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HGTV’s Love It or List It has shown a real knack for capturing the hopes and dreams of homeowners. While designer Hilary Farr performs renovation magic on a couple’s home, real estate agent David Visentin tours new homes with the couple, presenting new neighbourhoods and different housing options. Over the course of an episode, the couple’s home transforms, forcing them to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each new choice. So many considerations. What would you do if you were in the same situation?
It’s easy to get drawn down the rabbit hole into this engaging world of buying a new home or loving your current house’s renovations. But despite its branding as a reality show, it’s essential to remember that Love It or List It is still more “show” than “reality,” glossing over some of the big hassles that renovations often involve.
The biggest drawback to Love It or List It (or any similar show) is its lack of budget reality. What doesn’t often get said is that most of the building materials are sponsored or donated. In many cases, the labour is too. So, the cost that is represented on screen is misrepresented, leading to unrealistic expectations for the viewer.
Another unrealistic aspect of the show is the timeframe in which the renovations appear to take place. The quick turnaround from initial reno design to completed construction is only possible if you have large teams and a production-line type of scheduling. To achieve the renovation results as quickly as what’s depicted on the show, it will cost more money.
As important as it might be for good television, the staged " big reveal" is far removed from reality. Nobody gets a renovation done without viewing it during construction. In fact, many clients live in their home during small remodels. Also, hardly anyone lets a designer make all the choices. Typically, you work with a designer to decide on finish selections and room layout, so that they match your lifestyle goals and budget.
That said, what do they get right? As is often the case on Love It or List It,if you love your home and your location, then you should totally stay put and do a remodel. What insights can we offer on why people have bad remodel experiences? Often, it may be due to hiring the cheapest option. Always remember: you get what you pay for. And that’s a reality more satisfying than you’ll see depicted in any show.
If you've got a renovation in mind, and are looking to add value to your home or cottage, take a look at our list of 8 ways to increase its value.