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9 Best Real Estate Shows: What They’re About And Why They’re Worth Watching

Lauren Nowacki7-Minute Read
UPDATED: May 22, 2023

There’s something satisfying about watching people find their dream home, tour a luxurious multimillion-dollar listing or transform a neglected home into the most sought-after abode on the block. Why else would millions of viewers tune in to any one of the countless real estate shows featured on television and streaming services? But people are watching for more than the happy endings and wow factors – and those who aren’t watching could be missing out.

If you have any interest in the real estate market or dream of owning a home, check out our top picks for real estate TV shows and why they’re worth watching.  

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Why Do People Watch Real Estate TV Shows?

A break from their own reality. Background noise while making dinner. The drama. There are several reasons people watch reality TV. But real estate reality shows may offer something more. Along with entertainment, they can also provide valuable tips and information on buying, selling or renovating a home.

More intentional viewers may be tuning in to:

  • learn more about the housing market and the process of buying a house
  • get a clearer sense of what their dream home could look like
  • find inspiration for interior design
  • learn tips for flipping a house

3 Real Estate Reality Shows About Home Buying

Those considering purchasing a home in the near future may be able to glean a few tips from watching others on their journey to homeownership. The following real estate shows are about prospective home buyers and their home buying process.

“House Hunters”

Where to watch: HGTV, Hulu

Since 1999, the popular HGTV show “House Hunters” has taken viewers through the real homebuyer’s journey. Each episode features a person or couple looking for their next home. You’ll see the homeowners meeting with a real estate agent to talk about their must-haves and deal breakers and their budget. The buyers then walk through three homes the agent has found that closely match the buyer’s requests.

What’s interesting about the show is that you’ll see the compromise that can go into buying a home. For example, will the buyer sacrifice a close commute for a home with a bigger yard? Will they pay a higher price to get that extra room or live in that specific neighborhood? As one couple learned from their experience on the show, “No house is going to have every single characteristic [you] want.” And we think “House Hunters” does a really good job of showing that.  

“First-Time Buyer”

Number of seasons: 2

Where to watch: Hulu

As the name suggests, “First-Time Buyer” follows people who are buying a home for the first time. Because of that, the show addresses some of the common trials and tribulations of home buying that may surprise first-time home buyers. That includes looking at countless homes and losing the “perfect house” to other buyers. You also learn a few tricks of the trade from professional agents on how to win the bid.

The first thing that’s great about “First-Time Buyer” is that it’s made by the National Association of REALTORS®, who seem to choose to focus on the behind-the-scenes, transactional steps of purchasing a home. That includes negotiating with sellers, working with a lender and dealing with appraisal and inspection issues. The second is that it’s a new show, meaning these home buyers are going through the current market, where competition is fierce and home prices are high. And each show is only 15 minutes, meaning the series is easy to binge.

“Beachfront Bargain Hunt”

Number of seasons: 28

Where to watch: HGTV, Hulu

Like the other home buying shows on this list, “Beachfront Bargain Hunt,” takes you through the home buying process, but these buyers are looking for a property on or near the water that still fits into a reasonable budget.

Along with incredible scenery and the chance to dream of waterfront property of your own, “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” shows viewers that a house on the water could be possible even with a lower budget. It also helps provide a little jolt of reality at just what is available at certain price points and locations.

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3 Real Estate Reality Shows About Home Selling

Prospective real estate agents and future home sellers may discover some of the roadblocks that may come with selling a home and working with clients from one of these real estate TV shows.

“Selling Sunset”

Number of seasons: 4

Where to watch: Netflix

“Selling Sunset” showcases the professional and personal lives of real estate brokers of The Oppenheim Real Estate Group, who sell luxury homes to affluent buyers in the Los Angeles area. You’ll watch the agents work to close deals and compete against other firms and each other in the competitive market.

While the Netflix show does mix in the personal lives of the agents, there are tidbits of industry information you can grab onto even as the drama unfolds. That includes learning more about the industry, real estate lingo, and different ways offers can be made. For example, in one episode, an offer is put on a home, but contingent on the sale of the buyer’s current house. In an exchange between one agent and company president and owner Jason Oppenheim, you learn the strategy behind making this type of offer to a seller. In this case, it includes the option to have the buyer release nonrefundable funds.

