HGTV Induced Buyer Dementia

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

HGTV Induced Buyer Dementia

There is a new threat to home owners everywhere that is taking hold in markets around the United States.  In my marketplace of Bristow-Gainesville, Virginia, I am seeing more and more cases.  HGTV Induced Buyer Dementia (HGTV-IBD) is a serious threat to would be home sellers everywhere.

The symptoms of HGTV-IBD are often mistaken for those of a particular, or picky, buyer.  While the two have things in common, the difference is that a particular buyer will be thrilled when they find what they want, and won't hesitate in making an offer.  An HGTV-IBD infected buyer will wait, because the market depicted on the "reality" shows on HGTV always waits for a buyer to make up their mind.  Cue the commercial break and a night to think over three homes that the HGTV-IBD buyer loves.  The infected buyer can't be rushed by seller favored market conditions.

HGTV-IBD infected buyers have an inability to logic through the conditions of a seller's market.  The fact that there are five homes on the market and twenty buyers that day that want them, mean nothing.  A pristine home with a new roof, new flooring, new deck, new appliances, new windows and new carpet listed at $450K, will be low balled with offers of $425K and below.  Why?  HGTV-IBD buyers are blind to the value in new items if they do not meet the Chip & Joanna Gaines stylistic guidelines.  Those granite counters may be new, and go with the new gunstock hardwood floors, but that doesn't matter.  They aren't in the white and gray family of color, so they simply MUST be replaced.  

Further, buyers infected with  HGTV-IBD may fail to realize how their own needs actually differ from what they see buyers demanding on the network.  Are double ovens a must for a family that consists of mom, dad and two toddlers?  Hmmm.  Probably not, but if the buyer is infected with HGTV-IBD, they are going to fail to see their primary need for a large pantry, microwave and refrigerator with a large freezer.

Perfectly lovely homes with new finishes that may not be the first choice of these infected buyers are sitting and wasting on the market, while lower quality homes with much snazzier lipstick are selling like hot cakes.  HGTV-IBD infected buyers are unable to see value in high dollar items like new windows, new roof and new siding.  If the kitchen and master bathroom don't meet current trendy finishes, the home may as well be a shack with no upgrades since 1979.  

The tragic part of HGTV Buyer Induced Dementia is that it may be a full blown plague if reality show reality is what the majoirty of buyers in your market place think of as "real."  Sellers with fantastic homes will forced to accept low offers or upgrade to the latest HGTV trend prior to selling.  It is conceivable that a majority infected buyer population could be the next cause of a market correction.  

Currently, the only known cure to HGTV-IBD is that the infected buyer become a home seller themselves.  That's the only way to truly reach into their affected minds and make them see how ridiculous buyers infected with HGTV-IBD can be.  

It is likely that HGTV-IBD may also result in other illnesses like HGTV-IBD-PTSD, which is theorized may affect Listing Agents across the country.  



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joyce Marsh 07/11/2018 02:38 AM
  2. Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain 09/22/2018 09:00 AM
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hgtvs affect on the real estate market

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Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Have you ever noticed that these buyers ... taking their merry ol' time ... also NEVER have any concerns about their finances either, Chris Ann Cleland  Going over their budget??  Never an issue.  Spending $100K more?  Don't even call the Lender .. it's NO PROBLEM!  Drives me nuts ...


Jul 06, 2018 11:03 AM #36
Evelyn Santiago, Managing Broker Heart Realty Group, Inc.
Heart Realty Group, Inc.. - Oswego, IL
Passionate About Real Estate & Our Clients!

Just discussed this sickness with a fellow agent in my area.  Even at 100K price point they expect granite countertops, SS appliances, hardwood floors, etc.  In the right color scheme and fully staged with 3D Matterport video....HGTV is the downfall of our profession....

Jul 06, 2018 11:28 AM #37
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Chris Ann,

What a great post!  What most viewers do not realized is that the buyer has already bought the home they want, and the whole thing is pre-staged.  Plus, they are subtle reference to products that PR agencies place for their clients.  One of our clients manufactured high end bed linens, and in one of the shows they referred to her linens...we have not watched HGTV for years now.  And one more thing the producers wanted to lease an office space in a prestige office building, and I showed them the space....they had dementia, they wanted to low ball the price persquare foot, because they were HGTV!  LOL. A

Jul 06, 2018 11:53 AM #38
MaryKay Shumway
The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948) - Sister Bay, WI
Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert

This was so on-point--and SO hilarious.  Induced Buyer Dementia is a real condition with no known cure.  THANK YOU for sharing this.  

Jul 06, 2018 11:55 AM #39
Ann Wilkins
Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

I had to laugh at this one.  My buyers have seen enough homes so they now know, the better values tend to be the ugly ducklings with bad photos!  However, we are still working on timing.  Most our listings have "offer dates" but now and then some say "offers as the come".  If they meet the criteria, those are the ones to jump on ...hard and fast.  We are working on hard and is a process...

Jul 06, 2018 03:00 PM #40
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Cute post!  So true.  The HGTV and other shows aren't reality.  One in particular drives me crazy as they always have "unexpected" repairs and costs.  But some of what they find as unexpected in reality should have been known if  a professional had seen the home prior to a purchase.  Great post!

