Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott dish on the keys to their incredible success
By: Gibson Johns
Drew and Jonathan Scott are unstoppable. Together as the Property Brothers, they have built an incredibly successful brand that involves starring on four shows, production, books, a furniture line and even music. The most recognizable stars on HGTV, the Scott brothers show no signs of slowing down.
On the current fourth season of "Brother vs. Brother," Jonathan and Drew compete against each other to buy, renovate and sell a Las Vegas home, which is where they live themselves.
At the end of the six-episode season, whichever brother makes the most profit on their respective home is declared the winner, and those profits are then donated to charity. Though the brothers always have fun with each other on camera, "Brother vs. Brother" sees the Property Brothers are their most relaxed and playful; it's a joy to watch.
We talked to the Property Brothers ahead of the season four finale of "Brother vs. Brother," which airs on Wednesday, July 6 at 9 p.m. EST, on what it's like filming the show, what it's like chilling with Vanilla Ice on set and the keys to success behind their ever-growing empire.
See photos of Drew and Jonathan Scott through the years:
Check out our full conversation with Drew and Jonathan Scott below:
You guys always look like you're having a blast on your shows, but that enjoyment seems to reach a completely new level on "Brother vs. Brother." How does your approach to this show differ from your outlook on your three other shows?
Jonathan: When we're filming for "Brother vs. Brother," each team has their own camera and construction crews, and everyone gets really involved. It's a real competition, so we're constantly pulling little pranks on each other and doing other funny things. Drew even did a music video.
Drew: If you go on our YouTube channel, you'll see it -- it's a Macklemore parody of the song "Downtown," and it's basically just me trash talking Jonathan and saying, "You're doing down!"
Jonathan: This is definitely sort of the ultimate challenge. Of all of the shows we've ever filmed, this was hands down the most fun, and I think that comes across to the audience. It's sibling rivalry at its best -- and not in a malicious way; we have a lot of fun, and we laugh non-stop. It lets us do a lot of goofy, funny things that we don't normally get to do.
Drew: The biggest difference from our other shows is that we get to shoot at home -- we have a home turf advantage where we know the properties, and we get to spend time with family and friends. People get to see our own designs -- what we would specifically do for a house that we were looking to flip for buyers -- instead of tailoring to what homeowners would specifically want, like we do on "Property Brothers."
You also have a ton of special guests on this show -- family members, celebrities and other HGTV stars. I'd imagine that much take the filming experience to a totally new level, as well.
Drew: Yeah, Jonathan and I have so much fun with that. Hanging out at home with Vanilla Ice or chilling with David Copperfield? It's so much fun. The fact that we're doing it in our home town, too, is a really fun thing for us, because we haven't had the opportunity to shoot a lot in Vegas before. Now we've had a couple of seasons where we've been able to head back to Vegas and transform these properties.
We're raising a lot of money for charity, too: These last two seasons have resulted in a couple hundred thousand dollars going to charity, which means a lot to us. All of the profits from either Jonathan's house or my house goes to Rebuilding Together. It's a great way to give money back into the community.
Another fun thing about "Brother vs. Brother" is that a lot of people say that Jonathan is the one who does all of the work, but what a lot of people don't know is in the beginning, when we both started renovating properties in the '90s, we both did all of the work. I know how to do all of the work, and I'm very good with getting hands on. I'm not a licensed contractor, like Jonathan is, however I've been doing this for years. So this really gives everyone the opportunity to show what my design ideas are and what I can do with a space. Jonathan's not the only handy man. [Laughs]
The finale of this season of "Brother vs. Brother" airs on Wednesday, July 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and on it you tackle the homes' outdoor spaces. Can you talk about what your approaches to outdoor areas are?
Drew: Jonathan and I both have very similar outlooks on the outdoor space. For me, there are so many people that want more square footage in their home but it's not realistic or affordable to do an addition. But your outdoor area -- whether it's a small patio, balcony or yard -- represents an opportunity to create even more living space. We wanted to make sure our outdoor spaces felt as comfortable as our indoor spaces, and that's the same as our furniture line, Scott Living, where we wanted to make sure that we were giving people outdoor furniture that was as comfortable as what they have inside.
Do you find the outdoor spaces to be the most challenging part of renovating homes? Or is there a specific room inside that is even more difficult?
Jonathan: Yeah, outdoor spaces are really tricky, because there is way more square footage. What I love is clustering entertainment spaces -- you know, having an outdoor dining area or having an outdoor seating area, somewhere where you can read a book or play cards -- and thinking about the function of the space.
You also want to make sure it's going to stand out, as well. In Vegas, you have a lot of hot, hot heat, so it's very difficult to constantly be watering things. There are incentives to having low-water-usage designs. That's why I put synthetic grass in my house, to cut down on that. On the inside, I think the biggest problem area is usually the kitchen. That's the most expensive room, with the most figures and cabinets and everything. You really need to make sure that you work through a plan to think about how that kitchen will be used.
On "Brother vs. Brother," it's ultimately up to the market to determine which one of you wins, as it's determined by whichever one of you makes a bigger profit upon reselling. How do you account for what a buyer -- who may be unfamiliar with the market -- is looking for? Do they tend to look for general aesthetics, advanced features, outdoor space or something else?
Drew: It's a a good way that you worded that, because depending on the seller, some of them focus on one area -- like you said, the advanced features, the aesthetic or the function -- or they'll do those things in one area of the home, like the kitchen or the bathrooms, thinking the buyers will love it based on those rooms.
But in reality, what we tell people is you have to think like a buyer. Realistically, a buyer may love a great kitchen but they're also thinking about function, and if it's only a three bedroom home, but you have four kids, you need a bigger house. If you really want that open concept in your kitchen, having a closed-off kitchen isn't going to benefit them.
So, every space has to have a feature: A chandelier or a pendent or an island or a fireplace, whatever it is -- it doesn't have to even be expensive -- it has to be something to draw the eye in a positive way in each space.
As we talked about earlier, this show really highlights your brotherly rivalry, but can each of you note something that the other did particularly well this season?
Drew: I'll tell you what Jonathan did, which was a big gamble that paid off with our judges. He catered to the mid-century modern flair that this old school Vegas-area people love. It was a big gamble, because there were a lot of families in that area that may have just wanted that updated fresh space and not that mid-century modern, pops of color. Our judges have loved that in a lot of his spaces, which goes to show that knowing your market is very important.
Jonathan: For Drew, I think really just selling that upscale feel. When people walk in to view his house, people just go, "Whoa! This is something I can afford?" I think that's a great thing, which is to really paint that upscale feel without spending a ton of money in erroneous areas.
Drew: I thought that Jonathan was going to say that the best part about me was that I was able to turn his Elvis statue into an exact replica of him. [Laughs]
Jonathan: I burst out laughing when I saw that! It was a whole operation with spies on my team.
Finally, you two have built quite the brand for yourselves over the years, one that spans different media and has lasted quite a while. What would you say the keys to your success together have been?
Drew: Jonathan and I have always been hard workers. We learned at a very young age that there is no quick route to success. Handwork is the quickest and best route to success. We started our first job at 7 years old, and we've always been trying to find ways to achieve our goals and be able to experience the things we want to do. I love seeing how big our brand has grown, and the fact that we're always willing to adapt and listen to our fans and willing to try new things. We don't take "no" for an answer. The sky is the limit.
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