All right, I admit it, I am a little obsessed with real estate. Like the other full time agents that are making a go of it in this difficult market you almost have to be. You have to take this job very seriously or you won’t survive. It also helps to be a little crazy. You have to work long days, be available whenever and wherever at the drop of a hat for your clients or customers, and deal with new and bizarre issues or problems on every transaction. We also have to deal with the diverse personalities and opinions of our buyers and sellers. My broker said he read an article on-line this week that said being a real estate agent was ranked the 10th most stressful job in America. I looked it up and he wasn’t kidding. So at the end of a long day, I often sit down to relax and watch one of my favorite TV shows: HGTV’s House Hunters or House Hunters International. That’s how I know I am crazy.
I would think most people have seen House Hunters; it has been on the air a long time. But for those of you that haven’t, the premise is that buyers are looking for a new home so they enlist the aid of a real estate agent. They look at three homes in a given price range to compare and contrast and at the end of the show they buy one. Sounds pretty straightforward and simple. Every show someone buys a house! I wish my buyers could pick one out of three homes rather than one out of three hundred. I highly suspect that this feat is achieved through the magic of television rather than actually happening week after week. Either that or the buyers have been slipped something off screen. I may call to see what the producers use.
Anyway, it is very interesting to see homes in different parts of the country, the styles, and what you get for the money—or what you don’t get. That, in itself, is very educational. It is also fun to try and figure out which home the buyers will pick. I can tell you which home I would buy, and you would think, that based on what the buyers say they are looking for, and their reactions to and comments on each home, that you would know which home they will pick. Well, thing again. Maybe you have to be there?
House Hunters International is the same format, but much more interesting as you get to see homes in countries all over the world. The best shows to me are when they go to exotic places or islands like Fiji, Aruba, Mexico, or St Thomas (you know, somewhere warm with a beach and calm water). This week’s show had a couple from Detroit who have been investing in Florida vacation homes for years. They decide to take a quick trip down to Panama to buy a million dollar home.
Their budget was $1.2 million and they wanted a large, open concept home, with a great kitchen, a pool, and an ocean view. So house #1 was a $1.1 million home right on the beach with a great open concept floor plan. I don’t remember the square footage, but this place was huge and beautiful, and had a great view of the ocean but no pool. Darn. The second home seemed like a bargain at $800,000. It had the same great view of the water, a fantastic pool, was a little smaller than house #1, but didn’t have as much privacy because the house next door was very close. House #3 was way over budget at $1.4 million dollars, the largest of the three homes, and was really extravagant. The biggest flaws were that it was not an open concept home (which was one thing that they really wanted to have) and that it was $200,000 over budget. So I thought house #2 was a good buy, more manageable, and easier to take care of. House #1 just needed a pool put in, was priced right, and had everything else they wanted. I figured that’s the one they will go with. Nope, they go way over budget with house #3 and without the open concept plan that they really wanted!
Besides being entertaining, these shows highlight some of the things REALTORS® deal with on a daily basis and how differently people can view the same property. There is an old saying in real estate; “Buyers are Liars”. I don’t think that is really true. Most buyers are never 100% sure what they want until they see it and sometimes they will spend a lot more than budgeted when a property really grabs them. Buying a home is very much an exercise of personal taste and emotions. We often see buyers start out with one set of criteria for a home only to end up with something else entirely different because something really clicked about the property. I just don’t think they do it after three houses, or do they?
Call me to be on the premiere of House Hunters Lakes Region. I have three houses to show you…