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Belinda Williamson
11-16-2010, 10:58 AM
I've watched this show maybe twice. I cried both times so I decided not to watch any more episodes. It has been pretty interesting though to see the whole thing coming together. I can't imagine trying to build a 3100 sq ft house in a week, including demo of the existing structure and clearing debris. It's raining now and forecast to continue through the night so I'm not sure if they will meet the Thursday completion schedule or not. I have to admit, I liked the TOH project here a number of years ago a lot better than this one. The TOH crew was around a little longer. Great project though.

http://savannahnow.com/news/2010-11-16/extreme-makeover-home-edition-house-sprouts-overnight

John Pratt
11-16-2010, 1:52 PM
I spent 80+ hours working on the one they did here in Lawton, OK. It truely is amazing the way they keep the time schedule down to the minute and stick to the schedule. You really build the house in 5 days because the first two days are spent getting the family out, emptying the house, and tearing it down. However, if you have ever worked on one of these, you can never watch the show again. You become somewhat jaded by the way the show depicts the build process vs. what actually happens. The show makes it seem like the makeover crew is working hard throughout the week really making it come together. In reality, you would be lucky to see the four "stars of the show" a total of three hours during the week and you will never see them if there isn't a camera around. Additionally, you never see the four or five takes to get the camera shot just right for the family to come out or for some "special project" that they are suprising the family with. I think it is a great thing they are doing, but it is really different working on the site vs. what you see on TV. One of my favorites was when the guy with the glasses did a scene where he describes using a scroll saw to make an ornamental object, and then says he needs to get busy because he has to make 25 of this item. He made a 15 sec cut for the camera and then left while 5 volunteers jumped in to actually do the project.

Belinda Williamson
11-16-2010, 1:58 PM
None of this surprises me, John. A friend was at the site over the weekend and said she did a lot of standing around while they did seven or eight takes of people carrying empty boxes out of the house to simulate moving stuff, etc. For some bizarre reason the powers that be thought it would be a good idea to tie in some type of "southern fried" theme and they fried several bricks from the house. I'm still not getting that one! Either way, the show much go on! :D

Matt Meiser
11-16-2010, 2:49 PM
So are the 3 pigs doing the counters?

Belinda Williamson
11-16-2010, 3:16 PM
So are the 3 pigs doing the counters?

Nope, the 3 pigs are not involved in this one. :D One of the pigs wanted to volunteer but work got in the way. Apparently they were overwhelmed with volunteers. Paula Deen even got into the act.

Scott Shepherd
11-16-2010, 3:30 PM
Nope, the 3 pigs are not involved in this one. :D

They'll be volunteering when the homeowners can't afford the $1000 a month electric bill from all the new electronic bells and whistles they put in. When they can't afford it, those pigs will become breakfast and dinner :p

John Pratt
11-16-2010, 3:42 PM
It can be overwhelming for the family sometimes, but from a money standpoint, they don't really have any worries as the mortage is usually paid off so they only have to worry about the utilities. Even in the case of utilities, they usually receive a lump sum of cash when they move in that can be in the thousands of dollars from local groups and businesses. I know in the house I worked on they received $10K in "spending" money when they moved in.
Another problem is that they are building million dollar homes in hundred dollar neighborhoods. A 4100 sq/ft home just doesn't fit in a (max) 1300 sq/ft neighboorhood.
I know here the family was under a tremendous amount of stress when it was completed and couldn't even stay in the house for a week because of all the looky-looes who wanted to drive by or knock on the door to see the inside of the house. They actually posted police outside the house to put a stop to it.
In the end it didn't have a happy ending for the family here. The Dad hooked up with some other women, the kids were taken by child services, and the mother commited suicide after about 1 year. Unfortunate to say the least.

Matt Meiser
11-16-2010, 4:11 PM
Except everything they get is taxed as winnings so they have to take out a new mortgage to pay the taxes. Obviously how much varies by state. But the family in Detroit that "won" early on in the show was in foreclosure last I heard.

David Weaver
11-16-2010, 4:33 PM
Except everything they get is taxed as winnings so they have to take out a new mortgage to pay the taxes. Obviously how much varies by state. But the family in Detroit that "won" early on in the show was in foreclosure last I heard.

That's probably a common scenario. Around here, the taxes on something new like that would really ruin your day if you were low income - $1000 a month or so for a $450,000 house.

I recall seeing a statement from NBC/ABC whoever it was when they were contacted about a family who had taken out several mortgages on their house and finally lost the house. They (NBC/ABC, ...) said something along the lines of "we don't comment because the house isn't our business after the build is done" (paraphrased).

