Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve almost certainly noticed the massive growth in real estate-themed reality TV shows, but unless you’re in the financial industry, you may have missed a critical, but subtle change in these shows recently.
That change is a shift from the overly produced and unrealistic real estate shows, to a focus on a more realistic depiction of the real estate industry, with an emphasis on financial literacy.
While most previous shows have created the impression that real estate investing is quick and easy, many of the newer shows are showing the gritty, behind-the-scenes reality of real estate investing. Instead of secretly bringing in massive crews that work 24/7 to renovate a property faster than would ever happen in the real world, they’re showing how much work and time a renovation really takes.
And they’re breaking down real world numbers, too. A little known detail in many of these shows is that often, materials and labor are deeply discounted or even provided for free in exchange for promotion on the shows, which gives viewers an unrealistic perspective on true costs of a typical renovation or construction project.
I believe this is an immensely powerful shift because in addition to teaching viewers how the real estate industry really works, it’s also teaching them the fundamentals of financial literacy. Both of these are topics I’m extremely passionate about because when someone has this knowledge and implements it, they can completely change their financial trajectory.
One of these shows, which I had the opportunity to be a part of last year, is Funding Faceoff.
The show’s creator, Lori Greymont, says that the driving force behind her show was equipping people with the knowledge they needed to become successful real estate investors and build financial independence.
“As a child, I had the opportunity to watch and help my mother renovate and flip property after property, learning on the fly, which set me up for success in my own life. I saw firsthand the impact this had in my life, so I wanted to help others achieve the same. I’ve been teaching investors for years, but when I set out to help people on a much larger scale, I had to find a way to do that without stretching myself too thin—after all, you can’t pour from an empty cup! So I started looking at some options and realized that TV would enable me to share my knowledge with a virtually unlimited number of people. That’s when Funding Faceoff was born,” explains Greymont.
On her show, three contestants pitch a deal in each episode. The panel of expert Deal Makers eliminate the weakest deal first, and then the remaining two then negotiate against each other to win funding and collaboration from the Deal Makers. This creates life-changing opportunities for the contestants, and because many of these deals are cases where the contestant is working to acquire a distressed property, they’re often saving the current owner from a disastrous financial situation.
Greymont says, “Funding Faceoff is a master class in financial literacy because we’re showing viewers exactly how real estate professionals evaluate and negotiate a deal in real time—just like they would have to do in the field. This is information that anyone can learn and implement so that they can start doing the same thing so they can build financial independence in their own lives.”
Entrepreneurial titan, Kevin Harrington, one of the original Sharks on the hit TV show, Shark Tank, joined the panel of Deal Makers from the start of season one because of the positive impact he believes it will have on the audience and plans to return for season two, which is slated to begin filming in April.
“What I loved most about the concept was the transparency. These are real people pitching real deals to a panel of some of the top investors in the country, and countless lives are being changed for the better in the process,” explained Harrington.
As someone who is passionate about financial literacy, I agree. That’s why my entire business is based on helping others become financially literate. In fact, I recently started writing a three-part series on financial literacy and the economy in my column here at Newsmax Finance.
This concept is building serious momentum, too.
Brad Holcman, Senior Director of Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming for A&E Network, has made this his personal mission. He, along with the resources that A&E and some of the most successful real estate investors in America bring to the table, has launched numerous real estate programs focused on an accurate depiction of how the industry works.
Holcman oversees some of the most successful reality TV shows, and recently launched several new real estate-themed shows, including Zombie House Flipping, Triple Digit Flip, 50/50 Flip, and 24 Hour Flip, to name just a few.
He says, “Our goal is to put the real back into real estate.We want every viewer not only to be entertained by our best in class real estate investors, but believe they can do exactly what they do. If we aren’t being real, we are leading a mass audience down the wrong path.”
Jamil Damji, one of the stars of A&E’s hit TV show, 24 Hour Flip, says they were excited to support Holcman’s mission by collaborating on a show meant to both entertain and educate viewers.
Damji said, “Devoid of unnecessary drama, A&E Network, under the guidance of Brad Holcman, have embraced the reality our audience expects in the real estate investor world. Triple digit flip is the first Network TV show that highlights little known business models such as wholesaling and creative finance.”
As someone with both a personal and professional commitment to improving the financial literacy of Americans, I applaud the efforts being made by real estate professionals and TV executives to help bring financial literacy to the public.
Mario Henry (www.housevisors.com), a former National Football League player, is a financial services professional with 18 years of experience in the industry and author of How to Hire Your House, an innovative guide on how to create a tax-free pension and sustain sufficient income through retirement. Mario also is a licensed insurance broker and a national motivational speaker. He was a wide receiver with the NFL’s New England Patriots and a scholarship football player at Rutgers University.
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