The HGTV Effect

The HGTV Effect

The remodeling industry has been booming the past couple years and with over 44 million viewers, Home & Garden Television (HGTV) is capitalizing on this trend. HGTV is great at giving people a lot of inspirational ideas for getting their own remodeling projects going. It produces a lot of people with a lot of ideas who are very anxious to start their own projects, and expecting the same experience they see on HGTV. Many remodelers call this the “HGTV Effect”.

How the HGTV Effect Works

Here’s what happens: a homeowner watches HGTV and falls in love with a project (“Honey, take a look at this kitchen!”). The process appears fast, the price appears low and the results are designer quality. Plus, everyone’s objectively good-looking! So, the homeowner picks up the phone and calls their local remodeler, eager to start their own project.

The HGTV effect begins to materialize during the remodeling consultation when things don’t seem the same as on HGTV. For instance, when pricing is discussed the homeowner asks, “Why is it so high? The price was so low on HGTV.” Or they may ask, “Why will this take so long? On HGTV it only took a week or two.”

Breaking the Spell
Why are these shows so popular in the first place?

The goals of any remodeling program are to:

  • Be Entertaining
  • Make Money
  • Make It Glamorous

Homeowners watch home improvement shows to be entertained and inspired, and they do a great job of that. Homeowners want to recreate those experiences when they begin their own projects. The problem, however, is the shows are often wildly inaccurate in their pricing and completion dates. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the homeowner may not be aware of, stuff that isn’t glamorous or entertaining:
  • Cost of capital
  • Sales commissions
  • Tax &  insurance costs
  • Contractor & vendor discounts
  • Donated labor
Often times contractors and manufacturers donate their time and materials to get on the show, which skews results. The show has time constraints to finish quickly. The hosts often are not the ones actually doing the job, but an army of contractors behind the scenes to complete everything quickly to get the show finished. This can often create total chaos for the homeowner since they can’t live at the home while this is being done.

The HGTV Reality 

Every homeowner needs to figure out what they like and prefer before deciding to pull the trigger to start their own remodeling project. HGTV can jump-start that process, but you need to be aware the HGTV effect and have realistic expectations for what your project cost and timing will be. The “reality” of the situation is that HGTV distorts what a home renovation really looks like. Actual costs can be inaccurate and because HGTV viewers see entire homes transformed in an hour, the timelines can be misleading. Remodeling Magazine has a great guide to get realistic pricing for a variety of home improvement projects – just click this link to view it. 

HGTV is great at giving ideas and inspiring homeowners to start their own remodeling projects. Just don’t count on it for accurate pricing or realistic construction times.

Our Own Reality TV Experience

We have our own experience on an HGTV program called “Rescue My Renovation”. The program we were on was for a contractor who was hired to fix a leaking roof. They took the homeowners money and didn’t complete their job. The contractor didn’t have insurance and then tried to sue the homeowner when someone got injured on the project. Cipriani Remodeling Solutions was brought in by the show to “rescue their renovation”.

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