The HGTV Effect

The Pros and Cons of the “HGTV Effect”
and How it’s Affecting Remodeling Contractors

Who doesn’t love a good home remodeling show? Between Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Love it or List it, and plenty others, there’s definitely several options to choose from on HGTV alone. But like with any other method of entertainment, how realistic are they? Remodeling companies are seeing firsthand how these television shows are affecting the industry in very positive, yet sometimes negative ways. Here, we outline the pros and cons…




1.       Home improvement interest

We see it all the time; clients love their home, neighborhood, neighbors, schools, etc. but they’re outgrowing their space. This, coupled with the current limited inventory housing market, makes homeowners feel more inclined to undergo necessary home improvements, rather than move all together. Because of all these elements, the remodeling index is currently at an all-time high and is expected to steadily rise through 2021.

Watching these remodels on HGTV demonstrates first hand to homeowners that they can completely transform and open up an existing space by knocking down walls and changing layouts. Kitchen and interior remodels, basement finishing, as well as additions, are great ways to expand or improve your current square footage without having to change your address.


2.       Inspires design

Homeowners are being introduced to innovative materials, designs, layouts, and other creative ideas that they otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to. Let’s be honest, most of us wouldn’t have even considered covering our walls in exposed shiplap before Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper. Also, the presence of 3-D renderings on these programs show homeowners the tools and technologies available in the home remodeling process. You can see what the space will look like before construction even begins, which gets clients really excited about the remodel.

These remodeling TV shows, in addition to Pinterest and other visual social media platforms, really resonate with clients and assist with initial consultations so that remodeling contractors can get a better overall picture of the project’s entirety, including the client’s design aesthetics. This ultimately leads homeowners to being more open to product and selection options, allowing for increased overall project engagement.

Cambria  quartz samples on our walnut butcher block table that was made in-house

Cambria quartz samples on our walnut butcher block table that was made in-house



3.       Emphasizes importance of the client experience (not JUST the final product)

 HGTV shows inspire homeowners to crave a similar experience as those on TV. At the end of the day, it’s not JUST about the quality of work (although that is important)…trust and overall chemistry between you and the contractor should be on the top of the priority list. Most reputable remodeling companies will tell you that the client-contractor relationship is the backbone of their business.

The main goal of remodelers (on HGTV or not) is to solve pain points, execute superior craftsmanship, and overall enhance the lives of their clients. These relationships need to be based on trust, for trust is crucial to effective communication and the success of the overall project, big or small. Any remodeling project is an investment of valuable time and resources so homeowners owe it to themselves to hire a remodeling contractor that values the same quality of work and expectations as they do.


1.       Homeowners think they can DIY anything

There’s an entire HGTV spinoff channel dedicated to this topic alone, DIY Network. Unfortunately, some homeowners take on more than they can realistically handle. Many run the risk of their projects well surpassing the expected timeline, property damage, or worse, personal injury. Also, if one doesn’t acquire permits, they could get into trouble with their city, possibly being required to tear down and redo all un-permitted work, or even owing fines.

Selling a home without proper permits can also significantly reduce the value of the property due to the risk of any of the work not being completed up to code, which can be hazardous. If problems do arise, permits weren’t pulled, and a homeowner’s insurance claim is presented, the insurance agency will likely reject the claim all together. Unless completing a simple project such as cabinet painting, or other minor cosmetic updates, hiring a professional with proper permit knowledge is highly recommended.


2.       Timing and cost misconceptions

Because these remodeling shows are usually scheduled into 30 or 60-minute blocks, the perception of the time that went into these projects is highly skewed. For example, a single episode of Fixer Upper is filmed (with all hands on deck) in an 8-12-week period depending on the size and scope of the project. This also does not include the application process prior to filming which states that homeowners already need to be in contract with a home and must have a minimum dollar amount of $30,000 to invest in the renovation. Oftentimes, costs and timeframes are severely underestimated by viewers because they don’t see most of the grunt work leading up to and during the project.

The current social culture of urgency doesn’t help this misconception either. Everyone wants things done now, now, now. When realistically, these larger whole house renovation projects that include kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and other living spaces, can take up to 6 months to design the space alone, along with anywhere from 3-6 months of construction. Most remodeling companies aren’t given proper lead times or realistic time frames, so we encourage homeowners to have the initial conversation with a remodeling contractor sooner than later, to ensure proper investment in design and construction time.


3.)    Makes the remodeling process look easy

Despite what many people may think, construction drawings and 3-D renderings are not made in computer programs in which the contractor or designer simply plugs in measurements…and voila! These drawings are all human designed and require several hours to create. Not to mention that most companies produce several drawings in order to show their clients different options to choose from. There is a lot of time, effort, and planning on both the contractor and homeowner side that isn’t properly depicted. Any renovation is creating a plan and then executing that plan. These HGTV shows don’t show viewers just how much time goes into creating drawings, nor do they show the permitting process, or stresses of living through a remodel.


I think it’s safe to say that overall, the HGTV Effect has made a more positive impact than a negative one. To overcome any hurdles, remodeling contractors must continue to educate their clients, remain as honest and transparent as possible, and keep providing quality customer service and craftsmanship. In addition, the presence of HGTV (and its influences on the consumer) can continue to create clientele that appreciates the magnitude of expertise and innovation this industry needs to thrive.

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