Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Is Television Helping or Hurting Real Estate?

Is Television Helping or Hurting Real Estate?

Flip the houseI think the answer is both.  Shows that talk about flipping properties seem to ever simplify the process.  I find clients, who think they will buy a home, slap a few thousand in it and flip it for giant profits, all in 10 days.  That is where some of the shows on television have hurt us a bit.

In our real estate market on Oahu in almost every case there is one reason someone may be in trouble of losing their home.  It is usually because they made some real bad decisions or some catastrophic happened.  Our market hit a record median price high last month.  Homes should have equity in them unless the lenders loaned more than they are worth or the buyers put a ton of cash in them to fix and flip and ran out of money, etc.

Now there are some areas that have seen price softening, but they are the exception.

The type of real estate show that has made my job easier as an agent is the home staging shows.  They have helped me in two ways.

  • They have given me a lot of tips about preparing homes.
  • They have given my clients a more realistic view of what they need to do to prepare their home
  •             Remove clutter
  •             Paint
  •             Carpet
  •             Staging

When I meet with listing clients they are much more receptive to my suggestions to get their home ready. They are now more and more asking for me to go room by room and give them a list of things to do to get it ready.

So the home staging shows have been a winner for me and my clients. 

The flipping shows have been a bit of a problem for some of my clients.  With that said I still enjoy watching them.



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 56 commentsRandy Prothero • July 15 2007 03:15PM


I think flipping shows should be sued in a class action for causing irreparable damage to people unprepared for the reality of the market. Home improvement and staging shows can give good tips as long as you don't believe Clive when he says you will get an offer soon.

I definitely wish some sellers would watch staging shows.

Posted by Jim Little, Your Sun City Arizona Realtor (Ken Meade Realty) almost 12 years ago
the flipper shows almost never seem to take into account carry costs and Realtor fees. their profit comes down considerably when they add these into the picture. Its seems those who want to flip are the least prepared to weather the storm if there is a problem. Most made money due to a RISING market not because they did it "right". there is a new season of them coming out...it will be interesting to see if they change
Posted by John Barry Seattle Washington Home Loans ( Home Loans) almost 12 years ago
Couldn't really tell ya Randy, I don't have time to watch it! Maybe I need to though. Are there any great shows about Title and Escrow? hahahaha!!!   B-)   Aloha my friend! Great post and point!!
Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Are those flipping house shows old?  I beg to differ that flipping is creating net profit....even here where prices are still high....even investors (real estate agents) are just doing 1031's to sell the old and exchange for a better or in a different neighborhood. (bettering their portfolios)

The staging shows and some of the posts I read here from stagers have given me some great pointers as well.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 12 years ago

The insomniacs have watched the infomercials and believed them for decades.  I can spot them when they call and ask for

foreclosures, been on the market for a long time, can be bought for less than market value.

I like the "can be bought for less than market value" the best.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 12 years ago
I watched a show where they have an open house with hidden cameras.  Then they show the owners what the potential buyers had to say at the open house when they thought they weren't being watched.  The owners sat down with the host and the host said to the seller's.  "Now, let's see how badly your REALTOR was lying to you."  I almost blew a gasket.  You know how us REALTORS love to write checks for marketing while we're LYING to our clients.  I never watched another home show again on THAT channel.  
Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) almost 12 years ago
I think the flipping shows are good in that they do show the work involved in a rehab project.  The problem is that they spend too much time on drama - I ordered cherry cabinets but they delivered oak, or can we work around the avocado fixtures in the master bath, and too little time on the numbers.  Cost, carrying cost, appreciation, return on investment, cash on cash return, retail vs. wholesale real estate and alternate exit strategies.  What is sad is that 99% of Realtors lack the ability and knowledge to discuss these items with a prospective client as well.  The problem with our market is that these issues were not addressed with prospective clients and customers by either their real estate or mortgage professionals, who were too busy making a quick buck than developing a handful of solid business relationships that would represent their core business several years down the road.
Posted by Dan Homan (Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty, Inc) almost 12 years ago


Like anything else a person must do their own due dil...

Posted by Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission. (Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. ) almost 12 years ago

Any show that presents a horrible house being turned into a gem in one half hour (I don't care what they say about timeframe- to the watcher, it all occurs in a half an hour) and ends with a picture of the home (but no details about whether or not it ever sold) is irresponsible TV, IMO.  On the other hand, I agree, Randy.  The shows that have provided quick fixes that anyone can accomplish are very helpful in this market, now that fixes are an important part of moving the property.

