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Interview with HGTV's Scott McGillivray: Tips for Military Homeowners

SpouseBUZZ interviewed Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV's Income Property a couple of weeks ago. Income Property is coming to the United States this spring and Scott is actively looking for military families. The deadline for applications has been extended so if you meet the qualifications, get your application in now! Click here for the details. In Part Two of our interview with Scott, he tells us about his journey from first-time homebuyer to real estate entrepreneur and popular television host. Scott also gives military families some advice on being a landlord and offers tips on low-cost ways in which you can quickly add value to your property.

From College Student to Real Estate Entrepreneur and Television Host

Scott McGillivray had no experience with real estate when, at age 23, he purchased his first income property. After he purchased the property, Scott began honing his carpentry skills and since then has bought and renovated dozens of homes. In the early days, Scott noticed that all of his income properties looked alike. He was using the same flooring, same wall color, same countertops. Scott knew he needed some design help, and help would come in the form of Debbie Travis. Scott met Debbie at a trade show and they made an arrangement where he would help her with carpentry and she would teach him about design.

Scott began working as the "resident carpenter" on Debbie Travis' Facelift and quickly became a fan favorite and was approached about hosting his own show. At the time, flipping properties was a big trend, but not one Scott was a fan of. Scott was more interested in solid, long-term investments and pitched the idea of Income Property. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Scott Shares Tips for Military Homeowners

I told Scott that given the transient nature of military life, many military homeowners opt to rent their property when they move. As Scott said, being a landlord can be tricky and there are many things which landlords should consider and be aware of, too many to go through in the time we had, but he did point out a common mistake landlords make. Many landlords put minimum time, effort and resources in the property if it's not their primary residence, but Scott cautions against this line of thinking. All landlords want good tenants and one way to ensure you attract the best tenants possible is to give your rental property proper attention and keep it well maintained. "The caliber of your space will dictate the caliber of your tenants," said Scott. Great advice. Scott also stressed the importance of running background checks on your tenants.

If a family has a limited budget but wants to increase the value of their property, rental or otherwise, I asked Scott what's the one thing homeowners can do in order to get the most bang for their buck. Painting is the answer. In most cases, you can expect to see a 300% return on your investment with paint. Scott cautions that you should stick with fairly neutral tones but don't be fooled into thinking that basic beige is your only option. Scott says there are shades of grey which achieve the same results as beige.

Scott and I talked about the fact that some people think home renovation is too challenging and won't attempt to do things themselves when in reality there are many projects which most people can tackle. Scott says that painting and carpentry are safe areas to experiment with. With carpentry, once you master mitre cuts, you have the ability to install all types of molding (crown, window casings, mirror frames, etc.) Molding makes a home look more polished and adds value.

What should inexperienced DIY enthusiasts not tackle themselves? Scott says to leave the electrical and plumbing projects to the professionals. Not only can someone with no experience injure themselves, but mistakes can turn an inexpensive project into an expensive one. Scott also cautions against gutting and rebuilding an entire kitchen without professional help.

The key to DIY home renovation, Scott says, is patience. Trial and Error is the way you learn to master any skill set.

Scott Wants Military Families!

Once again, I want to thank Scott for talking to SpouseBUZZ. He was very liberal with his time and was beyond kind. Scott is very interested in making a lasting difference in the lives of military families, something that we all appreciate. As I mentioned in the first post, Scott has worked with military families in the past and found it to be a wonderful experience. Let's continue that trend. Click here to see the casting call for military families. If you meet the qualifications, please apply. If you know a deserving military family, pass it along to them. While we are pushing for military families to apply because we want them to benefit from this fantastic opportunity, they are accepting applications from civilian families as well, so pass along to your family or neighbors, too. All interested applicants should get their applications in by February 13. Now, I'm not one to encourage breaking the rules, but let's just say, there's no harm in getting your application in a little late. You never know, right?

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