5 Ways HGTV Is Creating Unrealistic Home Buyers

Real Estate Agent with Cell: 703-677-1120

I enjoy watching HGTV, but some shows are leading home buyers down an unrealastic path.

Here are 5 ways some home buyers are being lead astray by "reality" TV.


open concept house woodbridge virginia1. Open concept homes with stainless steel and granite are "normal", not the exception.

On some shows, every house is an open concept house with new appliances and stone counter tops.  That is the exception, not the norm.  The normal house has builder grade Formica counter tops, almond colored appliances, and oak cabinets.  Maybe one out of fifteen houses has an updated kitchen and updated baths in established neighborhoods.  Buyers, you need to reset your expectations.


2. Buyers buying older houses get hung up on details and think older houses are bad houses.

You're shopping for a house inside the Beltway because you want a short commute to your job in downtown Washington DC.  You'll be looking at homes built 50-80 years ago.  Some older houses have been well kept, and updated as building codes are changed.  Other homes are kept in original condition.  Neither is good or bad.  Make sure your agent includes a Home Inspection Contingency in your offer to purchase so that a home expert can check the house from top to bottom, and give the sellers the opportunity to correct any flaws the inspector finds.


3. Sellers think they have to move out to show their property.

You want to show your property with furniture and accessories in it.  It makes your rooms appear larger than when rooms are empty.  On the other hand you want to de-clutter your house, put your clutter in storage, store your financial records so prying eyes cannot get a look at your credit card numbers, and keep your house neat for showings at all times.  When you know your house will be shown, turn on all the lights, even during the middle of the day.


4.  Not all properties can be salvaged by a good contractor for a reasonable price.

Remodel shows on TV often don't include the costs associated with design, planning, permits.  The contractors often cover the costs associated with unexpected expensive problems with "contingency funds" in the budget.  They never say how much money is in the contingency fund.  If you buy a fixer-upper, how much cash will you set aside in your contingency fund?  If the kitchen and baths are total gut jobs, professional contractors have told me to budget for the job, then double the amount.  So if you budget $20,000 to renovate a kitchen, you better set aside $40,000; If you budget $8,000 to renovate a bathroom, set aside $16,000.  Better to have the money and not need it, than to need it and not have it.


5.  Lots of buyers don't get their "Dream Homes".

Most home buyers go into the home buying process with stars in their eyes and a song in their hearts. A few are convinced that they will get their absolute dream home, with the ultimate dream kitchen, sexy baths, open concept floor plan, a lush yard, just five minutes from their job site.  After seeing 3-4 houses, some folks begin to feel confused by the wide gap between their dream and reality.  The folks who are buying a newly built home from a builder can have stainless, granite, and open concept, but the new homes communitites are 25+ miles from the city; No five minute walk to the office.


So let's all enjoy our favorite shows on HGTV, and know that their "reality" shows are far from the real world of house buying and selling in Northern Virginia.  If you adjust your expectations a little bit, you'll come out a winner in the real estate game.

You can get expert help shopping for your next home when you call me now at 703-677-1120 for a casual conversation about what is important to you in a home.

Are you thinking about selling your house? You can get a free, over the phone evaluation of your home's market value when you call me at 703-677-1120.

Erick Blackwelder
Exit Realty Associates 

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Lorton, VA  22079
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Comments (1)

Tracy Santrock
Santrock Realty Group Inc. , - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Broker

That kind of bursts the old bubble.  It really depends on the market.  Our market is hot and the buyers are having to compromise due to low inventory.  In a buyers market the sellers tend to do more of the upgrades the HGTV shows portray.

Jul 04, 2017 08:55 AM