As the collapse of the housing bubble has rendered many of HGTV's biggest hits tragic relics of a bygone era, the network has been looking for ways to adapt and create content that acknowledge the changing market, and offers viewers ideas for how to deal with it.
Enter Mike Aubrey, the star of HGTV's new show Real Estate Intervention, which debuted last month. The latest episode features Georgetown condo owner Evelyn Fine, who needs to sell her home because she's been unemployed for the past six months. She had lived in the home for nearly 15 years and while she had paid under $400,000, the pricey renovations she financed with home equity loans mean that even if she does get her $999,999 asking price, she won't walk away with more than $100,000 or so.
The home's been on the market for three months with no offers and so real estate agent/hard-ass Mike Aubrey shows up to help Ms. Fine evaluate her home, look at the comparables, and find a way to get it sold in a hurry.
What follows is a lesson in the dangers of what behavioral economists call the endowment effect: The fact that her condo is hers makes her completely unrealistic about how it stacks up in comparison to other properties, and so after looking at the comparables, she becomes convinced that her $999,999 price tag is too low -- even though it's been on the market for three months without any offers.
The takeaway for prospective home sellers is this: Even if you do decide to try to save the commission and sell your home yourself, bring in a few real estate agents to give you an idea of what they think it's worth. If their suggested price points are a lot lower than yours, don't be surprised: You think it's worth more because it's yours, but they're probably right.
Real Estate Intervention might not be as entertaining as the go-go years shows like Flip That House and My House is Worth What?, but at least it's actually educational. If you're a real estate junkie, this is one worth adding to your schedule.
HGTV airs the show on Thursdays at 10:30 PM.
HGTV's Real Estate Intervention: a new housing show for a new era