The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

“Hope” and Realism on TV

Real Estate on TV is all the rage right now. The DIY shows seem to have given way to shows about ‘fixing and flipping’ or remodeling to sell for the most possible money. I am, of course, obsessed. It’s my two passions coming together (have I mentioned that I LOVE TV? I do. Feel free to sneer, I’m used to it. I still love it).

Unfortunately, for the most part I have to enjoy my real estate TV for its drama and the ridiculousness of it all rather than any resemblance to real life. In fact, I watch that show, “Million Dollar Listing” on Bravo primarily so that I can scream at the TV about how stupid, egotistical and cartoonish the agents on it are portrayed. And don’t let me forget to mention my very favorite pseudo-real estate show, “Flipping Out”. How can you not love a gay obsessive-compulsive narcissist with a fixing and flipping business whose primary hobby is driving his friends and employees sometimes literally insane? You can’t. He’s just so lovable.

However, I watched a new real estate-centric show on TLC today that I actually think has a lot of basis in what’s going on in the industry right now. It’s called “Hope for Your Home”. I’m not sure exactly how each episode is different, but this particular episode was about a family who had purchased a home with an adjustable rate mortgage that was just about to adjust. Their payment was going to go from $2000/month to $3000/month and they couldn’t afford the new payment. They needed to refinance their house to get a loan that would have a lower payment, but couldn’t without increasing the value of the house. A real estate professional came into the house and told them what renovations they should do to increase the value of their house and then brought in a team to help them.

I’m not sure how realistic the details of this process with the family were, but the general idea of a home owner in a mortgage with a payment that’s about to increase is a problem affecting way too many people right now. Addressing this problem with a solution other than: A) Suck it up and pay it, or B) Walk away from the house and let the bank foreclose, is inspiration I think this country can use.

Many, if not MOST of the people who purchased houses in 2005 and 2006 in Metro-Phoenix are underneath their loans. Of those people, the ones who got a loan with a fixed rate and who are staying in the house they bought for the next 5 to 10 years are fine and dandy. All of the rest are likely in trouble. That’s a lot of people who can use some solutions right now.

The family on the show turned a half-bath into a full, made the master closet a walk-in, repainted the exterior and generally uncluttered the house. It cost them $10K and according to a mortgage broker, upped the value of the house from $350K to $400K, allowing them to refi for a payment of $2300/month. The numbers were a little neat and tidy to be true, but the work they put into the house and the concepts behind the actions seemed extensive and noteworthy.

It’s a show I’m going to be keeping my eye on.

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