It’s That Easy? Thank You Captain Obvious.

The Property Brothers: Lots of money to be made in real estate

NEW YORK – July 19, 2017 – The Property Brothers, who have become celebrities through their HGTV home renovation TV shows, say there is still money to be made in real estate – but only if you have the know-how.

“There’s a lot of people who make a lot of money in real estate,” said Jonathan Scott, one of the identical-twin TV stars. “But there’s also a lot of people who lose a lot of money because they don’t know what they are doing.”

Jonathan and his brother, Drew Scott, came to Google headquarters in New York for a panel discussion. In 2015 and 2016, the pair filmed two seasons of their shows – “Buying & Selling” and “Property Brothers” – in the New York City suburbs.

Drew Scott, a real estate agent, advised first-time homebuyers to do their homework before showing up for an open house.

“You narrow your search down online, and even before you are searching for your property, you are narrowing down what you can afford, using (online) financial calculators,” he said during the forum.

“Whether to find a contractor for renovation, whether it’s buying and selling, you have to get organized because the more information you have right from the get-go, the easier the process, the less stressful it’s going to be.”

Jonathan Scott, a contractor, told aspiring homeowners not to be fixated on move-in-ready homes.

“Lose the ego. This is a business decision. Don’t go in and say, ‘Well, I can’t settle for a house that’s not perfect. I’m not going to settle for something that’s gross.'” he said. “Don’t be afraid to take on a fixer-upper. Put a little bit of elbow grease and fix it up, and then you just help secure a safer retirement for yourself.”

Even if you can put your ego aside, financing a renovation project can be tricky for first-time buyers because their resources tend to be limited. To assist those young buyers, financial products and programs are available, said Mike Wise, senior lending manager at JP Morgan Chase, who also was on the panel.

The event, sponsored by Chase Home Lending and Google, also was an occasion for the two companies to release a summary of their collaborative study, Search for Homes Snapshot.

The study indicated that Millennials are becoming more interested in owning homes: In 2016, 44 percent of Google searches related to the term “mortgage” was about first-time buyer mortgages, up by 11 percent from 2015. Previously, Millennials have been slow to enter the housing market because of student debt and career setbacks related to the recession.

The trend is reflected in Chase’s mortgage business as well: Customers younger than 35 accounted for 36 percent of the bank’s new mortgages in 2016, up by 16 percent from the year before.

“There are two ways to help Millennials: Help them to have less money down and less closing costs,” Wise said, giving examples such as a loan product that requires a minimum down payment of 3 percent and a first-time homebuyer education program that comes with a $500 grant to reduce closing costs.

The education piece is important, not only to find additional money but also to become a financially savvy homeowner, Wise said.

“There are two things going in tandem when we talk about homeownership,” Wise said. “It’s being able to buy a home and sustainability: how I stay in the house once I get it.”

The Scott brothers say prospective buyers need to learn the ropes.

“Education is the biggest thing,” Jonathan Scott said. “If you are going to do it right, you need to know what you are doing.”

Added Drew Scott: “If you are organized and you are educated as to what to expect and you are surrounding yourself with professionals, you will be successful in real estate.”

Copyright 2017, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY, Akiko Matsuda

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