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“The people who have the money … don’t want a fixer-upper,” said Westermeyer, an executive in the Twin Cities.
The owner of the property, who had moved to Switzerland, spent about $70,000 to finish the basement, replace the appliances and update the bathrooms. Knowing that the seller was already losing money on the property, Westermeyer and his wife made an offer for only slightly less than the list price.
When the seller accepted, the Westermeyers put the modest place they had owned for 15 years on the market for $250,000. As sellers, getting a deal wasn’t quite as easy. Before long, someone with a less-expensive cabin decided to take advantage of the market in the same way as the Westermeyers.
The offer? $210,000.
“I didn’t enjoy being aggressively lowballed,” Westermeyer acknowledged. “It was a bit of a slap in the face.”
But knowing that the entry-level market for vacation homes is softer, he was reluctant to quash the deal. In the end, he accepted the offer and closed the deal on the larger house with a small guest cottage for just under $500,000 — a considerable bargain compared with what he would have paid five years ago.
“Ultimately, when the day was over,” Westermeyer said, “I knew I held the cards.”
Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376