Real Estate on Reality TV - It Doesn’t Get Much Better!

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I’m sure you all have noticed the popularity surge of real estate reality TV shows.  It started with the success of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Then it really caught on when HGTV rolled out a slew of real estate shows and soon became much more Home and much less Garden. 

House Hunters, What You Get for the Money, Flip This House and Moving Up. It’s pleasurable to watch other people turn fixer-uppers into contemporary living spaces or young families moving up in the world to purchase 5 bedroom, 4 bath homes in nice neighborhoods.

These shows were great to watch because they were an escape from reality.  You may not be able to buy a home, but it’s fun to live vicariously through others who can. But I think there’s only so much one can take of watching an overly confident REALTOR in a show like Million Dollar Listing sell homes for 20 million dollars while some modest homes are getting foreclosed on – and their owners kicked out on the street...

Well it looks like reality TV is finally choosing to reflect the current market...

Introducing HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention. The show takes struggling sellers on a tour of other listings in the same price range and same area to see if they are pricing their home realistically compared to the competition.  Your hosts are Sabrina Soto, the gentle REALTOR who is sweet as pie to the often sensitive and defeated homeowners and Mike Aubrey, the tough-looking real estate expert with a military background who takes the direct approach and tells the homeowners that it’s time to face the facts.

This show is not exactly the light-hearted fluff that we are used to with home buying shows.  In fact, it’s pretty heartbreaking. Take Evelyn who lost her job 6 months ago and can no longer afford to stay in her beloved townhome in the pricey neighborhood of Georgetown in Washington, DC.  She has put a lot of work into her home – and a lot of personal touches.  With every comparable home that Aubrey shows her, she refuses to accept that any of them are more valuable than hers.  To the audience, she seems so obviously blind to what she needs to accept.  She may have updated her kitchen with a blue tile backsplash that she thought adds an upgraded finish, but Mike needs to explain to her that granite countertops and stainless steel appliances is what makes a home show well.

Or what about Rebekka who was so proud of buying her first home three years ago, at the height of the market, when she could afford the mortgage.  When the rate adjusted, she found herself drowning in her interest-only loan.  Now she has to sell her home, but she has no money to make updates or renovations.  On top of it all, her mom has terminal cancer and she wants to get home to take care of her.  She has priced her home at $259,900.  She owes $240,000 in payments.  When they find a comparable home in much better shape at $243,500, Aubrey must break it to her that $209,000 is about all she going to get for her home and that a short sale is the best way to go.  Sitting in her small dining area, we watch her cover her head in disappointment as she takes in the depth of what Aubrey is telling her.

It can’t be easy to accept that the home that was, at one time, a great investment is now worth a fraction of its expected value.  And of course it’s human nature to put high value in what you own because you know what it’s worth to you.

These people in this show are real.  They’re our family, our neighbors, ourselves – accepting they can no longer afford to live in the homes where memories have been made.  It’s nice to see a reality show actually reflecting reality.  It’s just unfortunate that reality isn’t always pretty.  But hey, it’s still VERY interesting to watch!

Real Estate Intervention: Four Stars ****

Warmest regards,

Stacey Clarke
Listing Coordinator


Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mark Rienzie 10/28/2009 02:27 AM
  2. Mark Rienzie 10/28/2009 02:27 AM
  3. Doreen Johan 10/28/2009 02:44 AM
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Show All Comments
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Good post, we've recently got the Extreme Makeover in IL coming soon.

Oct 28, 2009 05:17 AM #25
Barbara Singleterry
S Squared Group - Keller Williams Realty - Roseville, CA
Honesty - Integrity- Loyalty

I love Flipping Out, just for the outrageousness of the principals. It is in true reality mode now that the bottom has dropped out of the market in LA and high end flips are very difficult.  I will have to catch Real Estate Intervention.  I have learned alot from the other shows, like Property Virgin, etc.  Love your review.

Oct 28, 2009 05:24 AM #26
Ceci Burklow
Pride of Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

I have been addicted to most of these shows for a few years now.

Just caught my first episode of Million Dollar Listing this week and while amazed at the participants (are these people for real!?! - wow - LA is sure different than Austin!) it was still interesting to watch!

I find each of the shows almost like job training where I can watch agents actions/styles and find the positive and negative traits to emulate or avoid, plus it is interesting to see the housing differences geographically!

Great post!

prof pix

Oct 28, 2009 05:36 AM #27
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

I like this show because it gives us the beginning, middle and end. We get to see what Mike said, what the clients did, and who was right. It's heart-breaking but the most realistic thing out there. It's a sign of the times.

Oct 28, 2009 06:12 AM #28
Stephanie Frost
Home Team Realty - Ocala, FL

I'm a HGTV junkie, and this show has been my new fix.  I love the fact that it realy does tell it like it is in today's market.

Oct 28, 2009 06:34 AM #29
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

I agree that it's time to have TV shows that will help people find solutions to their own problems, so they can move forward & make those tough decisions.

Oct 28, 2009 06:54 AM #30
Latonia Parks
Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV - Fayetteville, NC
Certified Military Relocation Expert

I love this show and several others.  Everything is reality based now but not all of it is good.

