The Scott brothers were 18 when they bought and flipped their first property.
With only $250 down, the twins assumed the mortgage, moved in and started renovating.
The place, just outside of Calgary, needed a lot of work, but they read every book they could get their hands on and watched every infomercial they could and ended up making a profit of $50,000.
“That was when the light bulb went on and we thought this could be a business,” said Jonathan Scott.
Drew Scott became licensed as a professional realtor, and Jonathan studied construction and design at college. After a decade of working in the industry, they were approached to do their first television show.
Jonathan and Drew, known to many as The Property Brothers, are now one of the most successful lifestyle and entertainment teams in the industry.
In addition to their own successful home renovation television show, the Thomas Haney secondary graduates have their own production company, Scott Brothers Entertainment, and home decor company, Scott Living Furniture and Decor.
Now they are authours.
Their new book, Dream Home: The Property Brothers’ Ultimate Guide To Finding and Fixing Your Perfect House, has become a New York Times bestseller.
The book is billed as a comprehensive source for buying, selling and renovating a house, covering topics from the hidden costs of moving, savvy negotiating tactics and determining your home must-haves.
“There was no one book that was a resource for buying and selling in real estate,” explained Jonathan.
“We started researching every other area and we wanted to show a lot of projects that we had done that are not on the shows so that people can get new inspirations,” he said, adding that out of the hundreds of photographs in the book.
The twins started their first business when they were seven years old.
“When we were seven, my dad said, ‘happy birthday, get a job.’
They decided to make decorative hangers. They took metal hangars and wrapped nylon around them with a little rosetta. Then the brothers went go door-to-door in their community and sold them to neighbours. One day they met a woman who had a chain of stores in Japan and she started buying them by the thousands.
At Thomas Haney, the brothers made short films in the technology lab, never dreaming one day of owning their own company.
Even at 12, when their parents were looking to buy a bigger house in Maple Ridge, they remember walking around with them and pointing out qualities that would make the property a good investment.
They started studying real estate before they were out of high school.
They don’t always agree on ideas.
“We are competitive as well and we don’t always have the same outlook. Even on this show we are shooting now, Brothers take New Orleans, we have differentiations on the paint colours that we want, the layouts we want for the space,” said Drew.
But, when there is something bothering them they address the issue right away and find fun ways to settle their disputes.
Once they had an oyster shucking competition to choose paint colours for a project.
Jonathan and Drew will sign copies of their book at Black Bond Books in Haney Place Mall on Sunday. They will also answer questions and offer advice.
One bit of advice is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to change the esthetic appeal to your home. Adding a coat of fresh paint or simply de-cluttering or rearranging furniture are low-cost improvements. Re-staining or reupholstering furniture is another way to save money and bring a fresh look to an old space.
“If you are trying to prep your home to sell, a lot of people think kitchens and bathrooms, ‘I need to spend big bucks there to impress everybody and sell the house.’ The more important thing to focus on is that the entire house feels fresh and updated,” Drew said.
“If you do a mild makeover and a mild, decent staging of the whole space to make it feel a little more fresh, that ’s going to go a lot further than just having a really nice kitchen, but the rest is dated,” he added.
The brothers said leave electrical, plumbing and building structure are for professionals.
And always make sure you get the proper permits.
“People don’t realize, say they do a renovation, they finish the basement or they do something on their own and they don’t get permits. That’s considered a latent defect and most real estate contracts say that you have disclose in writing when you sell your home,” said Jonathan.
“If there are any latent defects and say a house burns down 20 years after you sold it because of faulty electrical that you did yourself, you are still liable,” he explained.
“You have to think about what your goals are and what you want to accomplish and there are a million different ways to purchase real estate to make an investment,” said the brothers.
• Jonathan and Drew Scott will be at Black Bond Books in Haney Place Mall, 11900 Haney Place, at 2 p.m. on Aug. 21.