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November 27, 2014

Are Real Estate Reality TV Shows Portraying a Realistic Picture?

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Are Real Estate Reality TV Shows Portraying a Realistic Picture?

Real estate-themed TV shows are popular, often showing home owners scoring a dream house or investors making over homes for a quick sale. But some critics say the shows aren’t very realistic in their portrayal of the housing market. 

"The most important aspects of real estate investing make very boring television and, by overlooking them, production companies make real estate investing look far too easy," says Victor Menasce, a real estate investor. 

For example, critics say that most real estate-themed reality TV shows exclude where the financing comes from or the importance of title search work in purchasing investment properties and the extra cost if there’s a lien on the property.

TV producers of these shows say that they try to paint a realistic picture of the real estate market with their shows.

"Networks and production companies are conscious of this issue, especially since the housing bubble burst," says Jennifer Davidson, a principal at Pie Town Productions, which produces such shows as “House Hunters.” "Most of the shows are balanced and fair when it comes to showing the reality of dollars and cents of what goes into a home and what comes out of it again.”

She says that home owners, buyers, and investors are becoming more divulging in their real estate matters on these shows -- much more so than when her company first debuted “House Hunters” in the 1990s as one of the first real estate reality TV shows. 

 “People are much more willing to talk about details that were once considered too intimate, like how much they’ve spent on a home and how much profit they made on the sale of a home,” Davidson says.

Source: “Real Estate Reality TV Shows: More Realistic Since Bubble,” The Street (June 6, 2013)

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