What Home Improvement Shows Don’t Tell You

Posted by on February 19, 2016

Home improvement shows are more popular than ever, and it’s no wonder why. These programs feature ambitious people who set out to turn their ordinary and outdated digs into fabulous modern masterpieces or huge profit makers, and they all seem to do it in the blink of an eye. The truth? Remodeling and home buying aren’t nearly as easy as these shows make it seem.


Remodeling is often rushed on-screen


When you tune in to watch a program, such as HGTV’s Fixer Upper, and see a drab interior get turned into an awesome new living space in just a few days, know that it usually doesn’t play out like this is real life. In order to pull off such speedy makeovers huge crews of skilled craftsmen must work around the clock. Unless you have some serious cash to invest into a quick remodel, you’ll be hard pressed to find a crew willing to work day and night to finish the job.


The budgets are far from realistic


No, you probably can’t buy a 3,000 square foot historic house for less than $300,000 in a popular suburb or create a brand new kitchen in less than a week for $5,000. Yes, it happened on your favorite house flipping or home design show, but that’s not how it really goes. Show such as Property Brothers, which you can catch through DirecTV, are fun to watch and quite entertaining, but the budgets aren’t realistic. They don’t tell the viewing audience about the significant costs to make the renovations happen in a very short amount of time, and if they did, viewers would be amazed at how out of reach such quick design work is for the average person.




The home buying process isn’t so simple


Speaking of Property Brothers, home buying doesn’t often go as smoothly as home improvement shows would have you believe. On their show, Jonathan and Drew Scott help couples find homes, buy, and then transform the properties in a short time span. For most people, buying a home is a relatively slow process that includes negotiating a loan, bidding on properties, and waiting to close. Closing rarely happens within a month, so it’s far fetched to expect that you can close on and remodel your property in less than two weeks.


Flipping doesn’t happen at the snap of one’s fingers


Flip or Flop is another popular program that is big on entertainment but short on realism. Just as the home buying process typically isn’t very simple or quick, buying and then reselling a property takes even more time. There is one caveat: if you are flush with money or can owner finance the property you want to flip, you can get things going much more quickly than if you have to wait for the approval on a loan. For those of us without millions in the bank, renovation and reselling takes patience, time, and lots of sweat equity.


Not every home buyer story is true


It would be lovely if everything portrayed on home improvement shows was true, but sometimes producers have to play up the drama or fabricate it altogether. Take a look at the housing market numbers, and you’ll see that fudging the details and creating characters is necessary in order to create a story line that viewers will watch. In short: don’t look at these shows and think that the home buyers featured on each episode represent most Americans.


Home improvement and renovation shows can be useful, if not truthful. Watching these programs is a great way to get DIY ideas, learn more about the home building and buying processes, and hear about the latest design and decor trends. But when it comes to executing your own home renovation or investment in a property, you’ll avoid frustration and come out much better if you remain realistic.


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