What You Can Learn From Those Real Estate TV Shows

PHOTO: A mailman delivers mail to a house for sale in Quincy, Mass. on July 10, 2014.Michael Dwyer/AP Photo
A mailman delivers mail to a house for sale in Quincy, Mass, July 10, 2014.

It seems that no matter who you bump into at a party or see on the street, everyone can discuss HGTV and those homebuying or home improvement shows. These television shows are so widely appreciated because almost everyone has to buy, sell and maintain a home of their own or rental property in their lifetime. But, after hours of binge watching Property Brothers, Extreme Makeover and House Hunters, what do we learn about real estate?

Before You Buy

So many of these shows discuss the process of establishing a budget and being realistic about how much house you can afford. (But there's something else you should do before you start shopping for a house -- checking your credit score.) Potential homebuyers on real estate shows often have several choices -- whether it’s between several homes or whether to buy a new home versus renovating the current one. Oftentimes one of the options is missing some features but falls within the budget while another will have more of what the people are looking for but above the budget. In these cases (both on the show and in real life) it’s important to separate needs from wants when it comes to real estate.

More From Credit.com: Check Your Credit Before Buying a Home

These programs also express the importance of seeing multiple options -- even though an episode may showcase three major choices, it’s a good idea to not limit yourself. See as many properties as you need to before you find the right one for you.

These shows demonstrate how you can look at the future of a home as well as the present state. This can be done by prioritizing the changes you can and will make once you’ve purchased a home. For example, one of the big lessons is often that when you are on the home hunt, it’s a good idea to ignore the décor and search for potential. Just because a property is not decorated to your taste, you can still turn the property into a home for you with a little work. However, at the same time, looks can make the difference between a sale and a fail.

More From Credit.com: How to Close on a Home or Real Estate Deal and Avoid Problems

Striving to Sell

So, if you are selling, these real estate shows demonstrate why it’s a good idea to make the home look attractive and neutral because not all buyers are able to see past details to the potential of a home.

More From Credit.com: How Selling Your Home Can Impact Your Credit

Many times these shows will highlight a bad decision, which can be just as important to note as a good one. For example, some shows about flipping houses can make it look like it’s very easy to make big money -- in 30 minutes or an hour, these people have made $100,000! But in reality the process can take a lot longer and require experienced help. Some of the shows will illustrate times when investors didn’t make money or even lost a significant amount.

Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.