Spend time watching reality TV real estate shows, and you’d think buying and selling a home was as easy as grabbing coffee in a drive-thru.
In one program, we see buyers viewing three homes before casually deciding on the perfect one over lunch. In another, a seller makes a few renovations, and their home is scooped up at the first open house.
If only it were that simple!
The truth is that buying and selling a home is nothing like it is on TV. It’s a complicated process full of twists and turns. Moreover, since the advent of COVID-19, agents have rolled out new protocols to keep their clients safe, which aren’t always reflected on-screen.
In this blog, we’re breaking through the biggest house buying myths you see on reality TV.
Keep reading to get the scoop on house hunting like a real-life pro.
They rarely mention mortgage preapproval
A lot of what goes into buying a home happens long before you start viewing properties. Namely, you’ll need to get preapproved for a home loan.
Getting a mortgage preapproval is a key step to beginning your house hunt, and here’s why:
- You know exactly how much home you can afford
- Sellers know that you mean business
- It keeps people safe by limiting exposure during a pandemic
The last point is especially important. Agents now require buyers to have a mortgage preapproval letter stating how much they can borrow. In some cases, even open houses need to be scheduled with a preapproval in mind.
Our advice? Get the relevant documents together before anything else. Items like bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, and other necessities will move along your loan preapproval, which kicks off your house hunt sooner.
We’re happy to help you get ready to tackle the housing market. We can also connect you with a qualified mortgage broker and other partners able to guide you through the preapproval process.
“Multiple offers” are just the beginning
When reality TV real estate shows feature a homeowner trying to sell, the episode typically ends with a wildly successful open house. The offers pour in, things wrap up efficiently, and the credits roll.
The truth is that the journey from open house to closing day is a complex one, so it’s essential to work with a knowledgeable agent.
See for yourself.
Here’s a breakdown of real estate fact versus TV fiction:
FICTION: The perfect offer will emerge after one day of showings.
FACT: It’s hard to get top dollar after one day of showings. The more offers you have to weigh, the more likely you’ll get top dollar.
FICTION: Once I’ve accepted an offer, the only thing left to do is wait until closing day.
FACT: Reality TV hardly ever depicts the high-stakes negotiations that take place once an offer is submitted. Everything from home inspections to a few hundred dollars can make or break a deal. The true reality is that receiving an offer is just the beginning of selling your home.
Even with all this in mind, an experienced agent can shield you from a lot of the stress associated with hammering out the best deal. It’s therefore important to work with someone you trust so that when the time comes to hit the negotiating table, they’re ready to get you more.
BONUS: Did you know that the sellers and buyers featured in these shows often pretend to go through the transaction process? The outcome is already known, so the producers stage home tours and open houses to make participants look like active clients.
Three is not a magic number
Reality TV real estate shows like House Hunters are under pressure to use their 30-minute programs shrewdly. That’s why they often show buyers viewing only three homes.
The truth is that every client is different. The first few homes you see may not meet your needs. In that case, it may be time to prolong your search and trust your agent to uncover new opportunities.
We know what you’re thinking… “Aren’t we climbing out of a year defined by low housing inventory? Shouldn’t I act quickly?”
That depends, and it’s why your agent can help you weigh acting quickly versus holding out. An experienced agent will dedicate their time to finding you the right home, whatever the market is doing.
In real life, a talented agent will use the following information to get you closer to your real estate goals:
- Why are you buying a home?
- Are you upsizing, downsizing, or buying for the first time?
- Is there an urgent timeline?
- How flexible is your budget?
- What are your must-haves?
These may seem like simple questions, but trusting an agent to tackle them with their background and expertise could make or break your house hunt.
Make your real estate goals a reality
Reality TV real estate shows may be entertaining, but they’re not wholly accurate. The truth is that buying and selling real estate is complicated, which is why it’s best to trust a professional who knows their stuff.
Our team has the experts who you need to buy and sell with success. From showing specialists to experienced agents, we’ve got your back for real.
Want even more facts? Click here to download our Home Buying Guide and prepare your home search like a pro.