Last year, Real Style chatted with Scott McGillivray, the 37-year-old real estate investor and contractor who hosts HGTV Canada’s Income Property. At the time, McGillivray was part of a team of experts on HGTV’s renovation show Flipping The Block and had also just been titled one of Hello! Canada’s 50 Most Beautiful People. With Income Property now in its 10th season, we caught up with him about the show, property values and being named People’s Sexy Man of the Week. Here’s what we had to say:
Real Style: When we last spoke to you in July 2014, you were working on a new show, Flipping the Block. How was the experience working on such an intense renovation show?
Scott: That was a great experience. One of my favourite things is working with individuals who are trying to get into the space or trying to become a contractor, designer or real estate investor. That competition style show is always a ton of fun. That was a fantastic experience.
Real Style: You had also been named one of Hello! Canada’s 50 Most Beautiful People! 2014 was quite a busy year for you. What can we expect from you in 2015?
Scott: Well, now I am Hello’s Ugliest Person, probably! No, I’m kidding! You never know with those things, you can’t predict what they’re going to say about you when it comes to being voted for something. But we’ve been doing a lot more of sort of business and entrepreneurial work, so helping people become independently wealthy. There are a lot of interesting things in that space. Sometimes it’s more interesting to be the businessperson of the year rather than the best looking person of the year. You can only do so much with that title!
Real Style: Did your Hello! Canada title open any doors for you?
Scott: In November, I was voted People Magazine’s Sexy Man of the Week, which is their prelude to People’s Most Beautiful. That was definitely an unexpected nomination. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the earlier nomination in Hello! Magazine, but that was a surprise to be in People Magazine for sure.
Real Style: Your other show, Income Property, is still on the air. What are some of the biggest challenges with helping homeowners who are in debt on this show?
Scott: Not only are we helping people make smart decisions, but we’re also creating a little bit of financial independence for individuals. The idea has caught on that it’s not just about a basement apartment anymore, it’s about the opportunity to generate wealth through real estate. It really has, and I feel blessed to have been doing a show for this long and still seeing the results that we’re getting.
Real Style: Have there been many changes to the show since 2008?
Scott: Absolutely. When we launched in 2008, it was very specifically about putting basement apartments into existing homes. As we started to grow the show, we started to do larger projects first and then more unique projects. We got into whole home rentals, helping people find investment properties and turning them into rentals. Then we got into doing vacation properties this year.
Real Style: Last time, you mentioned that most of your work is in Toronto. What do you enjoy about working on properties in Toronto?
Scott: I’ve been working and investing in the Toronto area for 15 years. Number one, I’m from Toronto, so obviously most people start close to home. I also found that there were some fantastic opportunities. The renovation business in Toronto has grown exponentially; there have been great opportunities there. But the housing market has really pushed itself, almost out of reach, in some cases, for the average home buyer.
Real Style: Do you have any tips for homeowners on a budget, in terms of improving the property value of their home?
Scott: In terms to trying to target your home to increase its value the most, the kitchen is where you’ll have the biggest bang for your buck, but it’s also one of the expensive rooms to renovate. If you’re going to be frugal and you want to make some improvements without spending a lot of money, sweat equity is the best way to increase the value of your home on a budget.
I also talk about upgrading flooring; it has a great impact on the value of your home. If you’re going to be putting down laminate or vinyl floors, that’s again something you can do yourself to save some money on the labour.
Real Style: You have two young daughters! How do you balance your family life with your HGTV career?
Scott: That’s been a game changer. My eldest is almost three and a half now, so for the last three and a half years I’ve been doing the show, we’ve definitely taken a different approach. Carving out family time is a priority. I’ve been a little more strategic with call times, shoot days, ending times and travel. I’ve limited my travel. Anytime I do travel for more than four days, I bring the family with me.
Real Style: What are your favourite ways to relax after a busy day of renovating and remodelling?
Scott: Sleeping! *laughs* After a long day, I actually enjoy going to the gym, believe it or not, because even though you’re at work and it’s exhausting, it’s almost like you have this pent-up physical energy that you just need to get out. It’s my way of meditating.