Many of you have seen the House Hunter’s International episode Sally and I filmed a year or so ago featuring beachfront condos in the Cabarete and Sosua real estate market; it really was great fun. The experience taught us a great deal about how these shows are put together and the amount of work it takes to put on a mere half hour program, so I thought I’d share some of that experience.
After being approached by HHI, the whole process began with our proposing several sales to see which profile might work best for the producers of the show. Once one of those sales was selected, then Sally and I as well as our Canadian client couple made short videos of a simulated sales situation which we submitted to House Hunters International. They wanted to determine our level of appropriateness for filming; fortunately the client video and ours were accepted. I’ve always contended that divine providence must have accompanied our submitted video as I certainly don’t remind many people of Brad Pitt, but for sure Sally carried the day for us with her wit and charm.
Anyway, once all arrangements were made, a film crew came to the Dominican Republic and we visited three properties, shot footage of shopping in town, and filmed local landmarks. It was amazing to see the level of detail required. Footage had to be at the right light level, sound quality had to be tested before and after each shot to ensure proper modulation in case that scene made it to final production. The House Hunters International crew was simply amazing as their experienced professionalism knew exactly how to handle each situation (including having me change shirts a dozen times to make sure I had one that would look right on camera). They knew how to catch the light, the best angle to view each showing, when to touch things like natural stone counters or coral stone wall accents. Their knowledge helped bypass potential situations a novice would never imagine to be problematic.
By the way, everyone asks if we only showed three properties to the buyers, and the answer is of course no. We looked at quite a few in the original sale situation, but for the purposes of the show we selected three that we had visited that were equivalent in cost and appeal, and that the owners would agree to have on film (some owners declined). Don’t forget the show is filming a re-creation of a sale rather than the original sales process which would be impossible to predict.
Okay, so after three days of condos viewing, driving all over Cabarete and Sosua, simulated contract signings, office visits and a blizzard of other activities led us to the last shot and we wrapped up our portion of the filming. Our clients, however, (good sports that they were) still had to return to Canada with the film crew and do two more days of filming at their home outside Toronto. They did a fantastic job working with the film crew. After everything completed, we all had a new sense of appreciation for how exhaustive and professional the HHI process proved to be. HHI makes the shows look so seamless and simple, but believe me there is a lot of work done behind the scenes.
After final airing of the show, Sally and I were astonished at how much footage did not make the cut (all the great scenes of me looking handsome somehow didn’t survive). Anyway, the editing team did an outstanding job of linking together a blizzard of different scenes and dialogue into a smooth story line. What felt so fragmented to us while filming became orderly and informative in final production, further evidence of the high quality professionalism of the HHI staff from beginning to end.
I hope you enjoy our little episode and get to see more episodes as well because the series illuminates many parts of the world most of us rarely have a chance to investigate. If you get to see our fifteen minutes of “fame”, maybe one day you can have a good laugh with Sal and me while we’re showing you what we think are still the best real estate values in the Caribbean, and the rare opportunity to be early in discovering something that will only get bigger and better over time. Here are the links in case you care to watch the show, and let me say as well THANKS to all of you who have contacted us since the show first aired. And yes, we still have our “day jobs”!
Now just let me encourage you to fly into Puerto Plata yourself and check out the amazing real estate values people are finding for retirement and vacation properties here on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. There is a lot to see and Sally and I will be happy to share the knowledge we’re gather over the past 10 years and to help you find your own little slice of paradise while it is still affordable.