Buying and selling a home in the time of COVID-19

Experts weigh in


While some people refer to the last 11 months as the Big Pause, it has been anything but that for real estate broker and business owner Mike Smith. He said, “I’ve been busy for the last 15 years, but never anything like this. The only word I have for this housing market is ‘crazy.’”
Smith, who owns Anderson Realty, said, “I thought 2020 was going to be a humungous year in the Twin Cities housing market before COVID-19 hit: people are leaving the coasts because of wildfires and hurricanes. This is a great place to live, and our population is growing by about 4,000 people every year.
“They come to the Twin Cities and don’t think twice about spending $300,000 for a nice bungalow. In Boston, San Diego, or Seattle, that same house would cost upwards of $800,000. I helped at least a dozen parties move to the Twin Cities from both coasts last year.”
When the reality of the pandemic set in, some homeowners started re-evaluating their homes and the way they lived in them. Sometimes, they found that the open floor plan they had loved before just didn’t suit them anymore.
Smith said, “Let’s face it, people are stuck at home. Many people work at home, teach their kids at home, and entertain themselves at home. Plenty of people started to feel the walls closing in around them. Those who can afford it may opt to move to a larger home, or at least one with more doors that close.”
It all adds up to a time like no other, with factors we have not seen before driving people to buy and sell in a frenzy.
That frenzy didn’t abate, not even during the very real and painful weeks following George Floyd’s murder. Smith said, “As business owners on Lake Street were preparing for the possibility of property damage, I was outside nailing plywood across my windows. Tucked into my back pocket, my cell phone never stopped ringing. People wanted to schedule showings all over South Minneapolis, even during the week of curfew. I couldn’t understand it. We had to press pause.”
Anderson Realty is housed in the same building as Forage Modern Workshop and across the street from the Hi-Lo Diner, both of which are entrepreneurial ventures of Mike Smith’s. He said, “By anybody’s standard, we’re a small real estate brokerage. My grandmother started the business 60 years ago, and she is still my inspiration. We have always been small and family-owned.
“I’ve never been busier than I was this past year, but I’ve also never been more fulfilled. It’s been very rewarding helping people move during this time.”
Smith is a housing expert and entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the Twin Cities housing market. He said, “My background as a real estate appraiser, investor, small business owner, and licensed contractor give me the skills, confidence and know-how to be an effective realtor in today’s crazy market.”
Mike Smith can be reached at 651.324.6211 or by email at mikesmithrealty@gmail.com.

A stressful time for buyers
Seward resident Pat Rosaves have been a real estate broker and business owner for over 30 years. Her business, River Realty, specializes in homes along the Mississippi River and throughout the greater Longfellow neighborhood.
She said, “We are a small, local company. Our clients are also our neighbors, which gives us a special accountability. Because we serve a smaller area, we are able to be experts. We have our fingers on the pulse, and are confident of our ability to sell homes in this neighborhood.”
Rosaves has seen crazy times before, but nothing that compares with the past year and the beginning of 2021.
This type of housing market can be difficult for buyers, she observed. The inventory of housing stock in the Twin Cities is low for the second year in a row, which means there are more interested buyers than there are properties for sale.
She said the challenge of this time can be summed up in two words for buyers: “multiple offers.”
Rosaves explained, “Every house we list gets so much attention, even the fixer-uppers. Houses sell quickly, typically within four days on the market and with multiple offers. We’ve seen cases where there have been more than a dozen offers on a single property.
“But,” she cautions, “not all homes sell right away, showing that it is possible to list a house too high. This is where the right real estate agent comes in. Today’s buyers are very sophisticated and aware of the market.”
River Realty has been voted favorite real-estate company by Next Door neighbor three times in recent years. Rosaves said, “I am grateful to work with people who are more interested in doing the right thing for their clients than making one more sale. During COVID-19, we are helping people make intelligent decisions about their futures.”
Pat Rosaves can be reached at 612.724.1314 or by email at pat@riverrealty.net.


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