Photo: hanohiki (Shutterstock)
A few years ago, some friends appeared on a house-hunting reality TV show. They had a blast, but afterward, they revealed something that surprised me: It was all staged. They’d already purchased a house when they filmed the episode, and that house wasn’t featured on the show at all. The houses they did look at weren’t even for sale.
Like any normal person, I accept that so-called “reality” TV is scripted to a certain extent, but I’d previously assumed there had to be some truth to those real estate shows: that the information they presented was somewhat reliable, and that you might be able to pick up at least some basics about real estate and home renovation from watching them.
The actual reality is: Nope. Whether it’s a house-hunting show, a home renovation show, or a house-flipping show, the only thing you can rely on is that you’re probably being lied to. Buying or selling a house is more complicated than looking at three homes and having a conversation over a glass of wine, buying a fixer-upper probably isn’t a bargain, and the Property Brothers are not going to spend weeks in your house personally hanging drywall and grouting tiles.
But it’s worse than mere fakery—a lot of the information these shows give out is completely wrong. If you base your life decisions on what you see in real estate shows, you’re going to be very sorry. Here’s why.
Everything is oversimplified
The simple fact is, renovating, buying, or selling a house is almost always a lengthy and complicated process. Reality TV makes the house hunting process look like something that can be accomplished in a breezy weekend—your Realtor jots down some notes, makes a concerned face when you mention your budget, then shows you three options and you choose one. That’s it. Or you meet with your contractors, they jot down a few notes, make a concerned face when you mention your budget, and renovate your entire home in what seems like four days, brilliantly managing your tiny budget so there are no cost overruns. Sure, there’…….