4 Ways Home Renovation Reality Shows Create Unrealistic Remodeling Expectations

4 Ways Home Renovation Reality Shows Create Unrealistic Remodeling Expectations

Who doesn’t like a nice and tidy home improvement reality show on HGTV? They’re incredibly popular for lots of reasons. Light-hearted hosts, stylish design, beautiful finishes, and smiles across the board after the big reveal. It’s a nice easy-breezy break from the drama and darkness in tv world, and with much better lighting. There’s also always some dilemma that’s overcome right away and the project goes on without a hitch. 

The catch? Well, there are lots of those, too. 

As a homeowner or future homeowner watching these delightful home improvement tv shows, you see a formula for how remodeling works. Professionals with reputable reviews in the field of home building and remodeling, however, see something completely different. Beyond the enjoyable entertainment, we see false hopes for how remodeling projects actually look. 

Home builders have a message for homeowners: Enjoy the show for what it is, but know that it’s not reality. Where do HGTV’s home improvement shows fall short in educating homeowners? Well, we’ll tell ya. 

1. The Remodeling Costs are Way Off 

This is a big one–for both homeowners and home builders. It boils down to the homeowners on HGTV shows not having to cover the full costs of materials and labor that bring their visions to fruition. Tens of thousands of dollars are saved through remodeling your home on tv, making the budgets that are shown a far cry from what it would cost for the everyday remodel. It's important to be honest with your builder upfront and ask questions so you can stay within your budget.

Typically, HGTV producers want the audience to see a well-designed home with high-end finishes that can fall outside of the budget. Their answer to making up for the gap between the budget and what it would actually cost is providing labor and getting generous discounts on things like countertops, tile, and construction materials. 

This is great for the homeowners on the show, but not so great for the everyday homeowner that doesn’t have access to donated labor and discounted materials. Further, the producers of these shows don’t make this information readily available, leaving homeowners to believe that these budgets actually cover everything they see in that big reveal. 

2. Remodeling Time Frames are Unrealistic 

This is especially true for our current times when supply chain issues are still holding up work progress. HGTV shows give the impression that this particular delay simply doesn’t exist. And so, without the benefit of a tv remodel, the homeowners that builders work with are caught off-guard or just plain disappointed when there’s a delay. Of course, no home builder wants to disappoint a homeowner, however, some things are truly out of our control. 

Besides the supply chain, there is the possibility of a weather issue, a permitting delay, a material that’s out of stock, or unforeseen issues with old wiring or plumbing. Essentially, when planning for a home remodel, one of the first things any homeowner should be prepared for is flexibility. 

A standard rough timeline for kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, or whole home remodels does exist. It’s better to be prepared for the possibility of a delay rather than counting on a remodel ending on a specific date before the project has even begun. This is particularly true if you're planning to have guests for the holidays or a large event at your home very soon after when you’d expect your remodel to be complete. 

3. Buying a House Before It’s Inspected

For many HGTV shows, much of the logistical stuff that’s simply no fun to watch just gets skipped over. Worse, it’s not even mentioned most of the time. Inspections are one of these no-fun logistical things. What ends up happening is a homeowner will buy a home for its potential, its interesting architectural details, or its location, without having it inspected. 

Getting an inspection will tell you much of what you’ll need to know about just how much work, money, and time will need to be put into the house before it’s livable. Taking out walls, for example, isn’t always possible because it could be load-bearing. If you plan to add a garage, the land may need more preparation than you’re able to fit into your budget. For these, and an endless amount of other reasons, you should always get your potential home inspected either before or after you put in an offer. 

Your real estate agent should be able to advise you on when to get an inspection and how to go about it with the current owner. This way, you’re a lot less likely to end up with a home that will require more work than your vision and budget will allow. 

4. Investing in Plans That May Not Be Feasible 

House plans can cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars and can take months to develop. In tv land, HGTV hosts make the planning and designing stage happen in the blink of an eye. When it comes to real design timelines, this involves assessments, meetings, and multiple design iterations to get it just right, and lots of decisions about the finishes. With all of this laid out, you can probably see why these steps can take longer than a single meeting, as it’s usually shown on home improvement tv shows. And, you can also likely see why plans cost as much as they do

Expect to be in touch with your designer and home builder frequently, to be available during the typical workday, and come to the table with pictures of the styles and designs you like to cut down on the number of redesigns your architect or designer will need to develop. 

The most important note about having plans made for your remodel is to have your approved budget already secured. Your designer and home builder will be made more knowledgeable about what additions, finishes, and other construction needs will fit in your budget. Avoid the devastation of having your plans completely developed only to find out that the cost is out of reach. 

Want the Real Scoop on Home Remodeling?

Any reputable builder will want you to know the ins and outs of your potential remodel. From assessing your home and property, to talking about designs, a professional custom home builder and remodeler will work to provide you with an outcome that suits your vision and your budget. 

Hopedale Builders puts customer service and quality first. With so many impeccably built remodeled spaces under our belt, we’re prepared to approach your home remodel with solutions, knowledgeability, and care. Contact Hopedale Builders to schedule a consultation, and let’s talk more about your vision for your home. 


Kitchen and bath remodeling cost guide download here now

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