Reality TV Remodeling Shows May Create Unrealistic Expectations
In Texas (Especially in the Houston and Austin areas), remodeling companies often hear, “I want my kitchen to look like it was on Fixer Upper!” While it is entirely possible to make your kitchen look any way you want, the remodeling process is far more involved than reality tv makes it seem. HGTV is great for inspiration and ideas, but it can also set unrealistic expectations for home remodeling clients and contractors embarking on a home remodeling project journey. Home remodeling reality tv gives you all the fun parts of a remodel – who doesn’t love a good before and after? – but often leaves out the time and mess involved in the project. It is important to understand that your full home remodel will take much longer than a just a few short weeks and likely will not come in under budget (unless you choose every material inside of your budget and the project does not involve unforeseen surprises).
A full home remodel can cost more than $300,000 or as little as $75,000, depending on your design, material selections, location, and remodel scope of work. Many reality shows have homeowners with a budget of around $100,000. While this will remodel a significant portion of your home, it is not indicative of a realistic budget for a large, complete home demo and rebuild. In addition to the remodeling, HGTV often displays fully furnished homes with accessories, window treatments, and decorations in place at the end of the show. It is implied that these furnishings and designs are included in the cost of the remodel. This gives another unrealistic expectation as the furnishings are often removed as soon as filming is completed, and the homeowners are left with an empty space. Furnishings and decorations are a budget item that is not included in most home remodeling projects. In real life, furnishings are regularly purchased by the homeowner after the remodel is completed, in addition to their remodeling budget. When planning a home remodeling project, it is very important to keep your budget expectations realistic.
“Love it or List it” is a popular show that often has a problem occur in the middle of the renovation (perhaps the AC unit isn’t large enough to cover the new space or the wood is rotting in the floorboards). The designer then goes to the homeowners and lets them know that this needs to be fixed and that something else will have to be removed from the project because of this unexpected change in the budget. While that part is more realistic to a renovation, what is left out of the show is how long of a delay this unexpected hiccup can cause. It is implied (and often stated) that this problem has not impacted the expected completion date, but that may not be reality. A new scope of work can cause delays in permitting, material ordering, and contractor acquisition. Oftentimes, a homeowner will change their mind about materials or scope in the middle of a project, and this causes further delays. While most companies try to work time into the schedule to accommodate for unforeseen delays, it is impossible to make an accurate guess on how long a particular delay will take (who would have expected COVID and the labor and supply chain disaster it created?). It is important to be patient when remodeling your home because delays are an unpleasant reality in renovations that should almost always be expected.
It is completely unrealistic to expect your full home remodel to take a week (á la “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) or even a month. “Property Brothers” regularly shows clients purchasing homes in highly sought-after neighborhoods and completing a full remodel in 2 months! Remodeling your home is a time intensive process that has a multitude of phases. A full home remodel can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year depending on permitting, design, and the full scope of the work. A real home remodel is broken down into phases. At Hestia Construction and Design, we walk you through each phase of the process and give you a realistic expectation on how long that phase will take. Hestia breaks down a full home remodeling into six phases: Consultation, Proposal, Design, Onboarding, Construction, and Final Finishes. See our chart at the end of the article for estimated timelines on a full home remodel.
On reality tv, there is a full team of specialists working behind the scenes on every renovation. A complete home renovation can require the services of interior designers, general contractors, electricians, plumbers, architects, and many more skilled professionals. Counterintuitively, it can end up being more expensive – and even dangerous – to attempt to remodel your home without professional assistance. If you did not obtain the proper permits during your remodel, you increase the risk of the work not being completed to code and significantly reduce the resale value of your home. If you need to file a homeowners insurance claim on unpermitted work, the insurance company can reject the claim. It is important to hire professionals, like Hestia Construction and Design, to ensure the work is completed up to code, with quality in mind, and with proper permits.
Bring Patience and Understanding
Home improvement shows are great for many reasons. They provide material inspiration, display new products and technology, and help you keep up with the latest trends for your planned home remodel. However, they can cause problems as well. Home improvement reality shows often give homeowners unrealistic expectations with regards to budget, delays, initial timeline, and skill requirements. They may be reality tv shows, but the expectations they create are hardly real. If you are planning on a home remodeling project, it is important to make sure your expectations are based on reality, not reality tv.
|Onboarding – Material Selection||3-5 weeks**|
|Engineering & Permitting||3 months**|
|Final Finishes – Punch List completion||2 weeks**|
**These times are estimated based on a standard full home remodel and can vary drastically based on the scope of the project
How Long Does It Typically Take to Remodel a Kitchen?
Check out the room-by-room remodeling advice on HGTV here:
Kitchen Remodel Ideas
How to Survive a Home Addition
Whole House Remodeling: How Long Does the Process Take?
How Long will my Remodeling Project Take? Don’t Trust Reality TV for the Answer — Houston, Texas