How HGTV gets it wrong – and right

Oh, man, how we love a good HGTV marathon – whether it’s Fixer Upper, Property Brothers or House Hunters, we just can’t seem to get enough of it. In under an hour, these shows transform houses, lives and families forever. It’s almost magical to watch the time lapse videos that take a run-down house into a showpiece. We’ve been known to get weepy, we won’t lie.

But, is the TV magic a good expectation of what all of us real-life people can expect when we tackle home building or renovation projects – or even when we buy a home? Of course not.

Just like car chases in movies rarely end in the police arrests or even in crashes, home renovation shows also always seem to produce alternate realities.

Here are some things to keep in mind when binge watching some of our favorite home improvement shows:
For viewers, a home is transformed in an hour, but in reality, it takes much longer. 
One episode of Fixer Upper takes eight weeks to shoot, but you wouldn’t know it from watching an episode. For those of us in the home building business, that makes JoAnna and Chip Gaines seem more human and like the adorable super heroes they appear. It’s good to know that these home projects take about the same length of time as it takes in real life to complete similar projects. For people consider renovations or building projects+++, keep in mind that it will take you and your builder weeks and months to get the dream results you want – not an hour.

3D models are amazing – and take time and money to create
We love 3D models. They allow for a tangible view of your new home that regular blue prints just can’t do. On television renovation shows, these models often are used liberally and often to show the viewers what to expect. We love when the use them – they are fun and useful. Keep in mind that while on TV it all happens in a few minutes, in real-life, 3D models take about two weeks to create. And they are still relatively expensive because the technology used to create them is still pretty new. When you enter the home-building process, we’d love to explore creating a 3D model of your home. How cool would that be to be able to really see what you’re home will look like? But, just prepare yourself for the time and money needed to do it.

Now, just because HGTV sometimes distorts the reality of home projects, that doesn’t mean we don’t love it. Here are few things to focus on when watching these shows.

HGTV shows are great for noticing trends in the home-building industry.
From shiplap and big porches to open concept floorplans and planned outdoor spaces, HGTV is the place to see a lot of the current trends in our industry. Watch to see these trends in different forms, and you can see lots of examples to determine if you like them or not.

HGTV can do some of the research for you. When you are first considering what you want in your next home, and even throughout your home building process, HGTV’s programs can showcase a lot of the products and choices you will need to make. Watch for appliances and light fixtures you like. Check out the style of the different homes featured. Notice the floor plans explained and what people like or don’t like – or want to change. By using HGTV as research for your future decisions needed, you’ll be much better prepared to make decisions yourself when it is your turn.

We love HGTV and what it has done for our industry. Our clients are more informed than ever before because of the steady diet we all have of these shows that have become part of mainstream culture. Be sure to glean the good trends and tips for yourself, but just keep in mind that these shows lean heavily on production values to make the process seem much quicker and easier than they often are in reality. That doesn’t mean we can’t still love them, it just means we have to understand how home building without cameras really works.