It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon, but Drew Scott isn’t exactly enjoying it. He’s doing some weekend work on his home, and the pipes aren’t cooperating.
“Our entire house smells like a sewer plant right now,” he confesses.
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“That’s why you leave that kind of work to the professionals,” chimes in his brother, Jonathan, without missing a beat.
It’s this kind of good-natured, playful ribbing that took the Scott brothers from a horse farm in Vancouver to your TV screen. Competitive since they were children, the identical twins, now 37, bought their first home in high school and flipped it for a $50,000 profit. Today, Drew acts as the real estate expert while Jonathan takes care of the renovations (and, ahem, pipes) on their four incredibly popular shows for HGTV: “Property Brothers,” “Property Brothers at Home,” “Buying & Selling” and “Brother vs. Brother.”
Perhaps surprisingly, the Scotts found time to write a book. Hitting shelves next week, “Dream Home: The Property Brothers Ultimate Guide to Finding & Fixing Your Perfect House” serves as a companion of sorts to their shows.
“We can only take so many clients on the show, but we have all of this information that we’ve been accumulating and really want to share,” says Drew. “The book is the second-best thing to having us do the work for you.”
Here, they share their top tips for buying — or not buying — a fixer-upper of your own.
Be realistic about what you can fix
Even if you’re a savvy real estate agent with a contractor twin brother, not every home is dream home material. “Make sure to look at the things you can’t change first,” says Drew.
“We’ve been renovating houses since the late ’90s — any house can be made to look beautiful, but that doesn’t mean you should. If the location isn’t ideal, if there’s a freeway right behind it, you might not be getting the value that you think.” Even if the ZIP code is perfect, the structure has to be workable.
“Make sure you find a house where the outer footprint is what you need,” says Jonathan. “As soon as you start doing additions, you need approval from the city and the neighbors.”
Inspection, inspection, inspection
Inspections are important for any home, but especially for fixer-uppers. Make sure you hire a nitpicky inspector, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. “The most protection you have is before you buy the house,” says Jonathan. “You want to make sure that your inspection is thorough. Any red flags, you want to look into them — and if there are multiple red flags, you want to reconsider.”
Budget in the real world
By now, it shouldn’t come as a shock that reality TV isn’t quite real. Those picture-perfect houses you see the Scotts turn out on HGTV? You’ll be paying more.
“Don’t say to your contractor, ‘Well, Jonathan renovated the entire house for $40,000’ — they hate that!” says Jonathan with a laugh. “What you don’t see on ‘Property Brothers’ is that we’re only doing three or four rooms for those prices, and we’re not charging some fees.”
Consider a designer
If you want an Instagram-worthy kitchen, don’t leave that up to a contractor. “You probably have to work with a designer if you want something as beautiful as what you seen on TV,” says Drew. “First look for a designer, and then ask what contractor they suggest.”