On a budget? Take a look at manufactured homes
Finding a good deal in Minneapolis and St. Paul
With properties priced at levels last seen in 2001 and 2002, pretty much everything in the Twin Cities is a bargain right now, Minneapolis real-estate agent Michael Sharp says. And buyers know it.
Inventory has dropped to about a four-month supply in the metro area, he says, and buyers are starting to get motivated as they realize that good homes are going quickly. Nationally, there was a 6.2-month supply in December, according to the National Association of Realtors.
St. Paul agent Teresa Boardman says that the number of buyers decreased last year along with inventory, but that's starting to change. "You would think (houses would) be flying off the shelves and prices would go up, but they really haven't gone up," she says. "Now we're finally starting to see more buyer activity. Going forward, maybe prices will go up."
Boardman says the best bargains she has seen in St. Paul are downtown, where new construction came online at about the time the housing market crashed. Some of those condos are now in foreclosure, and Boardman says you can find some for $35,000 to $40,000. A buyer could turn around and rent out one of those condos for upward of $800 a month.
"For something you could buy for that much and get that for rent, that would be where I would go," she says.
She warns buyers to review the financial statements for a building before buying a condo: "Don't buy a condo in a building that has too many foreclosures in it," she says.
The best deals in St. Paul outside of downtown also tend to be foreclosures, which along with short sales make up around 40% of sales in the Twin Cities. Those deals are not concentrated in any one area, Boardman says, so a buyer can find a good deal in almost any area of town.
For first-time buyers, she recommends the Como Park area, Cherokee Heights, the West Side and the West Seventh neighborhood. Those areas have good prices on homes that won't need much work.
For buyers who can handle a fixer-upper, there are plenty from which to choose. But Boardman says agents must do a lot of work educating buyers on what it takes to purchase a fixer-upper. "You can't buy a house that's falling in and move in and fix it up," she says. "But if you have the resources or are a general contractor, you absolutely can find bargains."
Over in Minneapolis, fixer-uppers aren't staying on the market for long, Sharp says. Investors and cash buyers are pouncing on them.
Many of those fixer-uppers are in the Camden area in north Minneapolis, which was hit hard by foreclosures. But Sharp says that residents are working hard to rebuild and that the city is trying to increase the number of owner-occupants there. "The city will have someone that comes in, buys (homes) and fixes them up and sells them to first-time buyers," he says. "That helps everybody all the way around. It strengthens the neighborhood to have families that care about the neighborhood."
For first-time buyers looking for attractive pricing, he recommends northeast Minneapolis, including parts of Nokomis, and some areas of south Minneapolis, including Longfellow. The Calhoun Isles area has deals for buyers in a little higher price range, he says.
He says buyers must realize that homes are generally priced correctly and that Minneapolis is not as cheap as they might think. "When people come here, they think Minneapolis is such a deal, and they expect prices to be a lot less," he says. "We're priced the same as Chicago. I hear that a lot."
He's not far off. According to the NAR, the median sale price of an existing single-family home in the Minneapolis metropolitan area was $160,300 in the third quarter of 2011, compared with $187,700 in the Chicago area. It's not an all-encompassing measure, because both cities have a large number of condos, but it gives you an idea.
Sharp says most sellers are already at their bottom line, and buyers risk offending them with a ridiculously low offer. "Buyers will still come in and want to haggle, but they're just not going to get the deals they're thinking," he says.
He says a recent $475,000 listing got two offers — one for $385,000 and the other for $450,000. Guess which one the seller took seriously.
"Some buyers are getting it, and some don't quite get it," he says. "Buyers that get it are the ones that are getting the homes."
Winter home-shopping tips
Just in case the Twin Cities finally see the winter they are famous for, Sharp has a few tips for winter home shopping:
- Wear boots that slip on and off easily; most sellers want you to remove your shoes.
- Allow more time to get around.
- Look at homes during daylight hours.
