Tuesday, January 28, 2014


It’s amazing to me how many people I come across who derive their perceptions of real estate from HGTV.

Including my daughters.

Yes, it’s true, my 13 and 14 year old daughters are HGTV junkies.  “Love It or List It”, “House Hunters”, “Property Virgins”… my DVR is like a never-ending loop of nightmarish real estate programming.

Here’s the problem – it’s all bogus.

I have actually tried to wade through a few of these programs with them, and I always end up in the same place… embarrassed, demeaned, and feeling like I just wasted another valuable hour of my life.

While there might occasionally be some miniscule thread of reality actually running through these “reality” shows, you have to search hard to find it.

Egotistical, golf-loving real estate agents.  Overly-zealous property stagers salivating over the prospect of a five-figure design budget.  Clueless buyers with no regard for value, negotiation or exit strategy.  It looks absolutely nothing like reality, or at least reality for someone actually selling homes to clients who actually matter.

There is a firm 80/20 rule in real estate, as there is in life.  Twenty percent of the agents do 80% of the business, and everyone else is fighting for table scraps.  Or trying to launch their acting career on HGTV.

HGTV is not for the doers.  It is for the posers.  Most of the agents on these shows are not serious professionals.  In fact, I would love it if HGTV would actually post sales production history next to each character’s name.

“Bob Smith, Real Estate Agent.  Sales in Past 12 Months – 3.  Income - $17,213.  Lives with his mom.”

“Randy Raccoon, Real Estate Agent.  Sales in Past 12 Months – 5.  Trust Fund Baby.  Scratch Golfer.”

The people who are actually selling homes, the top 20%, are far too busy closing deals and helping people to participate in this nonsense.  So you end up in a parodied world of clichés and cluelessness, scripted by screenwriters and directors who know nothing about the real world of real estate.

It doesn’t bother me.  It humors me.  But it also concerns me when people poised to make decisions involving real money with real consequences show up utterly clueless when it comes to their understanding of what a real estate transaction should look like. 

Most people will only buy a few homes in their lifetime.  Therefore, these outcomes are important.  You don’t buy a home for its cabinets or its carpet.  You buy a home based on value, based on its location, based on its resale potential, based on the improvement in your quality of life that comes from signing that purchase offer and negotiating that deal. 

If you’re smart, you buy guided by logic, not emotion.  You assemble a team of competent, ethical professionals and approach it seriously.  You shun the spotlight because there’s serious work to be done and important decisions require your full attention.    

Look, if you want to watch HGTV, have at it.  There’s far worse stuff on television.  Just realize that what you’re seeing is about as real as Marge Simpson’s blue hair.