Do you spend hours obsessing over “House Hunters”, “Property Brothers” and “Joanna Gaines”? If you are an HGTV addict…. I am here to provide an INTERVENTION before you ruin your home buying experience!

I meet a lot of buyers that compare every home they view to ones they see on renovation and design shows. There is always a “modern floor plan” with granite countertops and sparkling chandeliers. A move-in ready appeal down to the couch cushions and fancy coffee maker. But like most ‘reality TV’ and social media accounts you are only seeing the polished and filtered end-result.

First Time Home Buying 101 – Buying a Home in 2021

According to National Association of Realtors Sixty-eight percent of REALTORS® said their buyers were disappointed by how homes for sale appeared in real life compared with those seen on TV shows.

Are these TV shows leading to unrealistic expectations? Yes… and here’s why.


 A home renovation montage on TV transforms the place in a short and sweet hour, when in reality it is often a weeks or months-long process where one project opens a can of worms to a dozen more. The TV families are rarely living “in” the renovation and while a budget is always mentioned, you can bet that the sponsorship of furniture stores, appliance companies, and even local businesses make a huge contribution to the costs and labor. Unless you are loved by all the home improvement experts in your town, you can’t rely on discounts and prioritized scheduling. Renovations take time, money, and emotional endurance.


Most buyers look online first for homes these days, and they place a lot of weight on pictures. But much like online dating, photos are almost always strategically angled and as filtered as possible. And while video and virtual tours are more common now, they still can’t show you the 3-D reality: smells, noises, or that incredibly awkward neighbor staring at you from across the street. That perfectly staged condo looks amazing on the website, but I have had so many clients become disillusioned once they walk into a place that the “Catfish” effect makes them bitter. Save your disappointment for that next Tinder match, not your biggest financial investment!


When looking for homes it is great to keep the “Serenity Prayer” in mind. Be aware of what you can change: that backsplash tiling, new flooring, fresh paint. And what you can not change: the LOCATION (you can paint a house but you can’t move it!),, and don’t forget the big ticket systems like roof, electricity, plumbing, HVAC. The HGTV effect has buyers occupied with the surface value of decor and decoration, but in any home renovation you will spend the big bucks on the major systems. You can learn how to re-tile a backsplash from YouTube, but you really don’t want to try to replace all the piping yourself!

So next time you tune into “Flip Or Flop”, remember that these shows may just be putting lipstick on a pig. Very pretty lipstick, but usually hiding something nasty underneath!

For more buyer tips check out these next videos.

If you have any questions, email me at [email protected] or call 904-747-0183

I hope this helps with your HGTV addiction thanks for tuning in and I’ll catch you on the next one.

About the Author
Kim Devlin
Kim Devlin is Your St Augustine Realtor. A Relocation Specialist serving Northeast Florida, St Johns County and Flagler County. She enjoys sharing real estate tips and local insight on communities and living in St Augustine Florida. Tune in weekly and be sure to subscribe to her monthly newsletter.