HGTV vs. Real Home Improvement
It’s another snowy New England day, and I am stuck home while the white stuff keeps piling up outside my window. Truthfully, I don’t mind the excuse to sit on the couch instead of at my desk while I get caught up on work and caught up my HGTV. Yes, I’ll admit it, like most of you, I love sitting down to binge watch some Love it or List it, Property Brothers, or Income Property (which is what is on right now). I enjoy seeing a concept become a reality, which is why I love my job. However, I find it interesting that HGTV is really the lens through which our clients judge the success of a renovation, forgetting that these shows are not real,but rather are “reality TV,” and like the Kardashians or the Bachelor, are scripted for the drama. There are many differences between a real home improvement and an HGTV reality TV renovation, and one of the big differences is the cost. Yes, those shows can give you a concept of what it costs to do a renovation. However, keep in mind that the labor is discounted as part of the show, often the window treatments are donated by Hunter Douglas for publicity, and the cabinetry is ready made and not semi-custom. Plus, it is not always brought to your attention that the homes are staged, and the furniture is not part of the cost of the remodel. I also always find it interesting that on the shows such as Property Brothers and Love It or List It, the construction crew runs into recurring “surprises” like unexpected bearing wall conditions, hidden duct work, wiring or plumbing that must be moved, and similar such scenarios. I’m not surprised that they run into these issues. Anyone who routinely does home improvement work absolutely expects these conditions and plans and budgets accordingly with contingency for what might be hidden inside the walls. The premise that these “experts” are surprised to find these issues is comical and speaks to the “acting” that is part of the staged show. Second, let’s talk about time-frame. All HGTV renovation projects are completed within 4-5 weeks. To you, that might sound realistic because you see it in every episode, but truthfully, that is not a realistic timeframe. Just ordering cabinetry, counter tops and furniture could have an 8-10 week window for parts to arrive and be ready for installation. A smooth, complete renovation from concept to completion will take months, not weeks. HGTV shows also don’t include time it takes on the front end of home remodeling:
The Reality of Home Improvement
- it takes time to interview & decide on a scope of work,
- it take time to create design plans and the rework them with changes based on client feedback,
- it take time to source materials (& re-source materials to fit into a budget),
- it takes time to order materials & the lead time for materials to be made & delivered can be 8-10 weeks at best,
- you also need to pull permits and have work approved by the city (if needed).
- Plus, let’s not forget that most contractors work within business hours: M-F 7am – 4pm and not around the clock as jobs seems to go on HGTV.
From what I’ve read, most of the homeowners on these shows have already purchased a house, so the concepts have been decided and product has been purchased before the show even begins filming. With the addition of round the clock construction, a large team, and TV magic, the project seems to more along quickly. All-in-all, we still love HGTV. It’s inspiring; it keeps us on trend; it gives us new ideas; and it teaches us about the process of renovating. Just don’t forget when you’re starting a new project that there are distinct differences and the camera magic that HGTV features will not be a part of your project. However, what we can promise you is that just like the end of every show, you too will love your new space and the work of the renovation will be more than worth it.
Inspired by one of these shows to start renovations on your home? We can help.
From creating floor plans and concepts to providing general contracting services, Lisa Scheff Designs’ staff is the home renovation experts.
Call today to book your free in-home consultation. 413-567-8541