The HGTV Illusion

The HGTV Illusion

HGTV is one of my favorite TV networks to watch.  They have amazing programs like, “Property Brothers”,  “Fixer Upper”, “Flip Or Flop” etc. My wife and I can spend hours watching these shows and we love to see how they can turn an awful place into an amazing home.  It is also great because you get a sense of what materials are out there and how these materials can be put together to make the home look fresh and modern. As these types of shows have increased in popularity, I have noted an interesting parallel with buyers and their attitude towards the market. I will explain my observations below in detail on how the consumer is changing as a result of home renovation tv programs.

Everyone Believes They Can Be A Flipper:

“Property Brothers” was the first show to truly take off and show the possibility of taking a home that looks like a frog and transforming it into a prince. After the success of this show, tons of other renovation programs started to pop up.  Two of the most watched are “Flip Or Flop” and “Fixer Upper”.   Let me just say that the point of this article isn’t to bash these shows – I actually watch and enjoy all of them!

The issue is ever since these shows became popular everyone started thinking they could flip houses.  I’ve had a lot of people approach me asking if I could find them a home to flip.  Most of these people have never flipped a home prior to our conversation and some may even be first time buyers who think they can easily flip their first purchase. Sadly, I have seen some “flips” turn into real problems for these people. I’ve even seen these flips bankrupt their investors.

There is so much to factor in when flipping a home which these shows don’t portray. The three main things to remember when flipping a home are: time, cost, and carrying cost.  Any of these factors, if not religiously monitored, will bankrupt the flipper; even if just one factor gets out of control. One must really know what they are doing and be careful throughout the entire process. Some of these tv programs show that you can flip a home with top of the line materials for next to nothing.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

My advice is to not go at it alone.  If you are thinking of flipping homes then partner up with someone who has experience and a proven track record of pulling it off.  Even if the payout isn’t that great, (they may have you do half the work but only take 25% of the profit because you are starting out) it is worth it.  After about 3-5 successful flips then you could start to think about doing it alone.

Buyers Expect Their New Home To Look Like Homes In These Shows:

Another consumer trend I’m seeing is that first time home buyers expect their homes to look like those on the HGTV shows. They almost become tainted because they do not want to feel as though they have settled for less.  Especially when they find out that these homes cost so much less then what they can afford in Orange County. These same people just can’t live with this fact when their friends (who also watch these shows with them) come over to look at their new home and it isn’t even close to what they all had dreamed about while watching these shows together. It is a crushing reality for them.


HGTV is an amazing network and they are responsible for the majority of the awesome home styling we’ve seen booming in the last 5 years.  As a result, the consumer has become somewhat disillusioned and believes that all purchased homes should be turnkey and look exactly like the ones they see on TV. As well as the idea that anyone can be a flipper.

All that being said, who you choose as your Real Estate professional is crucial.  You must work with someone who views you as a valuable client rather than simply a dollar sign. Someone who cares more about your money and financial well being than you do! In the past, I’ve lost thousands in commission because I’ve recommended that a client not move forward with a purchase because my instincts and experience in the business told me it was not in their best financial interests at the time. The sad reality is that most Realtors, would have chosen not to say anything at the time of sale and let time tell if it was a good investment for their buyer or not.

Choosing a Real Estate professional who is knowledgeable in what renovation costs are and who has great handyman and contractor contacts is a must. A Realtor like this will not only be able to help you get into a home; they can also help calculate the cost of turning that property into your TV dream home. If you are currently in the market looking to buy or sell a home and you want a trustworthy, experienced, and honest agent who is well versed in putting client needs first, then you should contact The Malakai Sparks Group. You won’t be disappointed!

Malakai Sparks
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