Archive for February, 2010

Comments Off on Two Halves Make A Whole In Minneapolis Duplex Market

two orange slicesWhat is the most common question I get asked in a duplex open house?

Is it, “What will the seller take?”

No. And even if it were, and I knew the answer (sometimes sellers surprise me), I couldn’t tell you. After all, the seller hired me to look out for her best interests, and by law, I have a duty to do just that.

The number one question is, “Is the whole duplex for sale or just one side?”

Many people don’t understand that while a duplex contains two residences, it has one Property Identification Number or PIN, with the county. It is considered one property.

In order for the two halves to be sold separately, each would need to have its own PIN.  While that is possible, and certainly, many fourplexes and larger apartment buildings have been split up and sold independently as condominiums, there is some legal paperwork involved.

One of the challenges in doing this with a duplex is the formation of an association. With larger properties especially, developers who are selling the individual units, hire an attorney to form a homeowners association,.

In the bylaws, all the rules, regulations, dues, and means of resolving disputes are clearly spelled out  in advance of the sale. This infrastructure helps prove a mechanism through which to collect and pay for maintenance, improvements and pursue delinquent homeowners.

Most of these associations have a board of directors which is populated by residents of the property. The board makes recommendations in terms of increased fees, exterior paint color schemes, etc., which residents then vote on.

What happens in a duplex if each owner wants the outside a different color? Who casts the deciding vote?  Or if one owner stops paying her share?

Tough to resolve. Which is exactly why most duplexes never face being split up and sold separately.

Comments Off on Minneapolis Duplex Market Studies Itself In The Mirror

beauty is skin deep - bulldog looking at herself in the mirrorThe Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors released its weekly activity report last night, and it turns out that January of 2009 and 2010 are almost mirror images of one another.

Pending sales and new listings are down a bit from last year, and there’s a little bit more inventory on the market, but, by en large, it’s a wash.

For the week ending January 23, there were 2.3 percent fewer signed single family purchase agreements than there were for the previous year.

In the duplex market, however, the reflection from year over year had a few ripples in it.

The number of signed purchase agreements for the week in 2010 was down 31.4 percent from the 2009 mark. Of those properties that did receive and accept offers, 12.5 percent were brought to the market by traditional sellers. This represennts an increase of 4 percent year over year.

The average off market price for the week was $95,177;  almost identical to 2009’s $95,371.

While the number of new listings to hit the market was virtually identical, this year traditional sellers were responsible for 40.35 percent of the new inventory. This is a stark contrast to last year’s market share of just 8.5 percent.

Hey, look at it this way. At least there aren’t any new wrinkles or gray hairs to contend with.

13 Inexpensive Ways To Improve Your Minneapolis Duplex

said on February 1st, 2010 categorized under: Home Repair

Comments Off on 13 Inexpensive Ways To Improve Your Minneapolis Duplex

A row with colorful silk tulipsThe spring housing market begins one week from today.

If you’re thinking about selling, that’s important information. However, it’s equally important if you’re a landlord facing a spring vacancy.


Many of your usual prospective tenants are going to be looking for houses in order to beat the April 30 first time homebuyer tax credit deadline, resulting in more landlords competing for fewer prospective tenants.

What’s more, many homeowners unable to sell their property for what it’s worth have turned them in to rentals, meaning there’s far more competition out there than ever for rental dollars.

Here are ten ways you as a landlord can compete:

1. Get your vacant unit so clean that your mother would stay there.

2. Give every room a fresh coat of paint.

3. If the kitchen cabinets lend themselves to it, apply a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware. You’d be surprised how inexpensive hinges, knobs and drawer pulls can be. Replacing them can immediately give a kitchen a face lift.

4. If your kitchen counters are dated, replace them. You don’t have to put in granite, but many of the larger home improvement chains offer relatively inexpensive laminate counter tops with a similar look and feel to high end stone.

5. Replace switch plates. At pennies a piece, the return on the investment here is significant. Filthy switch plates imply a history of grime. Painted-over switch plates send a message of laziness.

6. Paint the front door. It’s tough to paint in the winter, I know. But you could remove the door, taking it to the warm basement long enough to get it painted and dry. It may be possible to cover the opening with plastic while you’re waiting.

7. Shovel the sidewalks. Fallen on ice yet this year? Enough said.

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