A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon a tweet from my friend Jim Long (@newmediajim), cameraman from NBC, who mentioned that he was watching the HGTV show House Hunters. I’ve been a fan of this show for a while – quite frankly, I love the idea of seeing people review their homes and then pick one and then see how they decorate it. It’s become so popular that they’ve spawned off a new series called House Hunters International that focuses on the international community and those who are in the US looking to relocate or find a second home elsewhere. These are amazing shows if you’ve never seen them.
But in all the time that I’ve watched House Hunters, there’s some things that I’ve noticed appear on the episodes. It could be that it’s a 30 minute episode and there’s just not enough time, or that it just doesn’t fit into the normal schema of the show, but I think to make this a well-rounded show that is kept in touch with the time and the reality of those looking for homes, there should be some adjustments made to the series–not a whole lot and not permanently, but let’s not turn a blind eye to the trends in real estate buying, okay?
In all the episodes that I’ve watched, never have I seen a couple or an individual holding a cell phone, iPad, or mobile device. Why is this important? Well I would imagine that if HGTV had a social tech savvy buyer on the show, he or she would be compelled to use their mobile device to photograph the house they’re looking at for reference, perhaps take video, or use their iPad to research the surrounding area or find where they are on Google Maps. They might also feel inclined to ask for thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, or even Google+. Now, I totally understand that these shows are not live and are taped, so that means that HGTV doesn’t want their “contestants” (for lack of better word right now), to be leaking information about the episode that their buyers are looking at. However, when you think about it, House Hunters is more like an extension of the buyer’s experience. The three houses that they are looking at are selected to be aired probably after the buyer and the realtor have combed through the dozens of listings until they find three acceptable ones that pose a chance at being bought.
I’ve looked at the reality TV show’s FAQ section for potential participants on the show and there’s currently no mention about utilizing social media to help make a decision. I’m sure it’s probably going to be a deal-breaker for someone to come on the set and out of the three choices that they have, post things on social networks to help make a decision. But it would be fun to imagine it, wouldn’t it?