By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The competition is historically steep if you’re in the hunt for a house in the Twin Cities. Low inventory and interest rates are leading to multiple bids on many properties.

As we enter the second spring of the pandemic, WCCO offers some tips to get you into a new place sooner rather than later.

READ MORE: Minneapolis Home Prices Rise 10.2% In December

Roble Aden’s list for apartment living grew along with his family.

“Living in apartments was so challenging,” he told us.

“We were looking at four bedrooms apartment and this was not easy to find four bedrooms apartment,” he said.

That search started last spring when an agent suggested it might be easier to find a house for the size.

“I say, alright, so let’s go with a house,” he remembered.

Easier said than done these days.

His budget? Below $250,000.

“I was looking to a safe area because of my kids also and a place that have a good schooling system also,” Aden said.

Aden toured two dozen homes in-person and even more over video calls, as COVID restrictions add more barriers to potential buyers.

“Taking care of my criteria was not easy to find,” he said.

A Realtor with RE/MAX Results, Richelle Taylor, points out showing times are a quarter of what they once were, less than 15 minutes in some cases.

READ MORE: Local Real Estate Agents See Surge In People Looking For Lakeshore Properties Amid Pandemic

“The problem is finding the house and then winning the house,” Taylor said.

“Frequently there’s a line outside of the house waiting to get in which also creates some added pressure and stress. Not only are you already up against other offers but you see that there’s people waiting outside to jump on this one house that came available,” she said.

Those other offers are often above list price. People will also waive inspections or put more earnest money down to stand out.

“It makes it very, very difficult for people that don’t have the ability to put 20% down on a house,” Taylor said.

So, what can you do to get in the door for good? Taylor says it’s best to come up with a plan with a reputable agent and lender.

Have patience, understanding this will be a long process and don’t be afraid of a few projects.

“If you can have a vision and know that you’re going to put a little bit of sweat equity into a property it’s better for you in the long run,” Taylor said.

As for Aden, he was the first person to look at this place in St. Paul.

“Right away after I visit I say, OK, I want to go with this house,” Aden remembered.

His family is now settled in eight months after he started his search.

“Our clients still always get into their houses it just sometimes takes more time than people are expecting,” Taylor said.

An annual report by Minnesota Realtor breaks down the most popular places to buy in Minnesota in 2020.

MORE NEWS: How Is The Housing Market Doing So Well During The Pandemic?

The January numbers were also just released here.

Liz Collin