Minneapolis Real Estate Makes Affordable and Quality Living

When you think about Twin Cities real estate, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul give you a wide variety of housing types and locations. They also have some of the best schools in the nation, plenty of health care. Rivers and lakes offer a variety of fun things to do all year. The area has won awards for the best places for young people to live, the best area for couples and one of the healthiest states in the country. Because of location, they have a job market that is not dependent on one single resource.

Thousands of people buy Minneapolis real estate every year for these reasons. Whether you are looking for an area that offers you many different small towns and suburbs or just looking for a big city area that has small town charm, it is a perfect area that values family life. It is a fun place to ice fish, hunt or snowmobile because the outdoor fun areas include lakes and rivers, along with forests. It has the Minnesota Twins for baseball and the Minnesota Vikings for national football and those that like watching sports or taking kids for a fun day.

The seven county areas of St Paul and Minneapolis, have over two million people that have different interests, but they all enjoy the quality family life, great hospitals and school choices. Forbes voted Minneapolis at the top of the most affordable places to live with a good life and with plenty of things to do. Over half of the area’s homes that were sold could be afforded by the average people that work in the area. It ranked high in quality of life, arts and recreation choices.

When it comes to large companies, Target, 3M, Best Buy, General Mills, Cargill and United Health support the things to do in the area. Minneapolis is popular because many of the people work for these large companies and their families like the theaters, music halls and museums they support. When it comes to family values and the great things to do that are fun, the area is unlike other large big cities.

Twin Cities real estate enjoys a strong resale value because families are still moving here and jobs are still available. When it comes to raising a young family and finding a good job to support them, Minneapolis offers the chance at an affordable home, a stable job, and a growing area that offers exciting things to do. The area has also earned awards for being one of the safest metro areas, which is important to family life.

When you are looking for the best places in the country to raise a young family, enjoy a stable job and buy a home that will hold its worth, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is a popular choice. In fact, as of November, 2009, median price of a home was $220,000 for Minneapolis real estate. This number was up 2% from last year, compared to other areas where prices have dropped.

As you can see, when you compare those numbers to Florida, California or Nevada home values and you can see why many people choose Twin Cities real estate over other areas. The diverse area offers many advantages for families that are looking for a great area to raise a family, work and enjoy their life. You can see why Forbes chose Minneapolis as the most affordable place that offers a great life. It is the same reasons that you should call a real estate agent, get a great job and move here, too.

Finding the Perfect Real Estate Manager

Managers are all important members of a business as they can either help boost it or they can cause it to fail. In the current property environment that businesses have to try and sustain themselves in, it is important for all mangers to have a well rounded personality. In this you can easily understand why it is so important to get the real estate manager who has the right attitude, skill sets and experience.

Depending on the type and size of your real estate holdings, property managers will need to use different skill sets. If you have just a few apartments or single family homes that you are renting then your property manager will need to have very good communication and customer skills when dealing with your renters. If your real estate holdings are quite large then personnel management skills will become very important. You never want to get a property manager that is in the business only for the money.

Small Real Estate Holdings Management

Maintaining a 100 percent occupancy rate is of primary importance for the smaller real estate manager. After all having a 10 or 20 percent vacancy rate can put you in a very large negative cash flow situation very quickly. Your manager will need to keep your rentals occupied and the tenants happy. He or she will need to not fall victim to a tenant’s hard luck story on why the rent was not paid on time.

Your manager will also need to be able and willing to take care of minor maintenance problems such as painting, plumbing, electrical and carpentry work. After all, managing your property will not be a full time job and if your manager can take care of minor maintenance problems himself, it would go a long way in maintaining a positive cash flow.

Medium Real Estate Holdings Management

The primary difference between small and medium real estate holdings management is his ability to manage independent contractors. Your property manager will not have the time to do a lot of the maintenance himself. What you are looking for is someone that can develop a relationship with other small business or independent contractors that can do most of the maintenance on your properties but not pay full price for that service.

Your real estate manager will need the ability to see a maintenance problem and determine if the problem has to be fixed right away or if it can wait a few days. If it can wait a few days then your property manager will need to make arrangements with one of his independent contractors to get the job done in a timely fashion. Independent contractors will usually give you a price break if they can do the work around their schedule.

A great place for property managers to start building relationships with independent contractors is to talk to people that work at Home Depot, Ace Hardware and other home repair businesses. Talk to someone in the paint department if you need painting done or the electrical department if you need electrical work done. Someone is always looking for extra work. Independent contractors will require a lot of supervision to make sure the job is done up to your standards.

Large Real Estate Holdings Management

The primary difference between small or medium and large real estate holdings management is his ability to manage employees. Your property manager will have several full time employees. Dealing with employee benefits, vacations, keeping track of sick days and personal days off is an art form and can quickly get out of hand and become cost prohibitive if it is not done correctly.

The Perfect Real Estate Manager

The perfect real estate manager is one that you have trained yourself. If you have a lot of real estate properties consider dividing it up in to small holdings. If you have four or five property managers and one is not doing the job to your satisfaction then fire that person and give that property to the manager that is doing the best job for you. After a few years you will end up with one or two perfect managers.

This would be much better than turning your properties over to a large property management company and finding out a couple of years later that you suddenly have a 30 percent vacancy rate and all of your properties are in need of major repairs because the minor repairs were not taken care of.

