According to a 2009 HUD Survey, the median age of a home in the United States sits at 36 years, so it’s no surprise that home renovation is a huge market. Ever since the incredibly popular show Trading Spaces hit TV viewers back in 2000, networks have been capitalizing on the remodeling craze to create dozens of shows aimed at younger audiences.
No matter how many remodeling shows crop up, the renovations are usually portrayed the same: quick, easy and cheap. Seasoned renovators may take these shows with a grain of salt, but first time homebuyers might be persuaded to bite off more they can chew in the form of buying a home that needs a lot of work when they aren’t ready for it.
Don’t let home renovation shows trick you into thinking you’ll be able to tear out all the walls and completely change the layout of the kitchen during a 3-day weekend. Check out these busted myths about remodeling on television and the realities about the herculean projects you might take on.
The biggest myth to on home improvement television is how long projects take. When everything is wrapped up nicely in 30 minutes while you snack on the couch, remodeling seems so fast and rewarding. The truth is that the entire process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the project you're undertaking.
Not only are the renovations on TV edited to fit into a 30 minute segment, they have an entire team of professionals helping to get the project done as fast as possible. Remember that every day the cameras have to be on-site costs the network a lot of money so they want everything completed at breakneck pace. Chances are you won’t have Ty Pennington and a team of 30 carpenters tearing out your kitchen, so it will take time and a lot of hard work.
Price is the second thing that surprises most first-time renovators. Shows boasting entire kitchen or bathroom remodels for a thousand dollars are a little deceiving. Usually all of the labor is taken care of by the homeowners or professionals and a lot of the seemingly random “great deals” they got on materials are planned.
Renovations sticking to small budgets are also generally making very surface changes. The hard reality is that many times you will run into issues that require completely new materials, not just a fresh coat of paint and a few fancy accessories. Especially if you’re looking to update any room with plumbing, you’ll be surprised by just how much of your budget goes to moving pipes and picking up new appliances.
Walking through a home improvement store after watching a home renovation show is an exercise in self-restraint. It's easy to think you’ll be able to take on any project after seeing clueless homeowners lay glass tile like a pro. The main difference between you and the homeowners on TV is you don’t have a trained professional behind the scenes showing you the ropes.
Not to deter anyone from taking a class or tackling some smaller projects on their own, but keep in mind that you might want to leave the bigger jobs to the professionals so you don’t end up with a giant hole in the wall or a broken pipe flooding your bathroom.
Don’t pass on the home of your dreams because you might need to remodel the kitchen, but make sure you’re prepared for the true cost, time and energy it will take to complete a renovation. Don’t expect home improvement television to be true.