In 2009 I wrote an article based on an HGTV "reality" show about a real estate sale in Chicago - you can read it here. Today I read an article from Inman news about real estate and reality TV - check it out here.
When I write my own blog post in relation to a published article I usually go down the original list and write in my own thoughts. I'm going to tackle it a bit differently today.
Editing and True Reality
Unless you've been interviewed for an article in a newspaper or magazine or have been on a television show, you don't realize how editing can skew your entire interview or the true happenings while filming a show/documentary.
I've been published many times in local newspapers and The Wall Street Journal Online even published a story about me losing a domain name and how I got it back. The story was basically good with the exception of one of our major local Chicago newspapers. They made it seem like I lost the domain because I forgot to renew it. That's not how it happened. I was with a real estate website provider that insisted I purchase the domain through them. They should have alerted me when the domain was up for expiration, but they didn't do it until after it had expired. If you own websites and multiple domains you know that your domain provider alerts you to expirations. This wasn't done, a domain purchaser bought it and wanted thousands for a domain that cost me ten bucks. My new webmaster surprised me by negotiating a 50% discount and he purchased it for me!
Reality Real Estate TV Shows
Where do I begin?! I loved watching House Hunters, and several have been filmed in the Chicago area and suburbs. These are real buyers and agents, but I question how relaxed and real they seem. Not sure if they're scripted or if they're all really just great at saying the right things and even being funny.
It seems so easy - you look at 3 homes and choose one! I'm rolling my eyes. I have had people that have only looked at a few places and loved one of them. And then there are those buyers that look at 50+ homes before finding one that fits their needs.
So how do they do it? I've been told that most, if not all, of the buyers on House Hunters have already purchased their house, or at least picked it out. Some of the homes they go through with the camera crew are not necessarily any they originally looked at and may already have been sold to different buyers. The owners are obviously paid something to allow their home to be filmed and have to accept any criticism that will be broadcast to millions. So it's all a set-up. You probably knew that.
There are other shows that show "catfights" among real estate agents, such as Million Dollar Listing. I even get caught up in it until I come back to my senses and realize that it doesn't work this way. We don't always bump into other agents, even in the luxury market. I don't voluntarily watch that show, just caught a few episodes when I turned on the television and it was already on the Bravo channel.
I know Manhattan and possibly the other boroughs of New York City handles real estate differently than most all other areas. They do not have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). However, the way they film Selling in New York once again makes it look like it's all a big clique. New York City is a big place, and maybe agents do know and constantly see each other in smaller areas. I just find it hard to watch these shows.
There Have Been a Few Good Ones
There were several shows that even though they were scripted, they were more real. I can't remember the names of the few I loved since they're no longer running. I believe My First Place was a good one. For the most part, I did enjoy the Buy Me show as they were more realistic with the relationships between sellers and their agents.
My favorite was the mother-daughter real estate team that would help people stage their homes for sale on Secrets That Sell - they were hilarious! They were Donna and Shannon Freeman and I loved them. I'm sure it was scripted, but they had some great zingers. I wished some of my sellers watched their show as they were blunt about what is in and out with today's buyers.
There was also the show where people would look at homes under their price point & were shown, via a computer mock-up, how they could fix the home to their liking and how much it would cost. It might have been Fixer Upper.
One of the worst examples of "real" real estate was the show where the agent (longish, big dark hair and I think it was in Canada) stood outside while her buyers/renters had the run of the home where the sellers lived there but weren't home. Talk about liability!
I couldn't stand the whiny Tatiana on The Property Shop on HGTV. She seemed unprofessional and entitled and I'm not sure how they gave her a show. She is the epitome of an agent I wouldn't want to have to work with.
HGTV is Back To Flipping Shows
There have been a host of shows on different channels about house flippers. It's interesting because although I'm still seeing flipped homes, it's not as prevalent as it once was. Prices are going up a bit from the bottom so profits are more difficult to come by.
I understand that shows come and go for many different reasons. The only 2 real estate related shows I currently watch are Flipping Out with Jeff Lewis and Candice Tells All, featuring my favorite designer ever, Candice Olson. I'd love to be on her show.
Flipping Out isn't as much real estate as it is a soap opera featuring Jeff, his boyfriend Gage, their hilarious Hispanic housekeeper Zoila & the employees that work for him via an office in his house. My absolute favorite is Jenny. If they ever lose Jenny or Zoila I'll stop watching. This show began with Jeff Lewis flipping homes, but his popularity grew to where he was designing and decorating homes for the rich and famous. He buys, renovates and sells his own properties (bought and sold one house twice). But it's not the real estate you watch this for, it's the stories of the people that live and work with Jeff. Again, some of the things that come out of people's mouths have to be scripted as it can be laugh out loud hilarious. If it's all them then it explains why I love this show.
The bottom line is just because it's on the Internet or on TV doesn't mean it's true. Local real estate custom can change from different areas of Northern IL, for example. In the southwest suburbs like Orland Park, although we do utilize lockboxes, if a seller doesn't want to then we work out appointments another way. Yet some other western suburbs have expectations that all sellers use a lockbox. In our area, we set appointments. In other areas sellers set their own appointments. So no national TV show can portray the buying and selling experience that might occur in your neighborhood.
If you are interested in buying and/or selling real estate in the near west or southwest Chicago suburbs give The Judy Orr Team a call at 708-536-8200.