Photo courtesy of Property Brothers/Cineflix Image by: Photo courtesy of Property Brothers/Cineflix
We were just 18 years old when we first got into the market in Calgary, which at the time was going through a major real estate boom. We may have been young, but we did our research before we got started, learning everything we could about flipping properties. When, at the end of our first year of university, we were able to sell the first house we bought—making a $50,000 profit—we had what Oprah would call an "Aha!” moment: There was potential in this!
The experience came with its hurdles, of course. We had to learn major lessons about what not to do. For instance, we went in believing that more always means better when it comes to upgrades. We wanted our house to be the nicest on the block. As we soon learned, neighbourhoods have a cap, and there is a point of diminishing returns. For example, if an area attracts first-time buyers, most of them will not be willing to pay extra for upgrades. So the money we spent installing high-end stone countertops was overkill. First-time homebuyers don't need stone countertops; they just need countertops.
Another lesson everyone should learn: Work with professionals, from getting solid financial advice to working with the right Realtor to hiring a qualified contractor. It can mean the difference between a money pit and a great investment. Recently, a client told us about friends who bought a fixer-upper thinking they would save money by doing the renovations themselves. But because they didn't work with a Realtor, no one insisted they have a proper inspection or get quotes from contractors. When they began to work on the house, they discovered several structural and plumbing issues that needed to be fixed right away, costing a huge portion of their budget. Had they gotten quotes to begin with, they would have been aware of the work in store.
Our most important piece of advice about buying property is simple: Keep emotion out of it. We worked with a family once who had a hard time agreeing on where to call home. One felt attached to the city while the other was adamant on a suburban neighbourhood. It was stressful, but it all came together when we helped them focus on objective criteria, like which location would be ideal for their kids and their commutes. Home is where the heart is, but purchasing a home is a business decision.
For more advice from the Property Brothers, check out their tips for revamping and reselling your home.
|This story was originally titled "Real Reno Revelations" in the February 2014 issue. |
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