"Selling New York" Episode Recaps -- What We've Learned So Far

Last Updated Jun 7, 2010 9:57 AM EDT

I'm impressed that in my household at least, we made it through May sweeps without the DVR breaking down. (I think there were about 10 hours of TV attached to Lost alone.)

If there's one saving grace in the finales of the big shows, it's that it frees up time to focus on real estate television -- specifically, the show that shows where I live, HGTV's "Selling New York."

As you faithful fans know, I've been doing quick episode recaps each week. Unlike, say, Vanity Fair's Gay Guide to Glee!" I try to add some educational perspective that the viewer might not have (I'm a Manhattan agent and author of a book on homebuying.)

One can learn a lot about homebuying from Selling New York, but what stands out in my head are these overarching lessons:

  1. Buyers are always chasing dreams. When you think about it, there's not a piece of property in the world that can turn a striving artist into a success, heal the pain of a recent divorce, or make you feel like you're not tightening your belt while you're tightening your belt. But potential buyers can bring all these expectations to the purchase of "a new place." Some of the job of the real estate broker is to try and translate these very loaded emotional wishes into physical realities that necessarily fall short. Viewers can watch the journeys of the buyer characters, see what compromises they make, and possibly learn how to fit their own (unlimited) dreams into their own (necessarily limited) home purchases.

  2. Different pieces of inventory have different rules. The show provides a shorthand for each property in terms of square feet, price, number of bedrooms, and number of baths, but different kinds of properties each have their own standards. When "Selling New York" Gumley Haft Kleier broker Michelle Kleier talks about a townhouse, for example, she talks about its width -- because that's one of the starting points for judging that kind of property. As a homebuyer, you should figure out what type of property you're aiming for -- Colonial, raised ranch, etc. -- and figure out what standards are used in your market to judge it. This will help you figure out whether its fairly priced, and this will help you gauge what its resale market will be.

Below is a list of the episodes, and links to their recaps. Since I really know that you watch the show for the pictures (and, honestly HGTV, those episode titles are pretty generic), I've included after each episode a couple of the most prominent properties.

Episode Recaps:

  • Alison Rogers

    Since graduating from Harvard summa cum laude, Alison Rogers has been a reporter, an editor, a real-estate agent, a Wall Street desk jockey, a columnist, a failed flipper, and a landlady. A member of the National Association of Realtors, she currently sells and rents luxury co-ops in Manhattan for the Chelsea-based firm DG Neary. (If you've got $27,500 a month, the firm has an apartment for you!) Her book, Diary of a Real Estate Rookie, was called "a valuable guide for rookie buyers" by AOL/Walletpop, "beach-read fun" by the New York Observer, and "witty" by Newsweek.