HGTV has been around for nearly 30 years, but the past several have seen the network's shows really become popular, turning the hosts of series like Home Town, Windy City Rehab, and Flip or Flop into bona fide stars who can turn their TV show into even bigger business opportunities. With the extreme popularity, though, people do begin to pay closer attention to what's actually going on behind the scenes, and now it seems that HGTV could actually be tricking viewers into thinking that all of those home renovations are easier and more affordable than they really are.
If your immediate response is, "Well, no duh!" congratulations on either knowing way more about rehabbing houses than most people, or (possibly) being far less gullible than some fans who watch the programming on HGTV. But, it sounds like these series might be convincing fans that renovating a whole house is way cheaper than it usually is, because homeowners who appear on HGTV get special discounts regular folks wouldn't have access to. The network recently confirmed this with Business Insider India, and sent a statement saying:
Design work is paid for by homeowners. HGTV pays for some labor or costs to expedite production if needed, but generally, homeowners are paying for their services. And, they may have access to discounted services or goods.
If you've ever watched Property Brothers, Love It or List It, or Good Bones and wondered how the hosts and their construction / design teams have managed to rebuild crappy houses and turn them into complete dream homes, there's your answer. HGTV sometimes gives a bit of a financial boost to these shows so that the builds are done in a timely enough manner, not to mention helping homeowners get discounts for goods and services.
Regardless of what your favorite shows are on the channel, they are all designed to give us engaging hosts who'll be able to show off impressive homes once the hour is over. But, renovating, or building a house from scratch (as they do on 100 Day Dream Home), is typically an arduous process and can be filled with unexpected expenses. So, if the homeowners haven't put up a budget which allows for extra construction crew to work overtime so that their home is done before a bit storm hits, HGTV might step in to take care of that.
While something like that makes sense from a production standpoint, and seems rather reasonable because of it, the thought of some of those magnificent homes being filled with fancy countertops, windows, flooring, appliances and other items which are actually heavily discounted just because the owners elected to be featured on HGTV is probably the most surprising. I'd never really considered that this might be happening behind the scenes, and a lot of other fans probably hadn't, either.
As Home Again with the Fords star, Steve Ford, told The New Yorker, homeowners can certainly end up "getting more for their buck than they should" after agreeing to appear on a series like his, and this can lead the average HGTV viewer to think:
Oh, I can do this! I can make this crazy thing happen at my house that should be in a magazine. And I can do it for X dollars!
While I will say that it is a bit disappointing for the many HGTV series to not disclose these discounts or admit to what the network has paid for, hits like Fixer to Fabulous and Rehab Addict Rescue are basically reality shows, which tend to leave a lot on the cutting room floor. If they have to fudge the financial details a little in order to give us the covetable homes we want to see at the end, a lot of fans would probably say it's worth it.