If so, I have a recommendation for you.
We recently sold our old house and bought a new one, and moved.
The main reason we did this: to get closer to Amanda’s place of work. We managed to turn a commute that ran from 35 minutes to 1.5 hours (on really bad winter days) each way to one short enough that Amanda will usually bike, with about a five or six minute drive on non-biking days. Probably a ten minute drive on the worst winter days.
The main reason we did this now rather than a couple of years ago: our house was under water thanks to the GB Economic Crisis. In fact, we weren’t sure if we could sell the house at anything but a loss now. And, since we were trying to move into what is at present the best school district in the state (where Amanda happens to teach), the chances of finding a place to move to were somewhere between slim and none. And slim just left town after killing none.
But, we had excellent real estate agents working with us, and that made a huge difference. This blog post is, in fact, part of my thanks for and endorsement of Erik and Toby Nordin. They generally work as a team, and Erik was at the time the licensed agent (though Toby just became one as well), while Toby was the marketing guru. The Nordins work for Engle & Völkers, an international company that has recently moved into the Twin Cities area, and for which Amanda’s sister, Alyssa, works.
Erik and Toby gave us advice on what to do to get our house ready for sale. We followed their advice carefully, and rather than having to lose money on the sale, we walked away with a nice bit of cash. We sold the house in just over 24 hours after putting on the market, though it is a bit unfair to say that; the eventual buyers actually saw the house just a few hours into the process, but there was a bidding thing among the six or so offers we got.
Erik took us out to look at houses a few days after we sold ours. Twice. We found the house we wanted to buy with two bouts of searching. We know a few other people in our area that have moved recently, and most took weeks or months. One could argue that we are not picky, but see above: we were looking for an affordable place a bike ride from the top high school in the state, in a very fancy suburb.
(It turns out that Plymouth Minnesota has a sort of workers neighborhood right by the City Center. Erik knew about it, and showed us a couple of places here.)
Erik and Toby provided or organized all the necessary services and held our hands through every step. Their management of MLS data was excellent. They had great advice on anything you can imagine an agent can provide advice on. You need to know that I’m a person who normally does not like, trust, or have a whole hell of a lot of respect for most real estate agents. I was, after all, raised by one, and I’ve seen the sausage being made. Erik and Toby (and S-I-L Alyssa, and I suspect Engel & Völkers generally) are real professionals. If all agents and brokers were held to their standards a lot of people in the business would have to be looking for work elsewhere.
I’ve told our story to a handful of people who either just did the same thing, or who were in the process, and nobody has had an experience that went as smoothly, as successfully, and as quickly as ours. I attribute this to three things. A bit of random luck (maybe 10% of the outcome accounted for by this), a lot of hard work on our part, getting our place ready to sell (though it was fundamentally in great shape), and a huge amount of excellent work by Toby and Erik
So, thank you Toby and Erik.
I should also mention that Engel & Völklers, in the tradition of many European countries, is both a great place to work (so I hear) and does a lot to “give back” to the community. For example, they are a major supporter of the Special Olympics.
Congratulations on the new house. My own experience with real estate is limited--I still live in the first house I bought--but I agree that living in a premium school district is a plus, even if it means having less house than you could otherwise afford. Better to have a low-end house in a high-end school district than a high-end house in a low-end school district. Being within feasible walking/biking distance of Amanda's workplace is a major plus--that's one of the features I have with my house.