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We talk to the Property Brothers

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“Education is key for an enjoyable reno” - Drew & Jonathan Scott, Property Brothers

Described on the W Network’s program page as “real estate’s dynamic duo,” Canadian twin brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, are now go-to names in home renovation and real estate. Property Brothers sees Drew, a real estate agent, and Jonathan, a licensed contractor, transform fixture-upper homes into a homeowners’ dream. They recently announced a two-year partnership with Scotiabank to provide Canadian homeowner’s with home renovation advice and have invested in real estate for over 15 years, who better to chat to about home renovations?

What’s been your biggest renovation challenge?

One of the more challenging, and most rewarding renos, we’ve done was a kosher kitchen. It was a huge task to accommodate completely separate work areas and appliances for dairy and meat products, especially when we had to fit all of this into the small kitchen footprint without the space feeling cramped. It was great to be able to give this family what they need in order to carry out their daily lives comfortably and enjoyably. That’s the beauty of fixer-uppers – you can turn it into a dream home that is tailored to what you need. 

Another big challenge during renovations is when homeowners have babies or young children. Living through a renovation site can be quite stressful and with children around, you must take extra safety and health precautions.

Do you find that people have realistic visions?

You would think with the plethora of resources available, from television shows and magazines to retail locations and online, homeowners would have vision, but that just isn't the case. However, this is ok since us professionals are here to help. We have vision from years of working with homes.  We do often find that homeowner's expectations are a little over ambitious. While it’s important to have vision, homeowners need to learn to focus their renovation goals, prioritize their needs and allocate their budgets accordingly. 

What are your tips on hiring a pro?

When hiring a pro, start with reputable organizations like the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the professional is in good standing. As you would with any major purchase, don’t settle on the first person you find, nor the cheapest hire. Compare a few different options and have them prepare quotes for you — quotes are free. Remember that you are hiring them, so be sure you get to know their work. Take the time to visit their other job sites so you can see the quality of their work first-hand. Once you’ve decided on the right person, get everything in writing! This should lay out all the details of the scope of the project, including pricing, design, warranties, timelines, etc. This may avoid a lot of hassle and miscommunication down the road. 

Remember that hiring professionals to do the job doesn’t mean that your work stops there – it’s important that you do your due diligence in anything involving one of the biggest investments in your life. So be resourceful, educate yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions! 

The Scotiabank Home Renovations Poll states that nearly half the people spoken to will do nearly half the work themselves. Is this a good idea? What should people be weary of?

It’s great to see that people are willing to do the work themselves, but we always emphasize the importance of recognizing your own capabilities and limitations. Understand that certain jobs require, by law, to be done by licensed professionals and be aware of all necessary permits before beginning any job. If you’re doing the work yourself to save money, consider the quality of the finished work. For example, if you plan on selling your house and your work is not of utmost quality, you may in fact be doing yourself a disservice as potential homebuyers will recognize that this was a DIY job gone wrong. This will put further doubt in their mind as to what other aspects of your home that they can't see are not up to standards and can in turn, result in them asking for a lower price for your home or simply moving on to the next open house.  

We see you take a home that is, some may say, run-down and turn it in to the owners’ dream property. How much on average does the homes’ value go up?

It's hard to say an average value increase since there are so many factors affecting price point. Location, size of rooms, products used, type of room, etc. we have done a $70k reno on a $300k home increasing the market value to $430k. We've also done a $180k reno on a $600k home increasing its market value to $1.2 million. What we can say is that before even starting a renovation, we always consider the market cap for improvements within that community, we spend the money where it counts and always find ways to stretch every dollar. Education is key for an enjoyable reno. 

 By Sarah Hoy

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