5.34 million existing homes were bought in 2018, many needing work. No one knows fixer-uppers better than Jonathan and Drew Scott, HGTV’s own Property Brothers, who recently sat down to offer advice on buying and renovating a home.
What advice would you give to aspiring first-time homeowners in 2019?
Jonathan Scott: Don’t rush into it. Buying any home, especially your first home, is one of the biggest financial and emotional commitments you can make.
Drew Scott: Plus, working with the right professionals, like real estate agents and lenders you trust, can make the whole process a lot easier.
What should you prioritize when considering buying a home?
JS: Know what’s most important to you — distance to work or school? Amenities? Lot size?
DS: Get to know the neighborhood and the neighbors, too. They can tell you a lot about the house you’re potentially buying.
What key questions should people ask prior to buying a house?
DS: Gather all the information you can. Also, visit the property at different times of the day or week to see if there are any issues that will affect the way you enjoy the place.
What tips or advice would you give to homeowners applying for mortgages or loans?
DS: Be organized. Have a letter of income from your employer and know your debts and assets. Also, look to get pre-approved.
What reports or inspections should new homeowners ask for to avoid hidden dangers?
DS: Always get a full home inspection done, even if the house is newer, review the land survey to ensure there are no encroachments, and check the title will be clear.
What are some common red flags to look out for?
JS: One red flag is when the homeowner says they did the work themselves. Look for artwork hanging in a strange position — it’s probably covering an issue. Lift area rugs to check the floors. Use all your senses. A musty smell can hint at poor airflow or warped walls, and fogged windows could potentially be a sign of a more serious issue, like a past grow-op.
What tips do you have for someone seeking a home improvement contractor?
JS: Do your due diligence. Don’t be afraid to ask to see examples of their past work. Always get their quote in writing. In most jurisdictions, contractors cannot ask for money up front unless they are bonded or affiliated with an organization like the National Association of Home Builders.
What are typical issues senior citizens face when looking to age in place in their homes?
JS: Mobility can be a concern. Little things can go a long way: adjusted counter heights so they don’t have to bend over as far, a curbless shower, minimal stairs, a ramp out front, ample lighting, and automation to turn lights or electronics on and off.
“Property Brothers: Forever Home” is all about creating a forever dream home. How do you start this process for each client?
DS: We ask clients what they originally saw in their home that made them know it was their forever home. We take what they love and enhance it, then fix everything else that’s not working for them.
JS: It’s all about keeping the memories they cherish and giving them a beautiful and functional space where they can create new memories together.
Dream homes take work, but they’re worth it — as long as you do your diligence, get organized, and work with the right people.
Jeffrey Somers, [email protected]