Lately, I've been hooked on an HGTV show called Property Virgins. The show features real estate agent Sandra Rinomato as she guides first-time homebuyers through the purchase of a property in cities across the U.S.
I think the show provides a really interesting, easy-to-digest format for learning about the home-buying process. Each episode deals with a real person or couple searching for their first home and the real problems and pitfalls they encounter. The show is very realistic: not every episode has a happy ending. Sometimes the show's guests don't find the right property, or the sale falls through, or they decide they aren't ready yet. You get to see how the offer-writing process works and how home prices are negotiated.
When a potential buyer decides to go under contract, you'll get to see them go through the home inspection process and learn about some of the common issues that come up, including which ones are worth running away from and which ones are considered by professionals to be easy fixes. You also get to see what you can buy with different amounts of money in different markets, though lately I've been noticing a lot of episodes taking place in Colorado and Texas. I love the house-shopping-from-my-couch aspect of the show, and I feel like I'm getting a better idea of what I want in a house and what to expect from the home-buying process so that I'll be fully prepared when I'm ready to buy.
The show's host, Sandra Rinomalto, is a great lesson in what everyone should hope for in a real estate agent. Whenever she shows a house, she has the buyers go in first to form their own impressions of the home before she comes in and shares her opinion. She doesn't pressure her clients into decisions they don't want to make, though she does try to point out to her clients when they are letting their fears get the best of them. She also seems to have a great sense of what a fair price for a house is (in multiple cities, no less) and helps her clients get a fair deal, whether that means asking for a purchase price of $10,000 less than the asking price or offering full price. Even when she disagrees with her clients, she respects their wishes.
If buying a home is in your future plans and you have access to this show, I highly recommend it.
Photo by sfadden
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