Archive for the 'Selling A Duplex' Category

Free Expert Advice For Delinquent Duplex Owners

said on October 21st, 2011 categorized under: Selling A Duplex

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free duplex realtorTo my dismay, many distressed duplex owners don’t call a Realtor to help them avoid foreclosure simply because they believe they’ll have to scramble to find the money for her servies.

The real tragedy is because of this mistaken belief, they often lose their duplex foreclosure.

Realtors commissions are paid out of the proceeds of a successful sale. If you’re a traditional seller, with lots of equity in your duplex, then that commission is deducted from your check at closing or the close of escrow.

And if you’re facing foreclosure or a short sale, the Realtor’s fee is deducted from the money the bank gets. And believe it or not, all banks are willing to pay those fees.

So if it costs you nothing, why wouldn’t you call an experienced duplex and short sale expert to guide you through a difficult and often emotional process?

Why Your Realtor Won’t Buy You A Duplex

said on October 10th, 2011 categorized under: Buying A Duplex, Selling A Duplex

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duplex dollarIn the last several weeks, I’ve had several buyers and sellers ask me to give up all or part of my previously agreed upon commission on a duplex sale so they can either pay less or net more.

My answer was “no”.

Yes, real estate commissions are negotiable.

And I realize every get rich quick real estate seminar or web site encourages you to ask your Realtor to financially contribute to the sale. After all, the thinking goes, you’re going to be giving that agent “so much business” they’ll be glad to trade hundreds or thousands of dollars for the opportunity of your continued loyalty.

Besides, Realtors make so much money, they can afford to give up some or all of their commission, right?


In 2010, the average income for a Realtor was $34,100. This was down 4.5 percent from the average Realtor income in 2009.

Compare this to 2002, when the average Realtor earned $52,100; 34.7 percent than they do almost a decade later!

And that figure includes agents who’ve been working selling duplexes and homes for more than two years.

Realtors who’ve been in the business two years or less earned, on average, $8900.

Out of that income, Realtors pay for gas, car insurance, desk fees, errors and omissions insurance, marketing of their listed properties, mandatory continuing education, MLS dues, cell phone and Internet bills, open house signs, the installation of signs in yards, and a thousand other expenses associated with running a business.

All of this in the worst housing market in decades.

I absolutely love what I do. And I am happy to work long hours for clients who see the value in what I do; whether it be finding them a non-MLS duplex that suits their needs, or guiding them through the complicated process of a short sale.

But unfortunately, Duplex Chicks have bills to pay too.

3 Facts About Minneapolis Duplex Sales

said on September 26th, 2011 categorized under: Buying A Duplex, Selling A Duplex

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three reasons to work with a duplex specialistI went out of town for a few days last weekend.

While I was gone, I managed to help two clients write offers on Minneapolis duplexes.

Neither was  an active listing on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

In fact, one was a property where an accepted offer on it was about to be cancelled. The other duplex was not coming on the market until next year.

This proves three things I’ve been saying for months.

1. It’s a great time to sell a duplex.

2. If you want to buy a duplex, working with the right Realtor will help you get access to properties you either won’t find on your own, or would be missed by an agent who doesn’t specialize in duplexes and small multi family properties.

3. If you’re thinking of selling, but aren’t quite ready to stage your property or leave the duplex for showings, letting a Realtor who’s a duplex specialist know, and/or agreeing to do a “pocket listing” with her, may help you avoid the inconveniences altogether.

Let me know if you’re either in the market to buy a Minneapolis duplex or sell one. While values are nowhere near where they were in 2005-2006, the market is better than you think.

Wanted: Minneapolis Duplex Sellers

said on September 1st, 2011 categorized under: Selling A Duplex

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new houseRight now, I have a number of extremely well qualified clients looking to buy a Minneapolis or St Paul duplex to live in.

While their needs vary somewhat, most share the following criteria:

  • Each unit must have 2 or more bedrooms
  • Each unit must be at least 1300 finished square feet or more in size.
  • There must be at minimum, a 2 car garage

Believe it or not, we’re having a hard time finding even those basics!

My clients are primarily looking for duplexes near Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, Linden Hills or southwest Minneapolis. However, they are also willing to look at duplexes near the Town and Country Golf Club in St Paul, in Edina, St Louis Park or West Bloomington.

Some of my buyers want the charm, built-ins and woodwork of either the Victorian or Craftsman era. One would appreciate a 1950’s-built side by side with a mid-century modern flair. Another would like something a little more contemporary.

If you own a Minneapolis or St Paul duplex you would like to sell, but are thinking of waiting out the market, or know you can’t possibly break even but just want out, please contact me.

You might have a better chance of selling your duplex than you think!

