It's hard for me to relate too closely (or at all, really) to the home improvement programs you see on TV. You see couples who buy an old house, not because that's all they can afford, but because they find a huge rundown mansion on a large lot in a great area for a reasonable price. A price that is still beyond the means of most lower middle-class people. They also happen to have a fortune left over in the bank with which to invest handsomely in multiple repairs and improvements. This has not been my experience.
I bought a small old house in a far off land (as is and 30 miles away from work) because it's all I could afford. And believe me, by the time the deed was signed, there wasn't a dime left to my name.
Within the first week the clothes washer and dryer had gone out. The dishwasher followed...A water pipe on the rooftop burst (where the solar water heater is hooked up). Then went the central A/C, the electric water heater, the refrigerator...The oven still works, though only two of the small burners run. I called to have a new main water valve installed and they had to replace the forty foot pipe that stretches through my yard($$$). It's been one thing after another. Then, when you finally think nothing else can go wrong, the septic tank overflows and the guy says the drain field has to be rebuilt($$$$)! I hired a plumber to re-pack a seal in my shower so it would stop leaking hot water, and it appears now we have to tear down the tile and replace the internal pipes to stop the leak. There's no time to make the improvements you want to make. Emergencies take up all your extra cash and credit.
So I don't watch those damned shows much. They seem to apply to a different breed of people.