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Thread: Love it or List it - Love it or hate it?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Love it or List it - Love it or hate it?

    Does anyone else watch this seemingly popular Canadian show? For those of you who don't know about it it's a show on HGTV that features two hosts, a renovator and a real estate agent. The premise is that there's a couple who's deciding whether to sell their house or do renovations and love it. Host 1 (Hillary) does the requested renovations while Host 2 (David) shows the couple three houses for sale. At the end the couple have to decide whether to love their newly renovated house or sell it and (presumably) buy one of the three houses they see.

    I have to say I've become strangely addicted to the program if only because of all the glaringly obvious flaws that are fun to nitpick at. Here's a few:

    1. The renovations always run into major (and I mean major) construction problems that eat up the renovation budget, meaning the homeowners can't get everything they want. The homeowners are often unrealistic about their wants which usually involves squeezing an extra bedroom and bathroom in a tiny rowhouse but without building a new addition. They in turn get upset at Hillary for discovering the construction problems (as if it was Hillary's fault that the house had faulty wiring or plumbing all along).

    2. The first two of the three houses for sale are always clearly not what the homeowners are looking for. The homeowners often want to stay in their original neighborhood and they often have older houses with period charm. The agent shows them houses well outside their neighborhood and is gutted and stripped of any charm. No wonder they hate the houses, but suddenly the agent finds the perfect house #3 which is usually over budget by a good amount.

    3. The renovations always add far more to the home's initial value than the cost of the renovations. In other words a house valued at 500K with 50K in renovation is suddenly now worth 600K.

    Other observations:

    Toronto houses are ugly. And tiny. And ugly. And tiny. And ugly. To top it they're ridiculously expensive. 750K for a tiny 1,000 sqft rowhouse that needs major work and is butt-ugly at the same time? Is this the norm in Toronto? Are there even any pretty houses at any cost in Toronto? I'm also amused at homeowners fawning over a "huge" house that's still below 2,000 square feet.

    Canada seems to have more stringent planning regulations/codes than the US. One show featured a standard suburban colonial circa 1970s on what seemed to be a generous lot. There was an existing sun room that extended from the house but the plans to add an extra bedroom above the sun room was nixed by the local planners because it would have added too many square feet to the house relative to the lot size. That surprised me as the ground footprint of the house wasn't being extended.

    Does anyone genuinely like basement bedrooms and fancy new bathrooms in basements? Do they actually add value to the house? Several episodes feature brand new bathrooms in the basement but the bedrooms are still on the second/third floors. How realistic is this?

    The newly renovated house often showcase brand new furniture and decoration that obviously makes the house look far more appealing than the pre-renovated house with its crappy original furniture. Does the furniture come with the house or is it only staged for the purpose of the show?

    Since most of us are in the planning/development industry does anyone else have views about the plausibility of the program? How much of Love it List it is staged? How much do you love it....or would rather list it.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    It is a weird show. I found myself watching a bunch of episodes just so I could figure out what was going on. Canadians seem to have a totally different thing going on as far as interior design preferences.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I haven't watched this show but did occasionally watch Property Virgins which also seemed to almost always be filmed in the Toronto area (at least in the initial run) and I agree that housing there generally looks pretty odd. I just cannot put my finger on what it is precisely but the houses all seem out of scale (too long, tall, narrow, or deep on tiny lots) with odd layouts. I often wonder if there is something in the zoning out there that makes it much more affordable to renovate and add crazy additions than it would be to just knock the houses down and start from scratch (not that I am advocating that, it just seems like some of the houses have gone through one poorly designed renovation after another).

    Regarding basement bathrooms and bedrooms... I think that's a largely a Midwest/Great Lakes area thing. Maybe because it can be a nice chunk of space where, thanks to the insulation from the ground, it stays a bit cooler in the summer and a bit warmer in the winter.

    Quote Originally posted by PennPlanner View post
    Since most of us are in the planning/development industry does anyone else have views about the plausibility of the program? How much of Love it List it is staged? How much do you love it....or would rather list it.
    Based on what I know about other HGTV shows, I would imagine about 99% of the show is staged. There is a couple who live down the street from us who are about the same age and soon after we had moved into our house, we were watching an episode of House Hunters and saw them on it - they ended up picking the house on our street on the episode. This past spring/summer I would be out walking with my daughter and always saw the girl from that episode walking her dog and would say hello. One day as my daughter wanted to stop and see the dog I asked her about the episode and she laughed. She said that when they filmed, they looked at all three of the houses on the same day and had actually already purchased the house they were just then "discovering" on the show. They had to move a bunch of their stuff that they had already moved in into the garage to make the house look empty.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    It is the architecture of the houses that probably fascinates me the most. Other cities had the urban housing model of rowhouses or semi-detached and very narrow lot sizes but they could handle it with some grace through the quality of the architecture. Not so for Toronto, oddly enough. One would think the British design influence would have been more pronounced but Toronto houses seem to be uglier/smaller versions of their equivalent in midwestern cities. It's not only the older houses but many of the newer ones also duplicate the same design "flaws" by having long, narrow rooms that are more like hallways than living areas.

    I wish I could have saved a snapshot of the exterior of two houses quickly shown during one of the real estate tours. They were adjoining detached Victorian houses with gabled fronts. The eaves of one the gables was directly underneath the eaves of the house next door, meaning there was a space about two feet wide between the houses and one of the houses was technically in the neighboring air space.

    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I haven't watched this show but did occasionally watch Property Virgins which also seemed to almost always be filmed in the Toronto area (at least in the initial run) and I agree that housing there generally looks pretty odd. I just cannot put my finger on what it is precisely but the houses all seem out of scale (too long, tall, narrow, or deep on tiny lots) with odd layouts. I often wonder if there is something in the zoning out there that makes it much more affordable to renovate and add crazy additions than it would be to just knock the houses down and start from scratch (not that I am advocating that, it just seems like some of the houses have gone through one poorly designed renovation after another).

  5. #5
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I hate it. It is beyond unrealistic and really makes no sense from a real estate market perspective. I find that most HDTV shows are staged and really not as "interesting" as they would like you to believe.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    I find that most HDTV shows are staged and really not as "interesting" as they would like you to believe.
    I dunno. I've been known to watch Holmes on Homes and it's pretty interesting at times, plus the occasional female eyecandy can be pretty good.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    I dunno. I've been known to watch Holmes on Homes and it's pretty interesting at times, plus the occasional female eyecandy can be pretty good.
    My Dad LOVES that show. Agreed with the eye candy. I think he daughter appears on the show.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  8. #8
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    After you watch two or three episodes, it's repetitive and boring.

    As for the housing stock...I bet those "small" rowhouses in Toronto are not dissimilar to the ones you can find in Philly and Baltimore. Additionally, I think the concept of "small" or "large" in Canada versus the US is that the financing of "large" houses cannot take into account for homeowner deductions like we have in the US. There are no mortgage or property tax deductions in Canada.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I just don't get love it or list. Seriously, if you going to expend that much energy in a home, love the thing already .

    I used to enjoy property brothers season 1 with the dumper and the flip, but after that, it just lost its luster simply because you can only doubt people for so long. You know what they do, so how can you doubt the 2? The only things i really do watch on HgTV is Selling New York, just for the shear "damn that's awesome" effect to see properties in the NYC (can't stand Selling LA because its sort of a "been there doing that" living here in CA and seeing properties like those, hell my cousin owns one in LA) and i also enjoy the high/low project because a) it actually shows you how to do things, like the old HGTV used to do, and b) Sabrina Soto.. man she is hot.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I used to really like the What You Get for the Money show but I don't think that one is on anymore (or I've just missed it since having a toddler at home doesn't allow me to watch as much TV as I used to). I liked seeing the comparisons of seemingly random places like Lincoln, NE; Chattanooga, TN; Nampa, ID; and Boston all on the same episode.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  11. #11
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    I stopped watching HGTV for a few reasons. One, the owners are so unrealistic and picky about everything. "Oh, the kitchen cabinets must be hand-carved African Oak. But don't exceed my budget of $200,000"

    And second, "Joe is a plumber and Kate is a middle school teacher: their budget is $920,000"

    For Canadian shows I much prefer "Princess" on CNBC. That actually puts people in their place.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    I stopped watching HGTV for a few reasons. One, the owners are so unrealistic and picky about everything. "Oh, the kitchen cabinets must be hand-carved African Oak. But don't exceed my budget of $200,000"

    And second, "Joe is a plumber and Kate is a middle school teacher: their budget is $920,000"

    For Canadian shows I much prefer "Princess" on CNBC. That actually puts people in their place.
    We watched a lot of HGTV when the projects were reasonable. After a while they all trended to high dollar products and clients much the way that "This Old House" became "Fine Homebuilding". Guess our market niche wasn't buying enough product.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  13. #13
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    We watched a lot of HGTV when the projects were reasonable. After a while they all trended to high dollar products and clients much the way that "This Old House" became "Fine Homebuilding". Guess our market niche wasn't buying enough product.
    That's one reason I like Holmes on Homes. When he goes in to fix a problem in a house, it's usually for an average family making a modest wage. That's the reason they bring him in. Unless of course I've been fooled yet again by the boob tube.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    That's one reason I like Holmes on Homes. When he goes in to fix a problem in a house, it's usually for an average family making a modest wage. That's the reason they bring him in. Unless of course I've been fooled yet again by the boob tube.
    I burned out on his "every other builder is a dumba$$, only the great Holmes can do it right."
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  15. #15
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    My parents can spend all day watching this crap on TV. It makes me glad I don't have cable.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I find the real estate agent and the renovator to be very annoying.

