Posted by Lauran
It’s impossible not to love the Property Brothers. Jonathan and Drew Scott seem like the nicest, smartest, most personable guys around. I have spent many a rainy day watching Property Brothers and Buying & Selling marathons. These guys know what they are doing. So it makes total sense that they would wrap up all that knowledge—buying, selling, and renovating—into one book: Dream Home.
This handy guide starts with the story of Drew and Jonathan: their early days of modest house flipping, their real estate and design/construction careers, and finally how they created their own entertainment company. It’s pretty inspiring.
The first section of Dream Home focuses on that age-old question: should I stay or should I go? The Scott Brothers help you define what your version of a “dream home” is by having you create a “must have”, “nice to have”, and “doesn’t matter” checklist. Then the book helps you decide if that dream home could be the one you already live in (after a few improvements), or if you need to move to find your ideal home. It includes a very clear checklist that walks you through all the scenarios to consider, and also spells out how much it costs to move vs. remodel.
If you decide to go (i.e. sell your house and buy a new one), you’ll find tons of essential information about how to find a real estate agent, how to prep your home for sale, and even how to set the price for your home. It includes great cleaning and repair task lists to help sellers focus on the most important things.
The section about buying a new home is very thorough, including information about making a strong offer and common buying blunders. My favorite part is their definition of real estate “code words”, which they claim agents use to mask flaws in a home. For example, “artistic” means weird paint colors, “new roof” means everything else is old, and “natural landscaping” means no landscaping. I’m not sure if all of these are true, but they are amusing.
(Note to Bay Area readers: A lot of the buying and selling information in Dream Home does not apply to the Bay Area market. Yes, in order to sell your home you need to clean it and make repairs, but you don’t need to add a walk-in master closet or master bathroom. In a hot market like Oakland and Berkeley, demand greatly outweighs supply so the standards that apply elsewhere are different. Similarly, buyers here simply cannot afford to be picky about location and getting everything they want in a home. And most homes sell significantly above asking, so there’s not a lot of strategy involved in making an offer—you offer as much as you possibly can, the first time.)
The second half of the book moves into remodeling your home: how and when to work with pros vs. trying to DIY your home upgrades, common floor plan fixes, and what it’s really like to live in your home during a reno (check out the makeshift kitchen below).
Their checklist of renovations that give you the best return on investment and the most enjoyment is extremely helpful in helping you prioritize the changes you want to make.
There is a chapter that addresses choosing the right materials for your reno, including flooring, tile and cabinets. The design portion of the book is helpful as well, but you can find more in-depth advice and a wider range of ideas in other books that focus only on interior decorating/design (such as Styled by Emily Henderson or Decorate by Holly Becker).
What makes this book a winner is the depth and breadth of knowledge it presents about the entire buying, selling and renovating process. There are plenty of beautiful photos, and lots of fun brotherly banter between Jonathan and Drew. I loved the easy checklists and real-life stories included throughout. Overall, it’s an entertaining and informative book that sums up the best of everything the Property Brothers have taught us during their television shows.
All images from Dream Home: The Property Brothers’ Ultimate Guide to Finding & Fixing Your Perfect House, Jonathan and Drew Scott, photography by David Tsay