Posted by Laurie Mindnich almost 12 years ago
I would say TV is just that...TV. Nothing more, nothing less. Even news shows are not a fully accurate description of reality. I enjoy the shows for the most part. Take the bad with the good. Just can't take TV that seriously, but there will always be a percentage of the population that does.
Posted by Wendy Montoya, REALTOR® Broker Associate, 254-315-4906 (Towne Adams REALTORS) almost 12 years ago
I agree that they can make life harder. I tell someone they should do this or that and I get the "But on tv they do this" comment and I want to pull my hair out.
Posted by Cheri Smith, Realtor Prudential Gary Greene (Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX) almost 12 years ago

Come on Randy, you mean to tell me that if I buy a house it isn't going to automatically go up in value because I am now the owner.  I mean it is my house now and every body has to want it now :)

People crack me up Randy they buy a house slap a little paint on it and think that others are now going to pay $50,000 more for it.  Boy are they surprised when they are still making the mortgage payments on that house months later. 

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 12 years ago
Great post Randy!  I actually have been watching some flip this house shows where they show that the home did not sell, or it did not sell for what they had hoped and had to rent it out.  Also there is a Flipper Show where a RE agent pops in and out to see if the Flipper is staying on budget.  I like her honesty and insight that she brings to the Flip.  I do think that the home stager shows have really helped me out.  I appreciate their tips, most of the tips are things that Sellers can replicate on their own.  I have even taken listings where the Sellers have already done most of the staging because of the tips they have seen on TV.  All the best to you! 
Posted by Joy & Shane Goushaw (Sandals Realty) almost 12 years ago

Jim - One of the flipping guys got removed from TV when they found he was faking some of the stuff on TV.

John - You are absolutely correct. Most mad it because of the rising market.

Brad - I DIVO them, so I can watch them without commercials while checking Active Rain in the evening.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Sally - I like watching the flipping shows, but I know to keep it in perspective.

Lenn - I have been getting the ones who want to buy note and they do not know what a note is.

Chris - I didn't see that show.  It would have made me angry also.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Dan - That is a disservice to perspective buyers.  I do not want clients losing money.  I give them the good with the bad.

Scott - That is also why they hire us; to help them through the process and to help protect their rights.

Laurie - I have a new listing coming on tomorrow for over $900,000, where I went room by room and gave my clients homework.  They did an amazing job of doing 90% of the items on the list.  That wouldn't have happened a few years ago.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago


I think some of those shows have helped with staging homes, sellers are more aware of what they need to do to sell. :)

Posted by Suzanne Sands, Somerset MA Real Estate (Pavao Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Wendy - I have had more than a couple clients reference what they saw on TV as if it was religion.

Cheri - I have to remind people that they are only showing part of the story to make their point.  Now for the rest of the story.

George - The more amazing ones are the ones who think buyers and lenders are going to fall in love with their home and pay much more than any others in the neighborhood.  Even more than the larger and more upgraded homes.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Joy - The home staging shows have especially helped me when I tell a client to depersonalize the home.  I am going out to stage a home tomorrow and most of what I know is from Active Rain and the TV shows I watch.

Suzanne - I think they have made my job somewhat easier with some of my clients.  They are better prepared to put their home on the market.


Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

A client said to me, "You're not coming in here and painting my walls orange!" Uhhh, okay, why did you think I'm going to paint your walls orange? "Because that's what they do on TV!!"


Posted by Beth Skinner, World class service - with a personal touch! (Skinner Realty, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Beth - I guess purple is out too.  LOL

My favorite was: I was selling a home in Wahiawa and some out of town buyers came to my open house.  She asked, "How close is this to Ohai St?"  I knew what was next.  Dog the Bounty Hunter said Ohai St. is the most dangerous Street on Oahu.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Sell this house interviewed 2 of my sellers for their show (not sure that's a compliment)!!  I told both of my sellers... If you say "my agent never mentioned that" to any of the staging, cleaning or de-cluttering suggestions I have been harping on you about for months, I may have to kill you! 

Neither of them were chosen, so I guess they weren't "THAT" bad.  On the other hand, I agree with EVERYTHING you said.  The flip shows never take into consideration the sellers holding or selling fees.  But I still record & watch them as often as possible.

Posted by Sue Nelson, Broker/Associate Las Vegas Real Estate ~Team Rhino~ (ERA Sunbelt Realty) almost 12 years ago

Hey Randy,

I know what you mean..flipping can be deadly if you don't know what you are doing. I have been lucky enough to have done well with it. By the way...I am going to be interviewing a well know person from one of those shows about flipping property. ...stay tuned!

