Scott McGillivray on post-COVID real estate market

A Q & A with the insightful podcaster and real estate influencer

Scott McGillivray’s podcast Real Estate Rebel kicked off its second season last month with new episodes every Tuesday until Dec. 29. With one of the wildest real estate markets the country has ever seen still unfolding, we checked in with the HGTV star in the hopes that his two decades of experience will help us make sense of it all.

How do you navigate this one-of-a-kind market from an investment standpoint?

The best advice I can give is to not chase the trends. For years I’ve been telling young people to invest in the suburbs. If you did, great, the value of your property probably just went up. Now that everyone is doing it, it’s time to take a look at what’s becoming available in the cities. If you can withstand a few years of uncertainty while we all collectively adjust, you’ll probably see the value go back up.

Do you see the trend of fleeing the centre of the city continuing or will it adjust?

Obviously, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can make a few educated guesses, and I believe that ultimately the cities will rebound. It’s just a matter of how long it will take. It could be two years, five years or 10 years, but the cities will thrive again. Right now nobody is keen to get in a condo elevator or be in any other small, shared space, so the suburbs are very appealing. I expect that to last for a little while yet.

Where do you see the real estate market going in 2021?

As government subsidies run out, the reality of the numbers — whether it be unemployment rate, debt-to-household ratio or the amount of taxes people owe on income that they no longer have — will hit. At that point I expect we’ll start to see more inventory and more volatility in the markets. And typically, what you see in that type of situation is a drop and then a quick bounce back as people take advantage of some of those opportunities.

What keeps you excited about the real estate industry?

There’s always something new and different happening. New properties, new opportunities. No two deals are ever the same, and every time I have a new experience and learn something different. It’s also a unique type of investing because literally anyone can do it. Even if you don’t have a penny to your name you can still do it. As long as you have the knowledge and the ambition, you can find people to invest with you. I love the hustle that’s involved with investing, and I admire people who do it.

What inspired you to consider doing a podcast? 

I’ve been wanting to do a podcast for a long time, I just couldn’t ever find the time to do it. Then COVID hit and all my usual work was put on hold, so it was the perfect time to get started. I love podcasts because they’re so quick and easy to produce and you can talk about anything you want. TV is great, but it can be months and months between filming and when it goes on the air. With the podcast, I can talk about more current events and time-sensitive issues.

What does this medium offer that you haven’t found in all the other things you do? 

It allows me to go into detail and really get to the nitty-gritty of certain topics in a way that I can’t in my shows. There’s more to real estate investing than we can fit into an hour of television. This allows me to cover all the extra stuff that doesn’t make it to air. It’s also allowed me to talk to all kinds of guest experts, which has been really exciting and helpful. I’ve learned a lot from them while doing this show!

 Who has been your most interesting guest thus far, and why? 

Honestly, all the guests have been great for different reasons. I’ve had financial experts and real estate experts that have offered some really great insight and sound advice. I was particularly excited to talk to Brandon Turner and Grant Cardone. Two guys who have done amazing things in the real estate investing space. I think listeners will really enjoy those episodes.

What are you hoping people take from your podcast?

I hope people realize that they can do it. Real estate investing is not reserved for the wealthy or elite. If you’re willing to do the work you’ll be able to find investors who will put up the money. I hope people will be inspired by the podcast — whether they want a single income suite or to become a full-time investor. I also want people to learn from my mistakes. When I was starting out I didn’t have anyone to guide me so I made a few mistakes. I want to share them with people so they don’t make the same ones!

What’s the best real estate advice you’ve ever received?

Never give up. It’s true in everything but especially real estate. If you don’t get the first property you want, move on to the next. If the first lender you go to won’t give you financing, move on to the next. There is always a solution. You just have to find it.

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