Home Buying/Selling Shows and "The Observer Effect"

The Potter Building, a building at the interse...
The Potter Building, a building at the intersection of Salem Street and Park Street in Medford, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(Medford, MA) Today I read an article on Boston.com about a homeseller's feelings about having their home featured on the show "House Hunters". Several years ago I was featured on an episode of "My First Place" along with my buyer clients. Below you'll find the link to today's story.
"House Hunters' Came Knocking & I Said NO"

A little background on how my clients and I ended up on the show. As you might guess I try and keep current  on local market conditions. I read in one of my daily real estate feeds that "local real estate buyer agents were being sought", I shared this information with several of my first time buyers I was working with. A couple decided that it would be interesting & took the time to fill out a very detailed questionnaire, they had an equally detailed questionnaire for me too. Several weeks went by and 2 couples who were clients were selected for further follow up and screen testing. It was exciting and stressful at the same time. Trying to answer the question asked in a proper way but still interesting and compelling.

The crew from the show were amazing, really considerate & patient, suggesting ways of appearing more at ease and confident. There was no "scripting", they didn't want anything to sound like it was pre-prepared or professionally written. We were also asked to reference local attractions, events and features that the areas we were working in and how they were what my clients were looking for. I'm sure this also helps viewers from around the world grasp our local market.

Finally after a few more weeks 1 client couple were chosen to film along with me their search for a condo in and around Medford. Now we've been actively viewing properties this whole time. This was just prior to "the big melt-down" in real estate in the late 2000's. It was a time where finding an entry level condo was a challenge. Added to this was my task, finding 3 properties that my buyers found interesting and that would allow us to film there. We needed to get waivers signed by EVERYBODY, we needed signatures from me, my broker/owner of the office I worked for, my buyers, each homeowner at which we'd be filming, the condo associations for the buildings where the condos were located. I also had to approach each listing agent to solicit this in a shortened timeframe (around 2 weeks) and get them on board for this. They were welcome to be present but would be off-camera. Some were easier than others to get the needed approvals. Lots of back and forth with waivers, documents of insurances, permits and permissions all of which were x3 with two or 3 additional back-up properties just in case.

The show's staff really helped, they were very professional to work with and really helped me with all the paperwork and even getting on the phone to clarify any questions/issues that were found. I give them credit, they were simultaneously filming 6-7 other couples at the same time so I'm sure they had their hands full all over the Greater Boston area.

We really had a nice time filming, we talked normally how buyers speak with their real estate professional. I had to be mindful to make sure to follow Massachusetts real estate laws and explain them as we were filming because our rules differ from other parts of the country and the world. We chose 3 nice places and filmed each viewing, then filmed the decision process that each property goes through. We even filmed a mobile talk, the same way many buyers and agents/brokers discuss each property as they go from one property to the next.

I will say it was a very positive experience for me and my buyers. Everything went smoothly and even though things were done in a compressed fashion it really did happen. They wanted genuine expressions and not post-action replays. Things may not have been 100% as they happen in real life but just as "The Observer Effect" explains some things just can't be. I'm not sure what the articles author heard or who she spoke with but I will say it was an interesting experince an yes it is tough not to let the cat out of the bag until the show airs but fun none the less.

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