How many HGTV shows have you seen featuring house flips? Flip or Flop, House Hunters Renovation, and Fixer Upper are just the start. Check out how many different flipping shows there are and this is on only on HGTV!

Count me in the many of people who do watch these shows. Those who know what I do for a living often will ask if I watch these shows expecting me to say, “no”. I find them entertaining and do watch from time to time when I can. However, it is entertainment and is far from a blueprint to actually flipping a house. Here are 5 big differences from real life that’s common on the TV shows:

1. Similar Script Templates
How often do you see that flippers on TV plan on spending $75,000 on rehab then run into a “big” problem, discuss their options with experts, and have it turn out to be a moderately priced necessity. Or, suddenly they now can’t get that half bath converted into a full bathroom like they wanted to (thank you Love it or List it for that predictability).

2. Numbers Do Not Add Up
People on these shows are getting paid outside of the actual real estate deal–especially ones that follow the same flippers over the course of a season/series (like Flip or Flop). Rarely if ever are closing costs, mortgage interest, Realtor commissions, utilities, insurance, title fees, and attorney costs included(especially in states like Illinois where most real estate deals utilize attorneys). If a house is sold for $200,000, was purchased for $50,000, and had $100,000 in work put into it, shows will tell you the investors just made $50,000.

3. Time Lines
Real investment deals are at the mercy of the permitting process, city inspectors, weather, and contractors’ schedules. “Day 1” of the project on TV starts after much of the front-end work has already been done so that it appears to move along quickly from the day the investor buys the house.

4. Selling Process
After a beautiful transformation, shows always have an open house filled with buyers. How many of these people are actually interested in buying the house? Similar to a real open house, most are curious neighbors or buyers just getting started in the process. How many of these deals fall apart after the investor actually does put it under contract? The show is already well over at that point.

5. Drama and Negotiations
Arguments with contractors and sub contractors over work and pricing is too common on TV. These things do happen in the real world but continually beating up your contractor on price will over time lead to a deterioration of your relationship with them. Why do they never show an investor’s offer being rejected and moving on to another house?

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