House flipping TV shows are extremely popular these days, which begs the question of whether they are useful or harmful for viewers who are also real estate investors, and their investing endeavors. Do these types of television shows portray useful information and situations for investors and potential investors, or is it just good reality television? These are some reasons why house flipping TV shows are not great sources of real estate information.
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1. Too focused on rehab
House flipping TV shows usually focus heavily on the rehabbing of distressed properties and transforming them into beautiful homes. For instance, in a single episode, the majority of camera time will focus on the drama of fixing up the property and working with contractors. While rehabbing can be one of the more difficult and drama-ridden parts of flipping a house, it is not necessarily the most time-consuming nor the most important.
A couple of very important parts of flipping houses that are often left out is finding the deal and how to finance it. You want to be spending more time finding leads, negotiating for good deals, and finding the right tenant or buyer as you make an exit strategy. It’s probably best that you aren’t spending the majority of your time fixing up the property, as that might not be the best way to maximize your time and expenses, which leads to the next point.
2. Too Focused On Distressed Properties
Shows about flipping houses like to highlight ugly houses because the transformation makes for an exciting difference between the before and after pictures. This makes for great TV but is not necessarily a good portrayal for investors. There are tons of opportunities out there that do not entail a dramatic transformation and don’t necessarily carry the same problems that some of these TV deals. Distressed properties are not better deals than non-distressed properties.
3. Too Much Renovation
TV shows often go over the top with renovating. These include tearing and demolishing parts of the property to create new floor plans. Maybe a dramatic cosmetic change is necessary, but more than not, this is in direct contradiction with what many successful investors do, which is to do simple cosmetic fix-ups. These include a fresh coat of paint or a new carpet. You don’t want to lose money by over-renovating, especially when it is not necessary.
Another unrealistic aspect of house flipping tv shows when showing renovation is that they often show the house flippers doing manual labor on the house. This is highly unlikely as investors will hire others to do the manual labor on the house while they work on the business side of flipping houses.
4. Lack of Focus on Money
Flipping houses requires adequate financing, and the point is to make a profit doing it. However, the financial side of flipping houses on TV shows is often left out or changed and adjusted to make the show more entertaining. Although financing is just one component of flipping houses, it is a vital part of the process, especially for potential investors, who need realistic information.
5. TV is entertainment
This is the most important reason why house-flipping reality TV shows are not a great source of information for investors. Though based in reality, reality TV shows are heavily edited and manipulated to fit a narrative with entertaining the audience in mind. For example, many shows focus heavily on the open house date for the drama to build towards. While this can be the case, plenty of properties are not sold because of an open house, and there is often no hurry to have the open house immediately after renovations finish.
The narratives that TV shows sell can be misleading and limited, and for a viewer that is not as familiar with the behind-the-scenes antics of making a television show, they might be misguided by what they watch. It’s perfectly fine to watch these types of shows for enjoyment, but the investing viewer should remember that what makes good television does not necessarily make productive and intelligent advice for real estate investing.
While house-flipping shows portray themselves as in-depth looks into how the house flipping business works, they are conflict-heavy and skew towards renovation as opposed to finding and financing. As entertainment, these TV shows cannot be blamed for showing what most viewers prefer to watch, but as most of the business is not discussed thoroughly, they are not ideal sources of advice for investors.
Remember, the point of house flipping TV shows is to make profitable television, and not to educate potential investors about their real estate businesses.
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