Things HGTV Lied to Us About
The HGTV network is designed for both hopeful future homeowners and existing homeowners alike. Whether you are shopping around for a new home and want to know what you can get for your money, or already own a home and are looking for some help in terms of décor or renovation tips, HGTV has a show for you. And sure, sometimes these shows can be helpful for finding ideas or if you just want to live vicariously through someone else – but that’s where it ends.
What if we told you that everything HGTV has told us was a lie? Okay, maybe not everything, but there are certain misconceptions and outright lies that HGTV has been telling its viewers again and again. It’s one thing to watch HGTV for its entertainment value, but don’t sit in front of your television expected to be educated. The only fact is that HGTV is just as fake as any other reality show. It’s storytelling in another form.
Suffice to say, many of HGTV’s lies can be downright harmful to DIYers, and for those on the market to buy or sell their home. Some of these lies may shock you, given the number of times they’ve been repeated but it’s time you were aware. Here are 15 things HGTV lied to us about. Take the red pill and discover the truth for yourself.
The Homeowners Get Free Furniture
On camera, it looks like HGTV is out there giving people free furniture to renovate their homes but that’s not the reality of it. HGTV is notorious for decorating homes on TV and taking all the furniture back to use on another show. On Fixer Upper, the featured couple or individual in need of renovation will receive at least one furniture item that they can keep. All of the other furniture is just part of the stage.
The furniture on display after the renovation is a bit like the furniture in a model home. It may be better quality and built to last, but all that stuff goes back into HGTV’s vault to be used on another show. The good news is that the furniture piece you can keep will be something nice and expensive like a dining room table. Once the filming of the show is done, HGTV does provide an itemized list of everything staged in the home and that list will come with discounted prices listed next to each item.
Realtors Don’t Work Hard
Real estate agents on the show are often depicted as not doing very much when it comes to buying and selling homes. Real-life realtors like Sissy Lapin, the author of ListingDoor, take issue with the depiction of realtors on the HGTV shows. Lapin told CheatSheet that shows like House Hunters “make the agent look like they’re just these lazy people who show two houses and negotiate $1,000 off the asking price.”
The reality is quite different of course. Most real estate agents tackle the whole home buying and selling process which is actually quite complicated and drawn out. They inform clients what they should think about when choosing a home and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
HGTV shows always make a point of showing homebuyers or owners must-have new features on their shows. But these must-have features are nothing more than product placements. Sponsorships from other companies are one of the ways that HGTV makes its money and that means they have to give them advertising.
While it’s okay to be wowed by the new innovations for your own home – the one that you are actually going to live in – it’s another thing to imply that these features are must-haves for selling your home. Many of the features HGTV are telling us are must-haves are not needed at all and you’ll just be throwing money in the proverbial toilet if you invest in them.
Renovation is Cheap and Easy
Renovation is definitely neither cheap nor easy. But HGTV definitely has a habit of making it look that way, including downplaying the costs and time needed. While people like The Property Brothers may be able to do renovations on a relatively low budget and perform them in a matter of hours, that’s not typically what it’s like, particularly because you are actually hiring professionals.
Contractors hate shows like these because they give the wrong impression as to what it takes for a full renovation. And certainly, pricing on those shows is never accurate and sometimes the work is done shoddily. One couple that was featured on Love It or List It ended up suing the production company because their home became “irreparably damaged.”
Location is Not Important
HGTV shows rarely if ever focus on location. As a matter of fact, you probably wouldn’t think it was important at all if you watched HGTV regularly because of how little they talk about it. Ideally, you don’t just want the most lavish home your money can buy, you also want it to be in a prime location.
You can have the greatest house in the world but if you have to drive miles and miles out of your way to run errands or take an hour to commute to work every morning, your home is not in an ideal location and eventually you are going to not be so happy about that. Never underestimate the value of location.
Buyers are Not as Dumb as They Think
HGTV likes to portray home buyers as naive and unwitting in the ways of shopping around for a home. They usually know exactly what they can afford and what they need in a home. They aren’t lost like a kid at the candy store. And with the digital age upon us, people are doing their research.
And it makes total sense. Most people are checking WebMD before they go to the doctor so why wouldn’t they research before making the biggest purchase in their life. But HGTV insists that buyers have no idea what they want or what they can afford. They either think people are stupid or want to portray them that way to make themselves look like experts.
