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In The Mix
June 16, 2015

Hot Properties

With a full slate of series and specials, HGTV’s striking siblings keep viewers coming back for renovation and real-estate advice.

Paula Hendrickson

Six-foot, five-inch identical twins Drew and Jonathan Scott are a powerhouse team at HGTV.

Each year they shoot more than 50 episodes of their two series, Property Brothers and Buying and Selling, in which Drew — the real-estate expert — and Jonathan — the licensed contractor — help people buy, renovate and sell housing.

They also appear in special-event programming such as Brother vs. Brother and Property Brothers: At Home on the Range in addition to running their own companies, Scott Real Estate and Scott Brothers Entertainment (with older brother J.D.).

What’s the secret of their success? The brothers recently chatted with emmy contributor Paula Hendrickson.

Where did your interests in real estate and design begin?

Drew: We were always entrepreneurs. Our parents would buy a house, we’d live in it for maybe 10 years, then they’d sell it and get a different place.

When we were 15 and our parents were looking for a new place, Jonathan and I were pointing out, “Oh, this will be a good investment because it’s close to a sub-division, but it’s still farmland. It’s probably going to be turned into a sub-dividable property, so you might make a good return.” They were looking at us like, “You’re kids. Why are you giving us advice?”

Even when we were younger, and our parents would leave us with a babysitter, Jonathan and I would move all the furniture and make it look fresh and new — at least in our minds.

Jonathan: Drew and I have been acting since we were kids — doing commercials, TV and films. But once we got out of high school, we didn’t want to be struggling actors, so we decided to invest in real estate.

We bought our first house when we were 18. We fixed it up and sold it for a $50,000 profit. That’s when the light bulb went on. That was the start of our real-estate company.

How do you juggle multiple series and specials?

Jonathan: Right now we’re filming Brother vs. Brother in Vegas, so it’s nice to be sleeping in our own home. Then we head to New York for five months, where we’ll film Property Brothers and Buying and Selling simultaneously.

Usually I have about nine projects on the go at the same time — that’s a lot of work on the construction side. The only way we’re able to do that is because we have a great team.

How do you deal with extreme clients — and each other?

Jonathan: We tell clients right up front what can be expected, what we expect from them.

We put ourselves in their shoes. We understand that this is their home. We try to not ever rush a client into making a decision they might regret.

I’ve also become pretty good at knowing when clients are going to second-guess something, so I’ll usually have a back-up plan.

Drew: A lot of times when they’re difficult to work with it’s just because they don’t know the process, the cost of a certain material, or the time it will take for something.

How difficult were you as clients when renovating your own home for Property Brothers at Home

Drew: I’ve known Jonathan for 36 years and was not surprised at how diva-ish he would be. While a lot of our interests are the same, there were different things we each wanted to have…. I came in with my gloves on and was ready to fight for what I wanted.

Jonathan: Here’s what I’ve determined after working with Drew for a long time: I give Drew the illusion of choice and he falls for it every time. I’ll give him something that’s very important to focus on. He’ll concentrate on that one thing and I’ll do 20 others.

Drew: Jonathan says it’s the illusion of choice that he gives me, but we all know who the more intelligent brother is. I make him do pretty much all the physical work, and I sit back and pull the strings.

I keep a suit on. I keep my hands clean. Who’s the smarter brother, Jonathan? [Both laugh]

Jonathan: Can you tell there’s a little competition there?

How do you resolve work-related disagreements?

Drew: We call it our No BS policy. We obviously can get on each other’s nerves. But we deal with it, state our opinions, and in the end we typically find a better solution together than individually.

Jonathan: We work well together. We’ve sold off our separate places and now live in the same house in Vegas, even though Drew doesn’t get home too much. I pretty much have the place to myself whenever I’m there.

But someone said, “How many times have you guys gotten into a fight?” We honestly haven’t. In our entire lives we’ve gotten into maybe three scuffles, and Drew started all of them.

Have you ever tried to pass yourselves off as one another?

Drew: When we were kids we looked so much alike, even our parents had a hard time telling us apart unless they were looking at us square in the face.

In high school, Jonathan had this girl he liked. He’d been annoying me one day, so I dressed up as him and went over to her and made a total fool of myself. I don’t think she ever spoke to him again.

Jonathan: So that’s what happened.

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