TV Renovations vs Real Renovations

If you've been looking at doing a possible renovation, addition, or custom build house in today's market, we are sure that as a homeowner, you've been trying to do your homework. And thanks to the HGTV network on TV, you feel like you know what you want, how you want it to look and when you want it done. We have had quite a few clients within the last number of years who have been watching all the home renovation shows thinking they know what they are getting themselves into.

Here are a few tips to help decipher what happens on a reality show vs a real home renovation.

1. Timing- Obviously, a normal sized home renovation doesn't happen over an hour or even half hour. These clients on the reality shows often have large scale renovations that can take weeks or even months and often are condensed into a matter or days or weeks depending on the size. Its also important to understand that when doing a renovation, you may not be able to live in your house and if you are able to, you would be surrounded by construction debris (dust, tools, job materials etc), tradesmen (plumbers, inspectors, laborers and everything in between), and all the noise that comes with them. Also, to start a project takes tons of planning. Your contractor must meet with engineers (Structural, Architectural, Electrical to name a few) and make sure every code and detail is correct before demo or any type of work begins and sometimes this can take weeks before getting the go-ahead. If you are looking to start in a short time frame, keep in mind there is a checklist that should be completed by any contractor before starting work.

2- Budgets- One of the most important, if not THE most important aspect of doing ANY home renovation is budgeting. In most of the reality shows featuring home renovations, there is rarely a mention of budgets, if they are under or over or even if they are meeting the clients budget requirements. Also, if you do hear of any pricing or budgets you should also keep in mind that most of these programs are featured in the US, where their dollar is fairly lower (as of this date) than our Canadian dollar, so converting to our dollar can be quite a big difference in pricing. 

3. Staging- Often after a completion of a renovation, custom build or a house flip, its time to decorate the interior. One thing that helps sell a house is staging- a process where Designers will come and set up a space or house in a way that will be pleasing to potential buyers. They bring in cleaning crews to clean all the dust and dirt and the designers come in to help define specific spaces and assist with buyers seeing what can be done and give ideas on how they may want to decorate upon purchase. 

4. Stress- Doing a renovation can be stressful on an individual or family. Dealing with budgets, noise, unexpected renovation issues/setbacks can often lead to unintended frustration, anxiety, and stress and you don't always see that shown on TV. Your contractor should be there every step of the way to let you how things are progressing, time and budget wise and give you options if something comes up unexpectedly. 

5. Details- Any renovation, custom build, house flip comes with A LOT of details that are hardly shown on TV to save time. Applying for the right building permits, scheduling, where your things will be stored, inspections, deciding on types of job materials are essential to running your project on the scheduled timeline before starting as some materials and permits can be delayed by municipalities or by shipping delays. 

While watching reality home-makeover shows might be inspiring, it’s important to be realistic, and discuss your plans and details with your planned contractor. Finding the right contractor will save you stress, time and will be your steady hand as your renovation takes place.