Real Estate

The HGTV effect: 60% of home shoppers are willing to renovate

Inspired by seeing remodeling in "tidy" segments

About 60% of people looking to buy a home are willing to consider a property that needs renovating as rising prices make it harder to afford a turn-key listing, according to

Most of them were inspired to take on the projects by watching TV home renovation shows on networks like HGTV, according to the report.

“Whether it is seeing the project unfold in a tidy 30-minute segment, or just getting inspired by the before and after shots, home shoppers are turning to home renovations to make their dream home when finding one as-is turns out to be difficult,” the report said.

Almost one third of the respondents considering a fixer-upper put a kitchen upgrade at the top of their list of projects they were willing to do, and about a quarter put a bathroom renovation as No. 1. About 18% said they would consider refinishing a wood floor.

About half were willing to spend more than $20,000, and 28% said they would spend between $10,000 and $20,000, according to the report.

Almost all the respondents, 95%, expected to make back the money they spent with a boost in the value of their property. Nearly a quarter expected to see a return of more than 50%.

That might not be realistic, said Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders.

“When they show homeowners putting in $50,000 and then the value of their property jumps by $75,000 – sometimes what you are seeing is the true reflection of the labor expenses,” Dietz said. “The budgets on remodeling sometimes just include material costs, and often they get a deal on that.”

The most likely people to take on projects already had the experience of owning a home and were under the age of 55, according to the survey. About 65% of home shoppers aged 35 to 54 were willing to fix up a property and 59% of buyers under 35 would take on projects. Less than a third of buyers over the age of 55 would consider a property that needs renovations.

Spending on home renovations reached a record in 2018, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Americans spent $336.9 billion on remodeling projects, up 7.4% from the $313.6 billion a year earlier.

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