Increase Your Rehabbing Profits by Watching TV, Really!

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You are probably reading this blog to find out just how ridiculous it’s going to be.  If you are a rehabber, real estate agent, home stager, or involved in marketing real estate in any way, you might want to read on!

When my family began real estate investing, we were completely dependent upon a Realtor that we hired to find us good deals.  Do you know what that meant?

MINISCULE PROFITS!

We found out very quickly that finding a house to fix & flip through the open market (MLS) was difficult if you wanted to make a decent profit.  Well, we did want to make a decent profit!  After watching hours and hours of “Flip That House”, I was trained to expect big profits.

Without any marketing tools in our hands, we became very dependent on the MLS to acquire houses to rehab.  Here is what kept us afloat:

Watching TV

… More specifically, we watched HGTV and any home decorator shows.  The revelation that I received and that became one of our greatest assets is this:  The lifestyle trends of what people like in their home begins with the TV!  Don’t think it crazy.  Where do the popular hair-do’s come from?  Where are people getting the latest wardrobe fashion trends from?  You got it, TV!

By watching and studying home shows and what their designers are pushing, you can learn what the public is going to gravitate towards.  From the color combinations on walls to the texture of carpet to the style of toilet, the information that can be gleaned about what is in style is all right there.  You can also learn about the style or age of different houses and the best way to effectively design the remodel.

We learned many things that helped us “press the comps” when we marketed them for sale.  For example, we never sell a house with a screen door blocking the front door.  We always remove the screens from the windows.  By just removing these two items (store them in the garage for the buyer though), we dramatically improve the curb appeal.

One of the best shows to watch as a fix & flip investor is “House Hunters”, where an agent would walk retail buyers through 3 houses before they picked one.  You would get to hear their positive and negative feedback on each home.  Absorbing all of this information found itself very useful when we would rehab.  The end result is that you create an end product that most people are attracted to.  Why are they attracted to it?  They saw it on TV!

If you want to get every penny out of your rehab, go watch & observe & learn from the ones that are setting the standard for YOUR BUYERS!  If your rehab looks like it is out of HGTV, you will maximize the potential of that house.

So, you can blame me when your family calls you a couch potato.  Just tell them,

NO MORE MINISCULE PROFITS!

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net: Ambro

About Author

Jason Grote

Jason Grote, co-founder of of IBuyAustinHouses.com, has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years. Through his experience, Jason has gained the expertise to sell a home fast and can also help people wanting to begin investing in Austin, Texas real estate.

16 Comments

  1. Brandon Turner

    Thanks Jason! I never thought of investing from this angle, but boy is it true!

    I first started flipping houses because of my love of the “flipping” shows! While most of them have gone by the way-side, you are correct that watching HGTV and other home design programs truly give investors a look at up-and-coming styles and also a peak inside the mind of future buyers (no more brown paneling!). Buying a home is such an emotional adventure, and most buyers truly do want just what they see on TV.

    I also love the DIY shows that give me tons of good ideas on how to do maintenance and rehabs better. I seem to learn something new every time I watch one of those. It’s not often we can say that we learn from TV!

    Keep up the good work!

    • Jason Grote

      Brandon,
      I wonder how investors those flipping shows have birthed! I can’t think of another reality show that would inspire a new career for someone like that. I do use the word “Reality” lightly though! Investing, for me, has ended up almost nothing like what the shows sold. How about you?

  2. Very true. What you play down to “watching tv” (awesome coined phrase potential there :)) I’d probably call market research or trend analysis, and it shouldn’t ever stop.

    Another real life example (using the USA, no offence meant ;))- a few weeks ago an Australian tv network ran a horror story about USA realty sharks taking Aussie investors for a ride with fix n flips (http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3488301.htm).
    This turned to be a prospect heaven for us. By applying online presence to places where this was discussed extensively here in Australia we could realise the potential of yet again stressing the safety and hassle-free nature of our offered services (true any day of the week, but only fully appreciated by the uninitiated in times of vivid contrast like these). By practicing a similar approach with monitoring similar publications in other countries, we achieve yet more prospect mining where it’s hottest and most rife.

    Just don’t get carried away with watching and forget the actual work 😉

    • Jason Grote

      I like it! Taking a negative situation and turning it into something positive and productive… Isn’t that the heartbeat of an investor? Thanks for the advice, I’ll try to watch the tube in moderation 😉

  3. Brandon Mackey on

    I am grateful that I am a creative minded person, and I have been using HGTV and various other shows (though HGTV is the CADILLAC of home programming) as a template for my renovations. I have learned more from HGTV than one could possibly learn in a classroom setting! I have recorded programs and even used them to show my crew what is and is not acceptable in our quality range. In fact, I always tell them that I want my houses to look, when completed, like they came from HGTV! 🙂

  4. Brandon Mackey on

    Jason………..I absolutely got it! Been using this tool most of us pay for every month whether we watch it or not for about 9 years, and it works! If for no other reason to really give the rehabber somethiong against which to measure his/her own work. And you are my FAVORITE CONTRIBUTORS!!! LOVE your style 🙂 More! More! More 🙂 God Bless 🙂

  5. James Vermillion

    I have to admit I am not a big fan of the flip shows or most the HGTV shows (I would rather watch ESPN). I am not sure why, I just do not enjoy watching them. Luckily for me my wife enjoys them, so she filters the good ideas from the terrible ones and passes them on to me…she is like an assistant!

    I would imagine it would be a good way to keep up on the trends, just have to ignore all the BS.

    • Jason Grote

      James, yes you certainly have to chew the meat and spit out the bones on those shows. I think it just helps to “train” your eye to see colors, finishes, and accents that create a nice appeal for the buyers. My wife and I always cracked up when couples would walk through a house on House Hunters and say, “I hate the paint colors”. Most people have no imagination, so you have to create a nice look for them!

  6. John Campbell on

    Jason – Great post!

    I started “investing” when I decided to renovate my basement to make it more attractive (And higher rent) to a long-term tenant. I watched the HGTV “crashers” series. Found some great ideas then Whammy! I found a show that talked about renovating a Duplex in Canada for tenants! I LOVE it! Its a series called “Income Property”. I reno’ed my basement, bumped up my rent and then I thought, hey, what If I could do that for another house. That was February this year. Im now looking for my 3rd buy n hold!! 🙂

    Thanks Jason, BP … and HGTV! 😉
    John

  7. Brandon Mackey on

    There is nothing I would rather watch then HGTV!!! It is a FREE EDUCATION…and the dramatics and “BS” are what make it fun to watch 🙂 One of the greatest pshychological experiements ever foisted on us……….conceived in the late 1990’s, HGTV was designed to support an incredibly burgeoning housing market (oh to turn back the clock!!!!) and has now become a national obsession with those of us who have known this SECRET WEAPON has existed for years!!! Only a fool would overlook this gem……………:-)

  8. What a great spin on what I thought was going to be a blog post on what NOT to do. In fact you are totally right, the trends that people really follow come from TV. I’m going to start advocating to my students to start watching more TV – especially HGTV. Plus that tip on the screens and screen doors is a real good one, thanks alot for the post and spurring some very cool ideas here.

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