Monday, May 23, 2011


I’m appraising a 1/2 dozen neighborhoods in Blaine. As I’m driving around a see a ReMax sign and the agents name is “Twilight Dew”. She must have been born in the late 60s with Hippie parents! “Twilight Dew” also sounds like it could be the name of subdivision. I looked at so many it was hard to keep track.
In other Twin Cities communities that I have appraised lots in, its a struggle to even find any comparable sales for my analysis. Until the recent past, even other Twin Cities communities that still had building activity through the real estate crash, like Woodbury, did not have lot sales. Builders already had so many lots they owned that they were not buying more.

There are so many developments in Blaine, and so many neighborhoods within those developments, that it felt overwhelming to understand the Blaine market. I had to add a second full day to drive and walk the neighborhoods. But I enjoyed it, as so many of the neighborhoods were well designed.

I'm a professional with nearly 30 years experience in land development and I felt overwhelmed by the market in Blaine. So what must it feel like to a home buyer to have so many choices?

I visited with Mike, a Lennar salesman at their beautiful new development, The Woods at Quail Creek. In my ongoing quest to collect market data, I asked Mike if he had sold homes in other Lennar developments.

“I just started working with Lennar”, said Mike. “I'm a realtor and I bought a new home from Lennar in Victoria. I was so impressed with the process that I came to work for Lennar. Lennar offers 'everything included homes' with minimal options. Looking at custom homes there are so many to choices to build the house its overwhelming. Going the custom route, I could picture arguing with my wife on everything from floor material to the knobs on the kitchen cabinets. Lennar was just easy because there were so few choices to make.”

“And the price was so much lower than custom homes.”

So, as Mike tells us, when the choices become overwhelming, it gets down to price.

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