Monday, May 18, 2015

Meet Charlie Bennett of Bennett Atherton Investments

Based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Charlie Bennett is the CEO and a founding partner of Bennett Atherton Investments, a firm that buys, restores, and sells houses. He's a licensed realtor and active real estate investor with a passion for rehabbing old homes. As a lifelong resident of Tonka Bay, MN, Charlie is an expert on the small, yet complicated markets that make up the Lake Minnetonka area. Learn more at

1. How did you first get into buying and selling houses?

I was a used car salesman. It wasn't a career I was too enthusiastic about which was a real problem in my life as my Dad and both grandparents were all car dealers. There was a local eyesore property, and I drove by it every day. I had no money and no experience, but I was certain we could bring it back to life. My mother is a designer, and I had seen her do some pretty neat projects. I didn't have enough money to buy anything on my own, so I found a business partner, Richard Atherton. We bought our first property for $85,000 and sold it "for sale by owner" for $240,000. The rest is history.

2. What are some of the most important things to change and update when you sell a house?

If you're on a budget, start with THE INSIDE!!! It's where you live. It's what you see the most. I would rather have a rockstar interior and an average exterior than vice versa! Wouldn't you? The art of living is living in art :)

3. How has the housing market changed in Minnetonka, Minnesota over the past few years?

I focus exclusively on Tonka Bay, Shorewood, and Excelsior. It's a very small area geographically. Many houses are turning over for the first time in well over a decade. A properly priced home is moving quickly, so offers need to be quick and near full asking price.

4. What makes a house a good investment for you--or in other words, how do you choose which properties to buy?

I'm looking for properties within Minnetonka School district. We buy and remodel everything as if we're moving in. We want good bones (layout) with a good lot. Cosmetics don't matter in the slightest bit as we're remodeling 100% anyway. Unfinished square footage is a bonus!

5. For anyone reading this who wants to get into investing in properties and fixing them up to resell, what's your advice?

My advice is to consult experts. I'm part of a multi-person team. I'm the real estate / investment side, my designer designs, and my builder builds. Trying to wear all the hats is not a good idea.

Thanks, Charlie!

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