According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, Americans spent over $400 million in home improvements and repairs in 2017. A 50% increase since 2010, yet many homeowners don’t have a good understanding of the normal home improvement or repair process.
Any home improvement includes a three-phase process. There is a beginning, a middle and an end. If you watch any home improvement show, they show you the renovation process and the big reveal. Unfortunately, they leave out the most important part; the beginning. The beginning of a renovation project is the most important because it includes finding a good, reputable contractor to do the job.
The reality of your home improvement or repair project will be very different than the “reality” of what you see on TV. What happens on the screen isn’t what’s likely to happen in your home. Many people shrug and say, “Sure, I know that.” But, do they really?
Unforeseen problems (the middle of the process) are normal for home repairs, and these shows are good at highlighting them. The hallmarks of any good home improvement show are the “finding the problems” moments (i.e. bees in the wall, rotten sub-floor, leaking pipes, overloaded electrical box). These problems usually add time and money to the renovation, as well as drama.
The problems are fixed and there’s a happy ending to the process. We see a beautiful basement, bathroom, house, yard, kitchen, etc. The time, money and drama paid off and most of the home owners are happy.
But, what’s left out of these shows is the beginning. A good beginning to any project is what makes the difference between a successful one and one from hell. They’ve left out the part where you have to find a good contractor. They already have a capable contractor, because they know that’s the key.
The start of a renovation is not when the crew first digs a hole, paints a wall or hammers a nail. It starts with your job – with you doing the work of finding a competent contractor. Because, the reality of any project is that one of the most difficult parts of it, often the most difficult, is finding one.
Reality home improvement shows do the beginning of the process off camera; they already have a reliable contractor and crew in place. They’re the real heroes of the show, as anyone who has ever done any renovations or repairs knows. So, if you want a successful renovation, adjust your perception of “reality” and first do the work of finding your own real world star.