Tips from the Trenches-Buying Successfully In Minnesota


A buyer in Minnesota, and specifically the Twin Cities area-Minneapolis/St Paul, should consider visiting the board of Realtors site at On the tab regarding market activity, they will be able to click through and find out aggregated information that is compiled into city specific reports. For example, Minneapolis real estate will be broken down into the various areas of our MLS. All the data mini

ng and statistical information is done for you. This is an excellent resource, as it gives you average market time, sales prices, and percentage of list to sales price.

Look at all homes for sale. Don’t exclude any specific sector of the market. Initially, you may have wanted to run away from short sales, foreclosures, and auctions. Ultimately, once you get a feel for the marketplace, you may actually decide to focus on distressed properties. When buying in the distressed segment be prepared for a more complex process. Knowing that upfront will help. Depending on the community, almost 50% of the transactions are not “traditional” sales. Distressed sales often sell for what the market will bear, whereas traditional sellers may be unable or unwilling to adjust to the realities of the market. Until job creation comes back and our economy starts growing beyond anemic levels, expect distressed home sales to be a large part of the market. Frustration may set in but don’t allow it to influence an otherwise good decision in your purchase. Don’t be put off by some dirt and light repair, analyze the structure and the location.

Another resource is This site provides information for homeowners in distress and explains all the Minnesota laws regarding the foreclosure process and debt forgiveness. Visit this site and download the PDF fact sheets. Buying distressed properties today represents an opportunity. Understanding how the law works in our state is imperative.

Crime reports are also a useful tool. Some cities have the information aggregated and reported better than others. Minneapolis is one of the best. If you visit Minneapolis Police Depa

rtment webpage,, there are many documents on crime statistics. You might want to use this to determine how close in proximity your desired home sits in relationship to previous criminal activity. The website and statistics are updated on a monthly basis.

Here is an example of the crime statistics on October 31, 2010:

Along that same thought, if you want to research registered sex offenders within the state of Minnesota, visit

Another site that can help source down payment assistance and grants for Minnesota home buyers is This links with the MLS and actually becomes specific to a property in which you are interested. You will find that not all lenders will work with these programs. So, you may need or want to switch lenders if you want to access some of these special programs.

Lastly, look to your Realtor as a partner. Loyalty works both ways. An agent only gets paid upon a successful closing. We only stay in business with happy repeat clients and referrals. Most Realtors will work extremely hard for you if you work exclusively with them. Agents work on comm

ission, so they need to know that they will eventually get paid for their time invested in helping you find the right home.

Ask your Realtor if they have sourced any discounts with local companies. For example, at this time, I can get you a discount coupon at Lowe’s, Pods, and other national firms. Many companies have discounts arranged for their agents to offer buyers and sellers. Not every Realtor is aware of this, so you might require that they check in with their corporate office and find out.


John Mazzara

Broker Associate-RE/
MAX Associates Plus
Successfully Selling Twin Cities Real Estate-Since 1986
Email: [email protected]




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