I’ve Got A Secret: My Duplex Is For Sale

said on August 8th, 2011 categorized under: Selling A Duplex

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sell your duplex with a quiet listingIf you’re a duplex owner who is considering selling, but are not quite ready to jump in with both feet, you might want to explore doing what’s known as a “Quiet Listing”.

Quiet Listings are usually associated with locations like Beverly Hills and Manhattan, where affluent and often well-known clients would rather friends and the public not speculate on why they might be selling, or be embarrassed for asking so much for the property in a struggling economy.

With a Quiet Listing, a duplex owner has expressed their willingness to sell under the right circumstances, signed a listing agreement with a Realtor (which allows the agent to market the property to prospective buyers), but wants the duplex kept off of the multiple listing service (MLS), which broadcasts data to all real estate web sites.

What’s the difference between a Quiet Lisitng and a Pocket Listing?

With a Pocket Listing,  a future Minneapolis duplex seller has expressed she’s willing to sell if a Realtor brings a specific buyer. A contract is signed, stating the property owner will agree to sell and pay a commission if the agent brings a named buyer to the property.

The sale is limited to that named individual or individuals, and does not allow the agent to tell other prospective duplex buyers about the property, or be assured of compensation if she does.

What are some of the advantages of a Quiet Listing to a seller?

First, it gives the duplex owner a chance to test the market a little bit, without having to have the property completely ready for a full-blown marketing campaign and stream of showings.

At the same time, however, it does give the owner better odds of actually selling; especially if the agent features the duplex on her own web site, uploads it to web sites that feature non-mls properties, and advertises it to buyers and prospective buyers. (Of course, steps can be taken to make sure easily identifiable characterstics are not made public if the seller chooses.)

And of course, in today’s real estate market, it also keeps neighbors from speculating about a seller’s financial circumstances.

If you’re thinking of selling your duplex, but are feeling cautious about the market, let’s talk about it.

I promise. I can keep it Quiet.

Comments Off on Thinking of Selling? Get Your Duplex Tenants To Agree To Move Out

duplex tenancy agreementA number of duplex sellers have recently asked whether or not they should renew their leases with tenants if they are considering selling.

After all, what if a buyer wants to live in one of the units?

My answer?

Of course!

Many duplex owners who are on the fence about selling now or at some point in the near future are consulting with an attorney to have move out clauses added to their leases.

In essence, these landlords are asking that tenants agree to move out given proper notice (whatever the state law recommends) in the event they sell the duplex to someone who wants to owner occupy their unit.

This allows the duplex seller to present his or her property as a valid option for a buyer who is not only looking to acquire an investment property, but for a place to live as well. And those kinds of buyers, by the way, make up a big part of the market.

Yes, a few tenants are resistant to the idea, as they fear having to move during the winter, over the holidays, or in the middle of the school year.

Most of my prospective sellers are able to overcome this by explaining IF they decided to sell, it’s likely to be a process that won’t happen overnight.

For example, it might take time to select a Realtor, have a truth-in-housing report done (if required), make repairs to prepare the duplex for sale, have photographs taken and possibly, create a virtual tour.

Once it’s actively for sale, even an immediate offer would result in an additional 30-45 days for the buyer’s mortgage to be funded.

More likely, however, it might take a bit longer to find the right buyer.

And if it’s a short sale, where the property is no longer worth what is owed, negotiations with the lenders involved could take even more time.

Once duplex tenants realize the clause in the lease doesn’t mean they’ll have to move out tomorrow, most, while not necessarily happy with the idea, seem to view the clause as a reasonable request.

Which allows future duplex sellers to keep their options open- which is almost always a good thing.

Comments Off on Why Your Realtor Won’t “Just Try” Selling Your Minneapolis Duplex

Try selling my Minneapolis duplexThe other day a prospective Minneapolis duplex seller suggested we just throw his property on the market at the price he “needs” to see if someone will just make him an offer.

The funny thing is, when you list your duplex for sale, most buyers think the price you list it at is what you truly want for it.

And if that number doesn’t make sense– as in it’s way out of line with what other properties are selling for– they won’t waste their time looking. Especially if it’s as much as $100,000-$150,000 above current market value.

Most duplexes and investment properties are presently selling for within 10 percent of the price they’re originally put on the market for. Therefore, a buyer has no reason to sincerely believe he or she will be able to purchase the property from you at present market value, which may be 30, 40 or 50 percent lower than the amount you “need”.

Here are the facts. If you purchased any kind of property after the year 2000, it’s probably worth considerably less than what you paid for it.

Or, if you’re a duplex owner who refinanced and took equity out of the property to pay off credit cards, buy another property, or go on vacation, odds are you owe more than the property’s worth.

And that stinks.

But today’s duplex buyer is unwilling to compensate you for that loss.

