[This entry was originally posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 at 8:00 am on Make It Missoula: Nesting In The Zoo Blog]

BY JENNIFER SLAYDEN

I’m going to admit it right here on Make it Missoula. I have an addiction to HGTV. Especially the renovation shows. My creative brain loves seeing the transformation of a decrepit old house brimming with character restored into a functional, beautiful space, reawakening the original charm mixed with modern convenience. I have always been drawn to old, and whether I’m referring to a house or a senior citizen, I believe the stories of people and place are invaluable.

Stories are what draw me to a few other shows on HGTV as well, particularly the Real Estate shows. As a Realtor, I watch with interest and scrutiny while families search for the home (or second home) of their dreams. Is it really that easy?

In most of these shows, the buyer is given a choice between different houses a Real Estate agent has chosen that fit the client’s criteria. The show proceeds to take the buyer through each property, where they weigh the pros and cons of the house and the neighborhood. At the end of the show (with big fanfare) the buyer picks the favorite house of the three. And they all live happily ever after. Right?
I do think most everyone eventually find the right house. But what you won’t see on TV is the real process and true emotions that can go along with buying a house. Just as people tend to rely more and more on Zillow or Trulia to search for a home while that may not be the best choice (it is often misleading and not up to date), so too the buyer should not expect that home buying will be as easy as reality TV.

I caught up with a local family that made the transition to Hawaii last year. The Lockhart family moved to Kauai and were chosen to be on the show Hawaii Life. Julia answered a few questions I asked about the process of the show.

How were you selected?

Our realtor asked if we would be interested, and we said, yes! We then had a Skype interview with the producers (based out of NYC).

How did they select your Realtor?

We met our Realtor before we were on the show. While we were vacationing last March we stopped into the Hawaii Life office and they connected us with Lauren, our Realtor.

Did you have a say in the houses you looked at?

No, we didn’t. Our Realtor was actively looking for homes with our criteria (slim pickings!). There were only 3 homes we were shown for the show, but previously we had looked at over a dozen all over the island.

What was the experience like?

It was interesting, but a lot more difficult than we had expected. We shot for 3, 10-12hr days. It’s hard to be natural when you are microphones and have cameras following you. Also, you are trying to give the pro’s and con’s of a home in a balanced way, which is actually really challenging. We found we repeated the same phrases over and over, ha! We had to expand our vocabulary:-)

Did you have any obligation to purchase after the show?

No, we didn’t have any obligation. But we were in escrow on our home in about a week after we shot the episode! Because of the show we expanded our search and found our perfect little home.

Can you tell me anything else about the experience?

We wanted the “pool house”, but it was under contract when we tried to put in an offer. We did end up purchasing a home in the same neighborhood though! I want to thank Julia for sharing her experience on Hawaii Life.

What about life in Big Sky Country?

Well, that too, had a place on HGTV, under a show titled Living Big Sky. The website describes the show:
See what life is like in Big Sky country when couples search for a new home and decide if a move to Montana is right for them. In a stunning setting with unique housing opportunities, find out if these home-seekers are ready to make the move to one of the most beautiful areas in the country. I certainly agree we live in the most beautiful areas of the country. I can’t help but wonder how many people will be enticed to move to Montana when they look at the grand scenery through the virtual reality that we see in real time each day!
How many of you out there watch HGTV? And what do you think about the Real Estate shows they air?
I think it is safe to say that these shows can be taken for entertainment value. Watch them if you enjoy them, but with the realization that they do not depict the average real estate transaction.
Then, pick up the phone and call your local Realtor!

Happy Nesting,
Jen

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