How much do you think it costs to remodel a used home in your area? If you are like most, thanks to reality TV, your guess may be short by several thousands of dollars—not to mention the cost of the extended time it often takes to complete a remodel.

A new phenomenon called HGTV Syndrome is sweeping the nation.

HGTV Syndrome is the term that real estate agents, homebuilders, contractors and designers are using to describe what happens when consumers base their expectations of home buying and remodeling on what they see in HGTV shows like House Hunters, Flip Flop, or Property Brothers.

Now, we know that these shows are fun to watch! They may actually be a great way for you to get a sense of what kinds of home features you really love. But, consumer beware… they rarely tell the whole story.

Brittany and Ray bought a used home and hoped to remodel it over time, doing it themselves in order to save on labor costs. They started by gutting their kitchen and quickly found that they were in over their heads.


Unfortunately, Brittany and Ray are not alone. Even buyers who don’t plan to remodel their used home, can run into a laundry list of repairs that they didn’t expect.

Reality TV is quickly becoming most consumers’ primary point of experience with home buying. And unfortunately, many of these TV shows deliberately alter the viewers perspective of a home buying or remodeling experience by not showing the weeks of planning and preparing that take place before the “one-week” of filming.

The shows that focus on do-it-yourself projects very often emphasize lengthening the time a project takes by weeks in order to shorten the budget, a trade off that is not realistic for the majority of homeowners. Did you know the shows that depict inexperienced friends and family “flipping” a home in a short amount of time actually use trained crews right alongside them?

Just like you might expect from “reality” shows like The Real World or The Bachelor, what you see on HGTV and other networks like it are just not reality.

So what does that mean for you? It means you may need to double check where your expectations are coming from.

Here is a quick quiz to test yourself:

  • Do you think it is easy to find a used home that doesn’t need to be renovated?

  • Do you look at black and white appliances and think they are old, even if they are brand-new?

  • If you don’t plan to remodel, do you expect a used home to be move-in ready with no repairs or that the seller will lower their price or accept an offer that requires them to pay for repairs?

  • Is your budget for a full kitchen renovation (demolition, new cabinets, new flooring, appliances, backsplash, lighting, accessories and labor) $10,000?

  • Do you think flipping a house for profit is easy without many pitfalls?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you might suffer from HGTV Syndrome. Fortunately, the cure is simple. Buy new.

Want to see how a new home and a used home measure up?

If a remodel is more of a hassle and expense than you thought, the answer is to buy new. Want to see what it’s like to buy a new home from Shea Homes? Check out this link to learn more. 

(Sources: InMan, New Home Source)

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