Lara Spencer Talks 'Everything But the House,' Thrifting and How to Turn Clutter Into Cash
We’re gearing up for season 2 of Everything But the House, and host Lara Spencer is giving us all the thrifty details on what we have to look forward to.
Lara Spencer is a full-blown treasure hunter.
It’s exactly what she does on her HGTV antiquing series Everything But the House — coming back to HGTV for a second season on May 28 at 9/8c. She and her appraisal experts sift through family homes filled with dormant antiques in hopes of helping the homeowners rid themselves of clutter and make some money in the process.
“These stories are heartwarming,” says Lara, who started thrifting from the comfort of her baby bassinet. “Some of these parents want money to fund their kids’ education or to renovate their homes, etc. — and these people have no idea how much money they’ve just been sitting on.
Even better than making the sale, Lara says, is educating clients and viewers alike: “Oftentimes, people don’t know where to start, and that’s where we step in. This show allows viewers to come on a treasure hunt with us, but it also teaches them how to make smart decisions.”
Lara and her team start by raiding each home for antiques and evaluating their potential value. Then, they help homeowners figure out exactly what to let go of (it’s not always emotionally simple). Finally, they put it all up for auction. The catch? Each item goes on sale starting at just $1.
“The reason we like the auction experience is because it’s authentically bringing market value. It’s what the market will bear,” says Lara. “The buyers will determine what the value of the item is. That’s exciting. And we’re able to get these homeowners the money they deserve and need to achieve their goals.”
Let the bidding — and season 2! — commence. (We’re gearing up for all the fun and new finds, which, Lara assures us, are in abundance.)
Ahead of the premiere, HGTV sat down with Lara to learn more about her own thrifting background, how viewers can turn clutter into cash and what we can expect from the newest season of Everything But the House.
On Her Own Thrifting Story
HGTV: You’re the executive producer and host of HGTV’s Everything But the House, but you also produced and hosted Flea Market Flip on HGTV. When did you first become interested in flea markets, antiquing and treasure hunting in people’s homes?
Lara: I’ve been going to flea markets since I was a newborn. My mom loves the thrill of the hunt, so she'd pack me up in a stroller and take me with her. Flea markets, yard sales, thrift shops — they were all places my mom and I loved to go to, especially as I got older. In fact, it was something we had to, because we didn't have a lot of money. You can find really wonderful, quality items. My mom is phenomenal at it.
HGTV: Do you think you’d be successful if you went treasure hunting in your own home?
Lara: I’m always at flea markets and yard sales, but I promised my husband I wouldn’t become a hoarder. I constantly bring my stuff to consignment shops and auctions, so I actually don't have any clutter in my home. Yes, if I’m driving by an estate sale, like a moth to flame, I have to pull over and pop in. In fact, I recently found a really cool murano glass bowl, and, consequently, when I find the table I’ll want to put it on, I’ll be getting that too. [laughs] But I try to be diligent. It’s a fun way to save money, but it’s also a fun way to make money. It’s sustainable and all very gratifying.
On Tips For Viewers
HGTV: Where can viewers looking to turn clutter into cash start?
Lara: Go online and find out if there are reputable appraisers in your area. If it’s a smaller item, you can bring it to an auction house and they'll give you an estimate of what it might go for at auction. There are appraisers all over the country that will also look at pictures via email. You can ask them for history, you can tell them the story behind the item, and they’re usually happy to help. You can also ask an apprasier to come to your house.
On Everything But the House Season 2
HGTV: What are the coolest or most surprisingly valuable items you and your appraisal experts found during season 2?
Lara: We had a collection of tobacco cards, the precursor to baseball cards. A gentleman’s father had collected them in the 1920s and '30s and eventually gave them to him. He had a bag filled with hundreds of them and had no idea what they were worth or where he could find out their value. We had to ship them to Cincinnati to be appraised. Our appraisers were excited — they thought there might be two or three cards with famous baseball players like Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig on them. But even their appraisal wasn’t close to what they actually got at auction, and that’s all I’m going to tell you. There’s another family in season 2 who lived in a big, old house for 40 or 50 years. It was the husband’s parents' house, so you can imagine all the stuff they’d accumulated. The couple had low expectations: They wanted to make at most $10,000. All I can tell you is that they had no idea how much their clutter was worth. From the basement to the attic, there were hundreds of items and many went for way more than even we predicted.
HGTV: What are you most excited for viewers to see on season 2 of Everything But the House?
Lara: I'm really excited for viewers to meet these families and root for them along with us, in hopes that they make their [earning] goals. It’s been super fun going on treasure hunts in these people's homes and helping them find valuable items they never knew they had. The families and their stories are heartwarming. Their goals are important, and I think a lot of people will be able to relate.
HGTV: What is the best part of Everything But the House?
Lara: The best part for me is helping families loosen the load in their homes and get rid of things that are holding them back, while also enabling them to do something with the money they otherwise wouldn't have been able to do. We’re able to guide these homeowners who really don't have anyone else to turn to. We’re also able to find great, new homes for antiques that have been hidden away for years. It's incredibly gratifying, and I can’t wait for viewers to experience it all with us.