As the real estate market fluctuated and then rebounded in many parts of the country over the last several years, reality television went right along for the ride, producing a number of extremely popular shows. Whether it involves finding an international property on a far-away island, multi-million dollar listings in major cities, buying and renovating a home or flipping a house, for the most part real estate TV has it covered.
Certainly, scenarios are contrived, costs are inaccurate and most of what really happens in real estate is glossed over for the sake of good television, but those are the … realities … of reality TV. But if reality real estate is your thing, there are a lot of options, some more realistic than others.
Here are four shows not to miss:
Million Dollar Listing (Bravo)
While this reality show misses the mark on the vast majority of the LA real estate market, it certainly has a voyeuristic level of appeal , as viewers can catch a glimpse of multi-million dollar properties and estates. Even if it is mostly staged and ignores the details of what goes into the real estate deals, the (mostly) over-the-top storylines surrounding the show’s three main characters – Josh Altman, Madison Hildebrand and Josh Flagg -- are nonetheless entertaining.
Property Brothers (HGTV)
Real-life brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott not only convince home buyers to go for a fixer-upper property, they also handle the renovations. The show manages to shed some light on the realities of the real estate market as their buyers have to find a home, as well as the decisions (mostly design) that go into a home renovation, although the brothers handle all the heavy lifting for the sometimes overbearing buyers.
Income Property (HGTV)
This show fills an interesting niche, as licensed contractor Scott McGillivray helps first-time homebuyers maximize their purchase by creating income properties. More realistic than most, McGillivray helps overcome real-world problems that come with buying property, offers advice for how to fix things properly, and focuses on how the owners can optimize their new income properties.
Flip or Flop (HGTV)
New to the reality scene, husband and wife team Tarek and Christina, who are relatively new to flipping, purchase an unseen property at auction in each episode. Because they are also real estate agents, the show follows the entire process from purchase, through maddening renovation, to showings and the frantic sale. While many of the details are glossed over and the real income seems exaggerated, there is a touch of realism, as not everything is always smooth for Tarek and his picture-perfect partner.