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Are you really ready to sell your home?

The Twin Cities real estate market is hot again. But, as is often the case, the benefits of that market are not evenly distributed. Inventory is low, which is driving up prices and down time on the market. Two factors that seem to be most strongly driving the choices are location and amenities.

This means first-ring suburbs, such as Edina, Richfield and Falcon Heights, are leading the market. The lower prices for many of their homes combined with their proximity to many of the area's jobs, shops, restaurants and other important amenities has attracted many first-time home buyers.

Location is also a big draw for many baby boomers who are downsizing from outer-ring suburbs. The location means easy access to the central cities, parks and lakes, airport and entertainment venues.

Another amenity that is important to many buyers is the school district. Cities with strong school systems are very attractive to buyers with young children and cities like Edina and Minnetonka are benefiting from highly ranked school systems. One realtor has even added a feature on his website that allows clients to sort available homes by the school district.

For some, the advantage of a shorter commute means they are willing to move into a smaller home at virtually the same price as their larger, but further out, suburban home. With the busy lives many people lead, getting back multiple hours per week is worth the trade.

The speed of some sales can be challenging, with some sellers finding offers being made before their homes are officially on the market. One seller was literally still painting the home when the first knock came on the door.

Buyers need to be prepared to make offers the same day and potentially above the asking price. They may also need to accept unusual deals, such as a reverse contingency, where the transaction is only completed if the seller finds a new home to purchase. As with any unusual deals, you may want legal counsel to review the transaction before you sign anything.

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