Monday October 16, 2017

How Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott began building their empire at seven years old

HGTV's Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott follow up their bestseller, Dream Home, with a memoir.

HGTV's Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott follow up their bestseller, Dream Home, with a memoir. (Scott Bros Entertainment/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

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Jonathan and Drew Scott do it all. Not only are they the stars of successful HGTV shows like Property Brothers and Brother vs. Brother, but the identical twins are also entrepreneurs and authors. Their last book, Dream Home, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. This time, the Scott brothers have crafted a memoir called It Takes Two: Our Story, which traces their upbringing on a B.C. ranch to being two of the most successful TV stars in Canada — and all of the failures in between.

Jonathan and Drew Scott spoke to Shelagh Rogers about sibling rivalry, buying their first investment property as teenagers and learning the value of a hard day's work at a young age.

Growing up on a ranch  

Drew says: "You learn the value of a hard day's work on a ranch. You don't get a free ride. You're out there feeding the animals, taking care of the land. You get an appreciation for the environment and the livestock. When we turned seven years old and my dad said, 'All right boys, happy birthday. Get a job.' We had to actually go out and look for a job so that we could learn work ethic from someone other than our parents."

Young entrepreneurs

Drew says: "Jonathan and I were at the end of our high school days and we wanted to find a way to be able to afford to make our own films and do our own projects. We researched and found that real estate was a great way to make money. We figured, two young guys in high school with no money in their pockets — how can we get into real estate? We researched how to get a place with no money down and we ended up finding out about assumable mortgages, vendor financing and we bought our first place at 18 years old for $200,000 with a $250 down payment."

Sibling rivalry

Jonathan says: "Drew is the most competitive man alive. We're very competitive, that's why we love Brother vs. Brother. Even in the book, we decided one of us would lead each chapter but the other brother would still jump in, strike out and add notes — it's the brotherly banter."  

Staying positive despite setbacks

Drew says: "The work ethic from back in the ranch days, I think that's what stuck with me. When I was trying to get into acting, I ended up going really hard. I was networking, taking classes and doing everything. I racked up $100,000 in debt and I thought, 'Where can I go from here?' Instead of sitting down and sulking, I just pushed on, worked hard, worked a little smarter and then worked my way through that. I would thank my parents — I would thank the way they raised us. My dad always said 'Never let anything hold you down. If somebody says you can't do something, find five ways to do it.'"      

Jonathan and Drew Scott's comments have been edited and condensed.