Many of my clients are fans of “Love it or List it,” “Fixer Upper,” “House Hunters,” “Property Brothers, and other reality TV home shows. To be perfectly honest, I rarely watch these shows because I live them. In fact, they are sometimes so far from reality that they frustrate and annoy me.
A few months ago I was contacted by the producers of one of these shows. They asked me if they could film buyers looking at one of my listings that was already under contract to a real buyer. The real buyer was paying cash, his earnest money was non-refundable and there was little doubt he was going to go through with the sale. Nevertheless, I contacted my owner clients and asked if they would allow the production company to film “TV Buyers” looking at their home. My clients’ response was “What would be the benefit to us?” Hmmm. I couldn’t really think of any, so we passed.
The 3 Home Decision?
I have spoken with other Park City real estate agents who were involved with reality real estate shows. One of them told me she was on a show where the “TV Buyers” were looking at 3 homes. The “TV Buyers” had already closed on a home in a particular neighborhood, but the show was filming the TV buyers as they looked at 2 additional homes in the neighborhood. My colleague was told to be the “aggressive agent with the New York attitude.” Other agents involved were given different “roles”.
Another colleague was involved in a similar set up. Her buyer had already closed on a home and the competing homes she showed him in the preceding months had already sold. So the agent and the producers found 2 additional homes that were on the market and used them as the competing homes. My colleague told me she enjoyed the production process except when they were filming her at the front door of each home. It was bitter cold and she had to knock on the front door for multiple “takes”.
Isn’t it interesting how the Reality TV shows film the buyers looking at exactly 3 homes? According to the National Association of Realtors the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search. In my personal experience, I would say this is true. I show most of my buyers about 10 properties before they feel comfortable making a purchase decision. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever shown a buyer only 3 homes.
The Easy “Fix Up”?
Don’t even get me started on the shows that take an ugly fixer upper and turn it into a “dream” home. I’m working with buyers on such a home right now and my sweet buyers have already invested hours just meeting with contractors to figure out what they need to do to gut the home and how much it will cost. They are looking at sinking at least $100,000 and months of construction to turn this ugly duckling into a swan. Through my guidance, they know they will not be over-improving the home for the neighborhood. Not all fixer-uppers are worth the time and money.
The bottom line is that the reality TV real estate shows are inexpensive to produce (if the real estate agents and clients get paid for their time, it’s a nominal fee) and make for good entertainment. They are not “real” and are not even an accurate reflection of the home buying process. Keep that in mind the next time you are in the market.
Inspired by “KeepingCurrentMatters.com”
I’m always amazed at these flxer upper shows that tell the buyers the repair and upgrade options and what it will cost to do the remodel. They tell them the price and the buyers agree agree. Then the construction crew goes in and “finds” all these major problems with the furnace, electrical and supporting walls. What part of due diligence don’t they understand and why don’t they ever do a home inspection?….most of this stuff is fantasy land. I have remodeled over a dozen homes and always did inspections. Plus, I always built in a 15-20% contingency for additional problems. Also, I don’t get it when they schedule an open house when they haven’t finished the repair process? I never lost money on any home I have bought and resold or kept as an investment property…but it is hard work and not for the timid or weak of heart. If problems or working with people are not something you can deal with….. then stay away with any kind of “Flip” or investment property!
Thanks, Bill, for your insightful comments! It is definitely “hard work and not for the timid or weak of heart!”
I enjoy watching most of the shows listed. I was wondering about the 3 houses, since they usually don’t like any of them when they look at them, but always pick one.
Property Brothers always get the house completely remodeled in 7 weeks.
Thanks, Carolyn! Whenever I watch those shows, I never pick the house the buyer ends up with.