Find out how the made-for-TV glamorization of house flipping is affecting real estate in the real world.

Meghan Overdeep
June 27, 2018

We’ll be the first to admit that HGTV's never-ending lineup of home renovation shows makes for excellent television. But—and this should probably come as no surprise—it turns out that that entertaining TV doesn’t always translate well in real life, especially when it comes to real estate.

To find out how the glamorization of house flipping is affecting the real estate market in the real world, Fox recently spoke to a handful of harried real estate pros who said they want nothing more than for people to turn off HGTV.

Below are five of their most eye-opening reasons for why, courtesy of our friends at Fox:

Knocking down walls isn’t that easy:

In real life, taking walls down is nowhere near as easy as Chip Gaines makes it look on demo day. “When someone buys a '90s-era home which was built quickly and on the cheap, we can’t rip out walls," Teris Pantazes, a licensed contractor in Baltimore, and manager of EFynch, explained to Fox. “It’s important for a home to have good bones. I have been in this business for a long time but I’m not an engineer. I still have customers question me and I see them waste tons of money to verify what I already told them.”

Real estate can ruin relationships:

You’re not alone if your mind immediately jumps to Flip or Flop’s Tarek and Christina el Moussa. “The fastest way to end up divorced other than having an affair is to renovate,” alleged Sissy Lappin, founder of ListingDoor. “You will not be smiling like Chip and Joanna, drinking lemonade with chocolate chip cookies. You will be pulling each other’s hair out like the Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

Transactions and transformations actually take a lot of time:

"The No. 1 problem with real estate television shows is that they significantly shorten the amount of time that almost anything takes, for the purposes of advancing the narrative,” Kevin Deselms, a Hollywood film-editor-turned-realtor explained. It’s this sort of made-for-TV magic, he added, that gives his clients unreasonable expectations for timelines.

Sellers only care about neighborhood comps:

"The worst precedent set by HGTV is in their show Property Brothers, where the agent frequently tells buyers that they should make an offer significantly below list price to account for their desired renovation budget,” Jeff Miller, a Maryland-based real estate agent with AE Home Group, told Fox. “The truth is, the only thing that matters is what other homes in the neighborhood have sold for.”

HGTV is all about fake budgets:

You probably already guessed this, but HGTV does some serious fudging when it comes to budgets. As Fox points out, “it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that most Americans don’t have $1 million laying around for a second home, and the kind of kitchen a $5,000 renovation gets you won’t include granite countertops and a smart fridge that sends its inventory to your phone.”