Jul 06, 2018 03:02 PM #41
Jerry Murphy, CRS, SRES
Long Realty West Valley - Anthem, AZ
Anthem, Phoenix, and Scottsdale AZ Real Estate

God Chris, I know what you mean.  Everyone thinks they know more than the Realtor, until they don't.  Buyers HAVE become pickier in the last several years.  And I think you're right, it's due to these ridiculous "Real Estate" shows on T.V.  Keep on keepin' on and best of luck to you.

Jul 06, 2018 05:25 PM #42
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Chris Ann Cleland,

You post was hilarious and I love that it is featured. We have to poke fun in this business and HGTV offers so much amusement and so much fodder for us to laugh at!  Too many couch potatoes..hard to believe they take so much of this reality as gospel. Actually sad commentary on what is important in many people's lives!

Jul 06, 2018 05:43 PM #43
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

OMG, you are hiliarious, Chris Ann and let me tell you, SPOT-ON too! 

Hope you have a fabulous weekend...

Jul 06, 2018 09:00 PM #44
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

What a well-written and comical take on the HGTV fantasy shows. They make me too frustrated, so I don't watch. It's all baloney.  However, there is quite a bit of fact in your fun take on these shows - it does create unrealistic expections for some buyers. Too bad they don't realize it's fiction. 

Jul 07, 2018 07:47 AM #45
Mary Jo Quay
Remax Results - Edina, MN
I Move You Home

Although I'm not a mental health expert, I'm given to treat buyers suffering from HGTV syndrome. Millenials will say, "I want........." I nod my head, I already know what they want.  It's our job to educate both buyers and sellers. Builders and contractors are deluged with HGTV syndrome who don't understand why a remodel should take 6 weeks when they see it done, under budget, in only an hour with time for commercial breaks. Most agents don't know either and pick apart the builder. 

Jul 07, 2018 11:22 AM #46
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Shouldn't agents determine their clients expectations and the steps in the process of closing a transaction? So, regardless of where they get their information, HGTV, good or bad, addressing their questions, issues or concerns in advance would hopefully speed the process of closing.

HGTV is a show, somewhat like WWE, somewhat magical but entertaining, so, using a scripted show to help consumers determine value in the real world is IMO unreasonable and ineffective. So, educate and illustrate. 

Jul 08, 2018 01:44 AM #47
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

I can't count the number of times I've heard something in showing feedback along the lines of "the house needs updated" when what they really mean is "it's not decorated in the style I prefer".  Absolutely nothing wrong with the house in its current state, the price, etc., if ONLY the buyer was in touch with reality and market conditions.

Jul 08, 2018 04:28 AM #48
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Very clever post!!  One thing I'll say about House Hunters is that it does teach buyers 'you won't get everything you want'....some sort of compromise needs to be made.  Funny how these buyers think 'reality' tv reflects real life--the details are often left out!

Jul 08, 2018 01:25 PM #49
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Chris Ann

You are spot on here.  The unreality of the HGVT shows is, well, unreal. It’s essential for today’s buyers to work with a Realtor who WILL guide and educate them appropriately so they understand that the HGTV was is NOT the right way. And I love how the TV agents just go off and make a call about presentingthe offer!


Jul 08, 2018 01:57 PM #50
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It's no womder there's a shortage of affordable homes.  Everyon HAS to have granite and the latest matching appliances, double sinks in bathrooms, etc etc.  How did we ever survive growing up in homes with only 1 bathroom, with only 1 sink?!

Jul 08, 2018 11:23 PM #51
Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service

So hilarious but true, buyers wanting everything including that fancy kitchen sink! In a hot market which we are in now, only a full price offer or higher, right away, will do the trick...

Jul 10, 2018 04:52 PM #52
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This one made me giggle.  I have definitely had a few of these infected buyers...and you are right.  Until they are sellers, they won't realize how ridiculous their expectations actually are!

Jul 10, 2018 07:15 PM #53
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Hi, Chris Ann.

     I was contacted recently by a would-be "Flipper".  She had a serious case of HGTV-IBD.   She was going to pay next to nothing for a 3/2 house, put a little money into it, then realize an enormous profit.

     No amount of reasoning, arguing, or explaining that HGTV is scripted and rigged would change her mind.  She just KNEW that it could be done; she had watched this cute couple on TV flip houses, and she could too!

   So, I showed her two possibles:  a foreclosure, and a fixer-upper that bordered on tear-down.  The listing agents allowed me to bring in inspectors or contractors before writing an offer.  I gave some names to the wanna-be Flipper, and told her to make appointments with them.

   When Miss HGTV-IBD found out that it would cost tens of thousands of dollars just to bring the houses up to Code, the reality hit her.  She said she would call me back.  That was the last I saw of her.

Jul 12, 2018 06:59 AM #54
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

Loved this blog post way more than dealing with HGTV-IBD.  Another known symptom can be Rectal Optometry (crappy outlook).

Jul 12, 2018 12:12 PM #55
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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