Oct 28, 2009 07:15 AM #31
Lonni McDonough
Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group - Boise, ID
Realtor - Eagle, ID Real Estate; 208-949-3845

I'm truely an HGTV junkie!  I totally agree that Real Estate Intervention is the most "real" and definetly most accurately depicts the current market.  For a good laugh and pure entertainment value however, I LOVE Flipping Out and Million Dollar Listing - outrageous characters that just make your jaw drop. 

Oct 28, 2009 08:47 AM #32
Rita Tayenaka
Coast to Canyon Real Estate - Mission Viejo, CA
Broker/ Owner

It seems to be happening more and more- not bad decisions by lenders etc.  but life hits people - loss of jobs, loss of spouse- whatever- ends up in a sad situation.

Oct 28, 2009 11:46 AM #33
Donna Mahoney
Keller Williams Realty - Windham, NH

Thanks for the head's up.  I myself have thought to do have my own Real Estate intervention with my Seller's without filming it of course.  Though now that they are already making a TV show about it, I am kicking myself for not submitting the idea myself.

One of the biggest problem areas I have discovered in this market has been the Seller's reluctance to accept that values have dropped.  Or at least not accept that their home has gone down in value.  And true to the example that you shared I find most Sellers when faced with other properties of similiar value that have lower price tags on them, they ALWAYS believe their homes are worth more or should be priced higher. One unfortunate homeowner received an offer for a price he believed was well under what his home was worth and refused to negotiate though I encouraged them to.  His response, "I'm not giving it away!" One year later and with another agency they are now listed for $50,000 less than the offer I brought to them.  Each time I receive an offer on one of my listing I repeat this story.  It can be heartbreaking to inform them that the home they have loved and invested the majority of their savings into has decreased in value but the alternative of letting them believe that their value is higher can hurt them a lot more in the long run.  The truth is hard to hear but it will set them free to pursue their dreams.

 I am looking forward to watching Real Estate Intervention!  I think I will learn more than a thing or two!

Oct 28, 2009 12:17 PM #34
Don Anthony
Don Anthony Realty ~ - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte & Triangle NC Discount Realtor

Ok... I admit it... I am a Reality TV Junkie!  My wife and I set the TIVO for a bunch of them, including Real Estate Intervention.  I'm not too crazy about it since it's pretty much the same show over and over again.  (Seller sets price too high, agent comes in and shows them comps, then he tells them to lower the price).

One of the ones we also watch and enjoy is The Property Shop.  It's about a Broker in Montreal who started up a new brokerage about a year ago.  Shows her progression from just a couple of people to a company with around 50 agents.  Pretty good show!

Charlotte Flat Fee MLS Listing Don Anthony Realty   

Oct 28, 2009 02:05 PM #35
Keith & Shannon French - Catonsville, MD
Baltimore's Best for Rent To Own Homes

Thanks for sharing and giving me a heads up as I don't keep up with the TV shows.  I'll be sure to check it out!

I do appreciate the shows that would help Sellers get more "sober" about today's market although we are seeing fewer and fewer "out of touch" sellers these days, but they are definitley still out there. 

Never did like the Flip This or That House shows and had to quit watching as I thought they did more harm than good as far as reputations of real estate investors go.  We're not all cockey, cut-throat, stroke my ego while I make $75,000 when we know the numbers are probably more like $20,000 if that.  There was one show that was so disrespectful to the homeowners that the investor was trying to "help out"...I couldn't believe it.  We turned them down when they wanted to film us for a Baltimore waterfront fix & flip. Totally not worth it to us.

Oct 28, 2009 02:41 PM #36
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

These shows make it look easy and I know several people that watch them all the time. Flip and let's get rich. It's time for a reality check.

Oct 28, 2009 04:11 PM #37
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

You guys are actually watching this stuff on TV.  I do not get it.  I see it everyday in my business.  who needs more of it?

Oct 28, 2009 04:35 PM #38
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Can't say I have ever watched any of them, but will have to find some time. 

Thanks for your post!


Oct 28, 2009 07:27 PM #39
Bridget Cella
Re/Max Connection - Sewell, NJ
e-Pro, Realtor

Thanks for turning me onto this show, can't say I had even heard of it.  Nice to know that it is out there though.

Oct 29, 2009 02:24 AM #40
Tony Hager
United Realty Texas - Denton, TX

If they won't listen to a Professional REALTOR® with factual data, why would they listen to a TV show?

Oct 29, 2009 05:40 AM #41
Sara Kareer
Re/Max Realty One Inc., Brokerage - Mississauga, ON
Boutique Real Estate Services to Buyers & Sellers

I was a big HGTV fan but haven't had time to watch it lately...Real Estate Intervention sounds interesting!

Oct 29, 2009 06:55 AM #42
Efrain Bobadilla
Re/Max Golden Empire - Bakersfield, CA

Real Estate Intervention? Absolutely is what we need. Down to earth people with real problems where most of us  can relate. I'll be watching  

Nov 01, 2009 12:34 AM #43
Denise Montalvo
Bradley Real Estate - San Anselmo, CA
Realtor on the Move – Keeping Pace with the Market

Real Estate Intervention is sadder than most. I've been watching House Hunters and House Hunters International for a long time. I like to compare homes in other parts of the US and the world with California's Bay Area. I've also watched What You Get for the Money and Designed to Sell. I also like shows like color Splash. I guess I watch mostly CNN, HGTV and Mad Men.

Nov 06, 2009 02:45 PM #44
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