Local contractors take on the challenge of turning the worst house on the block into a first-rate home

Let’s face it: Vancouver’s real estate market is crazy. Housing prices are soaring and for many of us, the search for a dream home can seem unattainable. Thankfully, professional contractors Mickey Fabbiano and Sebastian Sevallo, stars of HGTV’s new series Worst to First, are here to help. The show’s premise? Transforming the shabbiest houses on the block into stunning dream homes.

Fabbiano and Sevallo are all about family and community. When tasked with transforming fixer-uppers into forever homes for 10 families, the talented duo were ready for the challenge, sharing their insights and expertise on everything from budget to location. The two contractors are not only business partners—they’re also best friends and family.

“The show was kind of a collaboration,” says Fabbiano, “Being born here, we know the city and the real-estate market.”

They also know construction inside and out, and have a passion for building and creating that stretches as far back as childhood.

Having grown up in Vancouver, Fabbiano and Sevallo say they’ve seen the market climb and watched prices skyrocket. For those of us who have lived here long enough, it’s easy to just accept things for what they are. But according to Fabbiano, that’s simply not an option for many people.

“It’s kind of insane to think this is real,” he says, “The last thing we want is for friends and family to be pushed out, so we’re trying to keep everyone together.”

“I think one of the appeals of the show is just how crazy Vancouver’s real estate market is,” says Sevallo, who notes that for the price of a home here in Vancouver, you could probably buy several homes in other areas. “There’s nothing really like this, aside from maybe places like New York and London.”

Fabbiano agrees, adding that it will be interesting for people in other parts of the world to watch the show and see not just how much people spend on purchasing a home in Vancouver but on renovating one.

So what advice does the duo have for anyone looking for their first home—or dream home—in Vancouver? Do your homework, then do it again.

“Vancouver is a world-class city. If you’re looking to buy, you’re certainly not going to lose money on your investment, but there are certain things to be mindful of.” says Sevallo. For example, if you’re looking to renovate your home, make sure to use licensed professionals and check the work is being done properly. The city can be a stickler about permits.

“It’s also important to know what you want and when you want it,” says Fabbiano, who says he notices the market climbing but also points out slight dips here and there. “It’s all situational, so it’s good to know things like which location you want and whether you’re looking to invest or stay forever.”

With premiere day quickly approaching, Sevallo and Fabbiano are happy to share a little teaser of the first episode. “It’s one of the bigger renovations we did,” says Fabbiano, “and the bigger the renovation, the greater the twists and turns.”

Worst to First premieres Monday, September 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada