Does the popularity of reality home improvement and real estate shows affect our job as a realtor? Many people are addicted to the reality shows on HGTV, a do-it-yourself home improvement network. Shows like "House Hunters", "My House is Worth What" (BOTH OF WHICH WE HAVE BEEN FEATURED ON check local listings for air dates and times) and "Designed to Sell"are getting viewers feeling like they know all about the real estate business before they even discuss their housing needs with you.
This phenomenon has had an affect on consumers expectations and concept of their own competency on the subject. This puts agents in the position of defending or refuting the clients preconceived notions. But different agents take different approaches to these t.v. shows.
Editing can create a air of simplicity. With the exception of a few shows, it tends to look rather easy. In a half hour show you can find the house of your dreams, make your home the best in your neighborhood or sell your listing for more than it's worth. Some of the work and pain can be lost in translation.
Shows like "Trading Spaces" on TLC make it seem like decorating is cheap and easy. There always seems to be a great find in another room in the house that makes the perfect decoration. Making your own furniture seems to be a reasonable idea while redecorating to save money and time. Just find a carpenter friend who wants to help you out for a whole weekend for free.
Some take the approach of bonding over episodes both agent and client have seen. What you have to do is validate what the client already thinks, you cannot let the show look like it knows more than you. Don't tell them how wrong they are for believing these shows. If you need your client to see another viewpoint, give examples of how their situation differs from the one on t.v., making them the exception.
Realtors can also choose to use these reality realty shows to their advantage. Shows like "Designed to Sell" get people realizing that the condition of your house truly matters to buyers. You know the type, the sellers who think people should just look past all their clutter to see the potential. Then when they become the buyer they are nit picking the place apart. "Designed to Sell" can help people step away from the situation and get examples of what people really think when touring a home.
This type of programming can be helpful and harmful but it's the approach you choose to take that will define how it affects you.
Realtor Magazine - January 2008 - Page 22
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