How to Get Started With Real Estate Investing

One of the first things that you must do to get started as a real estate investor is to know what is taking place in your market. You must know what is happening in your market so that you can tailor your investing strategy to your market. You need to approach your real estate investing business as a business. Think about this idea for a moment…

When a new major retailer (Walmart, Home Depot etc.) is looking to open a brand new facility in the area, they will do market research beforehand. They are going to do some demographic research to see if the store would be able to sustain itself before they move forward. In a similar manner, you are going to need to do a little bit of research to ensure that you are using the right techniques with your real estate investing business.

Once you know what is happening in your market, you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Based on what is going on in your area, will seller financing be a good strategy? What about wholesaling or lease options? Each of these strategies are more effective under certain market conditions and when you align your strategy with your market conditions, you will increase your success significantly.

So, the real key is to know which indicators will provide you with the most useful information.

Key Indicators

Jobs – Employment s a key factor that drives the real estate market. Generally speaking, people will want to live nearby their employment. So, as jobs are moving into an area, this will increase the demand for housing and rentals. If the area does not have many jobs coming in, you will also see a decreased demand. Since the real estate market is controlled by supply and demand, the number of jobs coming in to an area gives you a very good idea of the demand. You have to know this to know what is going on in your area.

You can obtain a lot of information from the city planner. They can tell you about new companies that are moving into the area, how many jobs they are creating, and the income range for those jobs. This is valuable information to have as a real estate investor.

Occupancy Rate – A factor to understand the demand for rental properties in the area is the occupancy rate. Vacancy is a key factor to know whether rental properties are in demand in your area or not. This is another perfect example of why you must know your market prior to investing. If vacancy rates are very high for your area, investing in rental properties is probably not the best idea for you. You would have a harder time finding a tenant. The property would be vacant for a while and you would continue to make mortgage payments. This is why it is critical for you to start your investing business by knowing your market. This will save you a lot of time, money, and heartache later on.

Property management companies are a good place to obtain occupancy rates. Call them and let them know that you are an investor and considering several properties in the area. They will see you as a potential client and they will usually be happy to provide you with the information that you are seeking. Another alternative is to look in the newspaper each week to see the homes for rent section. Over time, this section will give you an idea of what the demand for rentals is for your market.

Rent Incentives – Rent incentives can be a key indicator of the balance between the supply and demand for rental properties. As a general rule of thumb, the fewer rent incentives you see, the more demand there is over the supply. When the supply of rental properties is greater than the demand, you will see many landlords offering some sort of incentive or promotion. They are trying to give a potential tenant a reason to choose their property over the rest of the competition. So, when you see a lot of rent incentives, it means that the supply of properties is greater than the demand for rentals. You will see incentives like a low deposit, a few months of free rent, cash towards buying a home, or some other sort of offer to get them in the property.

Incentives are easy to spot as you are looking at properties on the Internet, in the newspaper, or any other method where you can find them. The important part is that you see a lot of incentives. It will not just be one here or there.

New Units Permitted – When someone is going to build a home, they must obtain a building permit from the city. Your city will have information on the number of new building permits that have been issued over the last month and the last year. Every home that is built adds to the inventory. Since supply and demand are the factors that are driving the market, the building permits add to the supply.

As an investor, if you see that there are a lot of jobs coming in (demand) and there are not very many units permitted (supply), then that means that you have found a hole in the market. You could start looking at developing some land and building new houses to meet the incoming demand. See how this information can help you get started on the right foot and see the opportunities in your market?

The city planner has the information on the number of new units that have been permitted. As you might have noticed, the city planner is an extremely valuable resource for you as an investor. Most real estate investors overlook the value of what the city planner can offer. It is highly recommended that you spend a little time with your city planner to know what is happening in your area. You can make a lot of money using their market knowledge coupled with your investing strategy.

Inventory for Sale – This indicator refers to the existing homes that are currently on the market. We are trying to measure the supply and demand in the area. The supply is going to be the total of new units that have been permitted and the existing homes for sale.

The existing homes for sale are an easy indicator to measure. Any real estate agent with access to the Multiple Listing Service can tell you how many homes are currently for sale in the area. I highly recommend tracking this on a monthly and yearly basis. This will help you measure whether inventory is rising or falling.

Average Days on Market – The days on the market will tell you how long (on average) it is taking for homes to sell in your market. This will give you an idea of the activity taking place in your area and how quickly a home will sell. Market activity affects the balance between the supply and demand. The days on the market (DOM) can help you know how long it will take for the demand to catch up to the supply and vice versa.

The days on the market can also be obtained from your real estate agent that has MLS access. Let them know the areas that you want to focus on and it can give you that information. You will also want to track this monthly so that you can see changes going on in the market.

Summary

Now you can use this information to begin your real estate investing business. To be successful, you must know what is taking place in your area. These key indicators will help you understand supply and demand in your market. You will also be able to see opportunities in your market.

If you are tracking these indicators over time, you can also see changes that are occurring in your market. You will then be able to adjust your strategy to match the changing trend. Doing this research is very profitable, and it will make the difference between an average investor, and a great investor.

You can also get a real estate investing guide that will serve as a tool of how next steps to take beyond this article.