How “real” are Property Reality TV shows?

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A little sadly, for those who know me well, they will tell you what an addict I am when it comes to all things property!  I not only work for a living locating real estate for buyers, but I am also active on property forums, love nothing better than having a squiz in real estate windows whilst on holidays, and sit back to enjoy several TV shows on the topic in my free time.

During my holiday break this year, I got to thinking how useful these programmes really are.  I enjoy watching them for the story, the renovations, the “Wow!” factor when lucky makeover sellers inspect their finished abodes and, of course, the drama!  But how much do they teach us, and are they compulsory viewing for those who are active in the market, whether or not they are selling or buying? As with all TV, first and foremost entertainment is the key objective.  Production companies and networks need to make their shows as interesting and “viewable” as possible to attract an audience, sponsors and ongoing success.  Sure, it might be worthwhile to have a full hour demonstration on how to plaster a ceiling properly but it’s about as exciting to most of us as watching paint dry.  Thus, renovations are often glossed over, with before and after quick shots, auction scenes are cut short (with the boring bits edited out) and negotiation scenarios scripted for the camera.

However, despite all of this, I’ve had several clients who tell me they were inspired by a particular programme when it came to renovations or they were able to pick up an idea or two that they hadn’t considered.  Besides being entertaining, they can provide an insight into new trends, different approaches to a common problem as well as real solutions.  When we watched the transformations on the houses we purchased for Channel Ten’s “The Renovators” show in 2011, we were amazed with some of the creative thinking of the home renovators and tradesmen on the show- it certainly provided food for thought, just as other programmes such as “The Block” do.

I’ve put together a list of some of my current favourites, for those of you who enjoy property as much as I do.  Whether or not it’s about real estate agents, renovating, makeovers to sell or buyers agents there’s sure to be something for everyone.  The only reason we have Foxtel in our house is due to my particular love of the Lifestyle Channel, I’m not afraid to say!

Location, Location, Location (Australia and UK versions)

Selling Houses Australia ( I love Andrew Winter and his no-nonsense approach!)

Grand Designs Australia

Property Ladder (UK)

Hot Property (an oldie but goodie with the likeable Michael Caton)

The Living Room ( has a segment on renovating with the charming Barry DuBois- was on “The Renovators”)

Million Dollar Listing (US based show about selling agents in NY- more drama than education but can be absorbing viewing!)



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