Home Flipping “Shows” vs. Reality

Thanks to reality TV shows on networks like HGTV, Real Estate celebrities have become a trend much like “influencers” on Instagram. My wife and kids love watching these fix and flip shows from around the country and I love it when my kids ask, “Is this what you do dad?” I respond with a half-smile, “Kind of…” As a real estate professional in the business for nearly 16 years, I laugh at some of the staged goofs and gaffs that these TV agents and investors go through. Some of it is just plane fake!

The positive thing about the prevalence and popularity of these shows is that agents are getting cues from them and most marketing has enhanced amongst the ranks of your typical-every-day real estate agent. However, the negative aspect is that clients are also getting their cues from these shows as well! I am being a bit facetious, but there is truth to my statement.


Things don’t typically happen as fast nor with the facility that is displayed in these shows.

These shows have altered the perception of how things truly happen in real life.Though there is some truth to the dramatized acting, the reality is that most, if not all, footage is staged. Things don’t typically happen as fast nor with the facility that is displayed in these shows. The simple fact that the majority of these shows are half an hour, to one hour, misleads viewers into thinking the time elapsed on each project is tremendously fast. Let’s not forget that some of these programs have been filmed months to a year in advance of their screening, and typically filmed in markets with conditions and pricing that don’t parallel the market you currently reside in. This should be kept in mind when looking to purchase, sell or flip real estate.

What does this do?

This warps the perception of market values, conditions, supply and demand. Take for example the Show Fixer-Upper (which is now only in re-runs and my favorite of all the real estate shows): It takes place in Waco, Texas where the average priced home is $110,000, but in San Diego, CA the average price is $622,000 (bestplaces.net). That’s a huge disparity in price and may confuse and frustrate real estate buyers who can’t understand why that beautiful modern farm house that was purchased and remodeled on Fixer Upper for $300k total, can’t be had in San Diego.


In the reality of things, not all deals are winners nor do they always have a happy ending.

The purpose of this article is not to bash these shows, because honestly, you can actually gleam some great information and knowledge from them. Particularly when it comes to design and what to spend your money on when remodeling and flipping – I do love that aspect. Just keep in mind that these are TV shows looking for a “Hollywood Ending” and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, in the reality of things, not all deals are winners nor do they always have a happy ending. Every seasoned investor knows that you win some and your lose some. Great investors just win more than they lose.

Remember this,

The most important thing when buying, selling or investing in real estate is to do your homework. Understand market nuances and learn how to analyze deals – NUMBERS DON’T LIE! Partner with individuals and agents who are experienced, have strong negotiation skills and a depth of knowledge.

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