Confession time: I have a love/hate relationship with HGTV. Given a free 24 hours, I would happily gorge on House Hunters marathons. I could watch Fixer Upper and Flip or Flop for days. Those shows, those homes, those designs and plans… for those of us who spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about homes and how to make them look their best, those shows are completely addictive. I love them. And then… I meet with a potential client and we start talking about the home improvements they might make to get top dollar for their home and my love affair with those pretty, shiny shows hits the skids.
They tell me they saw an episode of Property Brothers and think that $10,000 of upgrades mean that we can sell their home for $50,000 more. They think we can knock those renovations out in three or four days instead of three or four weeks or months. Or how about my home-buying clients who love House Hunters as much as I do? It’s a bit heart breaking when I have to explain that just because they love a house doesn’t automatically mean they’re going to get a house. Because, here’s the thing… those shows we all love? They’re pretend. But our business? It’s called real estate for a reason. It’s down and dirty, nitty-gritty real-life, full of ups and downs, heart ache and triumph, failed inspections and glorious closings. Real estate – buying and selling your biggest investment? It’s about as real as it gets.
Have you ever noticed how those cutie pie Property Brothers are always a phone call away from their clients? Clients say jump and they say “how high?” on the way up… and they do it with a sledgehammer and a hard hat and they look darling doing it. One of my favorite episodes features Drew (the Realtor) babysitting a client’s child while the clients are knocking out a wall in their new home with Jonathan (the contractor). This TV mindset has evolved into real-life home buyers having some pretty un-real expectations. Now, don’t get me wrong… I want my clients to know that I’m accessible, but it’s unfair to both parties to expect unlimited and immediate access to answers and counsel. I do, actually, sleep occasionally, but more importantly, I want to make sure that when I answer your questions, I’ve researched the question thoroughly and am giving you my very best professional advice.
How about a little House Hunters-style home buying? According to the show, it goes something like this… I show you four or five houses – each one over the budget you’ve established, by the way – and then you have a picnic with your partner and like magic, you both want exactly the same house. We meet in a park and I call the seller and then a few minutes later, you’re giving me a tour of your brand new home and your brand new life.
Ummmm… no. There’s this thing called negotiation. And it’s why you want to hire a real-live Realtor who has spent more than a few episodes – I mean years – honing those negotiating skills.
I don’t mean to be a kill-joy. I still love a good night curled up with my pups in front of the flat screen watching that adorable couple from Fixer Upper turn a Waco dump into a Texas treasure. But, I also think it’s important to embrace the real. I hope you’ll join me on this new blogging journey as I debunk some of the biggest HGTV home improvement and home buying myths. We’ll talk about the true price of a renovation and what upgrades will really increase your home’s value. We’ll talk about TV-ish concepts like “trade outs” and how it’s not really reasonable to expect Home Depot to build you a brand new deck FOR FREE as long as you promise to flash their prominently displayed logo a few times at your first open house. Oh, and we’ll talk about realistic timelines when it comes to renovations. And friends, I promise, I will keep it real. And I’ll keep you sane. And when you’re all settled in your new home… the one you purchased realistically, we’ll have dinner, kick back and watch a few episodes of Rehab Addict… and love every minute!