Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or without cable), you’re probably well aware that HGTV’s ever-popular show—Fixer Upper—is in its final season. For the last four years, its powerhouse couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, have pioneered the farmhouse decor trend and inspired DIYers near and far. While I’m upset to see them go, I can’t help but wonder if their departure will have an impact on the real estate world.
Earlier this year, my husband and I purchased a home. One of the first things that our agent asked us is if we were interested in looking at fixer uppers. A seemingly innocent question that we hadn’t even considered. Of course, a fixer upper would have meant that we’d be at the lower end of our budget, but that wasn’t our issue. Our dilemma was time and experience. Did we really have the appropriate amount of time and knowledge to put towards fixing a house up? Between us both working full time and lacking the handyman skillset, we opted to forgo a fixer upper, and purchased a home that required minimal updates.
However, that’s when it dawned on me. Although entertaining, home renovation shows have skewed our perception of the buying process. In one 30-minute episode, a home is purchased, renovations are made, speedbumps are incurred, but yet the buyers’ still settle in. Sure, that’s television for you, but it’s a little unrealistic, to say the least. Ripping up carpet is one thing, but blowing out a wall to give your kitchen an open concept? A whole different ballgame. Not only does that take time and money, but also extensive knowledge. One wrong move, and you could be stuck with structural damage that could deplete your budget and extend your timeline.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Chip and Joanna as much as the next person (I have the book to prove it). And we all know that HGTV has another couple on deck. However, when it comes to a decision as monumental as buying a home, these shows should be used as a source of creative inspiration, not a renovation how-to guide.