TikTokers are claiming that HGTV renovation shows (specifically “Fixer Upper” and “Renovation Impossible”) cut corners on their construction jobs for the sake of TV magic — and their revelatory videos are going viral.
While we’ve seen many home renovations go viral for their happy endings — like the couple who purchased and renovated Marilyn Monroe’s final home with Joe DiMaggio — these TikToks instead claim to be cautionary tales against the alleged dangers of design shows.
The quality of the construction done by these renovation shows isn’t the only thing being called into question, either. Many are wondering if the modern house-flipping craze is also contributing to the gentrification of neighborhoods and an ultra-competitive housing market.
In one such video, @niftynest claims that a “Fixer Upper” kitchen isn’t all it seems to be.
According to @niftynest, the house was flipped by Chip and Joanna Gaines and later became an Airbnb, which she stayed at during a work trip.
“HGTV bragged about these beautiful marble countertops,” @niftynest says, displaying photos of the waterfall bar and counters, “when, in fact, it was just plywood and contact paper over it.”
While it’s unclear whether the countertops were marble at the time of filming and perhaps were switched out by buyers later, many TikTokers expressed their own alleged experiences with HGTV in the comments.
“I was on HGTV House Hunters- I had already bought my home before we even started filming 😂,” user @mrsdouggie commented.
“I was on an hgtv show called my first place. They had my friends sewing curtains and the room was basically put together with tape and a prayer 😂,” wrote @typhaneyb.
“my husband’s an architect and walked in while i was watching HGTV and corrected everything wrong they said and did. can’t watch it around him hah,” commented @whatthedill0.
“I’m in an HGTV (NEW BUILD!!) house that’s a total mess. 10/10 DO NOT RECOMMEND,” warned @erodriguez1003.
However, some TikTokers countered with positive HGTV experiences.
“a close friend of mine actually had a house done by chip and Jo in the last season and they have no complaints,” wrote @sweetflourtx.
“I was on HGTV years ago Save my Bath. Had great experience. All high end fixtures and materials were used,” shared @fabricodeb.
Another TikToker, @oldmanwithasmartphone, has devoted his account to sharing examples of the allegedly shoddy workmanship he claims “Renovation Impossible” inflicted upon his home. He says fixing the problems has ended up costing him his entire life savings.
In his videos, which have gotten millions of collective views, @oldmanwithasmartphone claims the construction crew working for “Renovation Impossible” left his home with faulty doors, a nonfunctioning bathroom, mismatched kitchen hardware, poorly stained cabinetry and multiple fire hazards.
According to @oldmanwithasmartphone, he has been in communication with the show’s producers and has been pursing legal action, but it is a very slow process.
According to a report from Heavy, Russell Holmes, host of “Renovation Impossible,” wrote in a social media post: “The episode and house that is making all the noise was designed and built by contractors employed by the home owner Not by me or anyone on my team. I was only the on camera personality there to help smooth over issues that I was made aware of and help get extra value for the homeowners money.”
Still, many TikTokers were shocked by @oldmanwithasmartphone‘s allegations and have followed his journey online as he continues to level claims against HGTV.
“The whole renovation industry is so incredibly shady,” commented @blu3chip.
“This is a common theme, among the HGTV shows. So sorry this happened to you,” wrote @rebeccaerin1976.
“I’ve been sent in to fix a lot of tv renovations work. And a few times had to fight the prodco project manager to get paid. A lot of questionable work,” shared @woodbully.
“What happens when interior decorators try to do interior design. They don’t understand the logistics and only consider aesthetics,” added @itsnataliamartin.
“They should make another home design show called ‘Fix My Design Show Home,'” joked @carriearries.
However, shoddy workmanship isn’t the only accusation being leveled against HGTV by TikTokers.
Many feel that the recent house-flipping craze, popularized by HGTV’s home renovation programming, has contributed to the gentrification of low-income neighborhoods.
TikToker @stephgray317 used the example of the HGTV show “Good Bones,” in which mother/daughter duo Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk transform properties in and around Indianapolis.
According to @stephgray317, the show buys abandoned homes, then renovates and sells them for a huge profit — often out-pricing local families. The newly renovated homes also draw Airbnb investors to the area, filling neighborhoods with empty rentals and eating up the potential housing market.
“You can rehab homes with an end goal of creating affordable housing,” commented @deannmartin1.
“I live across from an HGTV flipped multi family home in Detroit, it is double the price of everything around it and has sat almost empty for months,” shared @allybonarellino.
“People like them ruined our housing market all across the state. I can’t even put in an offer for a home at this point and I’ve been trying for 2 yrs,” wrote @gvngxiety.
In The Know by Yahoo reached out to Warner Bros. Discovery for comment but has not yet received a response.
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