They People are Selected at Random
Everyone on the show seems to act real coy about it but they are on that show to be featured on TV. HGTV makes it look like you are watching some kind of documentary about people, looking into their life – as if they were buying a home and HGTV just happened to find them. But no, that’s not it at all.
To be featured on HGTV, you need to be a fan and apply. However, in addition to having seen the show, you must disclose whether or not you have applied to be on other HGTV programs. Because it would be odd and totally sus if one couple showed up on multiple HGTV shows.
No Genuine Reactions
It might be hard to forget sometimes when you are watching but HGTV shows are just like any other reality show. It should come as no surprise that they are often staged and drama is almost always played up. You will be required to do some acting during filming so that you seem more surprised than you really are.
And sometimes, it's not just pretending to have a certain reaction to something. Sometimes, you may actually need to repeat lines for the camera, so that the teams can get different angle shots. So, the staged element is definitely going to be there, and you are going to have to sound the same for every shot.
The Homes on 'House Hunters' are Already Chosen Before They Film
House Hunters is one of the longest-running and most beloved series on the HGTV network. Since 1999, this show has put out a whopping 1700+ episodes where participants agonize over purchasing the perfect home. But, if the allegation from former participants is true, there's a lot of TV magic and mischief going on behind the scenes.
According to some who have appeared on the series, the participants in House Hunters aren't actually agonizing over their choice of homes, and that's because they've already purchased a home before filming begins. HGTV responded to these claims, but they basically admitted it's true--sometimes participants are filmed viewing homes that they've already seen and decided they didn't want.
Granite is the Best
Granite is always depicted as being the must-have item for the kitchen. Granite countertops are not as important to homebuyers as HGTV would want you to believe. In fact, there are plenty of other materials that are appealing to buyers so don’t think you need granite to sell your home.
Other materials that are like granite are quartz and butcher block. Like Granite, they are easy to keep clean, sturdy and look incredible. Granite isn’t the holiest of holy options when it comes to kitchens, and the truth is that granite doesn’t fit with everyone’s idea of what a kitchen should look like.
Buying a New Home is the Best Choice
Old homes are always associated with having more problems and HGTV helps perpetuate that myth by telling people that new is better or that everything needs to be renovated to look like new. On HGTV, everything looks shiny and new and that isn’t exactly the reality that people should expect when shopping for a home.
So, people that perhaps watch too much television go into a home and expect light fixtures to be up to date, cabinets to be a trendy color and everything else in the modern style. But that’s not going to be the case every time. And all of those things you can update yourself to look however you want.
What You See is What You Get
When it comes to the price of a home, like buying a car, there are always hidden fees. HGTV makes it seem so easy to stick to your budget but it really isn’t when you have those costs to consider. Appraisal fees and closing costs can add up to 5% on top of the home’s value.
And when you consider how much a home can cost you, you are talking about thousands of dollars you might not have expected to spend. So, even if you manage to negotiate the price down a few thousand dollars, you’ll still be spending that money in fees and then some. And in the long-term, you have to think about property taxes too!
Renovations are Quick
Renovation jobs take way longer than HGTV implies. The timeline is muddled of course so that the show is fit nicely into a half-hour time frame. Their shows make it look like you can have a new kitchen in just a day but that is not the reality of it at all.
Those working on those shows are completing renovations in a number of days or even weeks until the job is complete, but they are working around the clock. Contractors in the real world don’t really have that time, so some renovations can take a matter of months. No matter what the TV tells you, renovations are not easy.
DIYer’s are Doing the Work Themselves
DIYer’s on HGTV shows like Trading Spaces are often depicted as being hands-on when it comes to renovations but again, this is another lie. Not only would a renovation be difficult to complete by yourself, but it also wouldn’t turn out well at all. Leave it to professionals to ensure it’s up to code.
HGTV doesn’t even actually let them work on the renovations on the show by themselves either. They might have families doing something but then they are several other professionals also helping to ensure the job is completed quickly and in the right way. Demolition, construction and electrical work are best completed by professionals.
You Will Find Everything You Need at One Store
This is definitely another thing HGTV tries to sell viewers. Typically, on one of their renovation shows, a couple will head to the store and come back with some materials they need to work with. That’s just all part of the show. You can’t just go to Home Depot and find everything you need to renovate.
Most often materials need to be ordered from suppliers that can take weeks to deliver what you need. With that said, you’ll want to order the materials well before you start any work on your renovation. If you don’t buy enough supplied before you need the, you are just delaying progress.