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Is There Any Truth in Realty on Reality TV?

Is There Any Truth in Realty on Reality TV?

Who doesn’t love watching their favorite home buying, home selling or home improvement shows? They’re often full of incredible homes, eager buyers and 30-minute closes! But, when it comes to realty and TV, just where is the reality?

Reality TV shows are dramatic, fun and all-around entertaining. Yes, sometimes the real-life home buying process can be all three of those things as well. But, that may be where the similarities end.

Today, we’re putting buyers, sellers and the mortgage process to the test. Is what you may see on reality TV like what you might experience when truly going through each real estate transaction? 

For those who are interested in buying a new home…

When you turn on a reality TV show where someone is looking at buying a new home, you often see an eager, young couple who are paired with a spunky, very knowledgeable real estate agent. The excited trio typically tour through a maximum of three homes, which remain mostly in the featured couples’ previously-stated budget constraints. In the end, the couple chooses one of the three homes that most meets their needs, wants and budget; they make an offer and with minimal push back, they are usually seen happily ever after in their new home at the end of the show, all of which happens in a maximum of 30 minutes total.

When an actual person expresses interest in buying a new home, the process is much more involved than what is depicted on TV. Yes, buyers usually begin their search very eagerly and it is always helpful to be accompanied by a personable real estate agent, who knows the area that a buyer is interested in. However, it is very common for buyers to search through many more than three homes until they find the one that is right for them.

In fact, with the way the market sometimes moves,  people searching for a home on a reality TV show may actually be looking at a home that is not even for sale. Another reality scenario may be that the couple featured has already selected their chosen home and may already be going through the closing process or living in the home at the time the show is filmed.

When a typical buyer is actually ready to make an offer on a home, negotiations between the buyer and seller are common and it can take some time until an agreement is reached. Once a deal is made, there are inspections, walkthroughs and several other formalities that are always involved, but never pictured on reality TV. So, reaching that happily ever after once a buyer finds a home could never take 30 minutes… now, 30 days may be a possibility, but that doesn’t make for good TV!

For those who are considering selling a home…

After watching a reality TV show where someone is trying to sell a home, a seller might believe that it is necessary to hire a professional or a team of professionals to properly prepare a home for sale. Some reality shows depict major deconstruction and remodeling, in order to deem a home ready for sale. Others may show homeowners breaking the bank to bring in adequate furniture or other décor to appeal to today’s buyers.

The reality of putting a home on the market is… wait for it… not so dramatic. In fact, often times, a good cleaning, decluttering and sprucing up of a home can have it looking sale-ready in no time. Now, it is not to say that some homeowners may not want or need to add a piece of furniture here or there to make their home more appealing; but, with tools like Craigslist, those pieces typically can be found rather inexpensively. It is much more common for a homeowner to need to apply a fresh coat of paint to a room than to need to tear down a wall, in order to prepare a home for sale.

Frankly, reality TV shows that depict homes for sale can give a seller great ideas on how to make their home more appealing. However, if they are followed dollar for dollar, and design for design, many sellers might just decide to keep the home that they intended on selling!

For those who are preparing to enter the mortgage process…

If you’ve watched ANY reality TV show that depicts any part of the real estate process, you may snicker at even the mention of the mortgage process. As most shows are only 30 minutes or an hour long, it is a bit of a joke to assume the process could be completed so quickly. Nonetheless, the mortgage process is actually mentioned in some part on most reality TV shows that involve real estate.

During this process, what you may see on TV is, again, the happy, eager couple with their budgeted amount to spend and an easily-determined down payment ready to hand over. Their credit situation or approved mortgage rate information is left laying somewhere on the editing room floor before the show ever hits the air.

While anyone who has ever approached the mortgage process wishes that it was as easy as it looks on TV, the reality is that the process can take months to complete, because there are many parts that are involved. Budgeting, saving money and determining a reasonable price range and down payment are just a few steps. Figuring out your credit score and building it up, if necessary, can take at least a few months alone.

So, while the mortgage process on reality TV takes up merely moments of the entire 30-minute real estate process that is shown, the actual mortgage process may take several months of a year-long home-buying process.

The moral?

In the end, watching real estate transactions on TV is fun and a great way to get ideas, whether you are buying or selling a home or you just want to make some changes to your current home. When it comes down to it, consult the advice of a trusted real estate agent and don’t believe everything you see on TV.

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