There’s no doubt about it: Home renovation shows on television are incredibly popular. After all, what’s not to like when you see someone’s “ho-hum” house turned into their dream home right before your eyes? But do the HGTV dreams create unrealistic remodeling expectations?
Bear in mind that television (even “reality TV”) is a controlled environment. The audience wants (and expects) resolution by the end of the show. Even if a one-hour show is intended to represent a several-week period, it still gives the impression that some things move faster than is really possible. In fact, back in 2012 HGTV confessed that scenes featured in the original series House Hunters were largely re-creations of prior events.1
Here are some areas where a remodeling television show can create unrealistic expectations:
- Planning: Most homeowners need adequate time to research and think through exactly what they want to accomplish. The amount of time can vary, but it’s not something that happens in five minutes. And let’s be honest: showing people pouring over plans and thinking about options isn’t exactly riveting to watch. Don’t short-circuit the process by rushing through your planning. You’ll want to take the time to set clear priorities to make sure you focus on the results that matter most to you when you remodel. Click here for a helpful post that can help you determine what matters most.
- Budget: Setting a realistic budget for your remodeling project is absolutely essential before you get started. But who wants to watch homeowners hunched over their calculators? Sometimes the TV shows create a little bit of drama when the budget is about to get blown up, but in reality you want to have a pretty good idea of what your budget is before you even start. Click here for insights on ways you can control your budget and keep it from creeping out of control.
- Schedule: It simply takes time to do a great remodeling job. I alluded to this above, but it bears repeating: A television show can make it seem like a major home renovation is over in a very short time. That’s simply not realistic. The exact timeframe will depend on the size and complexity of the project you have in mind. But a good remodeler will have a pretty accurate feel for how much time is required—and will let you know up front. Then you’ll have time to prepare yourself (and your home) so that the process is as non-disruptive as possible.
So, should you stay away from remodeling television shows? Not at all! You can glean great ideas from TV shows and you’ll even be exposed to some of the important decisions you’ll have to make in the process. Just don’t let a 60-minute completion of a home renovation set false expectations regarding planning, budget, and schedule.
1Barshad, Amos (13 June 2012). "Nothing Gold Can Stay: HGTV Admits House Hunters Is Partially Staged".