Scott McGillivray is a seasoned real estate investor, contractor and entrepreneur. He started on his career path in college, and has now been in the business for 16 years, best known as the host and executive producer of the DIY network’s Income Property series. Now in its 11th season, the show features Scott helping homeowners renovate their homes or vacation properties to maximize rental income.
“It became a career and a passion,” Scott shared. “It’s authentic … I enjoy it, it makes sense and it’s helping people.”
We sat down with Scott to discuss the latest season of Income Property, and he revealed some of his best expert tips for buying, selling and increasing value on a home or vacation property.
The one rule for vacation rentals
On this season of Income Property, Scott guides owners to renovate their vacation rentals to add value to their homes while increasing their income. “The best way to create wealth is to build value within your home,” Scott told us. He advises not to overinvest in a space, but also not to underinvest. “The caliber of your space dictates the caliber of your tenant,” he shared.
He revealed that the one big rule when making this type of investment is to make sure that you can collect one full month’s worth of expenses in one week’s worth of rent. “A good rule of profitability is, if a beach house’s monthly expenses are $2,000 a month, it should rent for $2,000 a week, and everything else after that first week is profit,” he said.
DIY renovations that increase a home’s value
Scott also recommends a few simple projects you can do yourself that will raise your property’s value, whether it’s a vacation rental or a full-time home. These include:
- Installing countertops
- Upgrading hardware and appliances (i.e. door hardware and faucets)
- Upgrading light fixtures
- Replacing toilets
DIY mistakes that lower a home’s value
While there are a number of little (and big) things you can do to up your home’s price tag, there are also a few projects that can have a negative effect on the value of your property. Scott shared that these include:
- Eliminating bedrooms
- Adding features in the wrong places (i.e. squeezing in an extra bathroom that cuts into living space)
- Improper installations (attempting to drywall, wiring your own electrical, etc.)
- Not passing inspections
- Installing bath and tub surrounds that attract mold
Other big turn-offs to buyers and renters
Some of the factors that can turn buyers and renters off when you’re trying to sell or gather new income are often out of your control, but they’re things you should be aware of. Scott shared with us the 5 biggest turn-offs:
- Structural damage
The biggest mistake new home owners make
“[It’s] easier to help people make good decisions, rather than help people fix a bad decision,” Scott shared. The most common bad decision? Buyers letting their emotions get the best of them. “People make emotional decisions,” Scott said. “They fall in love with the place, and try to afford it later. This never works out well.”