Is It Really Like HGTV?

by Nadia Alrawi 09/08/2019

If you spend much time binge-watching House Hunters, Property Brothers, and Love It or List it, you may find yourself completely stunned by the actual process of buying a home and renovating it. And if you get your advice from House Hunters, can you narrow it to three? Reality television is great entertainment, but when it comes to buying and renovating a home, you might find that reality bites.

Get a real dose of right reality here and house-hunt with confidence.


Unlike your television counterparts, only seeing three homes before you make a choice is unrealistic for first-time homebuyers. Most first-time buyers visit 10-15 homes, but seeing 30, or even more homes with their agent before they narrow it down is not unheard of. And many new buyers come to the table already having visited a plethora of open-house events, too. That being said, certain markets have limited home choices, so if you’ve narrowed your list by neighborhood and price, there might only be three to see.

You can have your list of “I want’s” and “must have’s” but your budget may dictate otherwise. Here’s the deal: you don’t really know what you want until you’re inside it. Even if you have a Pinterest board filled up, the home's space itself dictates what makes the kitchen “perfect” or the concept “open” enough for you.

Online shopping is helpful too if only to narrow down what you actually book to see with your agent. Just realize that the images online have impossible angles, hide flaws, and usually have distorted dimensions, just like a fashion magazine. Seeing it in real life may improve the odds you buy it or disappoint you into starting over.


The time between making an offer, negotiating, and closing takes place between commercials on reality TV, so when you experience your first back and forth negotiating that could take several days or even weeks, don’t be discouraged. Buying a home is a big deal. It’s not meant to happen in 30 minutes or less. And don’t count on everything to fall in place either. Some areas experience bidding wars while others have homes sitting on the market because the seller isn’t motivated enough to negotiate.


Rarely do renovations go as planned. Thankfully, many of the online shows highlight the oops’s and uh-oh’s that plague reconstruction. If you buy an older home, plan on replacing wiring and plumbing, and even foundations and supports to handle the modern appliances and bath fixtures you want to add. 


A word to the seller here: Do you need to be out of your home to sell it? No. Could it make it easier? Perhaps. The truth is each potential buyer sees your home through their own lenses. So, a person able to visualize their belongings in a place, even if it still contains yours, might not care, while another buyer without that natural ability may respond better if it's empty. Still, others cannot imagine their current furniture anywhere but where it is, and for those folks, staging is essential. Don't let your inability to move out of your house discourage you from putting it on the market. Do, however, keep it clean and picked up, and be very aware of pet and other odors since that is more of a turn off than your furniture being there is. 

Let your realtor know your situation. That way, they can market your home the best way for you. And if you’re buying a home, give your agent as much information as you can, but let them show you alternative listings as well— you might be surprised what you fall in love with.

About the Author

Nadia Alrawi

 I grew up in Germany and moved to Santa Rosa in 2007, where I started my path to real estate by investing in commercial and residential properties.  After completing my Bachelor in Finance and Revenue Management, I moved to Bennett Valley where I currently reside with my family.

In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors such as camping and hiking in the beautiful hills of Bennett Valley with my family. My past travels and school education in different parts of the world such as the Middle East and Europe exposed me to many different cultures and beliefs, which caught my interest in multicultural activities.

I am actively involved in my community where I serve on the board of my homeowners association and also am involved in the Sonoma County school health screening program. I understand from personal experience how stressful a big financial purchase such as buying a home can be, which is why my loyalty and dedication to my clients is my number one priority, whether you are buying your dream home or selling your property. I am committed to making your home purchase or sale experience as pleasant as possible.