Nailing down home renos - Metro US

Nailing down home renos

Lawrence Chau for metro toronto

Name: Scott McGillivray

Age: 29

Occupation: TV Personality, Real Estate Investor & Converter

Some people like Scott McGillivray make climbing the ladder of success seem simple. You may recognize him from his stint last year as the project manager (a.k.a. The Snoop) on From The Ground Up with Debbie Travis. Before that, Travis recruited him for his carpentry skills on one of her old shows, Face Lift after learning of his knack for converting homes into rental properties.

This month, McGillivray is laying the groundwork with his own TV show entitled Income Property. Whilst the HGTV series isn’t slated to hit the airwaves till the fall, pre-production is already in full swing.

That’s good news for a homebuyer looking to pull in some extra cash via transforming part of his property into a rental unit. That could comprise transforming an ugly basement into a livable pad or renovating an income suite in your house to help out with the mortgage.

It gets better. There’s an open casting call going on now and you could be a candidate, provided you are willing to go on camera, are prepared to get your hands dirty by helping out with the renovations, and meet such criteria as being a first-time homebuyer. You’ll have to fork out the bucks for work and materials, but they come at a substantial discount. Work will be filmed and finished under a strict schedule, and all proper building codes, plans and permits will be upheld.

The best part is, you get to work with McGillivray, a self-taught expert in this area. He’ll guide you through what could otherwise be a harrowing process if undertaken by a novice.

McGillivray found his calling before graduating with an honours degree in commerce from the University of Guelph. Together with his research partner on a school project, McGillivray looked at the dire conditions they were living in as students. The pair garnered insight from mortgage brokers, real estate agents and landlords, and turned their project into a career-making move.

“We ended up combining our student loans, and instead of putting it towards rent for the year, we used it as a small down payment on a fixer upper,” reveals McGillivray. “As a 21-year-old broke student I figured I had nothing to lose.”

With a bare-bones renovation approach, McGillivray turned his home into a rental dwelling. Far from losing, he struck a winning strategy and repeated it the following semester. Flipping and refinancing homes became formulaic, and today the 29-year-old has a portfolio of 16 properties with more than 100 tenants comprising students, young professionals and families.

Being a landlord, of course, isn’t all apple pie. “There are some tenants you rarely hear from, never complain, and never have a problem paying rent. Then there are some who constantly call for every and any possible reason (like) ‘I’m locked out, can you come let me in the house?’ at 2 a.m.”

How lucky to have a TV personality on call for the key-impaired.

income property

  • If you’re keen to renovate to accommodate with Scott McGillivray and Income Property, contact karenwal ters@rtrmedia.com.


An award-winning and multi-faceted media personality, Lawrence’s career spans journalism, television (hosting, acting, producing) and public relations (event management, publicity). Log onto lawrence-chau.com for more buzz.

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