The one thing HGTV’s learned over the years is that, no matter what, people are going to buy the fairytale they’re selling. Loren Ruch, HGTV’s senior vice-president of development and production, pointed out to The New Yorker that what people are seeing when they tune into HGTV is the happiest moments of people’s lives: They’re buying new houses, they’re turning their houses into their dream homes, and living out the American Dream.
What you don’t see is the scaffolding holding up the dream. Or rather, the scaffolding that paid for the dream. Julia Polly from Angi explained that, on average, a full kitchen renovation can cost anywhere between $25,000 to $40,000. Bathrooms can cost between $10,000 and $25,000 to completely renovate. For a whole-house makeover, Polly noted that you’re going to want to budget at least $75,000. The problem is, 65% of respondents to their survey believed the home improvement shows they love to watch led them to believe they could have their dream home for much cheaper.
In 2021, High Noon, HGTV’s production company, put up an ad looking for homeowners wanting to be on an HGTV show with “an existing renovation budget of at least $75,000 and are willing to vacate during renovation,” The New Yorker reported. But because the network often gets discounts on goods and services, what viewers are seeing showcased on television is worth more than what the homeowners paid.