Last Updated Jun 7, 2010 9:57 AM EDT
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- "Selling New York" Debuts on HGTV: Episode One, "The Big Event" (features the Lucida and a Park Avenue prewar)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV: Episode Two, "Time is Money" (features the turreted former New York Cancer Hospital at 455 Central Park West)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV: Episode Three, "Setting the Stage" (features Modern23 and 535 Central Park West)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV: Episode Four, "Cooking up a Real Estate Deal" (features The Link and some big houses in Connecticut)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV: Episode Five, "Educated Decisions" (features a nice, albeit slightly dark, Greenwich Village loft)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV: Episode Six, "All in the Family" (features Manhattan House, Devonshire House, and Ian Shrager's 50 Gramercy Park North)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV: Episode Seven, "Extra Special Spaces" (features a great SoHo loft and 3 East 94th)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV, Episode Eight, "Location, Location, Location" (features the Chelsea Mercantile and some lovely houses in Boca Raton, Florida)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV, Episode Nine, "Managing Expectations" (features a Gramercy Park triplex co-op; the Brompton)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV, Episode Ten, "Property Hunters" (features two brownstones in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and some Hamptons mansions)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV, Episode Eleven, "The Push"(features the Isis and 141 Fifth Avenue)
- "Selling New York" on HGTV, Episode Twelve, "Eye of the Beholder" (features 53 Murray, 46-50 White, and 650 Sixth Avenue, the Cammeyer)