“Million Dollar Listing”

Number of seasons: 11

Where to watch: Bravo, Peacock

The name says it all. “Million Dollar Listing,” is about real estate agents selling million-dollar homes in the Los Angeles area. While the original show is based in LA, the series has branched out to include TV shows based in Miami, New York and San Francisco.

Those looking for a career in high-priced real estate will see what it’s like to work with difficult sellers who have unrealistic expectations and buyers who put in low-ball offers, but once you see the commission made with each sale, you’ll feel more motivated than ever. Along with the drama that unfolds during many of the deals, there’s also behind-the-scenes drama among the agents, adding more of an entertainment factor to the show.

“Listing Impossible”

Number of seasons: 1

Where to watch: CNBC, Peacock

Just because a home is luxurious, that doesn’t mean it will sell easily – and “Listing Impossible” proves that. The CNBC show follows Aaron Kirman and his team of more than 60 agents as they work to sell million-dollar, luxury properties that have been sitting on the market for hundreds, even thousands, of days.

You’ll see Kirman help sellers try to take the emotion out of selling and have the difficult conversations with those who think a little too highly of their homes and their taste in decor. Through those conversations, you’ll learn what could scare away potential buyers or make a house seem less inviting or desirable. You may even pick up staging tips and other tricks to selling a home faster and for a better price.

3 Real Estate Reality Shows About Home Improvement

Homeowners looking for home improvement or interior design inspiration may find it with one of these reality shows about flipping, decorating and fixing up houses to turn them into dream homes.

“This Old House”

Number of seasons: 43

Where to watch: PBS, Peacock, tubi

Proclaimed as TV’s original home improvement show, “This Old House” has been on air since 1979. The show has seen a few hosts, starting with Bob Villa, then Steve Thomas and now its current host Kevin O’Connor. The show is a no-fuss, no-frills kind of home renovation show. Each whole-house renovation spans over several episodes. The show is an ultimate how-to as each contractor working on the home project takes you through what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and why.

This Emmy-winning show is best for homeowners who are solely interested in home improvement projects. This show skips the drama and focuses on renovation projects, as professionals provide guidance and step-by-step instructions for various home updates.

“Flip Or Flop”

Number of seasons: 8

Where to watch: HGTV, Hulu

On “Flip or Flop,” formerly married couple and flipping team Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead buy some of the worst, grossest, most-rundown houses on the block and transform them into dream homes that people will pay top dollar for. They pay for the properties with cash, sometimes sight unseen, then fix it up in hopes to sell it for a profit.

The show provides a realistic glimpse into the work required to flip a home. It doesn’t shy away from revealing the downsides of purchasing a fixer-upper, including uncovering foundation issues and realizing the structure doesn’t have permits or isn’t up to code. You’ll watch the entire flipping process, from bidding on homes at auction and first inspecting the home, to consulting with contractors and designers, rebuilding the home and, finally, selling the new property. Throughout the show, the flippers are given various prices for the work that needs to be done on certain parts of the home. At the end, you’ll get a breakdown of the original purchase price, the total amount spent to flip it, the new sale price and the profit El Moussa and Anstead make at the end.  

“Amazing Interiors”

Number of seasons: 1

Where to watch: Netflix

A science fiction museum. An indoor skate park. A home with moveable walls. You never know what you’re walking into when a homeowner on “Amazing Interiors” invites you in. The Netflix show features ordinary-looking homes around the world that have unique and eccentric interior features, like an aquarium you can scuba dive in or a real VIA passenger train. The show includes three homes, one with an interior that’s currently under construction and two that are finished.

This isn’t just a show for people who want quirky homes. You’ll learn about the work that went into achieving each look. You’ll also see the construction process on one home and see the final product. Throughout the show, you can get ideas on ways to maximize space, save money on building materials and implement your own character into your home design.

The Bottom Line

Whether set up, overdramatized or unscripted, real estate shows can be entertaining, educational and inspirational. If you’re thinking about buying, selling or renovating a home, check them out to see what tidbits of information you can collect, but don’t take them too seriously.

To take your dream of homeownership from the screen to real life, get in touch with a Rocket HomesSM agent who can help guide you through the home buying process. And if you’re not sure just what your dream home is just yet, find it using our Home Buying Quiz.

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Lauren Nowacki

Lauren is a Content Editor specializing in personal finance and the mortgage industry. Her writing focuses on reporting the best places to live in the U.S. based on certain interests and lifestyles. She has a B.A. in Communications from Alma College and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.