HGTV Everyones Home 1

HGTV is Everyone’s Home For Entertainment

Ever wondered what the appeal of home renovation shows is?

There is such a variety of home shows out there and there’s even a whole network dedicated to them.

Founded in 1994, HGTV was originally called the Home, Lawn and Garden Channel. Fast forward to 2010, and the channel was called Home and Garden TV, or HGTV.

In 2016, the only cable channels that had more viewers than HGTV were Fox News and ESPN, making it the third most-watched.

But, what makes these shows so popular? What draws people into the lives of seemingly random people on TV who are buying or renovating a home?

Of course, these shows are for entertainment.

That’s the purpose of all reality TV and any form of media in general.

Robert Scott, a specialist professor of communication, referenced the length of the shows stating, “Producers would not be able to fit every aspect of purchasing a home into a 30- or 60-minute television program. I suspect too much detail would be challenging to edit and would significantly affect pacing so that the end result would be less entertaining.”

Christopher Otteau, MAI, an adjunct real estate professor and CEO of 3P Equity Capital, also acknowledged irrational parts of the programs.

Otteau said, “One of the unrealistic aspects is when [the hosts] assume [that] because you purchase a house for example $50,000 less, the buyer then has that much more construction funds.  That would only be the case if it were a cash deal.”

He continued, “If a buyer was putting down for example 20 percent, then a $50,000 reduction in purchase price would save only $10,000 in cash for construction.”

Since the programs are only 30 or 60 minutes, there’s only so much content that can be shown, meaning a lot of the technical aspects of buying or renovating a house is edited out.

This leads to a much more fast-paced process as opposed to the lengthy, yet realistic, process of waiting for everything to be completed.

Although not every step of the home buying process is included in the shows, it still gives viewers an idea of what to expect for when they become  House Hunters.

To Otteau, the shows “provide a good depiction of the overall home buying process.  Yes of course they eliminate much of the downtime in a deal due to its not interesting for TV, but overall they capture the process.”

Otteau also appreciates how HGTV highlights some of the pitfalls first time buyers experience.

“These shows feature the issues buyers find either during inspections or post-closing while in construction.  This aspect is very realistic and should be a teaching moment for first time home buyers.”

Viewers are able to picture themselves in the situations of the people because buying and selling a property is something almost everyone will experience.

Scott said, “Reality TV can be informative, compelling, and entertaining. It is also a form of escapism.”

Scott continued, “As a result, I believe part of the appeal is that it’s easy for viewers to imagine themselves in the featured situations, since they are presented by ordinary people rather than celebrities.”

It’s important to note that the people in the shows are “normal,” and there are lots of different kinds of people.

Some shows feature families with children, some are only a single person buying a home, and others have people and families all in between.

This means anyone can relate to the people in the shows.

HGTV Everyones Home 2Along with this, a lot of the shows are set up the same way and have similar outcomes.

However, it’s not about the outcomes, but the content of the shows and the “journey” the people are taking that hooks people and keeps them interested.

This so-called “journey” that viewers take with the people on the show can actually provide tips and tricks regarding being a home owner, even if a majority of the editing is done for entertainment value.

People can get ideas, insight, and see what they would want in a potential home.

Considering this, Scott said, “Viewers should watch with a careful eye and always conduct additional research before trying similar things on their own.”

Even though the shows all follow a similar structure, the personalities, situations of the different people and the “normalcy” of them all can attribute to the interest of viewers.

It also puts an entertaining spin on something that can seem like a long and uninteresting process.

A much shorter explanation, though, is that people like to watch others knock down walls and break things.

Maybe it’s a little bit of everything that keeps HGTV in so many people’s homes.