What House Hunters Gets Right About Working in Real Estate (And What it Gets Wrong)

house huntersOne of the things I love about Agents is how passionate they are about the real estate industry. I know lots of Agents who come home to watch some beloved HGTV after working a long day of home-related tasks.

If you’re anything like me, one of your must-see TV picks is House Hunters. The engaging episodes offer us a glimpse into the real estate market across the country (and the world, if you’re a fan of House Hunters International). Many of us are addicted to House Hunters and while the show is a hit, there are a few things that irk Agents about the program.

Here’s what House Hunters gets right about working in the real estate industry, and what it gets wrong.

RIGHT: The vast differences among real estate buyers.

From busy families to single people to empty nesters, House Hunters showcases just how different your buyers can be. The show really gets it right in presenting a variety of different types of families, budgets, needs, and attitudes. Just like your real estate buyers in real life, each guest on House Hunters has their own unique set of needs. Watching the show really helps us feel empathy for the Agent who is tasked with keeping all these details straight!

Real life takeaway: When you’re working with a wide variety of clients, it can be difficult to keep all the details straight! Unless you’re being featured on a TV episode, you likely don’t have the help of a producer to help you remember everything. Augment your memory by using helpful tools to keep track of the details that may slip your mind. Your real estate CRM can store important particulars about your buyers including their budget, needs, past homes, contact information and family details.

RIGHT: Buyers often have champagne taste on a beer budget.

Although every buyer is different, the television show does point out a similarity that is all too common. So many buyers want a luxury home within the constraints of a modest budget. I cringe every time a House Hunter lists their “must haves” as high end finishes, huge master bath, hardwood floors, chef’s kitchen, quiet street, and the lists go on! While homes like these are available, they typically fall far outside the budget of the buyer and the trusty Agent tactfully shows homes that are more realistic. Sound familiar?

Real life takeaway: Managing unrealistic expectations is a skill that requires practice and patience. While you are an expert on all things real estate, your buyer doesn’t have that knowledge. Be gentle and clear about what’s available within the budget, and let them know that you’re happy to recommend contractors, landscapers, and decorators in the future if they’d like to make upgrades to their home. Keep a Business Directory of trusted vendors in your real estate CRM so that you’re always prepared with professionals to recommend to your past clients.

WRONG: The Buyer-Agent relationship is missing.

When watching the show we’re kept in the dark about how our House Hunters chose their Agent. The focus of the program is the “House Hunter,” but in real life a lot more thought goes into a buyer’s selection of a real estate agent. In reality, 42% of buyers are referred to their Agent through friends and family. Other buyers may have found their agent through advertising or even cold calls. House Hunters does miss the mark when it comes to the buyer-Agent relationship, but we can’t expect them to cover everything in a single episode!

Real life takeaway: While television doesn’t show us where the buyers are coming from, real Agents know a lot more effort goes into securing clients. As you collect prospect information and build your database, start nurturing potential leads even if they are years away from being ready to buy. As time goes on your relationship will grow and when the time comes for your contact to make a move, YOU are the Agent that they’ll call.

WRONG: It’s all happily ever after within 22 minutes.

It’s safe to assume that reality television is tweaked to fit into a tight schedule. But rarely have I heard of buyers viewing three properties, buying one, and moving in all in less than half an hour! When the final credits roll, we see our new homeowners happily settled in their new place and the Agents work appears to be done. The truth is this is when the Agent must be extra organized to keep in touch with these happy buyers! Like I mentioned above, 42% of buyers are referred to their Agent by family and friends. The more happy House Hunters the Agent works with, the more referrals she or he can expect!

Real life takeaway: Real estate referrals are the backbone of our business. But in order for someone to refer you, they have to remember your name! Don’t miss out on valuable referral and repeat business. Keep in touch regularly with past clients by sending them an e-Newsletter, direct mail, and wishing them well on their birthdays or move-in anniversary. While House Hunters doesn’t reveal where the buyers find their real estate agent, you know where your own business is coming from. And referrals are hot leads!

Whether you feel House Hunters is an accurate representation of working in real estate or not there’s a lot to be learned from the show, both in what it gets right and what it gets wrong.

You don’t have to be on TV to be a real estate star! Using the right real estate CRM will help you remember details about your clients, keep a Business Directory of professionals to recommend, nurture potential leads and keep in touch after you’ve closed the sale.