Total Rehab in NE Minneapolis/It Gets Worse Before it Gets Better

Real Estate Sales Representative with Remax Results

Surprise is usually a bad word in real estate. Before any investor buys a home, they do a thorough inspection to plan the project and estimate expenses. The budget will have a little wiggle room for surprises that no one anticipates. 

The first phase depends on the time of year. In Minnesota, the weather is a major consideration. Winter comes every year, we just never know when. Exterior work needs to be done when weather permits, 50 degrees or above. The 6th St house that closed in early October rushed to have the stucco painted and window wells dug before the first frost set in.  October weather is unpredictable, it is balmy one day and snow the next.

Progress may seem slow because the grunt work is invisible. The planning, permits, scheduling all come before the real work begins. Clean out means removing not only anything left behind, but anything that needs to be repaired and replaced. When a contractor guts a home down to the studs it means that the old walls come down. If the interior walls are lathe and plaster, it’s a messy and labor-intensive job. Sometimes they’ll find old newspapers stuffed into wall cavities as insulation. There was no insulation prior to the 1930s, and until the 1980s commonly used insulation was highly flammable.  It’s not uncommon to see odd DIY patches over the old structure, and you will wonder what they were thinking.  That is why we have safety codes.

Between floors, there are several layers. There are beams and under flooring which is usually pressurized wood, or soft planks in older homes. There might be wood flooring over that, linoleum from the 1940s, shag carpeting from the 1970s, or all of that. On the underside is the ceiling, you never know what you’ll find. At some point drop ceilings were popular to hide cracks, or install recessed lighting (again, the 1970s).  I once found one button up girl’s shoe from the early 1900s stuck between planks. I’m sure she got a spanking for losing it. History unfolds when you take a house apart.

This is the grunt work stage. Clearing out, getting rid of pieces that are damaged or don’t work. No one knows what those are until they are deep into it. Once this phase is complete, putting it back together happens, and it begins to look a whole lot better.  Stay tuned for the next steps, it will be gorgeous.

Whether you’re selling a house or buying a new home in the Minneapolis, MN, turn to Mary Jo Quay with RE/MAX Advisors for quality real estate assistance. Contact her at (612) 384-1360 or visit the website to check out my blog at, or give me a jingle so we can plan your 2018.

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Mary Jo Quay

“That’s what I do: I move people—H O M E.”

 Phone: (612) 384-1360


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Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Wow that is a ton of work but it will be a great pay off!

Dec 09, 2017 07:00 AM #1
Mary Jo Quay
Remax Results - Edina, MN

It's the gift that keeps giving.

Dec 10, 2017 05:18 AM #2
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Mary Jo Quay - I really appreciate all the work you put into writing this blog post. I sincerely hope it gets featured. So many amateur investors think about the profit and gain collecting rent but don't factor in the cost of rehab and the uncovering of hidden surprises behind the walls and under floors. Experienced investors know all this up front. But what an eye-opening experience for me to read and say to myself... oh yes! Shag Carpeting! Wood Paneling! Dropped ceilings! Old newspapers and other stuffing! 

Renovation is a "labor-intensive job!" I remember all the houses I rented in Illinois before being qualified to make a VA purchase. Every place we lived, we asked the Landlord if we could make improvements to save on the cost of rent. All agreed. After the third rental, we discovered we didn't really get a break on the rent at all. One project always led to another and because it wasn't part of the initial agreement, we coughed up the money to finish the work. Boy! Did we learn from our mistakes too!

I really enjoyed reading this AR post today. For being a blog for the Real Estate Industry, this one is well researched and could benefit many people. Thank you, so much for all your research and writing such a valuable article today.


Dec 10, 2017 07:33 AM #3
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Mary Jo, I have had some investors and we too have to work around weather.   Best of luck, and know this home will be beautiful! 

Dec 11, 2017 07:35 AM #4
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