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Extreme Mad-over

A look into the consequences of a hit reality show from ABC

Viewers of the hit reality show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are treated to a combination of things from the host Ty Pennington’s constant screaming, the donors’ excessive advertising and the unforgettable facial reactions from the owners once the new house is unveiled. But what viewers usually don’t see are the drastic consequences that the show brings to some homeowners. A few of them include the following:

The Vardons of Detroit who appeared in 2004 took a refinance loan in their home after they needed to cover their blind autistic son’s $2,300 monthly payments. The house is already on the verge of foreclosure.

Sadie Holmes of Altamonte Springs had her home renovated in 2006. Last year, she faced a $29,000 county lien after months of code violation fees dragged her back to debt. She ran a neighborhood charity in the same property.

The Harper family in Georgia used their house as collateral for a $450,000 loan. Sadly, they’ve fallen terribly behind their payments. In March 2009, Milton and Patricia Harper sold their 5,300-square-foot mansion after years of financial struggles since they moved in their new home.

December 2008 recipient Amber Augustin is complaining of her enormous property taxes from her behemoth home. She swears to have cut her expenses since receiving the keys to the house.

So what brings them to these consequences? First, when homeowners who are immediately brought into a new home that they couldn’t manage too well, they’d always resort to refinancing to pay for their debts. The financial planners that the show assigns to these people can only extend their services limitedly. Second, unless the homeowners get a new job that can augment their joint incomes, they’d still be facing property tax problems. Finally, these families are not immune to the general economic malaise that the country is experiencing therefore, the cost of maintaining these very large houses can cut back their savings.

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