3 Ways Watching HGTV Hurts Your Home Remodel (And One Key Way It Helps)
Illustration dreaming sketch of a Bathtub in corian, Faucet and shower in tiled bathroom and result

Everyone loves a good home renovation show. That’s how HGTV became the fourth-most-watched network in the U.S. with an average of 1.6 million viewers. Shows like House Hunter Renovation, Fixer Upper, and Flip or Flop are entertaining ways to watch the “magic” that is a home renovation.

But in real life, remodels aren’t always magical. Renovation shows are fun to watch, but they’re not always accurate. Turning your outdated home into a modern masterpiece takes longer than 60 minutes and includes more hard work and coordination than a network has space to air. 

We find many home remodelers are inspired by HGTV, which can be a great asset! But expecting your home remodel to follow suit of your favorite TV show just isn’t realistic. In this article, we’ll look at a few ways home remodel shows differ from real-life projects and what you can expect during your renovation project. 

3 Ways HGTV Hurts Your Home Remodel

Handy man talking with young woman client after the repairment on the kitchen. Home repair service concept

People who binge home renovation shows might develop some unrealistic expectations. After watching hours of projects neatly tied up in an hour or less, they might start to believe that every home remodel goes off without a hitch. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. There are three areas of real-world construction projects that HGTV tends to gloss over:

  • Timelines
  • Budget
  • Professional Relationships

1.) Timeline Expectations

TV shows present home remodels the same way they present baking and decorating ornate cakes. Toss the ingredients in a bowl, place pans in the oven, and voila: a finished product. They edit out hours of work, anxiety, complications, and adjustments that go into creating the beautiful cake or brand new home.

The reality is that good work takes time. You need to build in time for delays, dead days, and for each subcontractor to do their job without fighting around other crews. You’ll have to adjust your living conditions for the duration of the project, make decisions throughout the process, and be flexible to changing deadlines. 

The truth is, a home remodel is a process. It’s not something you can knock out quickly or edit together with video magic. So don’t strive to get something thrown together in a week or even a month. Allow time for your contractor to do the job right.

2.) Budget Confusion

There’s lots of jokes out there about how people set their budgets on home renovation shows. A normal couple with average jobs will say they have a massive budget to buy their dream home. This is because networks have a lot of say over the final budget of a project. They can make concessions and tweaks to put a house within someone’s price range that wouldn’t normally be an option.

These shows also offer a bare minimum breakdown of costs. They focus on materials cost and profit and that’s it. You don’t see the labor costs, cost of delays, permitting fees, or overages. There’s a lot more to the bill for a home renovation than just the cost of materials and home owners should be prepared to see those line items on their final invoice.

Lastly, they don’t take into account the location or scope of work when providing estimates. Your local market dictates your construction prices and real estate market, so you can’t really use reality TV as a reliable barometer for what’s possible in your area.

In a real-world project, there are no ideal conditions, which makes budgeting a bit tougher. It’s important to talk with your contractor to get an accurate estimate of what your project might cost. They can help you plan for all the actual costs of construction, common delays, and project changes so you have an accurate number for your home renovation. 

3.) Relationship with Professionals

Home renovation shows often show a contractor walking owners through the home and pointing everything he’s going to change or fix. In the show, the homeowners just nod along. In reality, you’d probably be pretty peeved if a contractor took over your whole remodel!

In a real renovation, your contractor should be your partner. They should welcome your input and ideas and work with you to create your dream space. This collaboration builds trust and opens communication, which can improve the entire remodel experience.

At VADA Contracting, we make it a point to develop a relationship with our clients before anyone picks up a power tool. We’ll sit with you to talk about your ideas, your options, and your budget so that we design a remodel you love. 

How Watching HGTV Can Help You Get the Remodel of Your Dreams

Modern remodeled home

Although there are some downsides, watching HGTV isn’t all bad. It can actually be a great tool to spark your inspiration! Renovation shows give you a chance to sample tons of different design and remodel ideas and see how they come to life when the project is done. 

As you watch people turn tiny houses into spacious homes or drab rooms into inviting living spaces, you might start to notice all the potential in your own home. Things you didn’t even think were possible — like turning your basement into a second living room or adding a second story — suddenly become viable options to give you the space you need to feel happy at home.

The key to balancing inspiration with the unreal expectations that come from HGTV is knowing how to watch responsibly.

How to Watch HGTV Responsibly

When you tune in to your favorite home renovation shows, there are a few things to remember that can keep you rooted in reality:

  • The pricing on the show doesn’t reflect pricing in your area. Unless a show is streaming live episodes from your neighborhood, the prices and costs they show won’t be a good barometer for how much your remodel will cost. Remember that prices are subjective to location and market health. If you want a realistic quote, contact your contractor.
  • Some special features will come with extra costs. Most projects require at least one custom build to make your dream remodel work with the existing elements of your home. Any time a contractor has to design something custom, there will be an extra cost.
  • Television doesn’t show delays. Project delays are almost inevitable, so you need to build some flexibility into your timeline. You’ll have to be patient on days where nothing gets done or the weather prevents progress.
  • You won’t be on vacation during your remodel. On remodel shows, the homeowners are often whisked away to a hotel or vacation while their house gets a makeover. In reality, you’ll still be living in that construction zone. Be prepared to adjust your daily routine during the remodel so the professionals can access the areas they need.

Make Your House a Dream Home

Your house was a big investment, so it should always feel like a home you love. If you like watching HGTV and wish you could do a home makeover, you can! Just remember, it won’t be exactly like it is in the show. In reality, it takes time, money and a great crew to bring your dreams to life. 

We believe that you can change your space to improve your situation, and we want to help make that a reality. Visit our website to see how we can remodel your home to make it a dream come true. 

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