Minnesota real estate market expected to improve in 2013

After the building demand of residential real estate buyers, 2013 will likely be the year when more confidence returns and sellers again feel confident listing their homes. Metro area realtor groups expect that the price of homes will increase 8 to 12 percent in 2013.

In 2012, almost 47,000 homes sold, which was the highest since 2006. Sales are expected to continue to increase throughout 2013. Andy Fazendin, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors recently told Minnesota public radio that "Low inventory is really creating a market where buyers are frustrated, sellers are still not totally confident, ... Hopefully what we're going to see this year is it's going to flip over and we'll see an increase in inventory so those buyers can be satisfied."

Median sales prices increased in December to $182,000. There were also fewer sales of distressed properties.

For a possible buyer or seller this might be the year to move up to a bigger home or purchase a first home. Interest rates continue to hover at record lows meaning it could be cheaper to buy than rent or move into a larger home for a growing family.

Getting back into the real estate market

As the market heats up and you consider accepting a residential real estate transaction, the assistance of an attorney can be invaluable.

For anyone starting the process to buy or sell a residential home or investment property, it is important to understand that the complexities of the real estate process. While realtors work with standard, boilerplate forms, it can be prudent to consult a Minnesota real estate attorney along the way. From negotiating a listing percentage to review of a purchase agreement, a lawyer represents your interests and may be able to spot issues and potential conflicts that could derail an agreement.

In particular, attorney review is helpful in purchasing a condo or a townhome. These properties generally have lengthy by-laws and it is a good idea to review association fundamentals. Does the association have adequate reserves? Are there maintenance issues that may prompt an assessment or increase in monthly dues? A complete review of the regulations and association may inform a decision to buy in a certain community.

In FSBO (for sale by owner) or contract for deed sales, an attorney can review and assist in drafting paperwork that is correct and reflects your best interests.

Along the negotiation process, issues may come up with earnest money, inspections and the closing date. An experienced real estate attorney can assist in resolving disagreements and assist you in getting into the home of your dreams.