Which HGTV Shows Are Real? HGTV vs Reality

a family shaking hands with a realtor in front of a property

The popular TV show HGTV (Home and Gardening TV) is one of the best shows to watch for home improvement tips and inspiration. Watching the shows offers a unique insight into some of the best home searches across the globe.

However, when it comes to real estate investing, what’s shown on screen isn’t always the same as reality. Most of HGTV’s episodes are scripted. While nothing seems wrong with the scripts, inaccurate information can be harmful to new buyers and investors.

Figuring out which HGTV shows are real and what’s fabricated for the story is important for real estate investors. Keep reading to learn what the differences are between what’s shown on HGTV and what happens in reality.

1. Real Estate Transactions Don’t Happen in a Day

On HGTV shows, everything, including the transactions, happens fast. The way it’s shown, buying a property is like going to the store and buying a sandwich – it’s so quick and easy.

However, in reality, real estate takes time to transact. According to Investopedia, it can take between 40 to 50 days to close on a house, not including all the previous steps involved in buying real estate. HGTV shows miss out on integral parts of the buying process, so viewers should note that buying a property takes longer than it seems.

Before you acquire a property, there are several steps that you have to fulfill, including:

If the process is rushed and completed as quickly as what HGTV depicts, this can either be impossible or catastrophic. This is especially the case when investing large sums of money in real estate.

2. A Realtor’s Job is More Complex Than HGTV Shows

a millennial couple being shown around an empty property by a realtor

Real estate agents have a ton of work to do when it comes to real estate investing. In HGTV shows, an agent shows up and doesn’t struggle at all to find a buyer. One is readily available to make an offer on a house and negotiate a price. The deal is then sealed very quickly, with minimal discussion and fuss.

However, in reality, a real estate agent has a whole host of marketing work they need to do to find a good buyer. For example, advertising the property, helping sellers prepare for a sale, and hosting high-quality open houses. Real estate agents also often have to engage in a lot of follow-ups and discussions to get a buyer to make an offer, negotiate a good price, and seal the deal.

In summary, here‘s an overview of a real estate agent’s duties before the process is complete:

3. Property Renovations Require Significant Planning & Coordination

a person inspecting a property marking on a clipboard

HGTV often starts with a host acquiring a home at an auction bay. Firstly, buying a house at auction, especially when you intend to flip a property, requires significant pre-planning.

Without getting a contractor involved and gaining quotes for the work in advance of buying, investors can end up losing money on flipping a property. It can also lead to permit issues and code violations in the future if renovations aren’t properly planned.

But, on HGTV, the property is bought, the acquisition process is skipped, and the clients jump straight into renovating the property, with a contractor already working on site. This is done for entertainment purposes, however, it can be misleading. Skipping the planning and coordination part of the process can lead viewers to think flipping a property with no experience is easier than it seems.

The reality of real estate investing includes planning and careful coordination of the whole process. For example, before skipping on to the rehabilitation process, you have to get the relevant permits and inspections, procure the contractor by taking bids, and begin the work schedules. This can take several weeks to complete. With HGTV, everything works in a flash, which isn’t a reality.

4. Buyers Are Not Naive

When determining which parts of HGTV shows are real, it’s important not to discount how the buyers are portrayed. On HGTV, buyers are often shown to be very naïve. They conform, accept, and agree with anything a relator says about a property and the process.

However, in reality, buyers are savvy and not naive at all. Thanks to technology and a wealth of available information, buyers have excellent insight into what’s happening in the real estate market. Most buyers also do their own homework to fact-check quotes, prices, and anything else a realtor says.

Additionally, most buyers on HGTV are shown to not know their budget at all. This is a work of fiction, as every buyer seeks to understand their budgets and how to finance a property (especially how to fund home improvements) before looking to buy or sell.


HGTV is a great program to watch for entertainment, inspiration, and valuable home improvement/interior design tips. However, the buying process is portrayed very differently from reality. This is to make the program more exciting to watch. But buyers and investors should use caution while watching the show.

The process of buying a house and flipping a property requires significantly more planning, especially if you want to increase resale value. The reality is that buyers visit different sites before settling on one. They have a budget and know the type of property they want.

Also, you will rarely find a buyer who is not knowledgeable about real estate. When buyers and sellers come to realtors, they seek professional guidance to lead them to invest wisely. But they will already have very strong knowledge about what they want and how much they want to spend.

Are you thinking about selling a property or investing in real estate in Philadelphia? Brotherly Love Real Estate are your local property experts. We buy houses fast for cash, helping you skip closing costs and sell a house in as little as 21 days.

To learn more about investing in Philadelphia and selling to an investor, contact us online or give our expert team a call at (215) 769-9875.