I have joked for years with home buyer clients about watching too many episodes of HGTV’s House Hunters, and that our home search isn’t going to include a film crew (read an actual client comment). Most of them recall an episode or two, or how they seem to look at three homes and buy one of them paying market price.
Well I almost fell over laughing last weekend as I sat at my kitchen counter, drinking my coffee, and opened The Washington Post real estate section. An article by Elizabeth Razzi told the behind the scenes story of a recent episode filmed in D.C. last winter. The buyer and her agent discussed what it was like to work with TV producers looking at condos and reshooting scenes to get a better reaction or angle.
This was excellent investigative journalism and was exactly the behind-the-scenes real estate stuff I was after. Why? Well, in almost twenty years working with Northern Virginia real estate buyers, there have only been a couple of clients who looked at three places, picked one and then bought it. Yes, it has happened right in front of me… but not for a few years.
As it turns out, the House Hunters executive producers have learned that some buyers look at 50 homes and then decide to stay in their rental. That is a lot of time, video tape, and money to waste. So they have streamlined the criteria a little (according to The Washington Post) demanding that they have a guaranteed result.
So, this is house hunting fiction?
- To make it on the show, you need to be “under contract” on a home already and then they will remake the house hunting experience.
It seems that these guys have learned an important lesson, and have a luxury that hard working real estate agents don’t have. They limit their risk and won’t work with deadbeats anymore. Deadbeats are the home buyers who look, demand to see places after work on Friday nights, find flaws in every house, and then decide to rent a place.
The reality is that many real estate agents hang in there, ditch their friend’s birthday party to show that condo on Friday night or miss their daughter’s softball game on Sunday afternoon. The reality of the real estate business is that most Realtors make incomes below the poverty line and have the highest divorce rate of any profession.
Finding a home to buy is harder than you think and most real estate agents work harder than you know to get a transaction completed. Watching episodes of House Hunters may give the impression that real estate agents are all over-paid order takers, but I think the Washington Post article points out that what you are watching on TV is nothing more than fiction.