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The Best Time to Buy a House in North Dakota

At a Glance (max 300 characters): North Dakota’s rugged beauty, Midwestern wholesomeness, and recent fracking boom have made it one of the most attractive housing markets in the nation. But there are still deals to be found, if you know when to look.
At a Glance (max 300 characters): North Dakota’s rugged beauty, Midwestern wholesomeness, and recent fracking boom have made it one of the most attractive housing markets in the nation. But there are still deals to be found, if you know when to look.

There are few things more demoralizing than losing out on your dream home because someone, or several someones, topped your offer. That perfect life you imagined, right down to the last detail, in that perfect house, just gone, poof, in an instant. And yet, if you're out there looking at places during times of peak demand, you're virtually guaranteeing that you're going to lose a bidding war or three.

But hey, some people like the heat of competition. Just know that there's another time of the year when everything's flipped. In that slow period, there are more sellers than buyers, which means they have to compete for you. Any offer, no matter how low (within reason) is welcome, and bidding wars are unheard of. If you're looking for a home, you can pick and choose, and name your price. What a difference a few months can make!

So what's the secret? How do you time the market to get an easy bargain as opposed to fighting to overpay? Well, if there was an easy black-and-white answer, we'd give it to you. But the truth is that past a few general seasonal patterns (which follow), the best way to time the market is to partner up with an experienced local agent who knows the market and its fluctuations, and knows how to negotiate to those fluctuations.

To that end, Clever Partner Agents are seasoned, elite performers in their respective markets, and come from top brands and brokerages. They can help you time the market, almost to the very day, and help you get the best possible bargain on your dream home.

The Best Time to Purchase a Home in North Dakota

If you're looking to buy a home in North Dakota, you'd probably get the best deal in the month of March, when listings linger on the market for 13 days longer than the yearlong average.

There are likely many factors leading to a consistently sluggish March, but the post-holidays malaise is a common phenomenon in most markets across the nation. In addition to that, North Dakota has notoriously harsh winters, which naturally discourages people from going to open houses and looking at properties.

Knowledgeable sellers are aware that the longer their home is on the market, the less likely it is they'll sell the place. If March adds almost two weeks to this listing time, that means sellers will be especially motivated to strike a bargain. If you're looking for the best possible deal, bundle up and get out there!

The Best Places to Buy a Home in North Dakota

Fargo

Made famous (sort of) by the Coen Brothers' classic offbeat crime thriller, Fargo is a small city (population 118,000) that feels like a small college town. Though the winters are harsh and spring almost always brings flooding, Fargo's job market is very strong, and household incomes are nearly on par with the national average.

Bismarck

The North Dakota state capital boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the nation (2.6%), thanks to the fracking boom that's poured millions of dollars and thousands of jobs into the local economy. Its location right on the Missouri River means there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities including kayaking, boating, and hiking, and home values here are slightly below the national average.

Grand Forks

Like the rest of North Dakota, the job market is very strong in Grand Forks, with low unemployment and lots of jobs. Grand Forks is home to the University of North Dakota, so it has plenty of dining and culture, including the most green space of any city in the state, as well as a major airport.

Minot

Home to Minot State University, and a virtual stone's throw from the Canadian border, Minot combines a small town feel and the warmth of both the Midwest and Canada. Home to a US Air Force Base and a major beneficiary of the recent fracking boom, home values in Minot are nearly on par with the national average despite a population of just under 48,000.

Williston

Fueled by the fracking boom, tiny Williston (population 22,000) boasts median household income almost double the national average, and home values on par with the national average. If you're in the oil business, this is a great place to live.

Four Ways to Get a Great Deal On a Home in North Dakota

Find a Great North Dakota Real Estate Agent

Confidence is a great thing, but don't let it blind you to the value of experience. An experienced local agent will know the market like the back of their hand, will be able to anticipate fluctuations and obstacles, and will have pre-existing relationships with many of the people you'll need to work with on your home-buying journey, from lenders to seller agents.

Can you buy a home all by yourself? Sure. But it'll be a lot easier and faster with a good agent, and you'll likely end up paying a lot less.

Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals

But no matter how good your agent is, it's going to be hard for them to find your dream home, if you don't even know what your dream home is. It's easy to get caught up in the general process of buying a home without actually getting into all the specific details of what you're actually looking for.

Do you need a lot of parking? How much outdoor space? What's your realistic upper limit for bids? Don't just tell yourself that “you'll know your dream home when you see it.” Knowledge is power.

Find a Lender and Secure Financing

Friendly advice: you don't want to be at the open house of your just-discovered dream home, and realize that you're the only one there without a preapproval letter. By the time you get financing, the house will be off the market. So make sure you get a preapproval letter from your lender before you start looking in earnest. (Pre-approval means you have a mortgage in hand; prequalification just means your financials look good on the surface, but doesn't guarantee a thing.)

Your agent can help you find a lender and guide you through pre-approval and closing. Just remember that it takes about a month to close on a house, so plan ahead.

Negotiate for the Best Possible Price

You've got an agent, financing, and you found that dream home. Now it's time to make an offer.

Your agent will help you arrive at that initial number, using a combination of feel and market knowledge. They'll know how much similar properties in the area sold for, and they should have an idea of the seller's mindset. Are they eager to sell, or are they in no hurry? Are there flaws with the home that can be used to knock a few thousand off the price? How many competitors, if any, do you have, and what's their situation?

If you and your agent make it through the negotiations and your offer is accepted, you'll be the proud owner of your dream home. Congrats!

Clever Partner Agents are elite performers in their markets, and come from top brands and brokerages. Contact us now to set up a no-obligation consultation!

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Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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