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by Michael Monteiro
If youre the kind of person that feels the need to feel productive at all times, this is the blog for you.
TvBelieve it or not, many of todays home- and real estate-related reality shows can provide you with valuable tips and information that can be applied to bettering your own property portfolio.
So from now on, you can do the ultimate in multi-tasking: Unwind in front of the TV while growing your professional skill set.
Following is a round up of some of todays most valuable home improvement and real estate shows and what they can teach you.Extreme Home Makeover (ABC, Sunday, 8:00 C.T.) Sure, you may not have a team of a few dozen volunteer workers to help you gut and rebuild an entire home in a single weekend, but Extreme Home Makeover still proves an invaluable point: No property is unsalvageable. Sure, we all know that while you may pay less to purchase a fixer-upper (as opposed to buying a property thats ready to go as-is), youre still looking at thousands of dollars in additional costs to transform the property. But even with repair and renovation costs in mind, you may still come out ahead by purchasing a fixer-upper and building it according to your vision.

Extreme Home Makeover proves time and time again that any home can be transformed. If you have the vision, inclination, and a team of reliable contractors on-hand, searching for a fixer-upper may be the perfect route to saving some money and creating your ideal property from the ground up.

Bang for Your Buck (HGTV, Friday, 9:30 C.T.)Speaking of saving money, HGTVs Bang for Your Buck is chock-full of ideas for making improvements in the most economical way possible. Check out this show for cost-cutting measures that will help you make quality improvements to your property for comparatively inexpensive prices. On this show, youll find tips for everything from renovating kitchens to taking down walls and creating completely new spaces. Not only this, but Bang for Your Buck also demonstrates just how valuable these upgrades and renovations can be. Each episode compares the cost of making repairs to the additional price they will add to a propertys market value, clearly demonstrating the economics of frugal upgrades.

Flipping Out (Bravo, see for schedule)Speaking of market value, although he may be a bit eccentric, a lot can be learned from Flipping Outs home flipper and real estate guru Jeff Lewis. This show follows the Los Angeles-based Lewis as he identifies fixer-uppers and completely transforms them in a matter of a few months, sometimes adding up to a million dollars onto their selling price. This show not only provides a template for those who are looking to get into the business of home-flipping, but it also shows how far a little bit of vision and insight into buyers minds can go.

Curb Appeal (HGTV, see for schedule)When it comes to appealing to potential buyers and renters, weve discussed the value of curb appeal on this blog before. For those of us without a green thumb, though, it can be hard to know where to start. HGTVs Curb Appeal is here to show you how to beautify your outside, taking everything from aesthetics to logistics into account. Here youll find tips on everything from landscaping to creating outdoor spaces for entertaining and utilitarian purposes.

For Rent (HGTV, Mondays, 10:30 C.T.)Finally, if youre looking for a glimpse inside renters minds, you wont want to miss HGTVs For Rent. Although this program (which shows renters how to install temporary decorations and fixtures into rented spaces) is designed for tenants, it can be equally educational for landlords. For Rent can provide landlords with ideas for the type of quick-fix amenities renters would like to find in their units. Particularly in a tight economy or in a location where there are many competitive properties, this show can give you tips on how to really appeal to renters through economical, easy-to-install extras. As an added bonus, if a renter comes to you with a request to incorporate a more permanent fixture in their unit, youll be ready with alternative solutions that will simultaneously keep your renter happy and prevent your unit from undergoing any permanent changes.

Thanks to reality home TV, gone are the days of feeling like a couch potato after a few hours of television. Now you can unwind and better your business at the same time!

Michael Monteiro works for Buildium LLC, maker of online property management software and landlord software for professional property managers, condos and homeowner associations (HOAs) and is author of the The Buildium Property Management Blog.

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