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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Following their presentation at Saturday’s SHE Expo at Memorial Coliseum, “Property Brothers” Drew Scott, left, and Jonathan Scott take a moment for a photo with Beverley LaFrance.

  • A packed house at the SHE Expo listens to the Scott brothers offer tips on renovating and reselling their homes.

Saturday, October 22, 2016 10:02 pm

Property tips from the bros

Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

Of all the tips that HGTV’s "Property Brothers" dispersed Saturday during their appearance at the SHE Expo in Fort Wayne, none was quite as memorable as the one about avoiding the "ick factor."

That’s the term twin brothers Drew Scott, a real estate agent, and Jonathan, a residential contractor, give to potential buyers who come into a house and see something that makes them say "ick."

That something can be as small as a cracked light switch or a tiny water stain on a ceiling that makes them wonder about pride of ownership. Or it can be something bigger.

Like, for example, a life-size nude painting of the owner’s husband, hung over the stairway a few steps inside the front door.

And, yes, the man in the painting was, umm, THAT nude, Jonathan said.

"They hadn’t sold the house in over a year, and they couldn’t figure out why," Drew added, as members of the audience gasped and laughed.

To these natives of Vancouver, British Columbia, there’s a story – and often a lesson – in every house flip. They’ve been telling some of them in their TV show, which airs in more than 300 countries. And now they’re also recounting them on the road.

Among the pointers they shared:

• Do your renovation planning well in advance – the two said they knew homeowners who had saved thousands of dollars by shopping seasonal or annual sales on big-box items and appliances.

• Accept what is and isn’t possible. Don’t expect a contractor to be able to knock down a load-bearing wall just because you want an open-concept living area. Be content with a compromise – such as a column combined with a pass-through counter and shelving, which the two showed from one of their own renovations.

• There’s more than one way to save on the costs of owning and fixing up a home. Paying a mortgage bimonthly instead of monthly, for example, or making lump-sum additional payments when possible, can save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage, and earn quick equity.

• Let new technology help you. New computer tools let you visualize a before-and-after of a house, while online advertising with photos is the first place most buyers now look when searching for a home. Also, products such as engineered stone for countertops and vinyl plank flooring can be alternatives to more expensive and less practical granite and hardwood.

• Let professionals help. Do you know the building code? Do you understand how to write a sales contract? Do you know how to hang drywall without tape showing at every seam? You can avoid costly mistakes by hiring someone who does it right, not over.

Expo attendees – hundreds of whom lined up to get photos with the brothers after their 1 p.m. talk – said they were impressed.

Rebecca Durovey, 27, of Upland said she made a spur-of-the-moment decision Saturday to come to the event with her grandmother Velma Kroeker of Upland.

"For me, Drew and Scott are kind of a big draw," she said. "You see them on TV, and you wondering if they’re the same in person, and they seem almost exactly the same – the brotherly camaraderie and the joking.

"I didn’t expect it (the Scotts’ presentation) to be as engaging as it was. I expected it would be more like a college lecture. But it was entertaining," she added.

Diane Jackson, 57, of Fort Wayne said the information the twins gave was palatable as well as practical. "You listen more when it’s done in a fun manner," she said.

Featuring dozens of area vendors of products and services of interest to women, as well as speakers, the SHE (Simply Her Experience) Expo is in its second year. It is produced by Fort Wayne Newspapers and presented by Windows, Doors and More, Fort Wayne. Organizers said the attendance was estimated at 2,500.

rsalter@jg.net