    What I wonder is: Why would anyone stay in the renovated house? If you can spend a bit more (OK, and maybe that's an issue) and get an updated home with everything you want, why stay in a house with a only a couple of updated rooms and the rest of the house is a dump?

    And I agree, there are some exceedingly ugly neighborhoods with some exceedingly expensive homes. But once in awhile you see a nicer area near an outlying neighborhood's downtown area. And on one of the first-time buyer shows, Sandra likes to take the newbies to a real expensive, nice street to show them they can't possibly afford to live in a big home in a top neighborhood.

    I've always liked House Hunters International.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    I am from Baltimore and went to school in Philadelphia so I'm well acquainted with the rowhouse stock in both cities, and which is why I made the observation that Toronto houses, when compared to other cities with rowhouses/narrow lot lines, are still surprisingly ugly and mundane. So far I haven't seen houses featured on Love It/List It that can compare well, aesthetically speaking, with many of the rowhouses in American cities. Who knows why the popular architecture of the time in Toronto dictated bulky/squat/narrow and ungainly houses? One would have thought that the English influence would be much stronger and England has a long history of building lovely terraces and semidetached houses. The only influence I can see is the token "tudor" detailing you sometimes see. Then again Zoning Goddess is right, the show rarely features houses in the genuinely nice, upscale areas so maybe we're only getting a narrow perspective of the housing stock in Toronto.

    Anyway, speaking of Canadian planning the most recent episode I saw last night featured a couple who wanted a bathroom and bedroom added to the basement of their circa 1920 house, which would necessitate some excavation to add pipes and additional height. But it turned out that the neighboring property had a very tall (otherwise unremarkable) tree in the backyard which was protected by some tree act, meaning no excavations within 18 meters of the said tree. There went the basement plans and the house was duly listed at the end of the show. Do American municipalities have similar tree acts? Protecting trees is one thing but refusing to allow excavation permits for houses within a 18 meter proximity of the tree?

    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    After you watch two or three episodes, it's repetitive and boring.

    As for the housing stock...I bet those "small" rowhouses in Toronto are not dissimilar to the ones you can find in Philly and Baltimore. Additionally, I think the concept of "small" or "large" in Canada versus the US is that the financing of "large" houses cannot take into account for homeowner deductions like we have in the US. There are no mortgage or property tax deductions in Canada.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Waaahhh I want a basement so bad...

    I would love a basement bedroom, so quiet and cool. When I go back to the family wellsprings I stay with an aunt and uncle in a basement bedroom on their farmhouse. I call it the "Isolation Chamber" and sleep better than anywhere else.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    I stopped watching HGTV for a few reasons. One, the owners are so unrealistic and picky about everything. "Oh, the kitchen cabinets must be hand-carved African Oak. But don't exceed my budget of $200,000"

    And second, "Joe is a plumber and Kate is a middle school teacher: their budget is $920,000"
    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    We watched a lot of HGTV when the projects were reasonable. After a while they all trended to high dollar products and clients much the way that "This Old House" became "Fine Homebuilding". Guess our market niche wasn't buying enough product.
    They used to have more decorating and gardening shows on a few years ago, and "House Hunters" used to be much more realistic, and I used to watch it a lot more. I still like to watch "House Hunters International" when it's about people who are moving to some foreign locale to live full time, but the people who are buying $200,000+ vacation homes in some dirt poor LA country thousands of miles from their permanent homes just turn me off.

    The neighborhoods that ringed downtown Toronto were filled with ugly working class semi-detached homes. They survived, I suppose, because they were mostly brick. A lot of them have been bulldozed over the decades to make way for the resurrection of downtown Toronto. No great loss, IMO, as just being old doesn't mean "good". Now, the ones that are left (and there are many) are worth huge amounts simply because they are near downtown.

    If you get out away from downtown, the architecture gets better. I'm somewhat familiar with the neighborhoods from High Park west along Dundas and Bloor over to Islington because I have family who live (lived) in those neighborhoods. Lots of Victorian and pre-WW I and 1920s detached homes in what were once "streetcar suburbs" that were annexed into "metro Toronto".

