by Marianne Howell Wright, Triangle Area Real Estate
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be on the HGTV show House Hunters?
I found out in July during one of the hottest weeks ever in the Triangle area. My clients weren’t actually weren’t looking in Raleigh even though that is how our episode is titled. We looked at homes in Chapel Hill, Chatham County, Cary, Holly Springs and Apex. HGTV is located in Los Angeles and I think they believe everything in the Triangle is Raleigh.
HGTV hires a production company to produce their shows.
No hair and make up!
You can’t worry about how you look and be on House Hunters! The days started early at around 8 and lasted for me and my clients until around 6. We did our own hair and make up and there wasn’t time for touch ups. In the 100 degree heat we were all shiny and wilted. I actually had a paper towel to wipe my face. It’s not that different than showing or viewing houses all day except that there is a camera focused on us at all times.
We had to have a different outfit and back up for each day. We were told no red, black, white or prints. That together with the incredible heat made getting ready very difficult.
The House Hunters production schedule
Pie Town filmed my clients in their house in Connecticut for a full day, shooting them meeting their friends and playing on the beach. A few days later the production company came to NC and there were 3 more full days, one day in each house with me and my clients. Then, there was one last full day with Stan and Jenn in their new home.
The house hunters story
Home buyers Stan and Jenn Phelps
Stan and Jenn Phelps had been living in Connecticut and wanted to move South because of the quality of life, schools and weather. They choose the Triangle Area as the place to raise their family. I met Stan and Jenn online. They visited my web site and watched the videos to help narrow down the possibilities. I was excited about the visit. I felt I knew them so well from our phone conversations and email.
Stan sounded pretty easy. He wanted a new home or even a townhome. He wanted to be able to concentrate on his marketing business and books. Jenn ,on the other hand, wanted a home as nice as the one she was leaving behind in Connecticut . It was a 1920’s stone colonial that they had spent 9 years remodeling. Take a look at the video of their home, made by the Phelps for HGTV’s House Hunters audition.
When I found out what Jenn expected, I was worried. Their budget was lower than I had hoped especially when I talked with Stan. On the first visit we covered a lot of territory. We started out in Chapel Hill looking at new homes. We found a couple of good possibilities. We went on to look at the Cary, Apex. Holly Springs area. Here is a video at lunch in Cary early in out search. Real Estate is hungry Work.
Time to get serious about finding THE home
The Phelps went back to Connecticut and put their house on the market, excited about moving to the Triangle. It wasn’t long before I got the call that they were under contract and were ready to come back to The Triangle and get serious about finding the right home. I had set up a listings web site so they could see all of the market activity and tag and make notes on the homes that they liked. They had a list and were ready. (actually Jenn had pages of lists, one for every house).Their boys and Jenn’s Dad came along too. Everyone had opinions.
HGTV’s House Hunters was a surprise to me
On the second trip I was driving around Cary when Jenn dumped some papers in my lap and said “We may be on House Hunters! Read these later. We each have to make audition videos” I stuck the papers between the seats and forgot about it in the intensity of looking at homes. There were decisions to be made and it was time. Take a look at decision day.
Stan and Jenn were just about to make an offer on a new home when we drove past a cute house with a new sign in the yard. We all piled out of the car and I called showing services for an appointment. Showings did not start until the next day! Time was getting short. The housekeeper came out when she saw us sitting on the porch (squatters rights? Jenn asked). We went back the next day and this was the one. When Jenn said “it feels so homey” I knew. They got the house under contract and went back to Connecticut.
House Hunters~ how it happened
I found the house hunters application and thought it would be a long shot. Boilerplate info and forms. I decided to go along with it anyway and make my audition video.
It was a rush to get it done. I spoke with the show casting director and she needed the video by the next afternoon. The only time I had to do it was during home inspections so it was constant interruptions along with trash trucks driving by and a neighbors baby crying. HGTV asked that I limit the video to 3 minutes and to please not talk about myself for the whole time. Part of the video was to be me showing features of the house.
What is the Triangle Area of NC?
On the House Hunters show the producers called everywhere in the Triangle Raleigh. That’s what a lot of people think because Raleigh is the largest city in the area. This part of NC is called the Triangle because of the three cities each with a large university, Raleigh (NC State), Durham(Duke) and Chapel Hill (UNC) which anchor the area and form points of a triangle. The Triangle has around 2 million residents. The area also includes Cary (140,000 residents), Carrboro, Garner, Pittsboro and lots of other smaller towns The Triangle is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas of the country. There have been quite a few House Hunters shows here in the Triangle. Just search Raleigh on HGTV.
Some of the cities in the Triangle that I serve are :