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
Randy, I think overall they do help us. Even the flipping shows often show the pitfalls of not listening to the experts, like us. And I do get a certain amount of satisfaction when they disregard pricing advice and on top of that try to sell it themselves. I love the one show that shows the weeks passing while graphically showing the profit drop further and further. I do think that often we can point to these shows where the sellers are making critical mistakes and point them out to our customers who are doing the exact same things. The shows I do not like are the ones that are more staged. Forget the one that Bravo had a while ago out in California. The agents were more actors than professionals. I seldom dance around my Porsche. The other is the self-serving guy from the Carolinas who thinks he is the next television star. I am sure a lot of that is contrived as well. But overall I think the other shows do help us prove crucial points to our sellers.
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Randy -

I agree. The flipping shows always show how easy and even better they show the easy math with a huge profit. They don't allow closing costs, etc.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 12 years ago


Gee and I thought the flipping houses shows were much like reality TV :)

P.S. You know me...I won't be flipping your words to make them mine. SVW.


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

My problem is I never watch TV myself, so I don't know what my clients are talking about when they refer to shows. Any suggestions on dealing with this problem?



Posted by Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales (Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties) almost 12 years ago

The staging shows do seem to make my life easier in this market!

Posted by Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales (Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties) almost 12 years ago
Randy, well put my friend.  I have had a few people call me wanting to know how that can buy foreclosures and "flip" them as those television programs suggest is so easy.  Having sold foreclosures for over 20 years with very experienced investors, I go through the process and tell them what is required.  After my discussion with the 9 out of 10 decide it is not for them.  Leave it to television to entice people to want to tackle almost anything.  Have a great evening and week ahead.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

I'm glad that some shows have a "Flip-file update" - showing the property flippers 6mon-1year later.

Many of them actually never sold their house at their listing price, so their "projected profit" they state at the end of the original show doesn't stand.

In fact, a lot couldn't sell their home and resorted to renting out the property.

Posted by Mike Fotiou, Calgary & Area Real Estate (First Place Realty) almost 12 years ago

I feel that the real estate home shows like Flip This House & Buy Me show how people slap some paint on their home and do some minor cosmetic changes and then an open houses sells their home!  It gives the impression to the viewers that selling homes in this market is so easy with minor updating and sticking an open house in front of their home.  Think again!

Michael Citron With Web Email Flyers

web email flyers

Posted by Michael Citron (Web Email Flyers) almost 12 years ago
I enjoy watching infromertials and "Making Money Fast" Programs in Real Estate as I eat and fall asleep.  I'm a big fan of having nightmares:-)

Seriously though Randy, I'm with you....I think both as well.  As long as our industry is on T.V. in some facet, it probably always be a mixed review.
Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) almost 12 years ago
I seriously just watched my first flipping show, It was one from down in Florida.  What I learned is to listen fo the advice of the professional.  Life would just be so much easier if our customers did!!!
Posted by Ethan Dozeman, Real Estate in Grand Rapids (Realty Executives Platinum Group) almost 12 years ago

One local "investor" here in the Atlanta area got in a ton of trouble for his dealings.  A&E didn't seem to catch to much heat but I have noticed on the new episodes they don't seem to say the house is sold until they on their flip file or whatever it is to look back.



I-Team: Flip This House ATLANTA (FOX 5) -- What if you found out an American Idol contestant was lip-synching? What if the Bachelor was really married? How real is reality TV? The FOX 5 I-Team answers that question with one of America's favorite reality shows: Flip This House. Senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell found one Atlanta developer on the show, Sam Leccima, wasn't telling the truth about his renovations. Click video for more information. http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/myfox/pages/ContentDetail?contentId=3200981 I-Team: Flip This House, Pt. 3 ATLANTA (FOX 5) -- It was the story that had them talking and blogging across the country. The FOX 5 I-team investigation of the A&E reality show: Flip This House. Web sites, blogs, and reality show forums were all buzzing about how the I-Team found the popular reality show wasn't even close to reality. Dale Russell reports. Click video for more information. http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/myfox/pages/ContentDetail?contentId=3405410 I-Team: Flip This House, Pt. 2 ATLANTA (FOX 5) -- We had so many questions we wanted to ask Sam Leccima. Why did he lie about selling houses on a popular TV show? And why are so many people so mad at him? Dale Russell reports. Click video for more information. http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/myfox/pages/ContentDetail?contentId=3213463

Posted by Bob Southard -www.AgentBobSells.com Metro Atlanta almost 12 years ago
Randy, you are right. There are people that tend to think TV is the "word". I just find it amazing to think of TV that way. I do like the shows best when they are honest about the houses not selling and such.
Posted by Wendy Montoya, REALTOR® Broker Associate, 254-315-4906 (Towne Adams REALTORS) almost 12 years ago
The problem with the staging shows is the unrealistic budget that they claim the work was done for. The budget never reflects the  labor costs, just materials.
Posted by Kathy Alexander, Home Stager Camas WA, Home Staging Southwest WA (GreatStages Home Staging and Redesign) almost 12 years ago

The flipping shows have been a bit of a problem for some of my clients.  With that said I still enjoy watching them.

