HGTV: Never watched it until very recently. Really. What I have done is help hundreds of Buyers and Sellers actually do transactions, preview thousands of properties, go on endless inspections, meet with appraisers, contractors, and everyone else in the process. But HGTV, no.
It could be that maybe I'm the only one I know who wasn't watching it but I'm watching it now. Why? I realize that just as all most of my clients are addicted to Zillow, or at least for the time they are buying or selling a home, they are also consuming tons of content from this channel.
My attitude about all this is the same as how I view Zillow and other portal websites that offer listings, AVMs, advice and more. It has a purpose and place but there's just enough data points out there on the Internet to get the public totally and completely confused. I guess that goes for cable TV too because as far as I can tell from my admittedly limited viewing time, this some some really out there stuff (or substitute another more vernacular "s" word.)
So what prompted this post was an episode I just watched. If this is what Buyers think the home buying process is like or what Realtors do, wow. This particular show featured one of their staple high profile agents and the episode was focused on a couple buying a home needing renovation or as they called it "reno". (I thought they were referring to Reno, NV. Shows what I know.)
Lets pick up at the part where they decide to offer $700K on a $600K property because they know there will be multiple offers. Sounds plausible, maybe on the high side but for dramatization, sure. Then the Buyers decide to go $1K over so the Seller knows they are serious. I sometimes do that too. Their agent (the star of the show) says ok I'll put the offer in. No RPA, no paperwork, ok I can cut them some slack for that because let's face it, other than to me and a few others how interesting are the contracts?
After the commercial, the agent shows up at the Buyers current home and tells them they got the deal! Nice touch. I can't think of a time I ever did that but I'm sure I may have. So far , so good,
But now we go totally off the rails.
Next thing the agent and he Buyers have some sledgehammers and they are starting to knock down walls! Really. Just swinging those sledgehammers right on into that drywall following the agent's lead. Sure, why not? You just bought the house, do your thing new home owners. I'm sure lots of agents do this. At least they were wearing face masks so they weren't inhaling all that dust.
But not crazy enough yet.
When they get past that pesky drywall and are down to the framing the agent starts pulling out the electrical wires - by hand. Presumably the electricity was turned off. Well at least this gave the agent the opportunity to point out to his clients that there were some wiring anomalies that could lead to overloading the system and they should have a (licensed) electrician do any applicable upgrades. I'm down with that.
Next up is the ceiling, no pun intended and they start taking the hammers to that. Sure, why not. No sooner do they get into the ceiling boards than there is a foul smell from what the agent categorizes as a prior leak (that's what it looked like to me). He recommends they get some of whatever they see growing and send it out for some testing. He didn't mention it but how does mold sound?
Well after the ceiling, let's just rip out the cabinets and that small wall between the kitchen and dining area, damn just kick it down. Why not. After that up to the second floor and more of the same plus looking into that bathroom leak and tossing the demolition waste out the window into the waiting dumpster below. Just good clean fun.
Well as they are looking into the bathroom leak the agent decides to call a plumber and get a sewer line video and guess what, it is backed up. But only from an overload due to some downspout problem which the agent can get handled inexpensively (as opposed to some of the sewer line problems I've seen which can cost thousands to remediate).
So after the house is suitably trashed and the Buyers/New Owners have to put it all back together, the agent offers to head off to what looks like Home Depot or some other similar such outlet to help them buy lighting, cabinets, etc. Nice touch and I guess if you let me substitute my workout at the gym with trashing your home I would do the same.
Next up, the agent took their dog to the local dog park to meet other neighbors with dogs but at that point in the show I had enough so truthfully I just couldn't take any more. Presumably by the end the house was put back together and was an amazing remodel done for a fraction of the actual cost. Actually the budget they mentioned seemed quite reasonable but I guess that's possible if it is partially a DIY demolition derby.
Here's why this is Reality TV and not reality IMHO.
The amount of work that they did would require permits and depending where, architectural plans, inspectors and the like. Just not done in an afternoon with your agent helping out.
While you can save money by doing some work yourself, most people need more hired and professional help than this episode would lead you to believe. You really need a general contractor, not your agent with a hammer.
In the real world your agent would have those inspections such as mold, sewer line, electrical done during your inspection period not after the close of escrow.
But like many others, I will be tuning in for more. Why not?
Oh and if you looking for a house to buy so we can knock down the walls, give me a call or text me: 310 975 5139.