I lost out on a duplex listing the other day because I “don’t specialize in St Paul”.
This made me chuckle.
The seller had the impression that because of the frequent appearance of the word “Minneapolis” in my blog headlines, I don’t know St Paul.
I explained to him I do this because according to Google Ad Words, far more people search the Internet for the term “Minneapolis duplex” than they do “St Paul duplex”.
I am, after all, in business. Part of my job as a business owner is to make sure I’m found where people are looking for the type of services I provide.
So, my headlines say “Minneapolis”, even though I list, show and sell St Paul properties just as often; simply because of the popularity of the search term.
The seller, in this case, hired an agent who specialized in his neighborhood. On some level, this is a concept I absolutely understand when it comes to single family homes. After all, there are thousands and thousands of single family homes, and most MLS districts have neighborhoods with wildly different personalities within their boundaries.
Duplexes, however, are another story.
See, there just aren’t as many of them out there.
As a result, duplex buyers I work with tend to cover 5, 10, or even as many as 15-20 MLS districts in their search.
They are looking for a duplex that fits their budget, cash flows, fits their maintenance tolerance, has the neighborhood amenities they’re looking for, is something affordable in a neighborhood they couldn’t afford without being landlords, or is a property that is a flat out great investment.
Nearly all of them look in Minneapolis, St Paul, and all their suburbs.
And they compare duplex to duplex, whether the properties are in the same neighborhood or not.
Most Realtors specialize in single family homes, and may sell less than a handful of multi-family properties in their entire careers. Those agents typically focus their businesses on one or two MLS districts, and know those areas well.
Quite often, those agents mistakenly apply the techniques employed to market and price a single family home to a multi-family property. An example might be basing the price of the property on its finished square feet; a criteria crucial in single family homes, but of wildly diminished importance in duplexes.
Very few Realtors specialize in multi-family properties. Those who do know the personalities of many neighborhoods (because we help clients compare properties across neighborhood boundaries). Therefore, we can tell you how a duplex, say, in the Town and Country MLS district in St Paul compares to one in Southwest Minneapolis.
Many of us also have in our arsenal customized multi-family addendums to include in purchase agreements which help protect clients in ways specific to that specialized market.
Ironically, those of us who focus on duplexes have usually sold a long list of single family homes as well. Most of us started our careers that way; specializing as we became experienced.
Most of us continue to sell single family homes; simply because (believe it or not) people change their minds. I’ve had a number of clients over the years who really thought they wanted to be landlords, but as they became educated, decided it wasn’t the right fit for them at that point of their lives.