To Flip or Not to Flip

After watching TV program after TV program on HGTV, our confidence level in flipping a house has sky rocketed. Sure, it looks like fun and a nice way to make some extra money, but how easy is it really?

We’ve sat down with an experienced home flipper for a couple of tips on flipping houses.

1. Look for a fixer-upper
Not every house you flip has to be a fixer-upper but it can be a good investment because they’re usually cheaper due to the fact that they need a couple repairs and updates. Once those repairs are made and you add a couple updates the house is ready to go and usually sells for a higher price than what you bought it for.  When looking at buying a fixer-upper make sure it has potential, for example, how big are the rooms, does the layout work well, how’s the neighborhood, and what does the yard look like?

2. Consider foreclosed properties
This may be a little tricky, especially if it’s your first time flipping a house but with a foreclosed property you can get a great deal on a great house with a ton of potential. Before buying the house make sure you do as much research as possible on the house because whatever the house has, it’s coming with it. You could get stuck with back taxes or unpaid mortgage payments.

3. Treat the home as if you were going to live in it
You have to take care of everything, just as you would with your own home. Just because you will be fixing it up and renting or selling it doesn’t mean you get to forget about that little leak in the basement or the mortgage payment.

3. Don’t ignore big problems for a lower priced house
Some repairs can cost you a fortune so make sure you take a step back and think about how much each repair may cost and if it will truly be worth it.  If you are unaware of how much each repair may cost, ask your contractor to come along with you while considering a house, he will let you know which repair will most likely break your bank.

5. Don’t forget about Curb Appeal and Landscaping
This is pretty self explanatory, but don’t forget about the outside of the house. Of course, the inside is the most important to focus on but don’t spend your budget and leave the outside looking crummy.

6. Budget
Flipping a home can get pretty expensive so before diving in make sure you have the money to do all of the repairs and decorating. Also, try not to get too excited, flipping a house can be very fun but don’t overdo the decorating or purchase the most high-end appliances. If you do so, in the end you may have an incredibly nice kitchen but end up with not enough money in the budget to fix up the living room.

7. Don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed
Easier said than done, right? If you plan correctly and take your time you should be a-okay. Flipping a house can be very stressful so just take a deep breath and be prepared. Don’t get me wrong though, it may be stressful but it is also very rewarding once you’re gazing your eyes upon a nice new house that you created.

If you’re thinking of flipping a house in the Twin Cities and want to learn more or have any questions about where to start, what to do, or just need recommendations, give The Monson & Larson real estate group a call and they can help you with any questions you may have. The Monson & Larson real estate group has been helping families in the Twin Cities for over 20 years; give us a call at 763-694-1048 today!

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You Win Again Technology, You Win Again: Top Apps for House Hunting

1. Beamly by BrightDoor
This app can come in handy when you’re going on a tour and it is either too crowded or the agent is unavailable to answer any questions you may have. This app uses small Blue tooth enabled devices throughout the house that feeds information to the buyers about the home directly to their mobile device. For example, if you are in the kitchen, the app feeds you information about the marble countertops, wood floors, and the appliances. Literally, everything you need to know about the house is right at your fingertips.

2. Zumper Pro
This app was designed for the agents; it is a quick and easy app that allows agents to upload new listings online in minutes. The listings are then sent directly to the potential homebuyers, alerting them that a new home or apartment is on the market. The agents will love this because everything the buyers will want to know about the listing can be loaded up directly from the app; pictures, measurements, number of bedroom, bathrooms, anything and everything.

3. CO Everywhere
This app allows the user to create boundaries around interactive maps of neighborhoods, displaying posts from Meetup groups, deals from local businesses, and local social media posts from people or businesses in the surrounding area. This way the user can see what is around the house and who is around house, you’ll be surprised by how many people you’ll find in the neighborhood that you already know.

4. Homesnap
This app is useful if you drive by a for sale sign and like the looks of the house, just snap a quick picture and this app will give you all of the information you need. Homesnap will give you home value, when it last sold, taxes, similar listings, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, really anything you would want to know about the house. The user can then contact the agent directly from the app and schedule a showing. This app makes searching for a home pretty darn easy.

5. 3D Showcase by Matterport
This isn’t actually an app but more of a helpful device, it is just too cool not to talk about. You won’t believe your eyes with this one; take a step into your future home while sitting in your old one. 3D Showcase allows you to take a virtual tour of a house on the market. Instead of scheduling a tour or flipping through a slide of photos just use this 3D Showcase and it brings you inside the home, you are able to look through everything as if you were physically there. You can walk from room to room, look closely at cabinetry, décor, and even check out the little nooks and crannies. The 3D images of the home can be embedded into online listings, making it that much easier for the potential buyer.  Another cool feature is that you can strip the house down to its bare bones, once inside the home, the walls can be torn down and then you are able to build the home up as you would like, adding the features you would like in your future home.

