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RE/MAX Now of Jamestown and Valley City owners say out-of-state home buyers like North Dakota

The technology in real estate today has come so far that buyers can feel “fairly comfortable” purchasing a house without ever being there, says James Jenson, associate broker/owner.

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Beth Keller, broker/owner, and James Jenson, associate broker/owner, of RE/MAX Now of Jamestown and Valley City say homes that are priced right are moving quickly. Submitted photo
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Editor's note: This story is advertorial content that is part of the 2021 "Essential to Jamestown" special edition of The Jamestown Sun. The annual Progress Edition features stories on essential workers, agencies and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Smaller North Dakota communities are more popular for out-of-state home buyers these days, say the owners of RE/MAX Now of Jamestown and Valley City, which merged in February.

Beth Keller, broker/owner, said people are telling her North Dakota has a lower cost for homes and fewer taxes.

“What we’re finding is people are moving into the state of North Dakota because I think they want to live on an island and Jamestown and Valley City isn’t small enough so it’s communities like Gackle, Ellendale, Edgeley, Napoleon, Wishek,” Keller said, and smaller communities around the Valley City area, said James Jensen, associate broker/owner.

Keller noted a new trend since the pandemic is people working out of their homes rather than working in offices and flying to those offices as needed, so they don’t have to be living in the large cities.

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Jensen said it’s not new that buyers from other states are looking for properties in North Dakota.

“It was already starting pre-pandemic and then the pandemic kicked it into high gear,” he said.

He said that’s why they got the RE/MAX franchise to begin with, because of its brand recognition on a global scale.

Keller said some buyers aren’t even interested in living here right away but are purchasing property to retire here later, she said.

“One gentleman that I actually am working with, he is from Utah but he’s never even been here and he bought a house just through (seeing) a video,” Keller said. “I think that’s a really popular trend right now,” using Facetime or video to see properties.

Jensen noted that the company also uses 360 videos, which give potential buyers a more complete picture of the property if they can’t view it in person.

“It takes you through the house,” Jensen said. “It’s the closest thing to physically being in the house that you can get without physically being in the house.”

He said the technology in real estate today has come so far that buyers can feel “fairly comfortable” purchasing a house without ever being there, Jensen said.

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Keller said there is currently a housing shortage in the real estate market at Jamestown and Valley City but she hasn’t seen a lot of prices going up as a result. And real estate is also moving in the two cities but it may not be more out-of-state people purchasing in those markets.

“I think buyers are careful in purchasing and are shopping and are willing to wait for the right one even though there’s not very many on the market,” she said.

Jensen noted that homes that are priced right move quickly.

The pandemic, rather than deterring people from buying, has encouraged them to move with the low-interest rates, Jensen said.

“I will also say that those states that probably have stricter guidelines are a reason that people are moving out,” Keller said. “If they’re not opening up restaurants and businesses where they live people are moving away because they want flexibility. So I think that’s a drive as well.”

The staff of RE/MAX Now of Jamestown and Valley City in addition to Jensen and Keller, are agents Alica Wanzek, Casey McCullough, Chad Mack, Kyle Brandenburg, Amber Backstrom, Amber Spitzer, Sally Domke, Julie Wanzek, Kyle Roelfsema, Erin Musland, Ross Powell, John Halverson, Nichole Klundt and Tim Perkins; Laura Stafslien, marketing coordinator; Vivan Nelson, office manager; and Leah Fadness, compliance officer.

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