You could read into that several different things. I read business as business in trying to figure out what they were getting to, and realize in reality, that it's important that the show generates revenue by creating demand for the ad space. That's their "business". What goes on in the house after the show airs doesn't affect that, so there's no reason for them to try to bind the occupants of the house to anything when the build is done.

John Pratt
11-16-2010, 6:16 PM
What is really amazing is the ABC has no real cost associated with the build other than paying the "Talent" and production costs. Everything, and I mean everything is, donated by the local business, contractors, etc. When they did the build here, there was a guy stopped by and handed over a check for 300K to the ABC people as a donation towards future builds. It is a sweet deal for ABC and the people who love the show, but for everyone else...not so much (including the families). It was definitely an experience and I enjoyed taking part in it, but when it is done you don't feel as satisfied knowing the hardships for the families and what really goes on behind the scenes. I can no longer watch the show and I would never be a part of another build. I will stick with the Habitat for Humanity homes that we put up several times a year.

Bryan Slimp
11-16-2010, 6:21 PM
I read once that they get around some of the tax issues by "leasing" the property from the family. I'm not sure how this helps, but the production company improves the "set". If they didn't have something figured out the show wold have been over before season 1.

Brian Elfert
11-16-2010, 7:22 PM
The family rents the property to the production company or someone for the duration of the build. Improvements by a renter to a property are not taxable for the landlord (the family).

The tax issues come in to play with property taxes and taxes on any other money given to the family. The families can't necessarily afford as much as $1000 a month in property taxes.

One family took out a mortgage or mortgage(s) on their new house to start a business. I don't recall if they got foreclosed or not.

Rick Davidson
11-16-2010, 7:37 PM
I was just involved with the one that was done here in Oregon at the OSD. It just aired on Halloween. It was quite the experience, but I agree it's a lot different then what you see on tv. Turns out they actualy have 2 builds going on at the same time so when Ty is doing his "special project" means he is at the other build site.

Matt Meiser
11-16-2010, 7:47 PM
I recall something about that in the paper here but there is a lot of money and stuff like furniture, cars, etc. that is given to them too.

When they were doing the one here, they were also doing one in St. Louis so Ty was driving between Toledo and Detroit, then flying to St. Louis and back. He ran out of gas on the side of I-75 and was rescued by a mom and daughter who recognized him standing beside the road on evening.

Belinda Williamson
11-17-2010, 6:59 AM
I did see in the local paper that there is a fund raiser/auction on Saturday night to raise funds to pay the couple's existing $80,000 mortgage. I do not know the employment situation of the couple that "won" but property taxes won't be cheap for them. The property is at the edge of Ardsley Park, which is one of thie high dollar historic districts. I do know that the couple has significant medical bills for their youngest child, one of the reasons they were chosen for a makeover. They moved to Savannah from my hometown to be closer to a medical facility that can handle the needs of their son. I hope that once everything is handed over to them they can hang on to it.

I've also heard a lot of stories around here about beneficiaries of Habitat for Humanity homes not being able to pay property taxes, etc. It must be very frustrating to finally have a home and then not be able to keep it.

Dan Hintz
11-17-2010, 9:58 AM
It must be very frustrating to finally have a home and then not be able to keep it.
HGTV's Dream Home has yet to have a successful homeowner... they all end up having to sell it off because the taxes alone are a killer (who has the tax money for a $2mil prize?). One couple tried to keep it, I believe, but they ended up declaring bankruptcy within a year.

Belinda Williamson
11-17-2010, 11:45 AM
Dan,

I had a discussion once with one of the reps selling raffle tickets for the local St. Jude's Dream Home regarding the same thing. I didn't need a 4000 sq ft home in one of the nicest subdivisions in Savannah. Why would I spend $100 for a ticket to win something on which I couldn't pay the taxes? I just gave them the $100 and told her to sell my ticket to someone else.

Marty Paulus
11-17-2010, 1:07 PM
HGTV's Dream Home has yet to have a successful homeowner... they all end up having to sell it off because the taxes alone are a killer (who has the tax money for a $2mil prize?). One couple tried to keep it, I believe, but they ended up declaring bankruptcy within a year.

I have heard the same thing. The houses are in exotic locations and would require the winners to move from where they currently live and work. I know I couldn't do that at this point in my life. Maybe one day soon though....

Brian Elfert
11-17-2010, 9:50 PM
The stories have at least gotten less far fetched than at the beginning. Ty used to make phone calls and had things like modular houses supposedly shipped overnight. There is no way that modular house had not already been in planning and construction for several weeks.

