HGTV, Monica, Bargains (&Me)

One of the topics I am eager to learn about for my blog is the HGTV phenomenon.  Late last week, Monica Pedersen of HGTV and I had the opportunity to talk together about her work with the network and Do It Yourself (DIY), which I have discussed in earlier blogs.


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Monica and I discussed HGTV's "Bang for Your Buck" and "Design to Sell", which Monica hosts here in Chicago.  She lives in the Chicago area and grew up in a household where her dad had a tool belt and her mom, a sewing machine.  Monica learned from both of them, understanding how to fix and make things, which made her quite expert in the realm of upgrading and putting things together.

"Bang for Your Buck" analyzes spaces that have been remodeled to live in and the value of that expense is discussed between realtors and designers to assess what the percentage of return would be for that work in the current market.  Recently, kitchens and baths were evaluated and, happily, the returns for the remodeling projects were upwards of 75%.  That is fabulous news and information in this economic climate.  The show travels to various cities and compares projects of similar scope in each city.

In addition to hosting "Blank Canvas" (about color selection) this past week, Monica hosts "Design to Sell" (shown on weekends on HGTV) where the designers are given a budget of $2,000. to upgrade and update a home to sell it for more than what was spent, as well as to get a quicker response.  It's uncanny and impressive how successful this concept is.  I can't imagine not making similar improvements if a home needs it.  The design industry has called a similar specialty "staging", although that can also include borrowing items.  "Design to Sell" is about updating, repainting, re-tiling, rearranging and (my favorite), buying incredible bargains.  It's a great show to watch and learn so you CAN do much of it on your own, stretching the dollars father.

Master Card is working with Monica with their new website called "MasterCard Marketplace"  The website has many categories for sales, including an extensive selection under "Homes".  Not only do they list everything from children's items, mattresses and appliances to indoor and outdoor furniture, but some of the sources state that they accept "best offers"!  At noon, they have additional coupons for the sale items.  Today, 82 vendors are listed.  The site is simple to navigate and so informative in many areas of shopping...just remember that these more substantial items can leave a lot of cash in your own bank account.

As Monica discussed with me, "Every project starts with a budget".  To that I would add that the budget may not be totally set with a dollar amount, but we all pretty much know our parameters with regard to a project.  Obviously, getting our investment back with selling a property makes spending the money more "sensible", as does knowing that we're gotten an extraordinary deal.  For Monica to reach a $2,000 budget, there are many, many times when researching bargains males the difference in the completion of her project, so shopping online has become vital to her success.

It's fun and inspiring to see how much can be accomplished and how much an environment can change for a comparatively low budget.  After all, I was looking at an online sale for furniture this past weekend. The "deal" on a bedside table (not a chest, just a table) was $3,600.  It WAS absolutely beautiful and unique, but not a realistic purchase for most.  Tune in to Monica and watch her working with clients using that tool belt and sewing machine.  No, not literally, but in spirit!


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