The last couple of years have seen major changes in the property market as a direct consequence of the global financial crisis. With banks making lending restrictions tighter, the housing market has slowed down and property prices have ceased to be a major topic of discussion.
A strange result of this is that during the last decade some of the most popular shows on television have been based around the idea of ‘home improvements'; particularly the ways in which people can enhance the quality and value of their homes through investing in them.
We’re all familiar with the format, but which home improvement shows are the best?
Although it last broadcast in the UK at the very end of 2004, Changing Rooms is still widely acknowledged as one of the best home improvement shows ever created. The show was appeared on the BBC in the UK and later franchised for local TV markets in the United States, New Zealand and Australia.
The unique format saw couples swap houses with friends or neighbours with the idea of each pair redecorating and renovating the home of the other. Originally hosted by Carol Smillie with expert help from professional carpenter “Handy” Andy Kane, the show made nationwide stars of the show’s cast.
Aimed more at people who were actually involved in the property market, Property Ladder featured real life purchasers looking to buy in order to sell at a profit. The original UK version of the show was transmitted on Channel 4 and currently repeats on various other channels.
The expert property developer is Sarah Beeny whose firm but fair assessment and advice provides the backdrop to the way in which those featured in each episode handle their experience.
In 2009 the UK version was re-titled Property Snakes & Ladders in order to reflect the way in which the market had changed over the years and the increasing risk that was involved.
The House Doctor
Again originally broadcast in the UK, this time on Channel 5, House Doctor features Californian real-estate stylist Ann Maurice whose sometimes scathing approach towards interior design led to a loyal and dedicated following.
In a unique twist, the show presented owners with a video recording of the reactions a number of prospective purchasers made when viewing their house. This negative feedback was often the highlight of the programme with the improvements suggested designed to coincide with a budget of around 1% of the sale price of the house.
Although there have been many attempts at shows based around similar ideas to those mentioned above, Changing Rooms, Property Ladder and The House Doctor are the originals – our favourites!