Tuned To Home Buying

TV and radio offer an array of shows on purchasing and improving a house

August 01, 2004|By Michelle Betton | Michelle Betton,SUN STAFF

Some of the hottest radio to tune into these days isn't rock, rap or even country - it's real estate.

The same holds true for television, where various networks have seen success in recent years with such shows as House Hunters on Home and Garden Television (HGTV) and Trading Spaces on The Learning Channel (TLC).

In June, CNNfn launched Open House, where viewers get information and tips on buying a home. The show takes a how-to approach on all things real estate, from developing cost-saving mortgage strategies to advice on buying and selling property.

These examples are not the first in a group of television and radio shows designed to help the consumer understand the world of real estate. Success with channels like HGTV, introduced in December 1994, and DIY - Do It Yourself Network, created in September 1999, focused on decorating and remodeling homes.

But the recent housing boom with three consecutive years of record sales and historically low interest rates fueled curiosity even more, experts said. And consumer demand for information about buying and selling homes increased.

New television shows explain how to spruce up homes. For example, Sell This House on Arts and Entertainment Television (A&E) gives homeowners advice on how to make their homes marketable using design and remodeling techniques and real estate advice.

Real estate radio shows began appearing during the mid-1980s, said Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. But he said radio shows are more popular now given the hot market. And as a result, agents said people are trying to get as much information as possible.

"I think the radio shows are doing well because people are fascinated by real estate," said Francine Litter of Long & Foster in Baltimore, who said the market can be confusing to those new to buying homes.

Bob Mayeski of Westminster was traveling earlier this year and heard a show called Real Estate Weekly on WJFK-1300 AM. He called in to ask about buying a house.

"He had his whole team there," Mayeski said of the show's host, John Buren of Long & Foster in Reisterstown.

Mayeski bought a house four weeks later using Buren as his agent.

Buren, a former sports director at WJZ-TV, said his show aired from February to May this year and will resume on Saturdays in September on WXYV-105.7 FM. Buren said he fields calls about everything from financing to "Bob Vila-type questions."

"There's a fever pitch in the land right now," Buren said. "I just think it's right time, right place."

Radio stations broadcast answers to the questions of patrons with shows like All About Real Estate on WCBM-680 AM, whose host is Terry Stafford of AccuBanc Mortgage in Baltimore. Stafford had been a guest host on another radio show for about eight months and enjoyed it. So when this slot opened eight years ago, she took the opportunity. She conducts it with Dave Meurer, also of AccuBanc Mortgage.

Stafford said the show is good for business - a way of getting her name out to the public. Because mortgage interest rates have been low the past four years, people have been more interested in buying, she said.

Clear Channel Inc. develops a local real estate radio segment out of Silver Spring, said Debbie Hager of the Maryland Association of Realtors. The show has been on the air for two years, appearing in 15-minute segments with a panel of Realtors who answer questions about buying and selling homes in the current market. The show is aired on WBIG-100.3 FM, WTEM-980 AM, WWDC-101.1 FM and WRC-1260 AM.

Craig Goebbel, chief executive officer of LoanTek Home Loans in Seattle, is host of Real Estate Radio on KVI-570 AM. After 20 years in the home real estate business, "it was time to dispel a lot of rumors in the world of real estate," Goebbel said.

Goebbel's show has been on the air since October 2000. It is simultaneously streamed on the Internet. Most callers are from the Seattle area, but during the past two years, feedback from people around the country has grown, Goebbel said. He receives calls from listeners as far away as South Dakota and Georgia.

Listeners' questions run the gamut from queries about mortgages to commissions and where to find a trustworthy agent.

Real Estate Radio with David Finkel on wsradio.com in San Diego is a radio show that also streams live on the Internet. It will be syndicated in the Western United States.

The Ellis Team, ReMax agents who answer questions on WINK 1240 AM - WNOG 1270 AM in Fort Myers, Fla., have been on the air since January 2003.

Local real estate experts said they expect interest to remain high, even as interest rates rise. "Everybody needs a roof over their head," Stafford said. "Therefore, it is something people can relate to."

Home shows

Some real estate shows on the airwaves:


House Hunters, 7:30 p.m. weekdays on Home and Garden Television (HGTV)

Designed to Sell, 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Sundays on HGTV

Trading Spaces, 4 p.m. weekdays on The Learning Channel (TLC)

Open House, noon weekdays on the Cable News Network Financial Network (CNNfn)

Sell This House, 5:30 p.m. Sundays on Arts & Entertainment (A&E)


All About Real Estate on WCBM 680-AM, host is Terry Stafford

Real Estate Weekly on WXYV 105.7-FM, host is John Buren

Real Estate Radio on wsradio.com, host is David Finkel

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