Dear Buyer, HGTV is Not you Friend. Not a Real Friend.

Real Estate Agent with EXP Realty

Every buyer is hooked on HGTV for inspiration, hoping that they can make it happen for themselves. Twenty minute makeovers are seductive. The homeowners walk in and are surprised, thrilled, tears of joy spilling down their cheeks.

Who doesn’t love a good makeover? As Americans, we expect magic. We love Walt Disney, Harry Potter, and HGTV. We don’t really want to know how it works, we just want to push that EASY button.

Can we do a little fact checkin?  Starting with the Realtors on the shows, they show up all over the map, offer a client 3 homes to choose from, and their offer is accepted after 40 seconds of negotiation.

First, Realtors a licensed by a state, laws and practices in each state are different. Most agents hold a license in one or two states, not all over the country.

Secondly, the client always obediently chooses one of the three after a cup of coffee and 15 minutes of deliberation. Hold on there. It takes the average online buyer at least 10 showings to find the right house. Some take a lot more. The shows never cover indecisive buyers who want to see 30+ homes hoping that the Taj Mahal is waiting for them. Three showings isn't enough for anyone to get a handle on what’s available to them.

Then, they jump into negotiating without much talk about financing, and they are ALWAYS the winning offer. Even if there are multiple offers, they never lose.  In reality sometimes we lose, buyers are deeply disappointed.  Finding the right house is like speed dating, you might need a second date before getting married.

What bothers me most is that there is never an inspection. The show leaps from offer to construction. Costly surprises discovered mid construction are because there was no inspection.  A professional inspector finds rotting beams, faulty plumbing, or mold before finalizing your offer.  Surprise is not a good word in real estate, it means something awful is about to happen, and you are going to pay for it. Get a professional whole house inspection.

The agent who helped you find, negotiate and get you to closing will not be there for demo. Agents who show homes waving a magic iPad with a 3D rendition of the remodel are unicorns.  Reconstruction plans take days to prepare, and include a drawing with a plan. You want a designer or architect to draw plans, walls don't disappear with an app.  Real estate agents are licensed to help you buy or sell real estate, most are not licensed contractors.  If they were, they wouldn't allow you there with a hammer.  You are liability, you have no idea what you are doing because you’re home watching HGTV.

The show ends with the ecstatic new owner drifting through newly rehabbed and decorated home. They are in shock that their dreams have been fulfilled.  Again, hate to burst your bubble, but a contractor is not a decorator. That gorgeous sectional couch is not included in your mortgage.  Turn your pockets inside out, you are paying a design team.  I never met a psychic interior designer who purchases a whole house worth of furniture without consulting you. Where is the clip of the buyer who hates it, takes them to court for shoddy, incomplete workmanship and wants to know where the other $85,000 went?  That’s reality. 

Give it 5 minutes of thought and you’ll realize that it is a ‘reality show,’ without any.  Housing rehabs take weeks if not months to complete, it is always more expensive than you planned. It is an exciting time, but you need an inspector, a contractor, a lender, a title company before a decorator shows up. There is more to the budget than, “You only have $500,000 to spend so we need to plan carefully.”   There are decisions you need to make every step of the way. Step cautiously.  And what is shiplap anyway?







Posted by

Mary Jo Quay

“That’s what I do: I move people—H O M E.”

 Phone: (612) 384-1360

Comments (7)

Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Hello Mary Jo,  Yes the programs do tend to show it through the VERY rose colored glasses.  Good points all.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving.  Mark

Nov 22, 2016 12:43 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

So many times when i did watch the fixes are so far in left field and some mey not fit code in your area

Nov 22, 2016 01:54 PM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Well said!   However, am still watching.....

Nov 22, 2016 02:23 PM
Mary Jo Quay
EXP Realty - Minneapolis, MN
I Move You Home

We are all catching an episode now and then, and as long as we all know that it's entertainment, we're good. 

Nov 22, 2016 07:27 PM
Jim Smith
The Property Management Company - Round Rock, TX

As a professional Property Manager, and the occasional rehab challenged project on behalf of clients and/or myself, I am amused at the number of people that see the 'Fix and Flip' shows and expect to be able to do it themselves.  I typically begin the conversation as such:  I take them to the back of my truck, take out a 4X4, a 16p nail, and a hammer.  I then ask them to hammer the nail in the wood.  If they can't hit it straight, and/or do it in 4 blows or less, I then ask them to reconsider doing it themselves.  In spite of the magic of TV, most people are highly skilled in their area of expertise; and, that is usually not demo and construction.

Nov 23, 2016 06:29 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Mary Jo, they've filmed a few shows here in DC, and they usually start the filiming after the buyers choose and negotiate the one they buy.  It's pretty fake.

I just wish buyers would really buy one of the first three I show them!

Dec 04, 2016 08:23 PM
Mary Jo Quay
EXP Realty - Minneapolis, MN
I Move You Home

What if you started to tell your buyers that they would see three, choose one, and you guarantee that their offer would be accepted?  Wouldn't they be thrilled to skip financing, go straight to rehabbing, and have some suprise charges along the way?  Or am I missing something?

Dec 04, 2016 10:04 PM

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