• Be yourself -– if you try to “act” on reality TV, no one will be convinced.
  • Television networks are looking for new personalities, not ones mirroring existing ones, so highlight your individuality.

You are sitting there watching a real estate reality TV show, thinking: “What does this person have that I don’t?”

In some cases, you may not like what you see — but on the inside, maybe the envy is eating away at you, and you would like some pointers on how to do it if you are ever asked.

What’s your angle?

The first thing you have to think about is why you want to take part in a reality TV show and what way you would like to present yourself.

Roh Habibi, head of The Habibi Group with Coldwell Banker, stars in Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing San Francisco,” and sums it up: “Treat being in the show as a business decision.”

Josh Altman

Josh Altman

Beverly Hills agent Josh Altman, who heads the Altman Brothers team with Douglas Elliman, has been on “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” for more than five years and said he hesitated initially.

“I was not sold on the idea, and my parents told me not to do it,” he said.

But then he asked himself, what was the most important thing for him as an agent? “And that’s that people know what I do for a living,” he said.

You should already have a name

Altman stresses he was already doing well before he was approached.

“I had done a bunch of big sales and was in the newspaper for celebrity sales. That’s why the show’s producers had originally reached out to me,” he explained.

Altman’s biggest tip is to: “Be yourself.”

“To anyone, I would say, ‘Don’t be like me.’ They are not looking for another one of us – they are looking for new personalities.”

Altman speaks around the world to other agents about how to break into the high-end property market.

“At the end of the day your reputation is so important — all you have is your reputation,” he said.

Altman, who said he has cameras following him around for 10 months of the year, is happy for people to see he is the guy who will do anything for his client. His clients are now clamoring to get on the show, he added.

“I think what’s important for me is the program shows that I love what I do. I live, eat and breathe real estate.”

Be genuine and authentic


For Atlanta Communities’ Chrishena Stanley, head of the Stanley Team in Atlanta, and one of the stars of WE tv’s “Selling It In The ATL” being successful on reality TV she didn’t have to do anything differently.

“The most important tip I can give anyone who is going to be on a reality TV show is to be genuine and authentic,” she said. “It really does not resonate with people when they get a sense that you are being someone other than yourself, and if you are not able to be true to who you are, you will not have staying power in this medium.

“You actually have to be good at what you do for that to resonate with the audience,” she added. “The viewers have to see you as being professional, driven, focused, creative and strong in your field.”

For Stanley, “Selling It in the ATL” is better than advertising.

“It is the opportunity to have an hour-long national commercial where I am able to showcase what I do best — and that is, sell real estate.

“The show has given me the opportunity to reach people I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to reach, which has led to developers seeking me out to list their projects, buyers wanting to work with the Stanley Team, and individual sellers wanting to use me to list their properties,” she added.

Keep your feet on the ground

Hawaii Life principal broker/owner, Matt Beall, lucked out when HGTV cast Beall and his team in a travel real estate show and then gave the program the same name as his company.

As the host of “Hawaii Life,” Beall has been able to guide what the program covers, and the reality show will celebrate its 100th show this year.

“Hawaii Life” concentrates on the story of the buyer as they go through their journey of house hunting.

Some shows (like those on Bravo) are more scripted, and as he puts it, they “Trump up” the drama — but that is not the Hawaii way at all.

Beall is big on keeping your feet on the ground despite being on TV.

“The best advice that I’ve ever been given was that if you were to poll the general public and the reality TV-watching public, 99 percent of them could not name a single Realtor from TV,” he said. “Inside the industry you might find a higher percentage.”

“For us, because our show has a little more feel like a travel show, our job is to get out of the way — to let the pretty pictures of Hawaii feature — and it’s about which home the househunter will pick,” he explained.

“Our job is to go through the process and retell the story and not try to overdramatize it.”

Beall’s advice to his agents who have a turn on the show is: “To understand that it’s not about them — there’s not going to be a spin-off TV show on them. And to be mindful that they are representing the company and Hawaii.

“In Hawaii, it is culturally not appropriate to puff yourself up. So the point of it is, it’s not about us — we don’t need to show that we are professionals, just act with integrity.”

Beall remembers the company website crashing when the program first showed. In reality, the amount of business the company has gained from the program is hard to gauge.

“It’s been more about (brand) recognition and added value,” he said.

Email Gill South.

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