Yesterday at Après Midi, we "binged-watched" four House Hunters International episodes — three of our most recent episodes and one from a few years ago that is dear to us. We've made the showings a regular event every April since so many fans here in Paris don't have the opportunity to see the shows very easily. (Scroll down to learn more about how to remedy that!)
Between the shows, I opened the floor to a bit of Q and A. I explained that this is "entertainment," or what I call "fiction based on reality." The taping of the show starts with "contributors" who have already rented or purchased a home. The process is then recreated, going through the same or similar motions, to visit properties, with the hopes of finding the perfect one and what it takes to make the necessary decisions. While the properties they visit may not have been the real ones, it doesn't matter...their reactions are real. The show is not scripted and our "lines" are natural expressions of what we're experiencing, even if in front of a camera lens with a mic hidden in our clothing. Pricing the property is based on reality, too, but is not an exact science and is done in dollars, not euros, therefore the rate of exchange affects the outcome you see on the show.
Some of the questions the audience posed were a bit out of the ordinary, but worthy of discussion. One woman asked why we seemed so focused on central Paris properties, when there are lots of great properties in the outer districts that cost a lot less. It was a multi-faceted question with a multi-faceted answer and lends itself to more than just the taping of House Hunters International. I reiterated that we start with a property already acquired and then we have to find "comps" to visit that fit the parameters. Those "comps" are usually properties to which we have access and since most of our clients prefer to be in center city and purchased properties there, it just happens to work out that way.
On another level, as a property consultant, I still encourage clients to consider location first for their best property investment, and that means being in central districts, if they can afford it. In addition, I personally believe living central provides the most enjoyment of a city, spending less time on transportation and having access to just about everything within steps. The example I give is how I like to be able to go home to change my shoes if I want to, or for it to be easy for friends to just drop by. When you live outside of center, you're the one who's going to be doing most of the traveling...and you're likely going to be going in to the center of the city for just about everything important you want to do, anyway.
Someone wanted to know why they use other agents in France besides just me! I chuckled at that — flattered, really — but I had to explain that in most places, the agents are always different ones for each show. In some cities, there are agents that have become regulars, like me. I've taped 37 shows, about double the number of shows of their next most utilized agents. There are several reasons for that — but largely because in France it's hard to find English speaking agents, especially those that make their job easier by providing the comparable properties. Plus, thanks to my background in media (I have directed hundreds of TV commercials in another life), I know how to be on camera and be directed. I also know that they're seeking "sound bites" — short phrases on which they can hang their hats to create a theme, such as "everything is a trade-off" or "this apartment has good bones" or "it's not what you can change that counts, it's what you can't change."
Oliver Gee, podcaster of The Earful Tower with whom I have collaborated on several occasions, then asked how much input I have to the show. Good question, Ollie. The answer is: more than most other agents. Because I've been working with the producers since 2006, we have a close relationship and have worked multiple times with the same crews. These people are colleagues, collaborators and now friends. They produce and direct it totally, but I help build the concept of each show, taking into consideration who the contributors are, where the properties are and what the assets and liabilities are, so as to set the stage for an interesting story.
The shows have been loads of fun to tape and I hope to do many more. As I write this, we are working with the producers and several of our clients to plan for more episodes. The trickiest part is getting the location release from the "copropriétés" (homeowner associations) to tape in the buildings. Nothing can be done without permission — even art on the walls of the apartments must have the artists' releases...or they come down! One time, earrings I was wearing that resembled a Picasso or Matisse face, were nixed for copyright infringement reasons! Logos have to be hidden, so masking tape is put over any brand name that might appear on an appliance to cover it, for example (and then sometimes it's forgotten about and found months later!).
"A Parisian Place for Mother and Daughter" (Isabel and Julie Fry)
Paull de Burger
There are three new shows I've taped recently that are "in the can," so to speak, but this morning I received notice from HGTV that one of them is scheduled to air in May. So, set your whatevers to view, record, or whatever you do to see the new episode: Season 141, Episode 9, "A Parisian Place for Mother and Daughter" premiering in the United States on Monday, May 6, 2019 at 10:30 p.m. EST on HGTV, and will air again three hours later at 1:30 a.m. EST.
"Following in her mother's footsteps, a college graduate has fallen in love with the rich history and art in Paris. Now, both mother and daughter are on the hunt for a small piece of the city they can call their own and fulfill both their dreams of calling Paris home."
For those of you outside of the U.S., you can either wait until we announce the Youtube version (which is posted within a day or two after it airs in the U.S.), or you can watch it live by visiting watch.hgtv.com/watch/ using a VPN* and borrowing someone's Cable TV username and login (like a friend or relative who's cable connected in the U.S.).
*A virtual private network that extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Source: Wikipedia.org
Mark April 15th on your calendars, not just for your tax return deadline, but for the launch date of a podcast with me by Paul de Burger, available on his main podcast site where you can download the show or even just listen to it through your browser if you like. We won't have a direct link to the show until it's published, but for now, here's a link where the show will be hosted (also available on iTunes).
Paul de Burger, is a professional speaker, writer, photographer and world traveller. Step Up! is a podcast focused on motivation, amazing people, and the will to live life on your terms. That means Paul talks to people with interesting stories and backgrounds to help you tap into their knowledge base and learn from their experiences. He talks to musicians, entrepreneurs, adventurers, writers, health and wellness experts, doctors, athletes, and trail blazers from all walks of life...and he spoke recently to me.
The podcast offers long-form discussions (between 45-60 mins), with no constraints on content or format, a relaxed environment, and on-location interviews. Paul loves listening to podcasts and wanted to give back to the world by providing content that people will find entertaining and motivating. Hope you enjoy the show!
Speaking of House Hunters International, you can watch a re-airing of Paris By the Books Sunday, April 28th at 11 pm Eastern Time. Details are on our website. Set your DVRs now!
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