Learn more about the latest real estate news with the Monson & Larson real estate group.

Source: Apps recommended by

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Twin Cities Real Estate Group Recognized for 2013 Sales Success


Plymouth, Minnesota – July 10, 2014 – The Monson & Larson Real Estate Group of Re/Max Results , a leading real estate group in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, has been recognized as a national industry leader by, in partnership with Trulia. Their progressive mix of cutting edge marketing strategy paired with over three decades of experience has ranked the group in the top ½% of all realtors in productivity and earned them numerous awards throughout the years.

This month, Monson & Larson was ranked 200 in the “Top 1000 Sales Professionals” of 2013 by REAL Trends, a real estate consulting and communications company and leading source of real estate trends and analysis in residential real estate. The Monson & Larson team was also ranked #4 in Team Volume in Minnesota, with over $84M in 2013 sales.

“We are very excited to be recognized for this accomplishment,” says co-owner and real estate agent Lane Larson. “Our team is one of the best, and we love what we do.”


About The Monson & Larson Group

RobLaneOwners and leading Minnesota realtors Rob Monson (left) & Lane Larson (right) have lead the Monson & Larson Group for over two decades, offering leading edge exposure for listings that ensure they’re sold more quickly and for more money. Both Rob and Lane have been recognized as “Super Agents” by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, and have lead the group to rank as the #1 Re/Max Results team in Minnesota for four consecutive years. Communities served include Bloomington, Edina, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth and surrounding cities.


Lane Larson, 651-402-7297

Rob Monson, 612-770-8593

2605 Campus Drive

Plymouth, MN 55441

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

As you may know, Minnesota has been experiencing a lot of rain this summer. Sure, it’s good for your lawn, flowers, and the crops but is it good for your home? We could name a handful of people who ended up with water in their basement this summer- including some of us- and it is not fun. But is it something to be extremely worried about? Water in the basement is actually much more frequent in older homes and most just need a little pick me up.

There are some simple fixes that may completely solve the problem such as adding gutters, changing negative grading, or caulking around the windows in your basement. Pretty simple, right? So if you take these precautions and you still end up standing in a pool of water, we suggest you call in some professional help. But in the future, try the simple fixes before spending too much money and don’t freak out that your house is crumbling to pieces.

If you want to learn more or have any questions about storm damage to a home, give The Monson & Larson real estate group a call and they can help you with any home advice or questions you may have. The Monson & Larson real estate group has been helping families in the Twin Cities for over 20 years, give us a call at 763-694-1048 today!


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Building a Home in the Twin Cities

Building a new home can be an exciting venture; your chance to create the home of your dreams, with the perfect layout and details. Monson & Larson works with one of Minnesota’s leading custom home builders, Gonyea Homes. Our new construction real estate experts will help you to choose the perfect Twin Cities neighborhood and home lot to fit your needs. From beautiful, wooden communities, to lakefront properties, the options are abundant.

To browse developments we are currently working with, visit our Developments pagebuilding a new home

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There Are No Stupid Questions: Commonly Asked First-Time Buyer Questions

first time home buyerBuying a house can be pretty scary, so we suggest not jumping right in, you must first ask yourself some questions. Buying a home for the first time is a big step in your life and it is one step you will not want to mess up. So our first word of advice to you is to ask questions, no question is stupid especially when it involve such a large investment. Ask as many questions as you can and try to find the answers whether it’s from an experienced homebuyer, your agent, or even your mom. Ask questions because this is one thing you do not want to end up saying “whoops, better luck next time.”

Here is a list of commonly ask questions that first time homebuyers should ask before diving into a home purchase.

1. Can I make an offer below the asking price?

2. How much can I afford?

3. How much will I need for a down payment?

4. How do I apply for a loan and how do I know if I qualify?

5. How long will it take to get the loan approved?

6. Do I have to buy homeowner’s insurance?

7. What are the other housing costs outside of the loan?

8. What do I want in a house and what do I want in a neighborhood?

9. How do I know the house won’t fall apart on me?

10. Am I truly prepared to be a homeowner?

Quite a list, huh? We could go on and on with questions and every single one of them should be considered. Two questions that really stand out are how prepared are you and are you truly ready to a buy your own home? Remember, no question is stupid especially when making this life investment.

Monson & Larson Real Estate Group has been helping first time home buyers in the Twin Cities through the first-time home buying process for over 20 years. We’ll help you to navigate the process, identify your price range and ensure that the new home you choose is the perfect space and quality for your family. Call us at 763-694-1048 today to get started!


