4 reasons why remodeling is not as simple as seen on TV

Post by Stacey Walker. Stacey mostly works behind the scenes for Walker Woodworking, managing day to day operations, and marketing. Stacey has helped many clients create their dream space.

They make it look so simple.

We admit it, HGTV’s popular shows like Fixer Upper, Love it or List it and Property Brothers always give us a great renovation. A dreary, dated house is suddenly transformed into an amazing, contemporary home all within a neat, one-hour timeline.  Here we share some of the top unrealistic expectations presented in the home renovation reality TV world and how they can lead to severe disappointments in the real world of renovation. 

1. Unrealistic Expectations

While these shows are fun and even relaxing to watch they have created unrealistic expectations in the real renovation world and untold headaches for both construction and design teams. Even though there have been times when unexpected problems and delays seemed capable of ruining the designated timeline and budget, the renovation reality TV stars always managed to find a way to stay on target, much to our relief. They do this by planning every single detail out with back up plans and plenty of tradespeople that are working all over the house when the cameras are not filming.

2. Unrealistic Timelines

Shows don’t disclose how much time has passed between the planning and completion of a project. While we would like nothing better than to snap our fingers and have your project ready to reveal in a mere four to six weeks, the reality check is that it usually takes longer. Before a project can start there has to be a plan which means having meetings with the architect, the contractor, and the designer. Once plans have been laid, tradesmen need to be lined up, materials need to be ordered and sometimes certain items, particularly the specialty ones like cabinetry. Once the design is complete – delivery of cabinets can range from six to twelve weeks, oftentimes the scope of work and the selected products will determine the overall timeline. 

This also brings in another point, reality TV has the ability to hire a large crew with many that are skilled in their trade. Though you only see a handful of crew members on the show, you can be sure that there are many more behind the scenes, many of which may very well be working round the clock to meet the insane deadline. Often when you try to push out such a large amount of work in such a short amount of time, there is a compromise in quality. Realistic timelines ensure that you never wing it, but there is a plan in place for the entire project. We want your project to go as smooth as possible which means we plan for every aspect of the project so that the end results are a quality product and a beautiful project that you can enjoy for years to come.

3. Unrealistic Budgets

This is another huge area in the reality TV industry. We have had clients be surprised that we don’t match the numbers given to the participants on HGTV’s shows. One factor is location; things in Waco, Texas are going to be different in price than Virginia Beach or even Shelby, NC. The condition of the home, the amount of labor to be done, and the type of products that are chosen for the project all have an effect on the budget. Good, quality work comes at a premium price, the old saying, “You get what you pay for” is true. 

It is also important to mention the fact that some of the TV shows will receive discounted rates off of certain materials in exchange for brand endorsement or air time. One last point is products. Those items on your Pinterest board may come with a larger price tag than you realize and that is where we come in. We walk through all your options so that you can stay within your budget and get the most for your money. Our many years of experience in this industry can make sure you get as much as you dreamed about for your project without going over your budget. Read more about how we help you stay on budget in this informative blog post.

4. Products they don’t disclose.

Everyone loves the part of the show where the homeowners finally get to see their new house fully decorated and absolutely perfect in every way. What HGTV doesn’t tell you is that when the film crew leaves so does most of the furniture. Often the homeowners receive a cataloged binder that includes the price of every item used in case they wish to buy it, sadly most don’t have additional cash in their budget. Read a few more facts about how HGTV’s show operates here

There is also the small myth that you can find everything you need in a one-stop-shop but that is usually not the case nor does it end with just one trip. It can take time to gather all the items on your wishlist and may also require some flexibility on options. We never want you to go over budget or compromise on quality which is why we spend the necessary time with our clients while in the planning phase of the design to make sure that selections are made and pricing is clear. 

HGTV’s positive aspects.

Though we may have pointed out how HGTV is more fiction than fact, there is something to be said for their shows, they spark ideas and creativity. They also show their audience that you don’t have to buy new, there is a lot you can do with space you already have. So with these facts in mind, go ahead and watch that next episode of Fixer Upper, don’t forget your notepad so you can write down some good inspirational ideas for your project. Be sure to bring that list to your next design meeting with us!