HGTV vs. Real Life Architecture: What’s the Difference?


People looking to buy a new property or remodel their existing homes sometimes have unrealistic expectations. They believe home design projects function like reality television, often leading to frustration and disappointment. Unfortunately, most house flips and home design projects you see on TV are heavily staged. The whole process may look breathtaking and effortless, but in reality, it requires careful planning and tight deadlines. To set the record straight, we will compare HGTV vs. real life architecture: what’s the difference?

Building Codes and Approvals

It often feels like no projects in TV land ever run into red tape issues. However, in real life, every project regarding construction or renovation will require approvals and a ton of paperwork. You should also consider homeowners’ association requirements since the HOA can limit what kind of work you can do on your property. Knowing all the local regulations is essential for first-time homebuyers who want to buy old properties and fix them up before selling. Doing some initial research can save you a lot of headaches down the line.

You don’t want to get stuck putting all of your money into a fixer-upper only to realize that it is impossible to turn it into the home of your dreams. When we compare getting approvals for building codes between HGTV vs. real life architecture, it’s obvious the process has been sped up for TV. In reality television, there are rarely any major complications that can cause the entire project to come to a standstill. Don’t rush into a project hoping everything will magically work out. Instead, we suggest contacting professionals for architecture and design who can explain what paperwork you’ll need and how to get the necessary approvals.

Working on a Fixed Timeline

In real life, construction and renovation projects run into delays all the time. Even when working with tight deadlines, something can always go wrong and cause delays. If your project has a fixed timeline, it can get out of sync if you run into any issues. If you have a tight work schedule and something goes wrong, there will be a cascade of scheduling issues, and everything will get pushed back. In order to avoid these problems, it’s best to leave some wiggle room and queue up tasks that can continue working independently.

On the other hand, TV crews have seemingly endless craftsmen always ready to step in and handle things. Large television productions also have numerous suppliers on standby, ready to fulfill custom product orders at a moment’s notice. Due to the large number of available professionals, the show’s production can quickly iron out any delays, and the project can seamlessly continue.

Design Decisions

At the beginning of every reality TV episode, a couple is shown discussing their dream home without any realistic plans on how to make it happen. Regardless of their lack of skill or involvement in the project, everything is concluded by the end. This is because on TV, everything is pre-planned, and filming is edited so that it always works out within the timeframe of a single episode.

However, these projects require much planning and negotiating in real life architecture. Additionally, this isn’t something you can do once at the beginning of the project. You will need to prepare for multiple meetings after every significant milestone. Unfortunately, some design decisions must wait until other project parts are completed.

One of the main advantages of working with professionals is the ability to rely on them for most design decisions. Of course, if you want your ideal dream home to become a reality, it is encouraged that you, as the client, work alongside the designers and architects. Unlike much of reality television, where the crew seems to design a home without the client’s input, you should at least be partially involved in how the project is progressing. Even expert architects occasionally need your input regarding how you want certain aspects of your home to look.

Budgeting Issues

There will always be unexpected expenses in any major real estate development. It would be best to set aside part of your overall budget as a contingency fund. You can use this money in case of emergencies, and if you don’t end up needing it – consider it money saved. General industry wisdom states that you should set aside between 10 and 15 percent of your total budget for contingencies.

Homebuyers on TV have seemingly endless resources at their disposal. Even when problems occur during their projects, those issues are always easily addressed. However, most shows have sponsors who contribute funds, materials, or labor.

A DIY Approach

Reality TV is renowned for making DIY renovations look easy. While there are some aspects you could handle by yourself, there are particular home renovations you should leave to the pros. To take on any home renovation, you will need the appropriate tools and skills. However, you can waste time and money if you don’t know what you are doing. Worse, you will probably need to call professionals to patch up your mistakes.

Not Considering Geography

This is one of the trickiest differences between HGTV vs. real life architecture. People who view TV shows believe everything works the same regardless of where you live. They might take the costs they see on TV as absolute and use them to create their home renovation budget. However, you must factor in the cost difference based on your region.

If you plan to buy or renovate a home in a different state, you should research the local prices before going forward with your project. For example, if you are planning to purchase property in New Orleans from out of state, you should first get familiar with the local market. Additionally, when moving to New Orleans from far away and looking for long distance movers, you should try to find a team that can handle this. Professionals that have experience in the area you are moving to can also give you advice and tips on the local real estate market.

In Conclusion

When comparing HGTV vs. real life architecture, there are numerous differences. You should never plan your real estate project according to what you saw on TV since you will be in for a nasty surprise. Thankfully, through careful planning and research, and with the help of seasoned experts, your dream home can become a reality.

We are looking for an Architectural Designer to join the team!