Home Remodeling Blog

HGTV and Unrealistic Expectations - What to Actually Expect from Your Remodel

By Laura Slowick | Sep 08, 2018

If you love “Love It or List It,” if you’re fixated on “Fixer Upper,” if you’re pro “Property Brothers,” and if you’re getting ready for your own real-life remodel, this article is for you. Particularly if you’re coming to us as a first-time remodeler, part of our job as your Chicago North Shore area contractor is to help you set realistic expectations. Today, we’re talking about the differences between reality tv remodeling and real-life remodeling. These differences fall under two basic categories: process and pricing. 


When you turn on the tv, you can watch a whole-home transformation transpire in under forty-five minutes. When you begin your own home remodel, major area remodels often take three months or more, and that’s after the contract has been signed. Naturally, HGTV doesn’t air every minute of every remodel, but there’s more than just editing work at play here: tv remodels are actually faster than real-world remodels.

Why? For one thing, there are often multiple, fresh construction crews working around the clock to complete projects according to schedule. Beyond this, you may notice that show hosts ostensibly walk into a home and immediately produce a vision for the final design that is, in turn, immediately approved by the homeowner and implemented by the contractor.

What isn’t shown is that hosts have already had ample time to tour the home, perfect their designs through multiple iterations and brainstorming sessions, and procure materials beforehand. If something doesn’t go according to plan, help is always just a phone call away. Furthermore, all construction permits have already been pulled, all zoning laws checked, etc. 

It might not sound like it, but this is actually one area where we think real-life remodeling has the upper hand over “reality” tv remodeling. In real-life remodeling, the contractor and homeowner have more of an opportunity to form a relationship. They thoroughly explore the homeowner’s goals and work collaboratively to problem solve challenges and create a vision that is enhanced by input from both parties. 

So while the timeline of real-life remodels is slower than that of tv show remodels, the process requires more involvement from the homeowner and therefore has the potential to more powerfully reflect the homeowner’s personality.



The other element of HGTV remodeling shows that can cause confusion for homeowners preparing to remodel is related to budget. TV shows often present price tags for labor and materials that, while the information isn’t falsified, simply don’t correspond to reality. Where’s the disconnect?

The answer is simple: advertising. The cost of many of the products and even much of the labor that goes into creating a remodeling reality tv show is often discounted in exchange for brand recognition. There’s nothing wrong with this, but homeowners approaching their own remodeling projects would do well to take material and labor cost estimates presented on tv with a grain of salt.


The Proper Place of Property Brothers and Other Remodeling Shows

Everyone loves a good renovation show because they’re great wellsprings of inspiration, and they’re also a great tool to help you identify your personal style. But be aware that watching a remodeling tv show is kind of like seeing a picture of a familiar landscape in a postcard: the result is often heavily edited. As long as you think of HGTV remodeling shows and real-life remodeling as conceptually different categories, you can fully enjoy both in their own way.


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Tags: Home Remodeling Chicago North Shore, Chicago Home Remodeling, HGTV, Remodeling Expectations

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