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The Reality Behind Fix and Flip Reality TV Shows

Many people enjoy watching popular HGTV shows like Flip or Flop, Property Brothers, Holmes on Homes, and more. But oftentimes, these TV shows are hiding more than we realize.

Real estate investors, such as house flippers, put their time, money, and energy into the entire process before, during, and after the sale. There is a lot of work to be done, and fix and flip shows don’t display all the hard work to ensure they focus on the entertainment factor.

So, let’s closely examine the reality behind fix and flip reality TV shows so you know what to expect should you decide to pursue real estate investing.

What Makes Reality TV Addicting?

TV enthusiasts and exhausted employees enjoy watching reality TV, but why is this? From Cops to The Bachelor, people find reality TV relatable somehow, but there may be specific psychological factors at work behind-the-scenes.

Many people debate that the public loves reality TV simply because we enjoy watching people do silly things for money or the romantic drama that can only happen on TV.

While there is no definitive answer, the general consensus is the feeling of empathy we get when we live vicariously through reality stars.

For example, one might watch Fear Factor because they see what it’s like to sit in a tank of snakes from the comfort of their couch without actually having to experience it.

People might enjoy watching fix or flip shows because they want a luxurious home like what they see on TV. But how real is fix and flip TV?

Reality Behind Fix and Flip TV Shows

Many fix and flip TV shows tend to be flashy and focus on three things: the home’s condition before renovations, after, and “character” drama.

Most of them may not be accurate in what they’re showing viewers, which can be concerning for someone actively trying to learn about the industry.

Let’s discuss a few factors from different house flipping shows and how they differ from real-life situations.

Turnaround Time

Many house flipping shows typically begin and end within a 30-minute period. This means that the producers of the show need to stuff the program with a basic formula that contains the “main” parts of house flipping, such as:

  • Visiting properties
  • Discussing the pros/cons and deciding on a property in one sitting
  • Renovating different parts of the home
  • Selling it with a significant profit return

While it’s not entirely reasonable to show every detail of the house flipping process, what house flipping TV does show might not be as accurate as they make it out to be. They often skip essential parts of the process like research, travel, financing, and more.


When deciding to pursue a property investment opportunity, a real estate investor must perform thorough research on the property itself as well as the surrounding area. This can help them make a more educated decision on how well the property will perform on the market.

Oftentimes, the “research” shown on reality TV only includes an investor choosing between three different properties and choosing one to renovate. However, investors must understand the detailed market research that must be done.


Once an investor chooses a property, they must follow best practices and visit the site as well as the community. As part of one’s research, one must determine the right location.

Whether you invest in residential or commercial properties, it’s best to look for areas with plenty of amenities, a low crime rate, and easy access to public transportation.

Financing Process

One of the most important aspects of house flipping is figuring out how to acquire the correct financing option for that specific project.

Many fix and flip TV shows give the impression that house flippers have an unlimited amount of funds or only finance with cash. This is simply not the case for most real estate investors.

Many successful house flippers explore a plethora of financing options such as private money, hard money rehab loans, traditional lending, and more.

Furthermore, with each project, an investor doesn’t just pay for the property. They might also pay fees and other interest payments that are often associated with certain funding avenues.

Luxury Over Economical Repairs

Another misconception of house flipping TV shows is they often complete extensive, luxurious renovations, focusing on interior design rather than making economical repairs.

This can be confusing to a potential house flipper, as they might assume that the only thing that makes a home “marketable” is making it aesthetically pleasing. However, most successful real estate investors work on many projects that only require a few repairs and still receive a profitable return on their investment.

While interior design is vital to the house flipping process in some aspect, it’s not completely necessary in order for a homebuyer to consider it, as reality TV presents it.

One of the main focuses for a house flipper should be to repair the property to make it safe for people to live in; interior design should come second to this aspect.

Contractor Work

Many fix and flip reality TV shows often show the house flippers completing the repairs, renovations, and upgrades by themselves. While this may be true in some cases, most successful real estate investors work alongside contractors to ensure the job is done correctly on tasks they cannot complete on their own. Some services a contractor can help you with include:

  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Painting
  • Landscaping

Each factor is an essential aspect in the house flipping process to ensure the property is safe for homebuyers. If you’re unsure how to repair something, best practices include teaming up with contractors to do so.

Team Drama

One of the many features of reality TV that makes them so compelling to watch is the drama of the situation. In order for a “story” or reality show to be successful, there must be some conflict happening between the characters.

This is why many house flipping TV shows often contain married couples going through a divorce, or the investors need to complete a house flip under a strict time limit. But there’s not as much drama in actual house flipping, which causes a disconnect between investors and fix and flip TV shows.

Now that you understand the reality behind fix and flip reality TV shows, try to watch them for entertainment purposes only.

The Reality Behind Fix and Flip Reality TV Shows