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  • Writer's pictureJesse Ledbetter

Lies that HGTV tells

HGTV stars are often entertaining but rarely grounded in reality.

Aside from the morning news, the second most-watched thing on the TV when I perform an appraisal inspection is something on HGTV. Maybe they think it makes them look "more informed?" In truth it makes me feel pity. Today, I'll go over the worst lies seen on HGTV:

"You spent $100,000 on renovations so your value went up $100,000."

Wow. No. That's not how anything works. There are a few things here to address.

  1. The only person legally allowed to express a value opinion on your home is state licensed appraiser. This is akin to someone giving out medical advice on TV without a disclaimer that they're a doctor. Chip and Joanne alone have done this so often as to make themselves liable to approximately $250,000-750,000 in fines by the Appraisal Board of Texas.

  2. The return on investment (ROI) is never 100% if you're using outside labor. In the National Association of Realtor's annual "Remodeling Impact Report," zero of the items listed returned 100% of their cost. This is consistent with various other sources.

"Shiplap... shiplap everywhere!"

Remember this fad? It was going to increase the values for everything. Just slap wood on the wall. As a part of a general remodeling scheme (country sheik, etc) this can be a viable option, but this is a costly wall covering at the end of the day. Unless you are equally upgrading other surfaces (flooring, counters, cabinets, etc) you're unlikely to see any return on value over that of a fresh coat of paint. There is a reason that actual house flippers don't use this. Additionally, this is a fad. It will go out of style and when it does, it will have the same appeal as mirror walls from the 1970's.

"Go for the best, everywhere"

As noted in this Realtor’s opinion of the market area of Waco Texas, these big beautiful homes that Chip and Joanne build have a hard time being sold for what they cost to build.

Builders don’t make markets, buyers do. If there is no one willing to buy a home in a market for more than $250,000, then it doesn’t matter if you put $2,000,000 into it - the ceiling is $250,000. Barring a cash buyer with no knowledge of the area, you’re going to be eating crow and Ramen Noodles for a while.

HGTV can give you a few good ideas for home projects, but please, don't take what they say seriously. It's entertainment. Period.

HGTV can give you some neat ideas to spruce up your home, but get a professional opinion on the big financial decisions. Builders don’t operate in the world of “value” but rather “cost,” and so they make horrible, and self-interested advisors. A qualified real estate appraiser can provide a value of you home pre- and post- renovation so that you can know BEFORE you spend thousands of dollars what your return will be.

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