Reality TV is the latest victim of the national mortgage crisis that has affected so many Americans over the past two years. Many of the houses featured in “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” are facing foreclosure, and instead of sitting by and waiting while more families lose their dream homes, a Wall Street Journal report says producers of the show have decided to scale back.
A rep for the show denied that it was the issue of foreclosure, specifically, that led to the decision to downgrade their approach, and credited it instead to general shifts in the economy.
“‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ has always strived along with our volunteer builders to create not only ‘extreme’ homes, but homes that work for the owners for years to come,” the spokesperson said. “As always, we are striving to build greener, more affordable and environmentally responsible homes, and redoubling those efforts for years to come.”
The long-running, tear-jerking show boasts a tried-and-true formula: Producers track down families who have undergone extreme hardship and send a team of designers to give their homes expensive and lavish makeovers.
Over the course of seven seasons, the redo’s have become increasingly opulent, with amenities like swimming pools, home theaters, carousels, and bowling alleys popping up on a regular basis. Problem is, these extravagances usually come with significantly higher utility bills and mortgages, which many homeowners are struggling to pay.
The first home to officially foreclose belonged to Idaho resident Eric Hebert, who was featured on the show after he adopted his deceased sister’s 11-year-old twins. Herbert admits to having taken out too large a loan on the home under the assumption that he’d be receiving a larger income than he was able to secure.
“A lot of people think when you get the house you get the mortgage,” “Extreme Makeover” contestant Brian Wofford told San Diego’s 10News. “Well, you don’t.” Wofford, a widowed father of eight, has been fighting to modify his home loan for two years after his mortgage adjusted to an unmanageable rate.
In addition to the Heberts and the Woffords, as many as four other families are in foreclosure territory. The Harpers of Georgia were given a 5,300-square-foot castle-like house five years ago, but the failure of their construction business forced them to put their home up as collateral. They’ve filed for bankruptcy and are facing imminent foreclosure. The Okvaths of Arizona and the Byers of Oregon are also in deep financial trouble and may be forced to give up their digs.
Expensive, ostentatious houses in otherwise rough neighborhoods tend to be a tough sell, which is why so many “Extreme Makeover” homes are at risk of foreclosure. But producers of the show have wised up to the times, pledging to keep the makeovers under a manageable threshold.
Swimming pools are no longer the norm — and when they are still included, they’re built more economically with the intention of reducing water costs. Lavish landscaping has been tossed out in favor of natural, environmental design, and the overall square footage of the homes — averaging 2,800 to 3,000 square feet — is going down.
according to yahoo.com