Real Estate Reality TV: Fiction or Reality

realityHow realistic are real estate reality tv shows?

Watching Real Estate Reality TV shows, like HGTV’s House Hunters, can be helpful in learning fundamental elements of the industry, but viewers should be aware that there is so much more behind-the-scenes action that is not shown on reality tv shows.

On HGTV’s House Hunters, you see the buyer look at 3 different properties with an agent before deciding which property will become their new home. For the sake of fitting the elements of the show into a 30 minute time slot, much of the process goes unexplained. There are some downsides to watching any of these shows if you think they will equip you with a sufficient understanding of the real estate industry.


What is fiction and what is reality? Let’s take a closer look!


Fiction: Buying a home doesn’t take long.

Reality: The hunt for a good realtor is a process in itself, which sets the stage for the rest of the journey to buying a home.

Fiction: There is no focus on the extensive role of the real estate agent- evaluating the client’s’ wish lists, budget, availability within the market, sales negotiations, drawing up the paperwork, closing etc.

Reality: A lot of time and effort is invested before you can even begin touring properties. Once you are ready to bid on a home, if your offer is accepted, the next stage involves inspections and scheduling closing. This involves an extensive amount of paperwork.

Fiction: Some people may find their dream home after visiting only 3 properties…

Reality: Most people visit quite a few homes to determine their likes and dislikes before formulating their “wishlist.” So the process of finding the right home is really a journey and can take months, unlike what is portrayed as a speedy process on tv.

Fiction: You just pick your favorite property and put in your offer.

Reality: There is more to consider in buying a home than the home itself and its location- consider the neighbors, surrounding noise from highways, flight paths, trains, HOA fees, property tax rates, school district zoning, other projected development in the area, and resale value.

As with many, so-called “reality tv shows,” there is always an element of fiction to boost ratings.

However, there is a lot of truth to be told for anyone watching the show who wants to learn about the real estate market. House Hunters, Property Brothers, and Fixer Upper are all real estate reality tv shows that share some common themes you take away such as:

– Don’t get caught up on details that can be easily changed like wallpaper, wall color, flooring, countertops etc.

– Uncover and showcase the unique features in a property that set it apart from others in the area

– Buyers need to weigh their priorities on their “wish lists” such as location, desired features, and price

– Understanding that buyers may need to adjust their expectations of what their budgets will allow

– Sellers should use comparable home listings to determine a reasonable asking price

– Staging a home plays a significant role in attracting buyers

In addition, watching these shows helps viewers develop a sense for current trends in what buyers are looking for, not to mention they are entertaining.

Regardless of whether viewers watch these real estate reality tv shows in the hopes of educating themselves about the norms and trends in the housing market, or they are purely watching for the entertainment value, there is a lot to be said for networks, like HGTV, who highlight the emotional highs and lows of the process of buying a new home. Though, viewers do not get to see the whole picture of the many important aspects of buying a new home, they do get to see a glimpse of the excitement within this rapidly growing housing market.

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