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Watch Out, Property Brothers: The ‘Buy It or Build It’ Stars Have Arrived


Should you buy a home or build a home from the ground up? That’s the question central to a new HGTV show, “Buy It or Build It,” starring Calvin and Chris LaMont.

These twin brothers (looks like the property brothers have some competition!) have a home remodeling and building business in the Dallas area, where they help clients decide how they can best achieve their real estate goals.

Chris is the “Buy It” brother. “I like showing clients the potential in older homes,” he says. “Starting with solid bones means they can remodel special spaces to match their lifestyle, and they can get into their dream home fast.”

Calvin is the “Build It” brother. “I love proposing the option of building brand-new,” he explains. “For the same money, clients can get an entirely new home to perfectly fit their needs.”

On every show, both Chris and Calvin state their cases, and once the clients decide what they want to do, the LaMont brothers come together so that “whatever our clients want, we’ll make it happen,” says Chris.

In the latest episode, they’re working with David and Alex Hill, first-time homebuyers who want to find a place to start a family. They have a maximum of $525,000 to spend, and they would like to find something with a minimum of three bedrooms and two baths.

Here’s how the LaMont brothers help the Hill couple find the right place at the right price. Along the way, they divulge a lot of food for thought about the pros and cons of buying versus building a home. Hear them out, and it might help you decide which route is better for you, too.

A home’s style can make or break a sale

The LaMont brothers and their clients discuss design turn-offs
The LaMont brothers and their clients discuss design turnoffs.


First, they tour a three-bedroom, two-bath home in the Dallas suburb of Richardson. They’ve decided they like a style they call “rustic modern,” but what they don’t like is the crazy mashup they find of country and modern industrial in the kitchen, with warm wood floors, country cabinets, and concrete countertops.

“Gone!” declares Chris as they move on to the idea of building a house from scratch. Clearly, when it comes to home design, it’s best not to mix too many styles at once.

New construction is worth more than what you pay

Empty lot in Texas
Empty lot in Texas


Next, Calvin steps in to show them a narrow, vacant lot in the trendy and eclectic Bishop Arts neighborhood of Dallas. The lot has a list price of $150,000, and Calvin says they can do a 2,000-square-foot build with four bedrooms and two baths for $375,000.

“I know that’s at the top of your budget, and I know that’s scary,” says Calvin. “There’s not a lot of wiggle room in the budget, but there is a lot of equity in that.”

So how much equity are we talking about? “At least $50,000 to $75,000 after you build something like that,” Chris says.

In other words, the second the house is finished, it will immediately be worth $50,000 to $75,000 more than what they paid for the property and the build. Not bad!

Yet after careful consideration, the Hills decide they’re just not confident about making every decision on designing a house from scratch. So they go back to the idea of renovating the house they saw in Richardson instead.

The open floor plan might need some support

Interior with new posts and beams
Interior with new post and beams


The house they decide to buy is in decent shape, but to open up the layout, the LaMont brothers decide to knock down the wall that divides the kitchen from the living room. Yet this procedure comes with complications.

“This is a pretty long span, and I don’t like where you come in and it looks like a warehouse,” says Calvin. “So let’s break it up with a big, nice column and get that squared away.”

He explains that since this is such a large space, both a post and overhead support beams will need to be added.

It’s not an easy or inexpensive procedure, but the results are spectacular.

Water damage can cause a host of problems

The LaMont brothers and their contractor inspecting water damage.
The LaMont brothers and their contractor inspect some water damage.


“In the living room, we found some wavy paneling, and it only comes from one thing: water damage,” says Chris.

They punch through the wall that divides the living room and the bathroom and find the drywall is wet from poorly laid tile on the bathroom side.

“Wood should not be gooey,” says Chris.

“Seeing water damage in a house makes my heart skip a beat,” says Calvin. “A leak can cause issues really fast, mold and structural.”

Luckily, they discover that the damage is not too bad and won’t cost much to fix.

Use texture to add variety to an all-white design

Various textured building elements
Various textured building elements


When presented with different options for counters and cabinets, Alex and David decide they pretty much like white on white for an open, fresh look.

The LaMont brothers suggest that they break that up with counters of durable quartz with veins running through it, and tiles with variegated finishes. These various textures, they say, help add visual interest to an all-white design.

Work on the outside while waiting for inside permits

Deciding on the right white
The team deciding on the right white


There’s bad news waiting for the LaMont brothers at the Richardson city offices: It looks like they’ll have to wait two to three weeks for permits.

Rather than stopping work and turning their attention to other people’s projects, they decide to focus on the outside of the house.

“It’s a little disappointing to know that permit delays with the city are slowing down things on the inside,” says Chris. “But what we can do is start on the outside.”

Replace aluminum windows with vinyl

Chris LaMont replacing aluminum windows with vinyl
Chris LaMont replacing aluminum windows with vinyl


“We’re replacing these aluminum windows today with vinyl,” Chris explains. “The reason why we’re doing that is, first of all, the look. But more importantly, these aluminum windows sweat, they could have lead, and they’re just old.”

So what will take the place of these old windows?

“We’re going with vinyl windows,” says Chris. The reason: “less maintenance overall, and also more energy-efficient.”

Do the ‘Buy It or Build It’ brothers deliver?

The Hills paid $420,000 for the house in Richardson, and the LaMont brothers were able to complete the renovations for $100,000, leaving $5,000 in the couple’s bank account for furniture and moving costs.

Alex and David are thrilled once they see the final results.

“They gave us everything we wanted here,” David says. “It hits the nail on the head.”

The post Watch Out, Property Brothers: The ‘Buy It or Build It’ Stars Have Arrived appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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