Real Estate Reality TV Shows: More Realistic Since Bubble

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Among the first real estate-themed reality TV shows that launched in the 1990s was House Hunters produced by Pie Town Productions. A lot has changed since then.

"People are much more willing to talk about details that were once considered too intimate like how much they've spent on a home and how much profit they made on the sale of a home," said Jennifer Davidson, a principal at Pie Town, which recently launched Flip or Flop, a real estate-themed reality tv show that began airing this year on HGTV.

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The show is about Tarek and Christina, who buy homes and make them over before selling.

"It's doing well in the ratings, because they are a couple not a corporation," Davidson said. Premiering this summer on Bravo-TV, is Property Envy. The show is produced by World of Wonder, the same production company that launched Getting on the Property Ladder, Million Dollar Listing, Million Dollar Listing NY and Hometown Renovation.

"The most important aspects of real estate investing make very boring television and by overlooking them, production companies make real estate investing look far too easy," said Victor Menasce, a professional real estate investor. "The hosts of shows like property wars are nice people who do good work but it's deceptive, because they are focusing only on 20% of the work."

Davidson defends the reality TV genre.

"Networks and production companies are conscious of this issue especially since the housing bubble burst," she said.

Other popular real estate reality TV shows over the years have included Flip This House¬ł Moving Up, Bought & Sold, My House is Worth What?, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Trading Spaces, Dream House and Get It Sold on networks such as TLC, ABC and Discovery.

"Most of the shows are balanced and fair when it comes to showing the reality of dollars and cents of what goes into a home and what comes out of it again," said Davidson.