broken tv

Real estate experts agree that reality TV shows about home buying and renovation often lead to unhealthy consumer expectations. While it’s fine to enjoy these shows for their entertainment value, being honest about your budgetary limitations and time restraints is important. Consider these truths before trying to recreate your favorite home buying or fixer-upper reality TV show.

Financial Expectations

If you’re on the lookout for a new home, prioritize features that are hard to change like location. Choosing a home you can afford in an ideal neighborhood, for example, opens up opportunities in the future for remodeling. Cosmetic issues can be fixed later. Until then, consider whether your new home is structurally sound and surrounded by the lifestyle amenities you desire. 

Regarding renovation, remember: a production company isn’t paying for this, you are. Labor and materials seem cheap on TV because advertisers and contractors provide discounted rates in exchange for publicity. Do your research, and get to know the materials your contractor is preparing to use. TV networks are protective over their expenses, and you should be too.

Overspending to furnish a new or refreshed home is a common mistake new homeowners make. It can threaten your ability to pay off homeownership debt and might even result in you losing the house you worked so hard to get. Remember, the beautifully decorated homes you see on remodel shows are often a bonus of TV production. Homeowners are likely to have to pay more to keep the furnishings after the cameras cut off. Additionally, expecting to find or remodel the perfect property takes away from the fun and effort you’ll put into your home over the years. Don’t burden yourself with more debt—get to know your new home before accidentally over-furnishing it. 

Time Expectations

Producers of reality TV acknowledge that their episodes depict an abridged version of the home buying timeline. For example, most don’t mention how long it actually takes to close on a property. While the average consumer probably doesn’t assume it takes just 45 minutes, they still might be surprised that it can take months to research and get approved for a mortgage. 

The same is true for remodeling. Projects that take a few days on TV actually take weeks in real life. To pull off this superhuman task of remodeling a home in a small fraction of the time, dozens of off-camera laborers work around the clock. TV also fails to illustrate how long it takes to work with architects and engineers, and how difficult it can be to obtain construction permits. Be sure to calculate the time you need to finish every step of your remodel correctly.

Try establishing healthy expectations before buying a home or starting to fix one up. It’s fun to imagine being like the people on TV, but it’s more rewarding long-term to be honest about budgetary limitations or time restraints. Don’t fall into the reality TV trap.

Whether you are buying a home or remodeling one, we at Open Mortgage have experts ready to discuss your financing needs. Visit OpenMortgage.com to find an agent who can help you today.

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