Property Brothers

So I’ve got a problem with the show property brothers. For those who don’t know it’s a show which stars twin brothers. One brother is a realtor and the other is a contractor that does home upgrades.

So pretty much each episode they have the realtor brother taking a couple, or sometimes a single, around to look at houses. Often times the buyers have got huge budgets up to a $1 million. The realtor will show the people their dream home… then point out it’s over their max budget and convince them to get a fixer upper and then have the other brother upgrade it to their dream home.

Now we’ve come to the part I have a problem with. Each home renovation costs around $100 -$200 k. They convince the buyers that there simply isn’t anything in their price range that is move in ready with the bait and switch mentioned above and then the realtor pushes their client into using his brother for renovation. It seems like the realtor is being kinda shady by telling each client that the only home they can afford has to have such expensive work done on it. Like the realtor is more interested in helping his brother out, no doubt with a generous kickback, rather than being his client’s agent.

It’s a TV show with a very standard format. The couple knows they’ll see a house too expensive for them first, before being shuttled around to fixer-uppers.

As Justin Bailey said, if they are on the show, they know the brothers are a package deal.

I don’t know if the realtor brother has other clients who are treated like ordinary buyers, though.

I doubt the real estate agent brother has other clients. The show started off in the Toronto area, which is, I think, where they’re from. Later, they did a series of episodes in the Atlanta area and most recently in the New York suburbs. I very much doubt that the real estate agent brother gets a license in every state/province. Most likely, he’s playing real estate agent on the show, and the buyers are represented by real local agents. (Plus it’s not like he needs a day job; presumably they get paid enough for the show.)

Also, I believe the clients get something out of it too, even if it’s only the design work for free. Possibly in this case also the general contractor work (i.e. maybe the contractor brother charges for his time when he is working, but not for his time when he is, say, managing the sub-contractors). This is totally a guess, but if I were him I would be embarrassed to do otherwise.

The few times I’ve watched it, the fixer-upper plus remodeling is still way less than the dream home shown at the beginning.

  1. Yea, they know they’ll be shown an expensive dream home. It’s also a way for them to say what are some of the features they would like on their fixer upper.

  2. I think both brothers are actually licensed in doing each other jobs, and I think that at least in some occasions, they’ve gotten licenses to practice either real state or contractor in different states.

  3. For the show, yes, there is a bonus budget for decoration. There are times, though, that the decoration bonus is used to cover something else in the project, if the clients say they already have the furniture that would match the design or that they’ll pay for a specific piece with their own money.

  4. I’m assuming because of that decoration budget, the only rooms that are shown post fixer upper are the ones with the fancy furniture. The rooms that get furnished with the owners’ old stuff are not shown.

  5. The brothers do have other shows, including “Buying and Selling”. In that show, they’re doing minimal updates in one family house to make it ready to sell at the high-end of their market, while the other brother is showing a move-in ready new house for the family.

  6. I’ve actually seen a recent show where the budget was probably around $200,000. It was a nice smaller house, and I’m sure it didn’t have a lot of the high-end finishes present in the other ones, but it was still nice. In order to save some money, the owner pitched in on the painting and decoration part.

I’ve never seen the show and I’m really just speculating here based on your description of the show. I suspect that the “home shopper” is really no such thing. The exigencies of TV production don’t allow the producers to actually follow a home buyer around while shopping for houses for months, let them pick one, wait a month or two to go to closing, then start the renovations. Also, if the home shopper picked a perfect move-in ready house, there would be no second-act renovation. Nope.

I’m guessing they find home owners who have a fixer-upper and who want to be on TV. Then they pretend to show those homeowners nice homes, which foreshadow what the homeowner’s renovated house might look like. There is no reason that those houses even have to actually be for sale because there is zero chance the homeowner is going to buy it. Then they show the renovation process and the big reveal that the home owners got their dream house on a budget. Everyone goes home happy and the TV show has a predictable production process.

There have been disclosures of “unreal” aspects of many HGTV shows. They all follow formulas. No reason to believe PB is anything different.

