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Congratulations: It’s a two-story raised ranch

My wife and I are expecting another house. We’re so excited. We’ve been trying for months.

We’re about three weeks away from closing on a four-bedroom investment property. It’s not a flip, as I see it, because we’re not going to turn around and sell it in six months. Instead the plan is to have it ready to rent by next spring. It’s a 50-year-old house that needs a new kitchen and bathrooms, so I’ll be busy.

For inspiration, I’ve been on a YouTube tear. Renovation videos sort of fall into two camps: showing how to do something or what was accomplished. The best, in my opinion, show a project from start to finish. Not in real time, of course, but with enough detail to cover every step of the process.

Here are some of my favorite YouTube channels:

The Essential Craftsman: Scott Wadsworth shares his knowledge on construction and blacksmithing. Currently explaining how to build a house in painstaking detail. We’re 50 episodes in and the walls are just going up. But the tricks of the trade are invaluable.

Home RenoVision DIY: Jeff Thorman, a general contractor in Ottawa, is a natural in front of the camera. I’ve picked up some painting and tiling tips that will definitely help.

Homemade Home: Hosted by the Homestead Craftsman, who renovates really cheap houses. There aren’t many $10,000 houses in my neighborhood, but he can find them. Wish I had his plumbing and electrical skills.

Finish Carpentry TV: Richard McMurray basically brings viewers to his jobsite, sharing the tricks of the trade. A fine example of how to market a business with YouTube.

The Handyman: Focuses on operating a handyman business with lots of how-to instruction. Makes me think about a career change.

The Wood Whisperer: Long-time fan of Marc Spagnuola’s channel that often incorporates humor with solid woodworking knowledge. The projects are great, but I especially appreciate the videos that focus on setting up shop.

April Wilkerson: Picks a project and dives right in. It’s been impressive to watch her skills grow, and over a million subscribers seem to agree. The series on “Building a giant bandsaw mill” is quite good.

Pure Living for Life: Watching this married couple build a house with structural insulated panels makes me wish they hadn’t. I’m rooting for them, but everything is just so hard.

The Samurai Carpenter: The Samurai uses the third person too much, but he’s got skills. Good source for Japanese joinery, blacksmithing and old tool information.

AvE: Canadian MacGyver who doesn’t give a puck with his tool reviews. He’s a man of mystery, smarter than your average bear, and happy to expose a tool’s underbelly.

Looks like I’ve strayed from my original home renovation topic, but YouTube has a way of leading us down a rabbit hole. 

This article originally appeared in the December 2019 issue.

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