Here’s another fact. Putting a Minneapolis duplex on the market “just to try it”, costs your Realtor money. Marketing costs, like hiring a professional photographer, designing and printing brochures, paying a company to install “for sale” signs the agent bought, gas, insurance, licensing fees, and so forth, are all up front costs your Realtor pays.

Even if your duplex doesn’t sell.

And in today’s Minneapolis duplex sales environment, where Realtors are working harder and longer hours, often for less pay, there aren’t many of us willing to give you a “free loan” of “let’s just see” marketing money.

Comments Off on Why Minneapolis Duplex Owners Love A Bad Real Estate Market

duplex rent increasesIn recent months you may have heard that both the cities of Minneapolis and St Paul are experiencing historically low rental vacancy rates.

As in below 3%.

Thanks to the foreclosure crisis and tighter lending standards, more prospective home owners have been forced to rent until the both the economy and real estate market improves.

So what does this mean to an investment property owner, duplex buyer or seller?

As always, when supply exceeds demand, prices go up.

In recent months, a number of established Minneapolis duplex and investment property owners told me they’ve been able to increase rent for existing tenants and vacant units for the first time in years.

If you’re a duplex owner thinking of selling, this is good news. If you can keep your rent in line with the market, your property will have more annual gross revenue, which is one of the major components in determining value. The more income a duplex generates, the more it’s worth.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking of buying, this information should give you a sense of urgency. Regardless of whether or not a property is distressed (lender owned or subject to a short sale), values will go up because market rents have increased.

In other words, if you buy before prices increase, you’re more likely to get a bigger return on your investment dollar.

Comments Off on How To Help Your Duplex Sell: Even In A “Bad” Market

flows out engine oilThe other day, I saw a Minneapolis duplex where approximately 15 quarts of motor oil had been sprayed on the walls and floors.

For the record, that is not a great way to stage your duplex in order to attract a buyer.

So, if you’re thinking of selling, what physical improvements should you make to your investment property to make sure you get maximum market value in the shortest amount of time possible?

Getting a duplex ready isn’t really much different than getting a home ready to sell, except that we can’t control what a tenant’s unit looks like. However, we can make some of the same exterior and interior improvements a home owner would.

And the good news is none of them are terribly expensive.

Tell your tenants you are selling. As this is frightening for many, reassure them they are protected by their lease and that while you and your Realtor will do all you can to provide ample notice of showings, it will be within the terms of their lease or law. (In Minnesota, notice for business purposes is “reasonable attempt to notify”, not 24 hours. If your lease, state, city or county says something otherwise, those are the regulations you must follow.)

Now, let’s start on the outside of the duplex.

If it’s summer, make sure the lawn is mowed. Trim tree branches so the lowest one is above human height, and hedges so they’re below the window sills. Of course, if it’s winter, make sure you stay on top of snow and ice removal.

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Duplex Chick Looking For Sellers Afraid Of Commitment

said on June 15th, 2011 categorized under: Selling A Duplex

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Will you marry me?If you’re a Twin Cities duplex owner who’s thinking of selling, but aren’t quite ready for the commitment, consider the possibilities simply signing a one time showing contract could give you…

Like the benefit of keeping your options open, without any kind of exclusivity.

Like the benefit of having your duplex sell, without putting your tenants through a stream of showings.

Or, perhaps best of all, without your friends or neighbors ever knowing it was on the market in the first place.

A one time listing agreement, or “Showing Contract” simply gives a Realtor permission to show and sell the property to buyers they name in their contract with you.

It isn’t a commitment to use the agent to sell the property now or at a future date. Rather, it is an agreement that states you’re willing to sell your Minneapolis duplex, if the terms are right, to one of the Realtor’s clients.

 While the Showing Contract doesn’t commit to a price, it is an agreement between you and the agent’s broker (company they’re with) to pay a commission if the duplex does, in fact, sell. Because these commissions do not require the Realtor to spend a great deal of money marketing your investment property, there is often a savings passed along to the seller.

A one time listing contract is not only a win for you, but a win for the agent as well. I know I am often frustrated when I can’t find the right property for my client on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The six agents who’ve called me in the last six weeks looking for duplexes for their clients clearly are experiences similar challenges.

It always helps when I know of properties not listed, but the owner will consider selling, that I can either show my own clients or bring to other agents attention.

Get this; I am even willing to market some of these properties to a limited extent. Why? Because having what’s known in Realtor-speak as “pocket listings” is attractive to prospective buyers.

After all, don’t we all want the opportunity to buy that special Minneapolis duplex no one else even got to look at?

If you’re thinking of selling, but haven’t quite made up your mind, please call or email me. I do have qualified buyers looking for exactly the right duplex.

Yours may be it.