These guys have several shows going, and I doubt they do very little in the way of holding open houses, etc. My suspicion is that the clients on these shows are from a discrete subset of homebuyers, those who want to be on TV, and who are willing to have someone make a lot of decisions for them. Going in, they know they are going to be ending up with a rehab project.

I suspect there might be a subset of potential shows, where the buyer didn’t find anything they wanted to rehab, or chose to go with a more turnkey property. Of course, those buyers don’t make it to TV.

That would make sense that we’re likely not seeing the total truth of what’s going on. From the episodes I’ve seen, the buyer usually sees 3 houses: the dream house, and then 2 fixer-uppers to choose from. While when I was looking for a house to buy, I must have looked at 40 houses over 6 months.

It could be like how I’ve heard House Hunters is, in that they have people who have already selected a home, then have the other homes that the home buyer isn’t going to get but has to pretend to consider.

Seriously OP? That’s your problem. I bet you are flummoxed why on Fixer Upper they only show the buyers three houses and make them choose from one of those three. What if they don’t like any of the three, why are Chip and JoJo pressuring them into picking one of the three the showed them, is that even ethical?

Looking at how much they pay for renovations, it seems to me that the homeowners are getting labor for free. No way are those renovations costing that little.
That’s the bonus that the homeowners get for being on the show, which seems fair to me.

Nothing shady towards the homeowners.
The shady lie is to the viewing audience.

I often wonder what contractors think of HGTV and these renovation shows. On the one hand, it should drum up business since it gets people thinking about renovations. On the other hand, the prices and timings are not realistic for real contractors.

There is one other predictable (at least for me the viewer) part of Property Brothers, which is that once they get into the house and start ripping it apart, they always find some “unexpected” problem that is going to eat up the entire renovation budget in order to fix it.

*That *part is realistic, at least. :wink:

Sure it’s staged, like any reality show, and it’s not hard to figure out many of the ways it could be done.

I thought that was Love It or List It. :smiley:

I think you mean Flip or Flop.

The math never works out on these shows. They always claim an expensive renovation increases the value of the home and the new owner comes out ahead.

I don’t think it works out that way in real life. It depends on what work gets done. Repairing bad wiring or plumbing for example can cost thousands but its hidden behind the walls. You aren’t getting that money back when you sell.

A deck might cost you 3k to build. But it might only add 1k in resale value.

But not in HGTV’s world. Dude you bought a crappy house for 150k. You paid the Property Brothers 75k to reno it and now its worth 300k. :stuck_out_tongue: dream on. The only way that works is if the house was way undervalued when you bought it. Or if you were able to do most of the work yourself.

In fairness, PB show couples going through multiple houses. They only have 2 main ones, but the couples are sometimes shown going to other houses, and turning them down.

Flip flop is the one with unrealistic “surprise” problems that eat their budget, supposedly.

Another thing that’s unrealistic about this show (and Love It Or List It, This Old House, etc.) is that at the end, the house is apparently totally finished, with all paint perfect, curtains up and the house perfectly staged with furniture and decorations (mostly new stuff at that). If as shown the homeowners ran into unexpected expenses, how are they still able to afford all that new furniture and stuff? In my limited experience, at the end of the project, the majority of the work is done, but quite a bit of minor work needs to be done, and it takes a long time before the room is livable.

Drew does go through the motions of showing a couple of other houses, which may not even be on the market, before ripping into the one he’s already bought to flip - and it could even be the one the couple has already bought.

The premise of *Flip or Flop *is that the bidders cannot do an inspection first, only an external walk-around. They’re foreclosures anyway, so the previous owners couldn’t do much and the houses have since been allowed to sit and deteriorate. It shouldn’t be surprising that there are expensive problems in any of them. So I buy that part.

The furniture and decorations in the Reveal may be on short-term rental, used only for staging the house before being recovered and sent to the next one.

Bad wiring and plumbing may not help the property value, but rework is necessary to get an occupancy permit when all the work is done.

Remodeling a home is a good idea if you plan to stay there for several years. The family gets the use of a nice home and hopefully property values will go up. They break even or make a little extra. Depends on how strong the real estate market is.

They never explain that on these hgtv shows. Its always an instant capital gain in property value.