You don’t have to be in the real estate business to love HGTV’s series “House Hunters.” Each episode follows a couple as they look for a new home, starting with an interview to figure out what they would like in their house, then going through the process of showing the three houses. The suspense builds as the viewer waits to see which house the couple chooses.
Many times, while the show is fun to watch, it’s hard for us in the Winston-Salem area to relate. It often follows a couple in a big metropolitan area such as Chicago or Atlanta, looking for a home that costs more than most properties for sale in our area. But last year, Realty One’s MaryKay Rath, of Spouses That Sell Houses, had the opportunity to be a part of “House Hunters,” and bring it here to Winston-Salem, and the show aired in March.
The show followed MaryKay’s clients Doug and Mindy Hathaway, who had applied to be on House Hunters. When they were accepted MaryKay was tasked with finding three homes to show the Hathaways.
“Honestly, it was challenging to find the three houses because good homes sell so fast right now in Winston-Salem,” MaryKay says. Eventually the timing worked out, and MaryKay, Doug and Mindy got to experience filming a reality show. “We ended up filming a total of about 50 hours for the half hour show,” MaryKay says. “I was a little worried about how the edited version would turn out, what they would end up showing from all that material, but I was pleased with the results.”
Takeaways from House Hunters
It’s obvious the home buying process doesn’t go as quickly as depicted in “House Hunters,” but there are plenty of good things to learn from watching the HGTV series. Here are the takeaways from MaryKay:
- Each episode starts with the couple looking for a home being interviewed about what they would like to find from their experience. Many times their wish list doesn’t exactly match up. That is one thing the show is able to portray well, how Realtors can work with a couple and find ways to help them compromise. “Often it’s up to a Realtor to be a psychologist, financial consultant, and community expert,” says Dan, MaryKay’s husband and partner at Spouses That Sell Houses. “We can help people think of the long-term ramifications and play a role in managing expectations.”
- It’s important for Realtors to listen to what the client wants and help them find a property that best matches the family’s needs. “It’s almost impossible to find a property that checks off everything on the list, as you see in ‘House Hunters,’ but when you find one that meets most of the criteria, often the clients are happy to compromise,” says MaryKay.
- The reality of house hunting is that most clients look at many more properties than the three the show focuses on. “I advise people they’ll probably look at anywhere between 10 to 15 homes,” Dan says. “This gives people a good sense of their options and also some choice in the final decision.”
Dan and MaryKay have been working in the real estate business since 2001 and 2003, respectively. Not only are they partners in life, this married couple are partners in business as well. “When clients sign with us, they are pretty much getting two for the price of one,” Dan says.
MaryKay agrees. “With us you have double the availability, which helps immensely in scheduling showings. We also have different strengths that we bring to the table.”
One of MaryKay’s strengths is staging. As soon as the couple lists a new home, MaryKay comes in to advise the client on the best way to present the house. They even have a storage unit full of their own furniture to use when necessary. Dan shines with marketing and publicity, helping bring on new clients and grow the business.
Together, Dan and MaryKay and Spouses That Sell Houses make a great addition to the Realty One team. “We joined with Realty One two years ago because we really liked Eric and Jessica and could see their values and goals for the business matched up with ours,” Dan says. “We’re still able to have our own brand, but at the same time be part of a team. I love how Realty One has a passion to help people, which is exactly what MaryKay and I have always wanted.”