The shows, the flipping shows, or the flipping clients? :-)

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 12 years ago
I have honestly not watched much TV in the last 7 years since we got married - but I recently got cable internet with TV as a free add-on.  I'll get to the flipping shows eventually...but who has the time to sit and watch?
Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 12 years ago
Television does not seem to show a true picture of how things are often times.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago

Sue - One of my Realtor friends was on the show.  She went to the open house.

Neal - Good luck with the interview.  One of the things they do mention is what it takes to get building permits.  I can take months here.  If it is in a planned community add time for that.

John - Most of them are not completely real.  Even the staging show, the people at the open house know they are on the show for the second open house, so they will love it even if the wall is painted orange.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Gary - I have seen a couple of flipping disasters in my community and wondered if they were trying to copy TV and didn't realize the true costs.

TLW - As long as I don't get flipped off, I am happy.  :)

Ann - Watch TV,  LOL

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
I can live with the shows you talk about - I can usually show the reality of the project - but this morning as I was ironing FOX news was on and some stupid idiot was saying that sellers do not need an agent... I hit the ceiling - plan on writing a few emails explaining what a seller could be held liable for that the normal seller is not aware of - they think it is all about the dollar and forget that there are disclosures, and issues that can haunt a seller
Posted by Thesa Chambers, Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon (Fred Real Estate Group) almost 12 years ago

George T - I see the same thing.  I get people constantly asking about foreclosures.  We hardly have any to begin with.  Once they know what is involved most are no longer interested.

Mike F - Even the staging show in most cases says they should be getting an offer any day now.

Jason - I just can't do the infomercials.  I sit there listing all the flaws in their story.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Ethan - The toughest clients are the ones who pay for advice and then don't follow it.

Bob - That is an amazing story.  I watched all of the clips.  Thank you for pointing us to them.

Wendy - I also like it better when they show the mishaps and obstacles they run into.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Kathy - I see that with the flipping shows also.  The prices almost always seem dirt cheap to me.  I am in Hawaii, so things cost more here, but I don't think that much more.

Tony - I do watch them regularly.  I may be better prepared for the clients who take it all literally.

Jeff - I am playing one as I do my Active Rain comments.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Bob and Carolin - They are similar to the get rich quick seminars, only they hit more people.

Thesa - I am happy to hear that TV reports are now real estate experts.  Next week they will be giving medical advice, followed by legal advice.  Isn't TV amazing, how it can take a report and make them an expert on any subject.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Although I enjoy watching these shows sometimes, I think they are a bit unrealistic . The staging ideas are great and sellers should stage, but will that sell your home faster or make you an extra buck - hmmmm iffy. I know a lot of sellers expect a return on all the home improvements they've made, but those home improvements don't always translate into extra $$$$.

 As for flipping - nothing is flipping down here in Florida

Posted by Anonymous almost 12 years ago
Anonymous - If the home is staged properly it will help sell your home faster for the most money.  If the home is dated or cluttered, you will see it take longer and sell for less. 
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
The problem with media is that, even if they are trying to do a good job, a story almost never goes into any depth. This is especially true on TV. So they end up with a bunch of half-truths and often leave out the information that helps someone better understand an issue.
Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 12 years ago


I already spoke with the person before..we are planning to see how I can do it from the phone or via you-tube but I will include the transcript. I'm not defending anyone and I'm sure there is some hype because it is TV but I am going to try to find out how easy people think it really is. I for one have done this over the last few years. Basically it is easier in a crazy market we had but I am sure it is a bit more difficult now. The problem is we only get to see 30 min or so of a process that takes sometimes months and you have to know what you are doing and compensate for possible losses..this is all rthid guy does..he does not sell anything else so hopefully you'll listen in if I get it on DVD or tape.

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

The national news certainly hasn't helped. Haven't though much about the other shows, and have not heard much about them at the client level... other than for their entertainment value. Norm is fun, though that's about craftwork, and Bob is really fun to watch too.  Really haven't seen these type of shows bring buyers in. But we hope too of course.


Posted by Gary Bolen, CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information (McCall Realty) almost 12 years ago

Steven - very true

Neal - I look forward to the interview.

Gary - I do not get clients from those shows, I do get potential clientes from watching the flipping shows and my clients do reference the staging shows.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
I agree about the flipping shows.  It's hard to turn a profit that quickly in reality, especially here! 
Posted by Pete C, Hawaii Mortgage Loan and Refinance (TBA) almost 12 years ago
Pete - I think it is hard anywhere.  It is possible, but you better be very good and you have to understand all the risks.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
I like watching flip this house. I think its funny how they try to make it into a drama. But i don't think tv is hurting real estate cause theres no such thing as bad publicity.
Posted by Rick Spackman (Rick Spackman REMAX of Wildwoods) almost 12 years ago
Rick - I think it negatively effects some of the consumers who are made to believe they can make lots of money and never see the truth.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

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