Chippewa County is slow to qualify for property sales, concerned agent tells board – West Central Tribune

MONTEVIDEO – Chippewa County is lagging behind neighboring counties in qualifying real estate transactions, a real estate agent told the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners May 21.

The lack of timely information has negative consequences for buyers and sellers, said Janell Welling, a broker with Hughes Real Estate and Auction Services. The information is important for determining accurate valuations of properties once they come on the market.

“Appraisers in our region do not have enough current data, so they limit loans,” says Welling about one of the consequences she is experiencing.

Counties are responsible for qualifying sales, or determining that a transaction reflects true market value. For example, transactions between family members may not reflect true market value.

Janell Welling brings the perspective of a 22-year career in social work to her new role as a real estate agent.  Buying a home is both an emotional and financial decision for most people, she said.

Janell Welling is a real estate agent with Hughes Real Estate & Auction Services.

Contributed / Pioneer PBS

According to Welling:

Chippewa County recorded 68 single-family home sales between Oct. 1, 2023 and May 18, 2024. Of that total, 28 were electronically certified with the Minnesota Department of Revenue, and 15 of those were qualified as reflecting actual market values.

A similar delay exists in the sale of agricultural land. Chippewa County recorded 31 farmland sales from Oct. 1, 2023, through May 18, 2024. Of this amount, 19 were electronically certified with the Minnesota Department of Revenue and 11 of the 19 qualified.

In neighboring Swift, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties, the process is being completed at a much faster pace, according to information she provided to commissioners.

Swift County recorded 77 single-family home sales during the same period, of which 75 were certified with the Department of Revenue and 43 of the 75 were eligible. Yellow Medicine County recorded 79 home sales, certified 75 with the Department of Revenue, and qualified 40 out of 75. Lac qui Parle County recorded 58 home sales, certified 48 with the Department of Revenue, and qualified 19 out of 48.

Welling said she has spoken with two different appraisers who have had to take time to sift through the records in the Chippewa County Assessor’s Office because of the slow turnaround time.

As a rural area, Chippewa and neighboring counties do not see many real estate transactions. That in itself can make it difficult for buyers, sellers and lenders to determine true market values, she pointed out.

The slow turnaround in qualifying sales makes it all the more difficult. She noted that the most recent qualified numbers in Chippewa County are from December, or almost six months ago.

“Sellers and buyers depend on agents who know and demonstrate the qualified comparable sales in our region,” Welling told commissioners. “We determine listing prices and appraised values ​​based on sales. Up-to-date information is critical to understanding our real estate market.”

She’s concerned Chippewa County is falling further behind. The number of real estate transactions will increase in the coming months, she explains.

Welling also expressed concern that the County’s Assessor’s Office requires requests for electronically certified reports to be submitted to a general email address. In neighboring counties, requests go directly to an employee’s email. This makes it possible to inquire directly with an employee who has knowledge of a transaction.

County Council President Candice Jaenisch told Welling the county would determine what the bottleneck is and resolve it. County Assessor Kerri Heim attended the presentation. There was no discussion about it.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter for the West Central Tribune.
He has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune since 1993.

Cherveny can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 320-214-4335.

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