Wednesday
July 23, 2014

Reality TV Skewing Home Remodeling Picture?

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Reality TV Skewing Home Remodeling Picture?

Reality television shows that feature instant home makeovers are popular, but some remodelers say that such shows paint an unrealistic picture of the time and money required to remodel a home.

“A lot of these shows tend to glorify the low cost,” says Craig Knott, owner of Houseworks Unlimited in Washington, D.C. “Not just that it can get done in three hours, but that the costs are very low.”

“I end up getting called in by a heavy DIY watcher, my prices and time lines blow the [home owners’] minds so much that I never get a call back,” says Ari Fingeroth, owner and project manager of Federalist Builders in Washington, D.C. He adds that the clients are often unaware about permits or lead times for special order items, which could potentially delay work or lead to higher costs.

One team at Castle Building & Remodeling in Minneapolis created a TV-related misconceptions YouTube video (left). Troy Sinykin, Castle’s sales and design manager, says it’s important to educate clients about the process before starting.

Still, remodelers say that these home improvement shows—from Property Brothers and Vanilla Ice Project to This Old House and Holmes Makes It Right—are giving clients new ideas and helping the remodeling industry to recover after a decrease in business in recent years. The shows also force remodelers to keep pace with the latest trends. The popularity of these shows is evident in the ratings: HGTV was the second most-watched channel on weekend cable programming among viewers aged 25 to 54.

“Anyone in the industry, period, should be watching these shows,” says Mike Holmes, host of Holmes on Homes, who admits to also being a cynic of some of the reality shows that make the remodeling process look too easy. He says reality TV shows like his can help professionals speak home owners’ language and can be used as an education tool.

Source: “Reality Shows Distort Client Relations—Here’s How to Change Channels,” Remodeling Magazine (June 11, 2014)

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