Don’t get fooled by house-flipping reality shows

Home & Design | 27 Apr, 2016 |

Reality house flipping shows may be entertaining, but the captivating episodes lack facts.

Nathan Pierce, who has been working in real estate for 18 years, and is one of the owners of Strong Tower Real Estate, has insight on how these reality house-flipping shows are a sham.

“I’ve seen a number of these shows and every single one of them I’ve ever seen, is all produced. There is no reality about it what-so-ever, maybe 10 percent,” Pierce said.

When the shows’ start out they present the buyers at an auction, they bid on a house, get it and then walk into the house with the keys the same day.

According to Pierce, this could never happen because there is a process one must go through when purchasing a house. You have to wait until the bank or the trustee handling the disposition of the property transfers the deed into your name.

“You’re not legally the owner until the deed is recorded with the recorder’s office,” Pierce said.

So, as Pierce said, the fastest these buyers could walk into a house would be the next day.

Another step, which sometimes happens in an auction purchase, is dealing with foreclosures. If it is a foreclosure, an eviction process may be necessary because sometimes there are people still living in the houses. So, it may take even longer to actually enter the house.

According to Pierce, the television reality shows are putting on a false front because the homes are actually already owned by these people. They just show the auction process, which is why they enter the home so quickly.

An additional element that is being missed in these shows is the time frame of a house flip.

“I think they have very, very unrealistic time frames as far as the remodels go,” Pierce said. “Maybe the longest I’ve seen on TV is a month, which is crazy.”

The reality shows’ usually have kitchens, bathrooms and rooms being redone. They are taking down walls, putting up windows and cabinets and laying down new flooring. To complete all of this would take a minimum of six weeks, Pierce said.

According to Pierce, if you’re taking down walls, a permit is probably needed, then that needs to be inspected by a city inspector, so that’s even more time attached to the time frame. And on top of that, they never show the architect fees, permit fees or engineering fees on the shows.

Another phony aspect of these shows’ is how they always show the construction crews of all trades working on the house at once.

Pierce has personally owned over 150 homes and has done many fix-and-flips; he currently has three fix-and-flips going on right now.

“I can’t have my plumber working at the house while my electrician is there, I can’t have my electrician there while my flooring guy is here, and I can’t have my flooring guy there while my paint guy is there,” Pierce said. “You can’t have trades on the property working over each other because it has to be done systematically.”

“It’s really dramatized; they make it more entertaining for people to watch so they have better ratings,” Pierce said.

According to Pierce, if it’s a reality show, the camera crew should just follow the agents or flippers around and document what they’re actually doing, instead of giving them a script or story to act out on film.

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