Do you know the phrase if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?
Apparently HGTV isn’t familiar with that saying.
Last night, I tuned into “Real Estate Intervention,” my very favorite show on the network, and made a horrific discovery: It’s been completely decimated.
Gone was the show’s no-nonsense, honest-to-a-fault star, real estate expert Mike Aubrey, and his sweet and capable designer, Sabrina Soto. In Mike’s place was a perpetually perky home stager named Cora Sue Anthony. The Realtor she worked with in the premiere episode definitely played second banana to her.
And that is the crux of my problem. There was nothing wrong with Mike – the Realtor – being front and center to begin with. In fact, I liked it that way.
“I’m about as soft as an 8-pound sledgehammer,” he admits in the above commercial for the show. “I don’t sugarcoat anything.”
He’s not kidding. Over the past two years, I’ve seen him break it down for numerous homeowners, telling them that the housing market is not the same one they got into five or more years ago. It’s a bitter pill for them to swallow, for sure, but there’s no glossing over the sobering facts, which can and often do include having to put additional cash up in order to sell their homes.
“I don’t always tell people what they want to hear,” Mike says. “But I do tell them what they have to hear.”Vodpod videos no longer available.
And that’s just one of the things I embraced about “Real Estate Intervention.” The show accurately (and painfully) reflected reality in the U.S. real estate market. It may have taken place in the Baltimore/D.C. metro area, but it was just as relatable to me up here in New Jersey.
Sure, these homeowners were in sticky situations. Some, like the ones in the clips above, were out of work, casualties of the current economic climate. And I – as someone who lost her newspaper writing/editing gig two years ago – could relate to them. Yes, sometimes it was sad and uncomfortable to watch. Sometimes I felt bad for these people, that they were in such a pickle, that they had to listen to Mike telling them that there’s no way they’re going to make a penny on the sale of their dream home. But it was real. Some days I could relate to these homeowners’ woes and other times I was just grateful that my financial troubles weren’t as bad as theirs (in hindsight, purchasing my condo in 2000 was a brilliant decision!).
My love for the show grew even more last fall, when an episode featured a Levitt Cape Cod house in Bowie, Maryland. It was a doppelganger for my childhood Garden State home, and I got a real thrill when Mike took the homeowners on tours of two other, identical homes and I saw the renovations/upgrades that were made to them.
According to a press release from HGTV, Mike will be featured in some – but not all – of this season’s episodes (apparently serving as Cora Sue’s sidekick, not host). And a Washingtonian interview with Mike and Sabrina this spring seems to back that up, further stating that Sabrina is out of the show entirely. (Though she will keep busy with a new book and new HGTV show “High Low Project” in the works, as well as a deal with Target.)
But with the economy still far from improved, shouldn’t we be able to rely on someone to give us a collective reality check?
I’d like that person to be Mike Aubrey, all the time. I just wish HGTV agreed with me.