Everyone loves a good home renovation show…but have you ever wondered what happens to those families after the credits roll? Do those houses that were miraculously constructed overnight actually last, or do they immediately fall apart when the camera crew leaves?
Well last year, a Reddit thread by user u/akumamatata8080 asked: “People who’ve been on home renovation shows, how’s the house holding up?”
The thread quickly went viral, as people who have participated in TV home makeovers (or know someone who has) started sharing their experiences. And as it turns out, some of those homeowners don’t actually get the happy ending you see on screen.
Here are some of the top-voted answers from the thread:
1.This person received a backyard makeover that was, quite literally, shitty:
We were on a backyard makeover show. it was done super cheap and fast. They decorated it super nice for the “reveal” and then they took away all the decorations which actually made it look good. They added a little pond in the backyard that was hooked up with an extension cord that would throw a breaker every time it rained. But the best part was that two weeks after the show our backyard was very soggy and smelled like shit. It turns out they dug up our sewer line when the put in the pond and sewage was going everywhere.
2.This person’s coworker ended up shelling out 20 grand to fix her home after the camera crews left:
A coworker got her house on one of those designer competition shows and she pulled the short straw on the designers. Instead of getting a free makeover, she got about $20,000 worth of damage to the house.
3.This person alleges their experience in a Good Bones house has been anything but good:
I bought a house featured in Good Bones… The projects [to repair the house] totaled double-digit thousands of dollars. I suppose I was lucky to buy a Good Bones house before the show really took off, so the value of my house is well beyond what I’ve had to put into it and what I paid for it. But it’s still been a huge pain in the ass. Not to mention all the weird design decisions that were made that I’ve been remedying over time. I wasn’t looking for a Good Bones house and wish the home wasn’t at all affiliated with them. Mina and Karen were not helpful when I reached out to them with these problems, and I truly hope it’s not common among their later renovations. Lesson learned on my part.
4.This person had their childhood bedroom renovated on TV, but says it “held up really badly”:
My family was on a home renovation show when I was a kid, in the late 90s/early 2000s. I think it was Changing Rooms or possibly another show by the same cast and producers. It was one of those shows where they do three rooms in the house and mine was one of the rooms they decorated. It looked so pretty, they decorated it to look like a fairy woodland with huge tree murals on the walls and a night sky of stars hanging from the ceiling. But it held up really badly, all the murals on the wall peeled off and it looked bad pretty quickly. I had fun shooting the show though and it was a cool story to tell my friends at school.
5.This person said their friend’s TV-remodeled house was “stuck together with staples and tape”:
Friends were on a show a few years ago. It was a super intense three weeks of filming and the redesign looked great on camera. In reality, it was literally things stuck together with staples and tape. After the show, my friend took two weeks off work to rebuild everything properly.
6.This person claims they had to fix up some damage caused by Property Brothers after the show “just picked up and left”:
My countertop company was hired to fix cabinets and countertops for a house after a Property Brothers episode. Like I’ve seen others comment, the show filmed around all the problem areas so on the episode it looked great. The homeowners were livid after the show just picked up and left and we were stuck dealing with them. Not a fun few weeks.
7.This person alleged a not-so-great experience when Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to their town:
Remember Extreme Makeover? A show where they build or hugely remake a home for a needy person/owner?They did one here in my town (won’t say for privacy) and my brother, a builder, was approached to help build a home in the dead of winter. Bro couldn’t help, but our friends — the neighbors to the home — volunteered and the home was completed in one week.In heavy rain and cold, they built it, and now the home has any number of problems. The owner went back to Extreme Makeover to fix everything, and was told, “You got this for free, fix it yourself.”
8.This person had another unfortunate Extreme Makeover tale:
I work for one of the construction companies that was contracted to build the new house on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This was like 10+ years ago when the show was at the height of its popularity. Anyways, it was a huge nice house built for a widowed mother with several kids (father had recently died, hence why she was on the show…). Even though the house was “given” to her, she couldn’t afford it after a year or so (property tax, electricity, water, upkeep, etc…) and put it on the market. Simply owning a home of that size is very expensive and she couldn’t afford it.
9.And this person, who claims to be a former intern on Extreme Makeover, said that the property tax hikes associated with the show caused “tons of families” to struggle:
I interned for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in the early 2000s. Yes, their taxes go through the roof. Tons of the families on it end up selling everything that was put in the house (computers, appliances, etc) to help pay the property taxes.
10.This person’s father-in-law was on a construction crew for a show, and said they were “told to work fast and cheap”:
FIL is a contractor. His team helped with a build for a home makeover show shooting in Las Vegas.He said they were told to work fast and cheap, which throws quality out the window. There would also be moments where the crew would finish something, then the producers would bring in the “volunteers” to hammer the last nail and act like they did the project.
