3 Ways HGTV Sets Unrealistic Budget Expectations for Remodeling

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Posted By

Helene McQuaide

3 Ways HGTV Sets Unrealistic Budget Expectations for Remodeling

Picture of Posted By

Posted By

Helene McQuaide

It’s no surprise that most reality shows, home improvement and remodeling shows included, are scripted to some degree. If it’s not apparent by the bad acting, the unrealistically low budget gives away the fact that these shows are out of touch with the experiences of real homeowners. Take a look at three ways HGTV shows lead viewers astray.

Compressed Timelines

Most HGTV shows follow the same formula:

  • The host/remodeler meets with the homeowners to discuss the project.
  • A short time later, the host shows the homeowners plans that include everything on their wish list, plus a few additional items.
  • Construction begins, but uh oh, there’s a snag that will delay the project and add to the costs. One or more items on the wish list now have to go.
  • Despite all the hand wringing, the big problem barely slows down work, and the project is completed in a week or less.

Although the quick turnaround never seems to drive up costs on the shows, in real life, contractors would need to work long hours to finish a project in a week or less. Working around the clock would increase the budget and compromise the quality of the work. Focusing on quick deadlines, rather than quality, often leads to corner cutting. Unfortunately, you usually end up spending more later to fix the issues that can occur.

Donated Products and Time

The average cost of a major, upscale kitchen renovation is $119, 909, according to Remodeling’s 2016 Cost Versus Value Report. Yet, homeowners who appear on TV shows often get a new kitchen, new flooring throughout the entire house, new windows and doors, and a luxurious patio area, all for less than $100,000. Without donations, the budget would be totally unrealistic.

Manufacturers donate their projects in exchange for free advertising, while contractors work at a reduced rate or for free in the hope of attracting more business. One of the downsides of donations is that you’re forced to work with what’s provided. When you’re in control of the budget, you choose the products and finishes that you want. There’s no need to settle for basic or inferior products when luxury is what you want.

Everyone Knows a Guy

When a complicated renovation issue arises in TV land, the host pulls out his phone and announces that he knows a guy who just happens to specialize in that particular problem. One hour later, the guy arrives and the issue is promptly resolved without any substantial increase to the budget.

Major Pittsburgh remodeling companies often have experts on staff or have established relationships with the pros. In many cases, problems can be solved fairly quickly, although an hour turnaround time is a little unrealistic, especially if the contractor is caught in a Squirrel Hill Tunnel backup. Expert outside help comes at a price, but it’s worth every penny when you see the detailed woodworking in your custom-made newel posts or enjoy the way the sunlight passes through your stained glass windows.

HGTV shows offer great entertainment value, but they’re not documentaries. Thanks to our 28 years in the business, we have plenty of real-life experience and can help you successfully navigate the design and build process. Call us today to set up an appointment for a quote.


Remodeling: 2016 Cost Vs. Value Report


Kiplinger: What Home Improvement Shows Do Not Tell You



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