Building With the Future in Mind Since 1955

(An article written by Rick Dubrow for our winter 12-31-2103 e-newsletter)

Turn on one of the reality TV shows about remodeling and what do you get?  A kitchen remodel orchestrated before your eyes in just 12 hours! For only $8,500!  Oh look… and everyone on the tube is so-o-o-o happy… and beautiful.  Oh really?

Perhaps this is true for the rich and famous, who seemingly employ magicians.

Well, here’s what I have to say to them…

The tree of life is dying. Prune the top 1% and feed the roots.

All kidding aside, this isn’t reality TV. I call it magical TV.  Remodeling reality TV shows ruin my day.  Why?

Here’s my real world… we’ll talk to a potential client at their home on a first visit… a normal, local human.  Happier than the TV actor, I’ll bet… perhaps less beautiful!  They’ll describe their major kitchen remodel they’ve been dreaming about.  (They’ll even show us the images they’ve been collecting in HOUZZ!)  We then might guesstimate the project at $40,000 to $60,000 and tell them the project will take 10 to 12 weeks.


Let’s get real. Who’s right… the TV show or me?  (Want to venture a guess where this article is going?)

If you haven’t seen the Cost Versus Value 2013 study that Remodeling Magazine does every year, now there’s a taste of reality.

A shot Rick took during a backpack trip in the Enchantments.

A shot Rick took during a backpack trip in the Enchantments.

As I write this, I’m on that website now.  Asked to enter the region of the country, I click on ‘Pacific’.  I scroll down to ‘major kitchen remodel’ and it shows:

A mid-range job cost of $60,865, with a resale value of $49,366 (a recouped cost of 81.1%)

A 2013 national average job cost of $53,931 along with a resale value of $37,139 (a recouped cost of 68.9%)

I click on ‘major kitchen remodel’ and it reads as follows:

Update an outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with a functional layout of 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, including a 3-by-5-foot island; laminate countertops; and standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet. Include energy-efficient wall oven, cooktop, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and custom lighting. Add new resilient flooring. Finish with painted walls, trim, and ceiling.

You’ll find tips and graphs and all kinds of helpful hints about how to proceed. Most of all, though, is the fact that you’ll discover reality and not magical thinking.

So where does the data on these TV shows originate?  $8,500 in 12 hours?  C’mon…

Just imagine yourself the owner of a remodeling company. A call comes in from a television station asking you if you’d like to highlight your company on their remodeling realty show. And, by the way, how much would you need to be paid to perform the remodel?  Simmering about the amazing marketing exposure such a show would garner, you offer a price too good to be true; too good for the television station to turn down. “I’ll only charge you $8,500, ok?  Is it a deal?”

Here’s how Groucho Marx might answer their question:

“I find television very educational.  Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book.”

Or Bill Gates’ answer:

“Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.”

Fred Allen had this to say:

“Television is a medium because anything well done is rare.”



Share →
browncircle browncircle browncircle