Scott McGillivray on his new vacation rentals TV series and easy DIY projects you can do at home in isolation

By Zach Harper

What's one of the first things you want to do when the coronavirus pandemic ends or restrictions start to be gradually lifted? We bet it's get out of the house, and possibly take a trip or vacation.

While we're unlikely to see international travel open up this summer, there's a chance people will be looking to make more local getaways, or book vacation home rentals in cottage country – trips where we're still able to be mostly socially distant and enjoy ourselves outside of our own homes.

That makes right now a great time to fix up a cottage, if you own one. As Scott McGillivray says in his new series Scott's Vacation House Rules, you can actually turn yours into a retirement plan by renting it out on a site such as Airbnb. And there's no better way to spend free time right now than fixing your vacation home up so it's in tip top shape to stand out amongst the crowd and bring you in some income.

"The short term vacation rental market right now is pretty lucrative," Scott told HELLO! Canada in an interview from his home in Toronto, where he and his family are self-isolating. "So I thought, 'Why don't we get on top of this and show people how to do it properly?' There's a lot of people attempting to do it, but they're not doing a fantastic job. Some people are, but most people unfortunately are not.

"But a lot of other folks who could be tapping into the market are just scared and therefore, they've hesitated. I wanted to say, 'You know what, it's not as hard as you think. You just have to follow a few simple steps.'"

Scott's Vacation House Rules, which premieres April 26 on HGTV Canada, sees the 42-year-old entrepreneur help several vacation home owners turn their properties a unique experience in a way that makes design marketable. He's one of the best people to give this advice, too, since he's already helped many homeowners turn their properties around on previous shows such as Income Property and Buyers Bootcamp with Scott McGillivray.

Scott told HELLO! Canada he hopes the series not only entertains people, but inspires them to do some easy renovation work of their own during this time.

"I actually think that this is probably a vector that's going to do extremely well in our new normal, hopefully this summer with a little bit of opportunity to move around," he said. "I don't see big hotels, resorts and airports and airplanes being a big vacation opportunity. That's more of a stress than anything right now.

"But going up, driving two hours from your house and spending a week with you and just your family at a beautiful property with lots of fun things to do, seems like probably the first best reality that we can expect this summer."

The series also features a theme song written by Scott. In his younger days, he was in a band, and as he found himself in post-production for the show, he picked up his guitar and sketched out the tune.

"Just brainstormed a few ideas, literally in about two-and-a-half hours, three hours in my buddy's basement a couple months ago," he said. "We were sitting around and playing around. We came up with a riff and then I put some words to it, submitted it, and everyone was like, 'Yeah, this is great. This is the song we want.'"

Expect to hear much more of Scott's music in the future, too. He's been getting back into music while he's been in isolation with his family and some of his new tunes were debuted by KISS 92.5 FM on April 24. He said he's also putting a Spotify account together so fans can hear his latest songs as they come out. He also has severalgreatquarantine-themed playlists on the channel that you're guaranteed to love while conquering that DIY project you've wanted to do for years, but never had the time to complete.

Scott has been making good use of his time at home, fixing up the house and reorganizing. He says that's his number one tip for fans and readers. Now is the perfect time to get your space together. He and his wife Sabrina, who is a teacher, have both been sprucing up their home offices during the pandemic.

But he also recommended that if you have the space – or even a balcony or enough window room – getting a garden of sorts together. He pointed out if you only have recycling bins, you can still grow things like tomatoes and potatoes on a balcony.

In addition to spending quality time with his daughters at Easter (see the cute video above), they've created a greenhouse of sorts in their backyard. Every year, they put a backyard plot together, but they've taken it to the next level in 2020, he says.

"I'd say when people were starting to raid the grocery stores and everything, I said to the kids you know what we're going to do this year, we're going to make sure that if we need groceries we can go into the backyard and get them," he told us.

"It's not like a, it's not a greenhouse where you go to a garden centre. But it's got a, I built a structure and then we used several tarps, lashed everything down. And then I had to take the garden apart and rebuild it to fit the shape of this thing. But we have a bit of a makeshift greenhouse and it's a lot warmer in there than it is outside. So we are, this weekend, going to start planting everything a little bit early. And our goal is by May, hopefully, we'll be harvesting a few small things, a few lettuces and lakes and radishes, things that start early, and have enough food to, at least every few days, go out in the garden and fill our produce section of our fridge."

Scott said if people want to use this time to slow down, then great, but if that's not really their speed,

Catch Scott's Vacation House Rules on HGTV Canada starting April 26 at 9 p.m. You can also watch it on STACKTV if you have Amazon Prime and with the new Global TV app by using your service provider details.

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