The problem with HGTV

Published on September 30th, 2019

Watch HGTV and you’ll likely see a so-so home transformed into a palace, all in 30 minutes.

The dream isn’t the reality in the world of real-life home renovations. What took editors a week to piece together for your viewing pleasure, took contractors, designers and vendors months to pull off.

What people don’t see are the long hours on a job site, or the finicky inspector carefully looking at every nail, crack and seam. What TV audiences don’t see are the orders that are delayed or products that are out of stock, further delaying a contractor’s work.

Here’s a look at what goes into a remodel that you don’t see on home improvement TV:

• Heart-to-Heart client meetings. This part can take time. Clients don’t always know what they want going into a project. It’s up to the contractor to help guide a client to the finished product they would like to see. Communication is key when it comes to understanding the client’s vision.

• Sourcing products. Many projects stall when a client is indecisive over fixtures, and flooring, plumbing and paint colors. We want clients to know what floors, windows, doors, tiles, paint colors, etc., they want. We’re here to help, even if that means a little hand holding.

• Building permits and home inspections. The paperwork and logistics can be overwhelming. Many contractors will handle the paperwork; it’s built into their price. However, clients often don’t realize the time it takes to stand in line at city hall to get everything in order.

Condos can be a challenge. You not only need the proper city documents, but condo boards also have a myriad of rules, many that often require special licensing and insurance some subcontractors don’t have. They also might want you to use particular products to ensure the safety of their building.

Then when all your papers are signed and stamped, home inspectors have to provide their seal of approval. Homeowners have to play a role, often scheduling visits and ensuring someone is around to wait for inspectors who don’t show up on time.

And if one inspector doesn’t sign off on an element of a project, it means you might not be able to move forward until they do. This happens a lot with plumbing, for example.

• Product deliveries. Too many times our work is delayed because no one was home to receive a delivery, or worse, the delivery never arrived.

Working hand in hand with clients will help overcome the hurdles and delays that come with a remodel. Helping them manage their expectations about time and speed is a good place to start.

Our other recommendation, if you’re launching into a remodel, turn off the TV and read a book. Trust you’ll be happier and so will your contractor.