‘Love it or List it’ sued over shoddy renovation

Plus, 3 things you should know about TV reno shows

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The premises of most home reno shows sound too good to be true: With a non-existent budget and a totally unrealistic deadline, a team of sassy experts will swoop in to give your home the makeover of its dreams. Now, an American couple is suing the Canadian producers of HGTV’s Love it or List it, for allegedly causing damage to their home and doing a generally shoddy job, reports the Associated Press.

If you’ve ever been doubtful of the quality of workmanship on these shows, this won’t change your mind.

According to the lawsuit, the home reno recipients, North Carolina couple Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan, allege that the contractor who worked on their remodel left their floors “irreparably damaged” and created holes during duct work that were apparently large enough for vermin to crawl right through. They also say that the show didn’t use licensed architects to draw up plans.

When they signed up to be featured on Love it or List it the couple paid a US$140,000 deposit to the producers on the renovation. The producers ponied up US$85,786.50 to the contractor who allegedly fudged things up.

It’s pretty likely the experience has left Deena and Timothy disillusioned with the lights, camera and wrecking-ball-action of home reno TV shows, but if anything, it’s a learning experience. Here are three things you should remember about renovations, televised or not.

You can’t afford to be passive

Home renovation TV hosts are full of bravado and showmanship. They’re entertainers after all. You often see hosts and designers dominate the entire process, leaving home owners with maybe a small handful of chances to provide their input. Whether on TV or in real life, it’s important to keep an eye on your contractor and to speak up if you object. Here’s how to find a reputable contractor.

Properly planned renovations are boring

The truth is, you don’t want to encounter surprises during your remodel. Dramatic reno fails are fun to watch on TV but not nearly as amusing when they’re actually happening to you. So, put in the time to find the right contractor to reduce the chance of being surprised with an issue. A contractor who thinks ahead can usually avoid all the drama and get the job done for you with minimal stress. Deena and Thomas apparently voiced their concerns about their contractor before he was hired (the couple claim he wasn’t their first choice due to his below-average reviews online), but for reasons that are unclear, the producers still went with him.

Renovations take a long time

A lot of the times, the big reveal tells half the story. While that whirlwind bedroom makeover may seem perfect, and the homeowners impressed, more often than not, TV renos are only 80% done. Don’t get pulled under by the HGTV effect!

Learn more on the truth about home renovation TV shows here.

Watch: Kitchen makeover tips

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