Los Altos Real Estate Blog


The "unreality" of real estate reality TV shows

I've been watching the occassional show about buying and selling real estate.  Sometimes these are fun and entertaining but more often than not, they're about as real as "The Matrix".  Some of the shows include Property Virgins, My First Sale, Selling NY, and others.  Consumers watch these shows and think "While clearly staged, they're probably somewhat real".  Wrong!  Let me give you some examples:

In "Selling NY"

  1. The agent tells the seller the listing is overpriced and plans to cancel the listing
  2. Seller refuses to drop the price and won't take less than current asking
  3. Seller tells agent she'll buy a total of three properties over 4 years if current home is sold
  4. Agent says "OK, let's work on more marketing strategies!"
  5. FAIL!!!

REALITY CHECK:  If the listing is overpriced and won't sell, no amount of marketing will get it sold.  That agent "sold out" and got bribed with future commissions which no self-respecting agent would do. 


In "My First Sale"

  1. One agent tells the sellers their property is overpriced and to rent if they won't accept a lower price
  2. Seller refuses to budge and won't rent, eventually leading to the agent quitting the listing
  3. Seller then hires another agent who tells them the same story, this time they listen
  4. 2nd agent gets credit for giving good advice when 1st agent gave them the same advice
  5. FAIL!!!

REALITY CHECK:  Sellers, especially first timers, need to listen and often don't.  An agent is hired for their expertise and refusing to listen to it guarantees failure, which is what happened.  Sellers - listen to your agents!


In "Property Virgins"

  1. An agent shows first-time buyers several homes in Texas where the markets are going up
  2. Buyers see lots of good properties but want to "get a deal" and dismiss properties priced in their budget
  3. The agent shows them nicer homes in lesser locations in their price, buyers not happy
  4. Buyers eventually go back to OK homes in decent locations, don't like compromise
  5. FAIL!!!

REALITY CHECK:  First time buyers in a sellers market shouldn't be whining about pricing.  Worse yet, the agent shouldn't be telling them they have a shot at getting a deal in a market where prices are increasing.  The "get a bargain" image is media fabricated and this show just reinforces it.

There are a lot of other examples where "reality TV" is showing just the opposite.  From high-end listings to remodeling bargains, the idea that real estate is simple and straighforward is generally wrong.  I'm especially peeved at the remodeling shows as they make resolving issues found in a remodel look like a matter of a couple of phone calls to the right specialist.  How about the hours and days spent trying to find the right person, get them in, and actually fix the issue?  It never happens "over night" like the shows portray.

Reality TV is anything but.  While fun to watch, consumers need to keep in mind that these shows are mainly fiction or at best, glossed over versions of reality.  Keep it real and listen to your agent, they know what they're talking about.

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 Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: bryan@catarra-re.com | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc  | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022



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Comment balloon 65 commentsBryan Robertson • November 15 2011 08:59AM
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