many reasons why owners are choosing to rent out rather than sell. For some, it's an income. For others, it's easier, especially if they're going through a big change in life and have other details that need their attention. And others may be experiencing a short-term or temporary situation and intend to move back into their condo in the near future.
If you have your heart set on purchasing a loft or condo in downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul, we recommend starting on these steps right away so you can compete when you find the perfect home:
* Pre-approval on financing - If you aren't able to pay cash out of pocket, get a letter from your lender showing you are pre-approved for a loan. Include the amount.
* No contingencies - With the exceptions of an inspection and assessment, be prepared to make an offer that is contingency-free. That means no waiting for the sale of your current home or for financing to be approved.
* Insurance - Now that home insurance is included as part of the mortgage payments, notify your insurance agent before you start shopping that you're planning on making a purchase. The second you bid on a house, let the agent know so he or she can start crafting a policy.
* Do your homework - Know what price range you can afford, what neighborhood(s) you want to live in, what size house you want, if you need a parking garage underground or access to public transportation, and how strong of an association you want overseeing your building. Your real estate agent can help you sort this out for an easier search.
The real estate market is constantly fluctuating, so the better prepared you are before you start looking, the better able you will be to compete for the home you want to buy when you find it.