Canada’s Property Expert – Scott McGillivray
Scott McGillivray is the host of HGTV’s top rated program, Income Property. One part savvy real estate investor, one part skilled contractor and one part accomplished entrepreneur, he is a true triple threat.
His passion lies in educating homeowners to make smart renovation and investment decisions that deliver financial rewards. Catch a new season of Income Property starting February 26th on HGTV Canada.
And for more on Scott, visit www.ScottMcGillivray.com and follow him @smcgillivray.
Absolutely not. When we were shooting the pilot, I thought, “Who’s going to watch this?” I honestly had no idea what was going to happen or what I was getting myself into.
I was excited about real estate investing and interested in contracting and I like doing new things, so I thought, “It’s just another reno. It’ll just be on TV this time.”
You purchased your first rental property at the age of 21. What words of wisdom do you have for young professionals looking to purchase their first investment property?
Number 1: don’t hesitate. The sooner the better. When you’re young and you don’t have a lot of resources, it may feel impossible.
But having the will is the most important part. For every person telling you that you can’t do it, there’s someone who will tell you how you can.
You released a home improvement book this year, congratulations! What single renovation would you say gives the highest return on investment?
There are two answers to this question. For the average homeowner, it would be a kitchen. Smart kitchen renovations will make any homeowner a nice profit. However, if you have the unique opportunity to put an income suite in your home, that reno will outperform any kitchen upgrade, especially in urban areas where demand is high and vacancy is low. Not to mention that an income suite will make you money every month and adds a lot of value to your home.
You are a judge on both Flipping the Block, and Canada’s Handyman Challenge; what is the most common mistake you see amateurs make while trying to tackle a project?
The biggest mistake people make is going for speed over quality. People try to work too fast and get the project done as quickly as possible, when in reality if you spend more time planning and doing quality work you’d end up getting more value out of the reno.
You and your family divide your time living in Toronto, and Fort Myers, Florida. Do you have any advice for Canadian snowbirds looking to invest in an income property in Florida?
When purchasing a property in the US, there are several factors to consider. Specifically, the exchange rate, the tax and legal implications (if it’s going to be an investment property), and the ownership structure (depending on if it’s something you plan on keeping in the family for a long time, if you’re going to rent it, or if you’re going to sell it for a profit later.)
Property taxes are higher in Florida, and if you’re buying in a new development or a condo, make sure you understand your HOA fees. Financing for Canadians in the US is also a challenge. When financing a US property, it’s better to do it using a Canadian asset, such as equity in your primary residence, because your interest rate will be much lower.
Working as the spokesperson for CIBC’s Run for the Cure Campaign in 2014 and supporting non-profits like Habitat for Humanity you have made a name for yourself as a philanthropist. What other charitable projects have you worked on that you have found rewarding?
I really believe in investing my efforts and resources in things I believe I can make a difference in.
It was important for me to put my weight behind the Run for the Cure and also bring my team and partners on board. Habitat for Humanity is another easy cause to get behind.
Everyone should have a home and I’m happy to support that.
I recently started The McGillivray Foundation so I can have an even greater reach and help more people.
The focus is personal for me — we’ll be helping kids with cancer. 2015 will be the launch year for the foundation and I’m really excited about it.
We’re putting a lot of effort behind it, so hopefully next year I’ll really earn the title of philanthropist.