- Make sure you get a quality home inspection, because it's hard to tell if there is a roof problem when the roof is covered in snow.
Recently my wife and I were looking for a home in S.C. and we were told it is very hard to get financing for a manufactured home.
If the writer is trying to refer to "modular homes" , he should make that distinction. A modular home might be as good as a site-built. But unfortunately, there will still be a little carry-over from the mobile home mentality when it's time to resell.
If you want a solid investment, just plan on a site built home.
On the other hand, a 10-15 year old 'manufactured home' on a nice piece of dirt at a very cheap price (because it has depreciated so much), can be a good middle ground while you prepare to build. Just make sure you are paying only for the land, while the mobile on it is essentially free.
The difference between a manufactured home and a Manufactured home....
A Modular home is manufactured and assembled on -site.
A Manufactured home is manufactured with a frame that accepts a set of wheels to be moved from place-to-place if desired....
Sourced from the original site: www.tlcmodularhomes.com
I've been there, I've walked through their homes. I want one, just need to get a suitable building site first :)
Unfortunately, the author of this article didn't do her homework, and kept using the terms "mobile" and "modular" interchangably. A modular home, by definition, is built in a factory, but to international building code standards, and therefore meets or exceeds site-built code. Mobile homes do not. That's why folks who live in mobile homes must take shelter elsewhere during hurricanes or other storms, and folks in modular homes can shelter in place -- modulars are identical to site-built. Other commenters are bearing this out with their experience -- those with trailers, or mobile homes, have had a bad experience, and those with modular homes have had a great experience. Modulars cost more than mobiles because of the more exacting construction standards. There is obviously still a lot of education that needs to take place with city councils about the product. Modulars are cheaper to build because they don't have any weather delays, are generally designed to avoid construction waste, can control for construction site theft and safety and therefore have lower insurance premiums, and are able to manage supply chain and worker schedules more efficiently to avoid costly downtime. As for concerns about cancer-causing toxins -- low VOC paint and varnishes and carpet glue are a choice a homebuyer makes. The cheap, bad stuff is used equally by site-built homebuilders. Look for a reputable builder (of either kind) who will give you the option for healthier products.
I have seen some beautiful manufactured homes at very reasonably priced.. I have not seen one yet that doesn't have warnings that the homes were made with materials that cause cancer in humans. . For this reason I will stay in my site built regular home.
I live in California and it is required the builder informs the public of cancer causing agents. For that I am thankful.
I have lived in mobile homes since 1972 in California and do now. There are two rules to follow when you live in one. First-They are a total writoff when you leave, Second-One pays cash for the unit. The cost of living wilth all expenses including elc. water and gas will be less than the property tax on a home. If you want to live in something that is easy to maintain try one, Just remember, if the going gets tough, leave. Leave the junk for the park people to get rid of.
I own a Manufactured home since 1999 in the state of Michigan, Don't get me wrong I and my family enjoy are home but the problem with owing a home such as area's the value has been lost in the past few year's.
This is dew to the country falling apart in every direction that is possible If i sold today i gain nothing. We would have been better of buying a stick built home. There values have not fallen like manufactured homes. in closing BEWARE OF WHAT YOU DO. I See values only down even more
they just did here in Michigan.
If I were to build a new home today, I would certainly go for a manufactured home. The build time, the cost and the quality are just wonderful. You can always customize as well. It's a lovely option for people who want something new.
Please Rent RENT Rent do not buy Trailers no matter how cute.
Perfume on a pig is still a pig.
You should be ashamed of your self for not doing homework on trailers.
This is the worse thing poor people can do. These homes are worth nothing after a few years and you can not sell them. After years of increase property rent, up keep, landscaping, and the depreciating of the unit People walk away from them all the time. The property rent in our area is $600.00 a month for a unit. A unit in our park just sold for $35,000. purchased new it cost the owners $133,000. what does that do for everyone else in our park. Please rent.
Shame on you for this article