With more foreclosed homes hitting the market every day, thousands of them are ending up on reality television. Over the next few months, several different television networks will feature new reality shows highlighting these foreclosed homes by building on the ever-popular “house flipping” theme. House flipping, an increasingly popular technique that flourished alongside the booming real estate market, keeps viewers intrigued. How can one turn an unkempt house into a beautiful, thriving home?
New Reality TV Shows
In late August, Bravo’s show “Flipping Out” will enter its fifth season and follow Jeff Lewis, an original house-flipper-turned-designer, as he haggles with lenders to purchase a foreclosed home that he can live in. A&E Television Networks recruited a former “Survivor” contestant to star in their version of a house flipping show in Houston, Texas. Some of these homes are also foreclosures. One of the new shows, “Flip Men,” is premiering on Spike TV in September. The program features two entrepreneurs located in Salt Lake City, Utah, who try to make money by buying foreclosed homes. Finally, DIY Network is currently developing a program about flipping foreclosed houses that is set to air next year.
House flipping as Television Content
House flipping, a technique in which an owner buys a home, renovates it, and then turns around to quickly sell it, began dominating cable programming as the real estate market surged. When the market dropped, however, these shows were still able to provide viewers with helpful tips and techniques regarding home decoration, improvement and design. While this trend has been increasing in popularity over the past few years, only now are television networks focusing on foreclosed homes.
For instance, reality shows that focused solely on buying homes such as HGTV’s “House Hunters” became popular ten years ago but took over cable programming when the real estate market jumped between 2005 and 2007. Other networks quickly followed, including A&E and NBC Universal’s Bravo, both of which started series about various entrepreneurs who were finding ways to profit off the profitable real estate market. Some of their successful programs included “Flipping Out,” “Flip This House” and “Flip That House.”
The Crash and its Effects on TV
Once the real estate market tanked in 2008 and the financial crisis struck Wall Street, most of the networks decided to restructure the shows or to remove them from the air completely in order to keep with the current trends. HGTV launched new programs such as “The Unsellables” focusing on homeowners who were unable to sell their properties and required professional help to makeover their homes. A&E, on the other hand, has not made any new episodes of “Flip This House” since 2009. In order to succeed with these types of programs, networks had to retool their shows drastically. Due to the economy’s downward spiral, the star of Bravo’s “Flipping Out,” Jeff Lewis, actually had to change careers and completely reinvent himself, ending his house-flipping saga. Recent shows have now featured him as a designer as he helps to plan homes for his clients. He expects that there will be more shows about foreclosed homes in the near future because that is our current reality.
Are you facing foreclosure? These articles may be helpful: What to Do When You Are Facing Foreclosure, Options When You Can’t Make Your Mortgage Payments, Should You Walk Away from Your Mortgage?
The Ups and Downs of Flipping
Doug Clark and Mike Baird are the hosts of Spike TV’s new show, “Flip Men.” The program follows these two men as they attend real estate auctions of foreclosed homes and purchase properties on a whim without even seeing them first, just hoping they will be able to snag a good deal.
Sometimes, they were not so lucky. Some of the houses they purchased were infested by rodents, the interior was covered with mold and feces, and a few were still occupied by angry and violent occupants. Other houses had been turned into methamphetamine labs by drug lords or taken over by dangerous gangs. In order to save themselves, and their wallets, they must figure out the best and fastest way to fix up the house and then sell it as quickly as they can. These types of reality shows often draw millions of viewers because they are like game shows: you never know what’s behind that door.
Don’t expect the networks to give up on home-based reality shows any time soon. Reality television is easy and cheap to produce, and American television viewers eat up the fantasy that house-flipping shows present. And with no economic relief in sight, there’s only more opportunity for networks to cash in.
Take Advantage of Low Mortgage Rates
One of the quickest ways to lower your mortgage payment is to refinance it at a lower interest rate. The good news is that we are experiencing near record low interest rates in many locations. We recommend comparing mortgage rates to see if you can save money each month on your mortgage payment. Some homeowners can save hundreds of dollars each month by refinancing.