Another key aspect of homebuying shows is when buyers list their needs and wants. Leis says this is helpful for first-time buyers who gain tips from watching the programs. "[The shows are] excellent in discussing [homebuyers'] expectations, limitations and the pre-approval process, which is something I've always made people do from day one," Leis says.
Despite the condensed nature of reality TV shows, Chan says he believes they still offer useful information. "Before the proliferation of reality TV, your only information as a consumer was what your real estate agent was telling you and friend's anecdotal experience," he says. "The real estate reality shows are almost like a mini course: Ask about the foundation, or this is how to act at an open house."
The shows also depict the compromises homebuyers make in real life.
"The good thing is that you see the pros and cons of the house that they end up buying," Chain says. "They film them talking about the trade-offs. Those are very real conversations that people have. Usually by the end of the show, someone makes a compromise because there's no perfect house."