Posted in Buying a Home in Plymouth MN, Minnesota Home Buying, Move to Maple Grove, Plymouth MN Real Estate, Twin Cities New Home Construction | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Moving Tips & Tricks

moving boxesI suppose you could call us experts, having helped thousands of homeowners move into their new homes. We’ve got a few tips and tricks up our sleeves to make your move a little less stressful and a little more fun. Impossible, you say? Check out our list below, you won’t believe your eyes!

1. Plan. Plan, plan, plan, and plan some more
To be completely honest with you, if you do not plan your move; you are going to have a very unhappy and unsuccessful time (which is exactly what I am trying to prevent). Lists will be your side hand man throughout this whole exciting endeavor so get to know your lists and get to like your lists. I, on a normal day to day basis, write around 20-30 lists about anything and everything. I sometimes catch myself writing “write a list” to remind myself to write another list. This method of list making is recommended. One helpful hint when starting to plan your move, get the kids packing ASAP, I recommend doing this about a month or so in advanced because if I remember correctly we would always have that one or two or all of the kids waiting until the very last second to box up all of their belongings. Try to avoid that at all costs.

2. Boxes on boxes on boxes
Boxes have other uses aside from turning into awesome forts, surprising, I know. You can never have enough boxes when you’re moving to a new place; small, big, medium, long, tall, any box is welcome. Don’t forget to wrap your breakables with bubble wrap or as I liked to do as a child stuff them in the same box as my socks or teddy bears. Make sure you label the boxes too; you will kick yourself later if you don’t. Another idea that works pretty well too is to use your luggage and laundry baskets; stuff those babies full of your belongings.

3. Pack a moving day survival kit, trust me, you’ll need it.
Make a bag you can take around with you packed with all of the things you’ll need throughout the moving day and what you will need immediately when entering your new home. Some ideas: toilet paper, snacks, bottled water, change of clothes, etc.

4. Find a quality moving company or make friends with people who own trucks
If you haven’t found a quality moving company that you can trust with your belongings, I suggest you do so now. If you’d rather not spend the money on a professional crew of movers, that’s what children and strong friends with big trucks are for. With a little help from your friends and family a move can be pretty easy. Make sure to stock your new fridge with beer and snacks as a little thank to those who helped. On the other hand, for the times when your friends can’t be there to help, that’s when that moving company you heard some much praise about comes in handy.

5. Take a breather
We recommend you do not just go, go, go while moving; we swear you will give yourself a heart attack. Yes, we do understand that you want to get the move over with but let us tell you, if you don’t stop to breath you’ll end up passing out which is just counterintuitive to what you were looking to do in the first place. So to avoid that from happening, sit down and take a break.

6. Slow and steady wins the race
Like we just said, do not rush through the move, keep it slow and steady. Your new house will still be there a couple hours from now. When you rush, you forget things, break things, and stress yourself out. So seriously, cool your jets.

7. Invest in a label-maker and start color coding
I guess you don’t have to actually buy a whole label maker; (although, they are pretty awesome) a sharper and some color coding tape will do just fine. It’s really pretty simple, pink is bathroom, blue is kitchen, green is living room and so on. There you have it, welcome to your newest addiction.

8. Plastic wrap will be your new best friend
This is actually pretty cool, use plastic wrap to keep drawers intact and jewelry from getting tangled. Unpacking your clothes and re-folding everything is a drag so just keep all of your belongings folded up in the drawer and the plastic wrap will do the job. This stuff is magic, we swear.

9. Take a picture of your hookups. Seriously a life saver.
This saved our family so much time and frustration. Before packing up your TV, DVD players, internet, etc. take a picture of the setup, where the cords go and how to reassemble them. This way you won’t be sitting behind the TV for hours trying to figure out how you got it to work the first time.

10. Donate!
If you find yourself throwing out old clothes, appliances, home decor, or furniture while packing up your home. Instead of just tossing them, why not donate to your local shelter, Goodwill, or Salvation Army.

11. Have fun
Lastly, have fun! Stop and think about how exciting a move can be. You’re packing up your whole life and going out to experience something new and exciting! A new home, a new neighborhood, and new memories to be made with your family, so enjoy!

The Monson & Larson Real Estate Group has been helping families with moving in the Twin Cities for over 20 years. If you ever find yourself stuck or in need of some advice, call The Monson & Larson Team.

Posted in Buying a Home in Plymouth MN, Move to Maple Grove, Selling a Home in Maple Grove, Selling a Home in Plymouth MN | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Moving this Summer?

Moving Minnesota

As real estate professions, we’ve seen our share of moving successes and failures over the years! Moving can be an exciting, emotional and stressful experience, all at the same time. The goal is to prepare as much as possible for the big day, so that unpacking and re-organizing your new home is not a game of “find the missing item.” We’ve gathered some helpful hints to make your move go a little smoother this summer.

Do-it-Yourself or Hire Movers?

