Lessons I’ve Learned From HGTV: A Remodeler’s Take

When clients come to us for a renovation, it’s not unlikely that they already have a little experience with remodeling. This could be because they’ve remodeled before, have friends and family that have renovated their homes, or… they’re avid HGTV watchers. I have to admit, I’ve watched a bit of HGTV myself, and while sometimes it seems unrealistic (what do you mean a whole house remodel for $50,000?!), there are definitely some lessons to be learned. Here are my highlights:

  • Focus on what’s important. Often times, homeowners on HGTV are faced with some sort of ultimatum: they can remodel their bathroom or their kitchen. They can add new French doors or get rid of popcorn ceilings. This theme of prioritizing is crucial to remodeling. Figure out what aspects of a remodel are important to you and your family and make decisions to prioritize them… even if it means waiting to indulge in a new 80” HD TV. *sigh*
  • Be ready for the unexpected. If I’ve learned anything from Fixer Upper, it’s that old homes come with surprises. Whether it’s rotten old pipes, faulty foundation, or (to Joanna’s enjoyment) shiplap hiding under sheetrock, houses can come with all sorts of hidden – ahem – presents. Contractors typically include a “general conditions” line item to remediate hidden conditions like these, but it’s equally important for homeowners to allot some, err, emotional currency (i.e. patience and understanding) should their home have an unexpected issue.
  • Trust in the process. In many HGTV shows (and TV shows of any kind), there’s always a dramatic climax of some sort. A heavy barn door that’s key to the design can’t be hung as planned, a window is broken days before the final reveal, or a lead contractor comes down with carpal tunnel and can’t work for 4 weeks. No matter the problem, it’s usually paired with some dramatic music and, of course, a commercial break. However, after the commercials, the result is always the same: the builders have solved the problem! Just like in these dramatized examples, your real-life contractor is trained and able to work through difficulties just like these. Trust that you’ve hired the right person and they’ll take care of the heavy lifting to make sure your dreams come true – no commercial break necessary.

Have you learned any lessons from HGTV? Whether they’re practical, goofy, or otherwise, we’d love to hear your findings.

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