New reality show. The real “Designed to Sell”

Designed to Sell is a HGTV program about remodeling your house before selling it. Sue and I began watching it about the time we began remodeling our house.

They make it appear like the process is effortless. Smiling workers bring in the granite counter top and – plop – there it, all in place, looking pretty. Bzzzt. When our smallish granite counter top came, it took two skilled workers four hours to install it, amid much banging and thumping. Ditto for taking out a wall. On HGTV a couple of photogenic carpenters take down the wall seemingly with just a couple of whacks with a sledge. In reality, this is a dirty dusty job that can take a couple of days.

The Designed to Sell website does make it clear that the process actually takes 4-5 months, and, yes, the show is fun to watch. A Wicked Witch appraises the house for saleability, finds it deeply lacking, the owners are crushed. Then a perky designer takes over, and whizz bang pow, the whole place gets redone and sells quickly. All for just $2,000. That’s the hook for the show. They do it all for $2,000.

What you must understand is $2,000 is for materials only, labor is not included. On a recent show they took down a wall, installed a granite counter top, redid the cupboards, painted everything and more. The real world labor cost on that alone would be several thousand, yet the show ignores this.

That’s why we plan a new reality show. The Real Designed to Sell. Endless contractors early in the morning going bash crash. The inevitable parts that should fit but don’t. Much dust, confusion, and schlepping for parts, with everything taking longer than you expected.

Like capitalism, Designed to Sell presents a glossy facade that masks the true reality. The whole point of the show isn’t to remodel the house for your needs, but to sell it for more money. While fun to watch, it’s more than a bit deceptive and focuses primarily on money, an apt metaphor indeed for the culture we live in.