Reality TV and Real Estate

Admit it. You are an HGTV and DIY Network junkie. We all are, even when we despise what they show on tv. Let’s dispell a few myths.

On house hunters and the like – they already bought their house. The other two homes that the buyers look at were never in the running. They may not even be on the market. The camera crew shows up the day of closing then films the house hunt after the fact. It’s fun to watch but if you think every buyer can look at 3 homes and pick one, you are sadly mistaken. Often they look at dozens and are still underwhelmed and in our market, they probably write offers on a half dozen of those and get out-bid or outmaneuvered by competing bids every time. (a good agent will help you land that home!)

What’s my house worth? I once watched an episode where they asked this question of a house that I personally had listed and marketed. Oh goody! Let’s see what they did! Turns out, not a lot. There were a few updates but for the most part, the tile, sunroom and other features that the new owners claimed to have added were THERE WHEN I SOLD IT. It makes for good tv but it was far removed from reality.

Renovation shows! Oh, I love these. My favorite is when you take a clueless homeowner and convince them that they can demolish and renovate their kitchen with zero experience. The camera crew films it with no interference…….well, there was the one time the homeowner hit a gas line and the cameraman started screaming for everyone to get out and then took off running. That was pretty funny. Let me say this about these shows, my husband has been in the home renovation business for over 40 years. I’m not sure he even owns a sledgehammer. People love watching the primal energy of someone taking a heavy, blunt tool to a wall and really whaling on it. It’s pure sensationalism and nothing else. I personally have removed many cabinets and torn down walls. It’s a lot of fun but a sledgehammer actually makes it dangerous. Don’t do it. Further, you are seeing the finished product through a camera lens. The reality of the project rarely holds up to scrutiny so don’t believe everything you see. Rarely did the clueless homeowner finish their project without outside help. They just never show you that part.

What’s up with these time frames? Oh, I HAVE to have this home renovated for a June 9th open house! Hold the open house on June 20th instead. What the heck is the rush? I’ll tell you why the rush, it adds drama. That’s all.

Speaking of drama, so many issues that pop up on these shows are not really issues. So many times they make a big deal over a new window that was ordered wrong and everyone is wringing their hands then it turns out a bit of shimming will make it fit. No kidding. I’m shocked every time. (no, I’m really not)

Have fun watching these shows but please, take it with a grain of salt. I’m not saying that many projects can’t be done on your own but please, do your research and don’t rely on a tv program to tell you how it’s done. Always consult a professional, after all, they make it their lives work to know about these topics. Tap into that knowledge base. Life is easier when you do.





Context ( con·text )

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Full Definition of context

  1. 1:  the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

  2. 2:  the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs :environment, setting<the historical context of the war>

Why am I writing about context? I’m writing because lately this is a word that many people forget and it can really ruin someones day. Here is an example……

Mr & Mrs Buyer are deep into purchasing a new property. Every condition has been met with the lender except the appraisal. There are two parts to this appraisal.  One part is the house and some land. The other part is a large barn that has been used as an event center. These are two properties being purchased under one contract.  Let’s say the contract is for $800,000.  The lender sends Mr & Mrs Buyer an email that says “the appraisal came in at $500,000.” Nothing else. No other pertinent information. It is lacking context.

Shame on that lender. Mr & Mrs Buyer immediately contact me because they are understandably upset. “What does this mean!”  Well, best case scenario is that this appraisal is for the event center which is commercial and not for the house and land which is considered residential. Worst case scenario is that the property as a whole did not appraise and with this big of a difference, your contract is most likely sunk. This is not good news to receive over your morning coffee, especially when Mr & Mrs Buyer are very heavily vested in this purchase. This news potentially turns their world upside down but without context from their lender, they have no way of knowing.  I encouraged them to call their lender nonstop until they received an answer.

The good news is that, as I suspected, the $500,000 was for part of the appraisal. Everything is still looking rosy for their loan. If the lender had included a little bit of context with their original email, it would have saved Mr & Mrs Buyer an unnecessarily gut wrenching morning. Purchasing real estate is stressful enough. My job as their agent and the job of anyone who is employed by the Buyer or Seller during a real estate transaction, is to make this process as smooth and stress free as we can for our clients. Making sure our communications contain proper context goes a long way to achieving this goal.

Your thoughts?