When it comes to making homeowners' dreams come true, identical twins Jonathan and Drew Scott work weekly magic on the HGTV reality series "Property Brothers." Although both are based in Las Vegas, the pair travels around North America on a quest to help property owners transform new purchases into their dream homes. Examiner caught up with the duo for an Aug. 18 interview that covered several topics, including how sellers can best market their homes to prospective buyers, the benefits of solar power, and their dream celebrity clients.
I live in Northern Calif. and we're under severe drought restrictions. Since I can't do much with a garden or plants to increase curb appeal, Drew, what are some things we can do to make my house look more appealing to potential buyers?
Drew: If your lawn is dying, maybe you can do what I just did to my house: I put in artificial grass. Synthetic grass is so realistic these days that you can even tell unless you feel it, and even when you feel it, it's hard to tell. It keeps it lush and green year-round. But the biggest thing is keeping it clean. Get rid of the clutter in the front yard, paint your front door with a little pop of color so it looks clean and inviting. That's the curb appeal that they want to see.
How do you find people getting around homeowners association requirements?
Jonathan: Honestly, every project is a little bit different. We've never had a problem with any of the proposals that we've made to the associations because you get the copy of their rules ahead of time, see the guidelines of what they typically will or will not allow. Especially with knowing there are water restrictions in a lot of places --we live in Vegas, so they encourage you to do synthetic turf... you just have to know what you're dealing with.
Drew: And like I said, for buyers, they just want to see it clean and well-kept. Have the shrubs and the trees trimmed properly. And maybe you just sweep off the driveway. That goes a long way.
Drew, so yeah, obviously it's a big turn-off when a property looks dirty or un-maintained, but what's another really big turn-off for prospective home buyers?
Drew: A huge thing that people overlook all the time is the small stuff. There might be some chips in the paint. You might have a loose tile in your floor. You might have a baseboard piece missing. You think 'oh, the buyer's going to look past that and see all of the great things this house has to offer' but that's not true. What stands out for them is every little negative and if enough of them build up, they're going to... walk away from the home or they're going to offer you way less than what you feel it's worth.
You've heard people say 'don't sweat the small stuff,' but so not true when it comes to your home. We call it the ick factor: the more times a buyer looks at something and goes 'ew, I don't like that,' the faster they wash their hands of your property and go on to the next one.
That makes perfect sense. We've bought two homes over the course of our relationship and we've definitely walked away from a few because of that ick factor.
Drew: It just shows poor maintenance of the home. When you're walking in as a buyer, you want to see that pride of ownership.... On the surface if you see a bunch of problems, you start to wonder what's wrong inside the walls.
So to kind of recap, what are the top five things that home buyers and sellers need to be thinking about?
Drew: Curb appeal. You really want to make sure you make the best first impression. You've got to sweat the small stuff. Any little fixes, get them done, because it will catch the eye of buyers. Get a home inspection to help you before the buyer gets their home inspection. That way you can solve issues before they even see it.
And then technology is huge. It's more important than stainless steel appliances and granite. Buyers want to see technology in homes. And the last part was how do you power that technology? Looking at more energy efficient systems, looking at solar panels because you no longer have that stigma of the expensive up front cost. With Sunrun, there's no up front cost and there's a long term lease where you can be saving $20,000 over the life of your agreement.
So, "Property Brothers." Let's say that you guys are having a celebrity episode. Who would you really like to work with?
Jonathan: We have a lot of celebrity friends who have actually asked us to come and do their homes.
Drew: Who would you like to work with, Jonathan?
Jonathan: Hmm. Well, I'd really like to work on a castle, so maybe Sean Connery. [In a Connery-esque accent] I'd go with Sean Connery's. I could sit down with Sean Connery and work on his design.
Drew: You're the worst ever.
Jonathan: I tried, I tried.
Drew: I was talking today about Michael Jordan.... I was thinking that maybe I could go over to his $40 million mansion and give him a few tips on how to freshen it up.
That would be pretty awesome. So to both of you: what's the best thing about working with your brother on TV?
Jonathan: That I can make fun of him in front of over 100 plus countries and territories on an hourly basis.
Drew: The greatest thing is that if he steps out of line, I can call my mom and she'll tell him off. [Laughs] I love working with him. We have an older brother J.D. who's in the business as well, and I love the fact that the three of us can work together well. We love what we do and it just goes to show that just because you're family doesn't mean you can't work together. You just have to know when business is business, and when picking on your brother makes sense.
Do either one of you have a favorite episode of "Property Brothers"?
Jonathan: I really liked the Liat and Zack episode of "Property Brothers." It was the first kosher kitchen that I'd ever done, so it was all new for me. I didn't know that it even existed, so it was quite interesting to go do a Jewish kitchen and understand how everything has to be separated; it's basically two of everything. Trying to fit two kitchens into one space was definitely a challenge.
Drew: I'll tell you one I didn't like. We did an outdoor space --a poolside area-- and Jonathan thought it would be hilarious to push me into the pool fully dressed in my suit.
Jonathan: It was awesome.
Drew: We did 10 months in Atlanta, and now we're up in Toronto for a few months and then we're back down to L.A. and then we'll be somewhere else in the U.S. So who knows? Maybe we'll be coming your way.
I'll be looking out for that! I'm looking around and we could definitely use some work in here. So where can people go for more information about solar power?
Jonathan: They can go to Sunrun.com and get all the info they want about the company and our work with them. Or they can go to TheScottBrothers.com. We're also on social media. I'm @MrSilverScott, Silver is my middle name...
Drew: And I'm @MrDrewScott and we are very interactive with our fans. We love to answer their questions and I like to give them all the information they need to know about Jonathan's dating life, or about technology.