Most helpful home improvement shows?

Written By: Kathy Price-Robinson - Aug• 11•07

GardnerkitchenAre home improvement TV shows really helpful? Or are they just content wrapped around commercials?

AOL has put together a list of its 17 most useful home improvement TV shows:

Take Home Handyman (TLC), Dream House (HGTV), What’s With That House? (HGTV), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC), Flipping Out (Bravo), Toolbelt Diva (DIY), House Hunters (HGTV), Bought and Sold (HGTV), Designed to Sell (HGTV), Freestyle (HGTV), How Clean Is Your House? (BBC America), This Old House (PBS and DIY), Curb Appeal (HGTV), Design Star (HGTV), Divine Design (HGTV), Flip This House (A&E), and Trading Spaces (TLC).

Do you agree?

My pet peeve: Most property flipping shows do not factor in the real estate agent’s commission, or loan costs, or points, or carrying costs. So the final tally that shows their amazing profit is a bit bogus. Also, when a show is all about how much a house is worth, I’d like to see a follow-up segment to determine if the homeowners were in fact able to sell or refinance the house based on that value. And these shows that stage homes to sell? Sometimes I’ll notice $20,000 in new furniture showing up in the house with no mention in the stated budget. Where did all those expensive pieces come from? A little more financial reality in these reality shows would be nice, thank you very much.

Your thoughts? Opinions? Pet peeves?

(Photo: Courtesy of Liese Gardner)

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22 Comments

  1. Terry says:

    You totally forgot the best one HOLMES ON HOMES. He fixes up all the screwups and as an added bonus, he’s hot.

  2. willie says:

    The one that really tickles my funny bone is “Design to Sell” They only account for the cost of materials, but is all about labor costs which makes more minor remodels an expensive proposition. Figure out that a $2000.00 budget needs at least $10,000 in labor, this includes professional fees of the decorator, the carpenter, the plummers and other professionals. Can you imagine how much Lisa Laport cost? That is some expensive painter you’ve got.
    With respect to the furniture, they do say that the homeowner provided the furniture, which is technically cheating and devalues the underlying value of the show. Unless you are a professional, most of the work done requires a permit, license electricians and plummers and of course one of those big roll out dumpsters that cost about 400 a week to rent. These are costs that are not added unto the price of the remodel.
    It is good entertainent, but so is Fantasy Land!

  3. Rich says:

    While I realize that the flipping shows are trying to be about the entertaining aspects of the construction my pet peeve with them is that they never go into the financial fundamentals even a little bit. Buying a $700,000 property in order to squeeze out a $50,000 profit is a much riskier proposition than buying a $150,000 property to squeeze out a $25,000 profit. Your potential loss from market downturn or unexpected defects is orders of magnitude greater and that should be stated whenever the program deals with pricey flips.
    Another financial fundamental that needs to be covered given how many of the episodes are filmed in the California market is that buying property outside of the normal range of affordability for the region’s buyers is also risky. The median income for a single wage earner in California is about $43,000, so even most 2-job California couples are not going to be able to buy the $700,000 flip house when it’s finished. The flip shows emphasize what other houses sell for in the neighborhood, but that’s not really the best way of looking at price. It’s painfully obvious to most of us from other parts of the country watching these programs that many of the expensive flip houses in the California episodes are thinly-constructed trash that won’t be worth a fraction of what they sold for when the market corrects…

  4. BLWOL says:

    You left out “Ask This Old House”. If you had to pick one, I think “Ask This Old House” would be a better choice over “This Old House”.

  5. Thelma Taylor says:

    I don’t k now if this is the way to I.D. the Mystic Inventory guys who flipped a house on one show by buying their materials in China. I would like to know if they are in the decorating business and will help someone in Illinois?
    Of all the flips, I thought theirs was phenomenal. I am not in the flipping business I just want their help in renovating our home.

  6. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  7. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  8. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  9. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  10. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  11. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  12. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  13. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  14. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  15. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  16. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  17. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  18. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  19. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  20. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  21. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

  22. I think these shows are a blessing and a curse to the home staging industry. They have helped a lot in educating the public about the importance of staging, but are very inaccurate and foster some bad behavior on the part of home sellers. I wrote to one of the home staging shows pointing out that they are creating unrealistic expectations about how much home staging actually costs. Their response was that there is a disclaimer at the end of the show stating that the $2,000 does not include labor. If they hadn’t pointed that out to me, I never would have known it was there. Also, the techniques they use to get the job done, are sometimes questionable, often sloppy and poorly executed. The paint jobs make me want to pull my hair out and I would never staple window treatments over a window. How tacky!

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