ST. CLOUD — So you want a new home.
Whether you’re buying or building, there’s some anxiety going around about prices as the pandemic continues. Here are some tips from local real estate agents and representatives of the Central Minnesota Builders Association to help you think through your own plans to buy, sell or build.
Tips for buying a home
- Get pre-approved by your lender. That way, St. Cloud Area Association of Realtors President and Premier Real Estate Services realtor Nancy Costanzo said, you’re one step ahead.
- Stick to your budget. Run your options for how much money you can put down and what price point you meet, Costanzo said. “Don’t overstretch your boundaries just because of a quote unquote ‘panic mode,'” she said. “… You still gotta pay the mortgage.”
- Before you decide to work with a realtor, ask them what tactics they’ll use to help you get your hands on a house. “You kind of have to have tricks up your sleeve to get houses these days,” Central MN Realty realtor Shantel Waytashek said. Do the research ahead of time and find someone who will work for you.
Tips for building a new home
- Before you worry about the sticker price, check in with a builder. They’re knowledgeable about their own industry, Central Minnesota Builders Association government affairs consultant Steve Gottwalt said, and you might find the answers aren’t what you were expecting. You can get an idea of cost, time frame and material availability this way. “They’re ready to have these conversations,” Gottwalt said, and they’re the experts.
- Know that prices aren’t expected to get better anytime soon. Gottwalt said material costs are not expected to fall after the pandemic. And those low interest rates that home buyers are benefitting from? You can get in on those to build a home, too, as long as they last, Gottwalt said.
- Work with a licensed contractor. Contractors are busy, particularly doing remodels, Central Minnesota Builders Association Executive Director Wanda Schroeder said. But she advises not to have an unlicensed contractor do the work. If you’re putting the money into building a new home, make sure it’s with someone reputable for your own protection.
Tips for selling your house
- Don’t overprice your house, Waytashek advises. “If you overprice it, it is, like, the absolute worst thing you can do right now,” she said. Many homes are receiving multiple offers in today’s market, and those offers will drive up the price of a home if it’s underpriced. But buyers won’t want to offer on an overpriced home, Waytashek said, and then you’ll have to drop the cost and it’ll stay on the market longer. You don’t want people wondering why your house hasn’t sold.
- Be realistic. Even if an offer comes in high above list price, a bank still has to sign off on the financing of that home, and they may not be inclined to finance an offer significantly above the listing price, Costanzo said.
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