People who have bought, sold, or renovated homes already know, but if you haven't, don't expect these experiences to be anything like what you see on HGTV. The first thing to remember is that the difference between reality TV and scripted shows is that reality TV uses volunteers instead of professional actors and doesn't expect them to memorize full scripts. Otherwise, these are highly produced fictional stories.
An internet meme makes fun of house buying budgets: No one with any savvy believes a young couple who walk dogs or sculpt for a living can spend half a million dollars for a house. But that's just the beginning. Most of the people who are buying houses on TV already own their dream home, which might even be one of their options to buy on the show. Renovations are done for speed and looks, and probably not by the stars of the TV series. House flippers don't complete a project in one episode, nor do they make the easy money it appears they do.
The exception is the show This Old House. It's been on the air since 1979, before reality TV was a thing. The projects are not quick, cheap, and easy (remember, you can only have two maximum); they are realistic.
There's much more to the fiction behind home purchase and renovation shows, revealed by the people who appeared on them, which you can read about at Lifehacker.
(Image credit: Tomwsulcer)
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