I often wonder how they deal with permits and such. They obviously work with the city in advance. They probably have an inspector on call or on site 24x7 so they aren't stuck waiting on an inspection.

Rick Davidson
11-18-2010, 12:00 AM
The one I worked on bout a month ago I asked these questions. I was told the plan was a canned plan from ABC that they modified for the build. They were working on it for about 6 weeks before it ever got started. Things like walls, trusses ect were pre built off site and trucked in (by police escort). They worked with the city to have inspectors ready. there were inspections done any time of the day or night as needed. They actually built everything up to code with all inspections done and permits in place.

John Pratt
11-18-2010, 9:51 AM
There is a tremendous amount of preplanning before the family is even selected. When the families make a final selection list, they send out people to the individual towns to coordinate all of these things. Some of this coordination also affects who is finally selected. One of the production staff explained to me that they actively engage the city governments to make sure it is going to run smootly and on the tight time schedule. He also explained that they actively seek out the local vendors for the donations of all the materials to include furnishings in the house. He stated that if they cannot get enough material donations (in addition to the stuff they already get from Sears) then it could seriously affect whether that family is chosen for the build. It comes down to money for ABC.

Neal Clayton
11-18-2010, 11:49 AM
they should change the title of the show to...

"demolition of a superior structure to rebuild a plastic/plywood replacement for the benefit of plastic/plywood building product manufacturer commercials"

Pat Germain
11-18-2010, 12:54 PM
I'm not surprised ABC works closely with the local city to make sure all permits and inspections are done in a timely manner. And I'm not surprised that city officials will bend over backwards to accomodate them. Almost any city council will do anything to help a major TV show "advertise" their town in a positive light and avoid looking bad.

Imagine how crummy a city council would look if Extreme Makeover announced, "Well, we were supposed to be done yesterday, but the city inspectors never showed up and we're still waiting for the occupancy permit so this disabled little girl can enjoy her new home". Of course, if any of us were building a house, that would be the likely scenario.

Similarly, I used to travel a lot back in the 1990's. I started to notice wherever I went, the local radio station would announce the City Council had banned the upcoming Marilyn Manson concert. Then, magically, everything would be back on at the last minute. Right. It became apparent to me that whomever promoted Marilyn Manson would ask the local city council to announce they were banning the show (which, technically, they can't do anyway). Then the promoter would get free advertising and lots of a hype for a week while everyone expressed their opinons and outrages. Finally, when the show was back on, it would sell out as a supposed example of "sticking it to the man". Since a sold out show generates more taxes from ticket and concession sales, everybody wins. :rolleyes:

Brian Elfert
11-18-2010, 1:13 PM
they should change the title of the show to...

"demolition of a superior structure to rebuild a plastic/plywood replacement for the benefit of plastic/plywood building product manufacturer commercials"

Huh? Superior structure? Most of the homes they tear down are real dumps although there are a few I wonder why they tore them down.

From the little we see of the construction process the new houses look to be very well built. Would you want to be a builder that built one of these houses and get negative press later if the house is faulty? They rarely use vinyl siding like many new homes. They seem to use stucco, cement siding, or other quality siding products.

Many of you may not remember that for the first season or two this show actually did remodel homes instead of building new ones. I don't know why they stopped doing that, but it is probably easier to just build new in 7 days. A renovation could run into any number of time consuming issues.

Pat Germain
11-18-2010, 1:35 PM
Huh? Superior structure? Most of the homes they tear down are real dumps although there are a few I wonder why they tore them down.

From the little we see of the construction process the new houses look to be very well built. Would you want to be a builder that built one of these houses and get negative press later if the house is faulty? They rarely use vinyl siding like many new homes. They seem to use stucco, cement siding, or other quality siding products.

Many of you may not remember that for the first season or two this show actually did remodel homes instead of building new ones. I don't know why they stopped doing that, but it is probably easier to just build new in 7 days. A renovation could run into any number of time consuming issues.

Good points, Brian. Also, I'm thinking of the many renovations I've seen on TOH. Time and time again, there's a problem with lead paint, asbestos and other serious issues. For a historical home or a nice old Victorian, I can understand taking the extra time and spending the extra money (lots of extra money!) to remove that stuff. But for a rundown tract house or farmhouse, why bother?

My family renovated a 100 year old farmhouse when I was in high school. It ended up being a complete waste of time and money. Sure, some older homes were well built by experienced craftsman. But most of them were thrown together with whatever the farmer could find by whomever was willing to help. Or they were slapped together by the lowest bidders a tract developer could find. I think well-built, older homes are the exception rather than the rule.