One of our staff members just moved, and used movers for the first time. I can’t tell you how happy she was to not have to break a sweat moving furniture up and down stairs! The convenience and ease of moving greatly increases with a little hired help, but it does come at a cost. Most 2-3 guy moving crews cost between $175-$300 for a 3 hour window, plus tip. If you’re looking to save money, or you’re not moving too many heavy items, doing it yourself can be a good weekend project too!


Trust us, find a babysitter or bring the children to grandma’s. Moving day turns your home into a bustling transit station of boxes and furniture being carried in and out. Avoid having your children underfoot (which is dangerous) and having to worry about snacks, lunches, potty breaks and playtime. If a babysitter is out of the question, we recommend setting up a play area that is safely out of the way.

Small Parts

Don’t run the risk of losing the little screws, washers and pegs that you removed in order to break down your desk, couch, shelf or crib. Rather than tape the pieces to the furniture, collect them in plastic zip lock bags, and label each bag. Keep all the bags together so they are easy to find when unpacking and rebuilding.

Electronic Wiring

Here’s a tip that not many homeowners think of: Take pictures of your TV, DVD and home theater wiring before you unplug and pack. This will save you the headache of re-installing your electronics and not knowing which cord goes where.

Moving is fun! Moving is exciting! Make it less stressful by planning ahead with our simple moving tips. For more moving tips, read any of the articles below:

10 Things You Should Do Two Months Before a Move

10 Tips for Moving with Children

10 Tips for Packing

5 Moving Day Tips

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Traditional Segment Blooms, Sellers More Optimistic

Article from THE SKINNY:
Traditional Segment Blooms, Sellers More Optimistic

After being cooped up for a long, cold winter, homeowners in the 13-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area showed renewed signs of optimism in March. Seller activity rose 5.5 percent to 6,492 newly listed homes, a crucial increase toward fueling buyer demand. Inventory levels are still hovering near a 10-year low, but consumers should have more options to choose from this year compared to recent years. Pending sales were 8.4 percent lower, resulting from a desired shift to less foreclosure and short sale activity. Most indicators continue to suggest ongoing recovery and stabilization.

It’s imperative to understand market activity by segment. Buyers are now leaning toward traditional purchases first because they are making up a greater share of the marketplace. These properties also tend to be in better condition, many come with warranties and traditional sellers tend to be more cooperative than banks. New traditional listings rose 22.1 percent compared to March 2013, while foreclosure and short sale new listings fell 39.9 and 53.8 percent, respectively.

On the demand side, pending sales declined 8.4 percent to 4,141 properties overall, which still reflects less distressed market activity. Once again, traditional pending sales were up 2.6 percent while pending foreclosure and short sales fell 32.2 and 45.1 percent, respectively. Consumers shopping for homes now have 13,086 properties to choose from – or 4.1 percent fewer than last year at this time, marking the smallest year-over-year decline since November 2013.

“There’s a lot of excitement and positive energy out there, especially among sellers,” said Emily Green, President of the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR). “Some would-be sellers have been lifted out from underwater by rising prices and less competition from foreclosures, while other move-up buyers are also eager to buy.”

The lowest price point of the market is evaporating. As a result, the median sales price for the metro rose 7.6 percent to $190,000, marking 25 straight months of year-over-year price gains. Last March, foreclosures and short sales made up 25.2 percent of all new listings. This March, they made up just 13.3 percent. For closed sales, the number fell from 37.6 to 26.6 percent.

On average, homes spent just 95 days on the market, 12.0 percent less than last March. Sellers are receiving an average of 95.0 percent of their original list price. The Twin Cities now has 3.1 months’ supply of inventory, suggesting a favorable selling environment. Importantly, interest rates remain affordable and well below their long-term average.

“Traditional properties are dominating the market again,” said Mike Hoffman, MAAR President-Elect. “As distressed product clears the pipeline, consumers are more likely to embark upon negotiations and transactions with people rather than banks.”


The Monson and Larson Real Estate Group specializes in buying homes and selling homes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul areas such as Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Edina, Plymouth and Minnetonka. Our cutting edge process, unique marketing channels and proven industry success makes us one of the leading REMAX Results real estate groups in the nation. Call us today to learn more!

Rob Monson
Cell: 612-770-8593

Lane Larson
Cell: 651-402-7297

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Monson & Larson Rankings

The Results are in! The Monson & Larson Real Estate Team were hard at work in 2013, and our effort, dedication and real estate skills have placed us in several top rankings, both regionally and nationally.

Our Team is Ranked No. 7 across all ReMax Offices in the North Central Region

Our ReMax Results Brokerage was just named No. 1 in the world for ReMax Offices.

Our Team Closed over 240 Transaction and over 100 million in Sales Volume.

We are so proud of our wonderful real estate team, and truly appreciate all of our clients for their trust and patronage.

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