- HGTV fan-favorite Scott McGillivray is the expert when it comes to all things rental property.
- A longtime real estate contractor, McGillivray’s cable series, “Vacation House Rules,” helps homeowners the ultimate guide to renovation and rental success.
- McGillivray says every rental owner needs to follow three rules to get the most passive income: Do your research, roll up your sleeves, and be your own guest.
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There are tricks to maximizing returns on rental properties, and Scott McGillivray says he knows the best of them.
The star of HGTV’s “Vacation House Rules,” McGillivray has been in real estate for over a decade, and is a contractor on a mission to prove that homeowners don’t need millions of dollars to profitably invest, and that they can find profits in all kinds of markets.
McGillivray’s series teaches families how to purchase the right vacation rental property and unlock its full potential. With his guidance, the show demonstrates how even some of the most seemingly unlivable properties can transform into beautiful vacation homes renters can enjoy — while bringing in passive income for their owners.
Location matters, too, of course, but McGillivray said some income-generating areas are often overlooked.
Mentioning his recent purchase of vacation property in upstate and western New York, McGillivray said there are great areas out there for investors looking to buy at an affordable price point. “Returns are phenomenal,” he said of the $40,000 to $50,000 renovation costs that can often lead to $2,000 a week in rental revenue on a single property. “People underestimate the value.”
An investor himself, McGillivray wants to make sure others like him know how to identify rental potential.
Here are his top three vacation house rules.
1. Do your research
“Make sure there’s a market for short-term vacation rentals, and the amount you can rent for will be significant enough to cover property costs,” McGillivray said, with an emphasis on homeowners doing their math.
If the property won’t end up paying for itself, he said, it’s probably not worth it.
2. Roll up your sleeves
“Don’t sub everything out, try to do some work yourself,” McGillivray said of his tips for investors, pointing to a number of renovations homeowners can do themselves without calling in contractor help.
A big part of McGillivray’s goal is to teach homeowners how to gain “sweat equity,” in their rentals. In other words, do some of the work yourself. “You can lay some flooring,” he said, pointing to just one of several DIY projects homeowners can use to make the most of their space.
3. Be your own guest
“It’s important to think like your guest,” McGillivray said, emphasizing that homeowners should ask themselves questions before letting a renter walk through the door like do you have everything they need?
“Give them a gift to set the right tone when they arrive,” he said, adding that leaving the house stocked with extra sugar, salt, tea, coffee, and other basics that someone might forget to pack can let a renter focus on having a vacation, and it will mean a better customer experience.