11.This person says they worked on an HGTV show and had to come back later to fix the “dangerous” tile work:
Plumbing and remodeling company I work for did plumbing for an HGTV show about 10 years ago. We did the hook-ups for the new laundry room. The homeowners picked some fancy Moroccan tile for the floors at some upscale NYC boutique and the host of the show decided it would look better without grout…which went about as well as you’d expect.Filming wrapped, and we were called back out a few weeks later to replace the fancy tile that immediately chipped and became dangerous with some boring tile. Had to sign NDAs, etc.
12.This person claims to be a former crew member on Trading Spaces, and said the quality of construction was “crap”:
I worked for Trading Spaces on TLC in the early 2000s. I’d be VERY surprised if any of the crap they did is still holding up.
13.This person said their sister got a rather impractical home makeover, and took most of it down when the cameras left:
My sister’s master bedroom got a makeover on a “surprise your spouse” show. The designer was going for an “Arabian nights” romantic vibe, but it ended up pretty weird looking with all the closets hidden behind yards of draped fabric. They took it all down and painted the room a neutral color within months. The show also took the ceiling fan out and replaced it with a giant tree branch wired up with twinkling lights. Not too long afterwards, half the lights went out and it was too hot in the room without the fan, so that got put back as well. On the bright side, it didn’t cost them anything and was a fun experience, and they got a couple of new furniture pieces out of it, but in the end, they didn’t keep any of it the same.
14.This person shared their family friends’ unfortunate experience getting their home redone on TV:
Some family friends were on one of those shows…Their son was 6ish years old and really into trains, so he got an insanely train-themed room, complete with a ride-on train that chugged slowly on a track around the room. It was great at first, but he outgrew it really quickly and was embarrassed by his train room within a few years. … The paint on the outside of the house started chipping off within weeks and the house looked HORRIBLE with big chunks of peeled-off paint.
15.This person stayed in a hotel room made over by the team of Hotel Hell:
I stayed in a room that was made over on Hotel Hell. It was poorly done. The paint lines were terrible and some of it was on the ceiling. The decorations they used seemed like just really cheap stuff…They didn’t touch the out-of-date bathroom, but they didn’t put that part on the show. The hotel also didn’t keep the fancy linens in that room because I’m sure that was a pain to wash and keep track of one special set of linens. Basically, it looked great on camera, but in person it did not look professionally done.
16.This plumber says they worked on an HGTV show, and said they’d never buy a home renovated on TV:
I plumbed a house that was getting an HGTV remodel. Long story short: they cut more corners than the contractors already want to and that’s saying a lot. I would never buy a house remodeled on one of those shows.
17.This person’s friends had their backyard redone on TV, and it turned into a disaster:
Friends were on a backyard renovation show.. they put SO many plants in. With them being full-time workers with a family, the upkeep was simply not possible. Looked terrible within the year.
18.This painter claims they had to fix two different “shit” paint jobs from Love It or List It:
I’m a painter and know two different couples who were on Love It or List It. Painted rooms looked good enough for camera, but shit in person. Had to repaint all renovated areas.
19.On the bright side, not ALL the stories were negative. This person had a great experience on Listed Sisters, and said HGTV even helped pay for some unexpected costs:
I was on Listed Sisters on HGTV about three years ago on Season 2. It’s been great. The quality of work held up and it is still pretty stylish. I moved, so I Airbnb the house now and the HGTV aspect seems to sell it well. Nothing bad to say at all. HGTV chipped in for some repairs as well since my ceiling fell in during the reno.
20.This person said their experience with HGTV was “life-changing”:
Awesome, life-changing experience. HGTV host chose the better room to renovate. The brothers who actually do the work came back on an off-shoot month and did another room. Wife staged the house like a boss when we sold 5 years later. Made a lot. Moved to quiet town, bought land, and a much bigger house. Haven’t watched a home reno show in years. But that experience was fun and helpful.
21.This person says Love It or List It did a great job on her friend’s home — but alleged that the drama was very fake:
My friend was on Love It or List It. She said that they did great quality work at a fraction of what it would have normally cost (the home owners in this show have to pay for the renovations). She did say that her family were told to be all dramatic and have little arguments about the renovations to add spice to the show.
22.And this person said her friend’s Extreme Makeover house has “held up super well,” even with those legendary tax increases:
Extreme Makeover came to my town in like 2013–14, and did a demolition and new build of a house for my family friends. Luckily, they had the means to keep the house (property taxes went WAY up). It’s still a really nice house, and a few people I know have even gotten married there. The house held up super well.