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.