This is why whenever someone said, "They don't build them like they used to," Norm would would answer, "Yes, and it's a good thing they don't".

Belinda Williamson
11-18-2010, 2:13 PM
Just a few snippets from the local news regarding the condition of the property.

"Overnight Friday, crews had readied the site by removing a dilapidated inground pool made of plywood covered in plastic. (Neighbors say a former owner once kept swans there.)"

"But before the Simpson's old house could be demolished Saturday, the crew and dozens of volunteers tended to a little salvage and a lot of showmanship.

They removed 22 six-pane, double-hung windows from the house, along with the ornamental front door frame. Those salvaged materials will be donated to Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity, which salvaged appliances, fixtures and other materials from the home's interior Friday night."

"The crew called it a Southern-fried demolition.

It went like this: With cameras rolling, celebrity designer Paul DiMeo would sledge-hammer a brick from the fence. Host Ty Pennington would ask him what he was doing. They repeated the process again and again until the theatrics of it were satisfactory.

Then the bricks, along with a toilet seat, a shutter and several doorknobs, were batter-dipped and deep-fried in the side yard with apron-clad volunteers in chef's hats filling in as kitchen help." :confused::confused::confused:

"Matt Vickery, who himself runs a construction and remodeling business, grew up next door to the now- demolished house. It was piecemeal inside, he said, with unfinished, poorly designed remodels throughout.

"The downstairs was never occupied and the addition had a tree growing through it," he said.

Vickery's mother and step father still live next door to the house he called "impossible to salvage, an investor's nightmare."

"It's a blessing to see this house go," Vickery said. "It's a better blessing to see something built back.""

Neal Clayton
11-18-2010, 3:20 PM
Huh? Superior structure? Most of the homes they tear down are real dumps although there are a few I wonder why they tore them down.

From the little we see of the construction process the new houses look to be very well built. Would you want to be a builder that built one of these houses and get negative press later if the house is faulty? They rarely use vinyl siding like many new homes. They seem to use stucco, cement siding, or other quality siding products.

Many of you may not remember that for the first season or two this show actually did remodel homes instead of building new ones. I don't know why they stopped doing that, but it is probably easier to just build new in 7 days. A renovation could run into any number of time consuming issues.

this one wasn't. if you go through the pictures from the news articles, it wasn't even that old. looks like a typical 20s/30s soft red brick 4 square house to me. the brick/mortar all looked like it was in fine shape, and the roof looked pretty straight.

Brian Elfert
11-18-2010, 4:42 PM
this one wasn't. if you go through the pictures from the news articles, it wasn't even that old. looks like a typical 20s/30s soft red brick 4 square house to me. the brick/mortar all looked like it was in fine shape, and the roof looked pretty straight.

Are you talking about the Savannah house?

I'm confused because Belinda's post says it was a complete dump and you're saying it looks like a fine house.

Brian Elfert
11-18-2010, 10:52 PM
One thing they don't tell you on the show is that at least on some of the builds the project is really 8 days. The 8th day is inserted between the door knock day and the demolition day. This 8th day is used for moving everything out of the house and prepping it for the demolition. Presumably they have to get all of the utilities disconnected and so on.

Belinda Williamson
11-19-2010, 7:28 AM
Are you talking about the Savannah house?

I'm confused because Belinda's post says it was a complete dump and you're saying it looks like a fine house.

Brian, just for clarification I haven't personally seen the house but only quoted the newspaper articles. From the photos the house looks to be in pretty good shape.

Larry Harden
11-20-2010, 1:31 AM
They filmed an episode here in about 2004 or 2005, the wife was jealous of the husband right away because she felt they did it all for him, she ended up having affairs and leaving him. He is now remarried and living in the house but I think the kids are split up between them. Too much, too quickly, families are sometimes held together more by hard times than good. Sad stories.

Dan Hintz
11-20-2010, 7:14 AM
It sounds like that marriage was doomed for failure anyway, the house (and her jealousy of it) were just straw for the camel's back...

Belinda Williamson
11-20-2010, 7:48 AM
Wow, when I started this thread I didn't expect to hear about so many unhappy endings. It seems a shame that something that at least on some level is meant to help ends up hurting more.

Larry Harden
11-20-2010, 10:48 AM
While I agree that it was not perfect Dan, I still wonder if it is wise to tempt people into a situation which pushes them over the edge, they were dealing with 2 handicapped children already before this came up and had successfully dealt with them for a number of years without these issues coming up.