Remolding: Experts Share Do’s and Don’ts  5

‘Property Brothers’ Jonathan and Drew Scott Share their Tips

When it comes to spotting a fixer-upper that can profitably be transformed into a stunning dream home, few are as adept at the art as the famous “Property Brothers,” Jonathan and Drew Scott. Jonathan is a renowned designer and contractor; Drew, an experienced real estate expert. Here are some tips they share for renovating and remodeling.

Is there a rule of thumb for how much money to spend relative to the value of the comps in the neighborhood?

Jonathan: The rule is just to know what the comps look like. So many people will buy a home and renovate without knowing what the value would be in the end. If you over-renovate for what people are willing to pay in that neighborhood, you’ll have a hard time seeing that money back out if you have to sell.


Drew: Statistically, spring is the best time to sell the home. Weather is better, and homeowners spend the whole winter fixing up the place and figuring out their plan to sell. Fall is a good time as well since families are in town and many want to settle into a new place before the kids go back to school. However, if you’re looking to buy, the dead of winter can be a great time because the market is slow and somebody selling typically means they’re anxious to offload the property.

How do you gauge how long a job will take and how should the homeowners prepare themselves should the timelines not be met?

Jonathan: You have to value the importance of working with professionals. If you don’t know how to do roofing, how would you know how long it will take to complete? As well, any major renovation will always have something pop up that is unexpected. You hope that it’s a small fix, but you have to be willing to roll with the punches.

Any tips on how to approach/inform the neighbors about major renovation?

Drew: It’s important to keep your neighbors happy. Before you start a project keep them informed.

Jonathan: We always speak with our neighbors in person at the start and then send a letter around to each keeping them in the loop as to what’s happening. We also send gift baskets over to say thank you for your support! Just having neighbors informed can alleviate headaches such as being reported to the city. That can slow things down even though you have all the appropriate permits.

What can be done to reduce unsightly debris or damage to front yard?

Jonathan: Always have a bin and toss any debris directly into it, or have items that are being donated picked up the same day. Try your best not to pile up garbage in the front yard because that is something that will definitely annoy the neighbors and have the city breathing down your neck.

Where will materials be stored?

Jonathan: Any new materials should be stored in a secure place. A garage, basement, wherever you can put them so they’re not going to be in the way of your workers.

What if HOA prevents a job? Are there 
creative ways to meet homeowners 
association rules?

Drew: Your best bet is to make sure you have read all of the HOA rules and regulations and do everything by the book. Be organized when submitting a request. Keep in mind that HOAs can be very frustrating at times because typically you are submitting a request to a group of other homeowners. Sometimes you have people on the board that will just deny things because they feel like denying it.

Is there a remodeling choice that customers sometimes regret?

Jonathan: If there’s only one bathroom in the house, some homeowners try to put in a beautiful, spalike shower by removing the tub. Inevitably, they always regret this when they go to sell.  Buyers with families avoid because they are looking at houses with a tub.

Is there a remodeling choice that you 
most recommend? In other words, what’s 
the “biggest hit?”

Drew: Instead of just focusing your renovation efforts on the kitchen and bathrooms, do more of a mild makeover on the entire home and try to add at least one feature to each space. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A new light fixture, stunning decor, flowing flooring, etc. Paint the picture for buyers so they can see themselves living in the space.