    And yes, Toronto real estate is pricey, primarily because the city has grown so fast and continues to grow. My one set of Canadian relatives has literally made tens of millions buying and selling Toronto real estate, and the patriarch was never more than a Polish immigrant who worked in a factory and invested in what was rural property in the 1960s and is now in the heart of metro Toronto off the 401.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    This show sounds like a TLC equivalent called "Designed to Sell" where a host and "real estate expert" come in and assess the house in the first 5 minutes, then they spend 15 minutes renovating and redecorating areas of the house, and the final 5 minutes is an open house.

    I know one of the gals who is the "real estate expert" and have heard the real story behind the show. Basically, it's all staged. They mess up the houses and add extra furniture ahead of time so they can "unclutter" it and fix up a few cabinets etc. and at the end, the "open house" is completely staged with friends of the owners acting all excited to "buy" the house.

    The tips and ideas in these shows are cute but the execution is complete nonsense and misleading.
    @GigCityPlanner

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I watched an episode last night because there was nothing else on. The houses were ugly and the people decided to list their house after the remodel (which was pretty well done IMHO) and purchase a $920K home That type of house would go for something like 400K in the best of neighborhoods in the county I live in...and I thought we had high prices.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  22. #22
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    Love it or List it: Unrealistic TV show

    I think pretty much everything about the “Love it or List It” show on HGTV is unrealistic and the comments that the hosts and homeowner(s) make into the camera are ridiculous:

    (1) Homeowners always seem oblivious about the cost of remodeling. They seem to expect a lot for very little money. Then they want to add or change things throughout the remodel without increasing the budget! Then they complain into the camera! (2) Hilary never seems to know about the “bones” of the house before she promises that she can give homeowners everything that they want. I would not hire a designer if she did not first consult with a contractor. There always seems to be “unexpected expenses” that eats up a majority of the budget (a budget that was inadequate in the first place.) I am always shocked when Hilary finds a wall that cannot be removed because it is a load bearing wall. Isn’t that learned in Construction 101! (3) Realtor David is also always given a ridiculously low budget to find another home for the homeowners. He is often berated by the homeowners for finding a house in their price range that does not have everything on their check list. I just finished watching a show where the homeowners had lived in their starter home for 10 years. They wanted a much bigger house to move into yet they gave David another “starter home” budget to find the bigger house. Then the homeowners had the ignorance to complain into the camera that all David was showing them were “other starter homes!” (Surprise!!!)

    It is as if no one on the show has any idea about anything in the real world. I watched a few episodes and just couldn’t take it anymore. The most comical part of this show is when the homeowners speak directly into the camera with comments like: “I can’t believe we can’t get a whole new kitchen and a additional two bedrooms with private bathroom” when they have given Hilary a $30,000 budget!

    The only reason to watch this show is to see the transformations in the end because most are quite good. You might get an idea for something that you can do in your own house.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I don't watch much HGTV any more. I enjoyed it before the programs became reality shows and/or infomercials for building supplies. I do watch some of the International show, and laugh when the househunter wants modern US standards in a 200 year old European structure. On another network there is a program about housing auctions in the Phoenix area. Auctions are presumably held by a public housing authority. People hang aroung the house and phone in bids to their buddies at another location. They do not have the opportunity to inspect the house: not even to look in the windows. Yeah, right.

  24. #24
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    Can I say, entitled clients??!!

    I have to admit I'm addicted to this show. I know there has to be controversy for people to watch it. That being said, I frequently find the Clients so unrealistic about what they get for the money. Of course their rundown, northern winter weather homes are going to have rot, old beams, electrical, etc. And for Hilary to do the things she does for 60,000 that anywhere would be 150,000 is amazing.
    Can I say entitled??!!

  25. #25
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    I don't watch much HGTV any more. I enjoyed it before the programs became reality shows and/or infomercials for building supplies. I do watch some of the International show, and laugh when the househunter wants modern US standards in a 200 year old European structure. On another network there is a program about housing auctions in the Phoenix area. Auctions are presumably held by a public housing authority. People hang aroung the house and phone in bids to their buddies at another location. They do not have the opportunity to inspect the house: not even to look in the windows. Yeah, right.
    I saw this the other day. The city I work in has an annual auction of property they own (generally through tax foreclosure or the vacant/abandoned property act) and it generally operates the same way. A list is published, people have a little time to go see the property but only from the exterior, they also sell vacant lots. IMHO they do a piss poor job in having a strategy for the auction and do not coordinate with planning and zoning to figure out what might be the best use/dispensation of the property. I looked at 6 properties (4 houses, 2 lots), all 4 houses were in pretty bad shape, one lot was not buildable given the recent change in design requirement, and the other lot they were asking more than what it was truly worth. Clearly in it for the money and not the good of the community. One of the best stories that came from the auction was a man who "adopted" the vacant lot next to his place of work-mowing and cleaning it for the past few years, he purchased it just to make sure it didn't become a nuisance again.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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