HGTV has been around quite a while now and through the years I’ve watched hundreds of real estate shows on their network. You might think it would be exhausting to work in the business all day, then come home at night and watch more shows about real estate, but you’d be wrong. I find it fascinating how Hollywood portrays the real estate business. Just like anything else on TV, they tend to gloss over the painful or boring parts of the business. Too many times the things they portray on TV are fake or staged. The “flip this house” shows are the worst, but there is one show that’s lasted 13 years now and it’s one of my favorites.
Launched in 2008, HGTV’s Love It or List It continues to bring a unique aspect of competition to the home renovation category on television. The premise, is that designer Hilary Farr and real estate expert David Visentin, help homeowners that are dissatisfied with their current houses. Farr uses all her design savvy to lead a renovation addressing the family’s issues in order to convince them to “love it” and stay put. Visentin, on the other hand, takes the homeowners on a tour of some on-the-market properties he thinks will be a perfect fit, using all his sales skills to persuade them to “list it” and move to a new one.
Throughout it all, the fiercely competitive duo hilariously bicker and banter back and forth with each other. “It’s the perfect relationship,” Visentin says of his partnership with Farr. “We allow each other to say exactly what the other one feels, even if it’s irrational. And then we get over it and move on.” I personally think this is what makes this show so interesting. That and the fact that the homeowner couples are always at odds with each other.
Like many other reality TV renovation shows, Love It or List It follows a strict formula. Every episode has the same premise: a couple wants Hilary to renovate their home within their budget, while David shows them houses that are currently on the market. One partner in the couple usually wants to stay at their home, while the other is desperate to move.
On the renovation side, they always start with a reasonable budget, but at some point the budget gets blown up or the homeowners have to make a decision to cut something out because the contractor found some problem after the demo was completed. A new roof that needs to be installed, a furnace that’s too small to heat the newly renovated attic space, or a plumbing issue that has gone unnoticed and causing water to leak behind the walls.
On the new home tours with David, I’ve noticed he always begins with a home that barely fits their needs. The couple looks at him like he’s a complete idiot and gets frustrated. They tour a few more homes as it gets a little better, then all of a sudden, the very last home they tour checks all the boxes and now it will be a very tough decision to make. Most of the time that’s where I’m talking to the TV saying, “Yes! That’s the one. There’s no way they’re going to stay in their current home. Look at all that space! Look at those upgrades! There’s no way Hilary can compete with that.” Obviously, I’m rooting for the REALTOR® and want them to “list it.”
At the end of the show, it’s time for the big reveal. The hosts of the show ask the big question, “Are you going to love it or are you going to list it?” If you’ve watched countless episodes of Love It or List It, then you might already know that more people tend to “love” their renovated home than “list” it, which drives me a little crazy. Hilary wins the competition, even though David does a good job trying to convince the couple to move. If I’m watching this show with my wife, we always try to guess which one they’re going to chose. I can’t tell you how many times one of us ends up yelling at the TV. Full confession, I’ve even stormed out of the room a few times when they choose to “love it” and keep the home. I’m guessing my friends in the home remodeling business are probably rooting for them to “love it.” Either way, it’s an entertaining show.