In 2006, real estate expert and contractor Scott McGillivray and his wife, Sabrina McGillivray, bought a new four-bedroom home in Toronto’s northwest end. Like many new homeowners,
the host of hgtv’s Income Property invested in a house that hadn’t yet been built. Unlike most of us though, he knew that the finishing packages in the sales showroom are only suggestions
for the convenience of buyer and seller. If you know what to ask for, the options are limitless.
“I was really concerned with the way the house was mechanically put together; I was there at every inspection,” Scott says. “I would go in with a video camera at every stage.” His knowledge of the hidden infrastructure meant that Scott could prevent unnecessary demolition when making his own changes later, such as adding recessed lighting, installing a hardwood floor and upgrading the kitchen finishes.
The average home buyer is content to let the developer make most of the decisions, but “I’m a contractor, so it’s really difficult to watch a developer build my home for me,” Scott says.
He signed a waiver that stated he was accepting the home in an incomplete state. This allowed him to modify the standard design. “I got them to deliver my front hall without the floors tiled.
You could pick slate or slate, and I wasn’t interested,” he says. “Instead of getting countertops, I was able to trade out to get materials, like matching valances and crowns for the kitchen.
I was able to get them to use a different insulation. I wanted Roxul insulation for soundproofing reasons, and I provided the material.”