Reality in Television for Buyers and Sellers

You have Color Splash or Designed to Sell programmed on your DVR so you never miss a segment. You’ve imagined having Candice help you redecorate or Genevieve solve your design dilemma. As you begin your own purchase or sale of a home, you discover a startling truth – reality is quite different from what you watch on TV.

Your favorite HGTV shows are designed to inform and entertain. They present a lot of truths for first-time buyers or sellers. At the same time, many of the details are glossed over, so you never get a complete picture of the process you must go through. You can learn a lot from these shows if you know what to focus on.

The Truth for Buyers

While shopping for homes seems like so much fun when you watch House Hunters, you’ve quickly discovered you are visiting more than three homes to make your decision. And it’s not so easy to decide which one is best for you as it was when you were choosing for buyers on TV.

Then there’s the renovations. How much easier it would be to have the Property Brothers help you remodel an outdated space and turn it into your dream home. While an hour of television turns a hopeless case into a fabulous house, it takes much longer in real life. You can spend weeks or even months living through a remodel.

While these shows make buying a home seem glamorous and real life is often quite different, you can learn some valuable lessons from watching your favorite.

  • What you see is not always what you get – how many times home buyers will choose a house only to discover an unseen problem they must deal with – the lesson learned is to always get an inspection and pay attention to what it tells you.
  • Be willing to invest some sweat equity – you can transform a home if you’re willing to put in the work or hire contractors to turn your outdated space into a place you love.
  • Little changes make a big difference – for those on a limited budget, they can create a wonderful space by making a few small changes or even working with what they already own.
  • Hire the pros – even the experts on TV hire contractors to help them in the process.
  • Stay under budget – one of the constant facts on these shows is that some unexpected expense will show up and eat into your budget, so always work to stay below your maximum and plan for those unavoidable expenses.

The Truth for Sellers

First-time sellers may also be shocked when people don’t come beating their door down to look at the property. You see how many buyers attend open houses on TV, and yet no one shows up to look at your place. Pay attention to the lessons homeowners learn on television and you just might discover an offer for your home is right around the corner.

  • Start with Curb Appeal – If you watch the show and see how much a little landscaping can transform a property, you’ll see the value in investing in your own curb appeal. While the main property goes through a major transition, neighboring properties get minor facelifts. What this shows sellers is that even small changes can make a big difference.
  • Sellers can learn from shows like House Hunters and My First Place – even though they are targeted to buyers, sellers can find out what buyers want and what are deal-breakers for them.
  • Shows like Designed to Sell can inspire sellers who need to update their own homes – some shows go all out, while others focus on minor renovations for sellers with limited budgets.

What You Need to Remember

When you watch any of these shows, remember you’re only seeing a portion of what goes on in the process of buying and selling or renovating. Look more at the advice you’re being given rather than the timeline. Don’t view these shows as the total picture but rather a glimpse of what happens in this process.

Utilize all your resources, including your favorite shows on HGTV, to help you make good decisions in buying or selling your home. Don’t forget the importance of working with a qualified, experienced lender and real estate agent to help make the process go smoothly. When you’re part of a solid team with a common goal, you’ll find that buying a home or selling your own home is much easier.


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