As the initial shock of the coronavirus lockdowns passes and people around the world settle into new realities of working from home, staying busy and keeping spirits up is more important than ever. That may mean wine, a comfy blanket and an abundance of cat videos, but for agents, it can also be a time to follow the industry in a different way — by watching movies that are at once entertaining and take on real estate issues both past and present.
We’ve put together this list of the best real estate-related movies, shows and podcasts for you tune into in this time of social distancing.
To really dive deep into the 2007-2008 housing, nothing beats The Big Short. The movie, based on financial writer Michael Lewis’ book, explains complicated financial concepts such as shorting and credit default swap in a non-dry way — by following big-name actors such as Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt as hedge fund managers who foresee the crash, and then profit massively from it.
Also set during the financial crisis, 99 Homes features a single father who loses his house and a real estate operator who is tasked with executing the eviction. The film, made by indie production company called Broad Green Pictures, won numerous awards for humanizing the crash that caused so many Americans to lose their homes.
If you’re (understandably) looking for something lighter during the quarantine, the 2009 film I Love You Man is a feel-good comedy. Paul Rudd stars as a newly engaged real estate agent who is trying to both break into Los Angeles’ luxury market by listing a mansion from actor Lou Ferrigno’s estate and make new male friends. For industry insiders, this is the quintessential real estate film — one of its funniest scenes takes place during an open house.
The Alec Baldwin and Al Pacino-starring black comedy Glengarry Glen Ross shines a humorous light on some of the worst aspects of a career in real estate: the instability, the extreme competitiveness and the emotional pressure to bring in leads and close more deals. The main character’s catchphrase “A.B.C.: Always Be Closing” is common real estate jargon today.
Another feel-good romantic comedy from the 1980s, Baby Boom stars not just Diane Keaton but a large country home — one that becomes central to the plot as the main character buys and later struggles to finance it as her New York consulting job and unexpectedly inherited child start to take a toll on her. While the situation is hilariously absurd, the financing struggles are ones that many of your clients (and even some agents themselves) have faced in their lifetimes.
Tom Hanks, the actor who stars in this film, and his wife Rita Wilson were diagnosed with coronavirus last week. While the pair is doing better, you can still support the actor by watching some of his early works — including the 1986 classic The Money Pit by Steven Spielberg about a couple who buy a less-than-stellar house and try to renovate it. There are few better deal-gone-wrong movies than this one.
And if you’re looking for something new, The Banker, a based-on-real-events movie about two businessmen who take on the 1960s banking system that prevented African Americans from getting mortgages and houses in certain neighborhoods, was just released on AppleTV+ on March 20. Self-isolation just feels better with actors like Samuel Jackson and Anthony Mackie.
Where to stream it: Apple TV
The reality show franchise Million Dollar Listing has long been considered escapism for those who love looking at extremely expensive condos and flawless homes. In the New York version, follow along as agents Ryan Serhant, Fredrik Eklund, Luis Ortiz and Steve Gold navigate their real estate clients and their personal relationships.
Real estate TV would be simply incomplete with the beloved home-improvement classic Fixer Upper. Married couple Chip and Joanna Gaines show homebuyers three properties that, to put it lightly, could use some work. The buyers choose one and the Gaines’ renovate it to what often amounts to head-spinning transformations.
HGTV’s House Hunters is perhaps the most relatable real estate TV show out there. It follows different real estate agents as they tour homes with clients from all over the country and with every conceivable backstory and living needs. The show has been running uninterrupted since 1999 and, in different seasons, features both American and global homebuyers.
Canadian twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott are another mainstay in real estate TV. The Property Brothers, as they’re known, track buyers who find and buy a home that needs some work and then remodel it into a much more attractive property. Drew works on the real estate transaction, while Jonathan creates the design and finds the contractors to execute the renovation.
This one’s for all the architecture fans out there. This BBC series (available on Netflix) follows architect Piers Taylor and interior designer Caroline Quentin as they visit some of the weirdest, most stunning and oddest homes in the world. Properties that appear on the show include one built from the wings of a decommissioned Boeing plane, a home in a Spanish pine forest and a mansion that is literally built into a cliff in Norway.
Flip or Flop, which follows Tarek and Christina El Moussa as they renovate a home that has been seriously damaged by previous tenants, has everything good real estate TV needs: fun and charismatic hosts, dump-to-mansion houses and encouragement for when you as an agent will inevitably face a similar situation.
Did you know that we have a brand-new podcast? In the wake of the monumental fear and uncertainty currently facing the industry, Inman founder Brad Inman will be discussing and clarifying these issues with real estate professionals from all over the country. In the first episode, Inman talks about how agents can move forward in the face of coronavirus with Ben Kinney.
Real estate coach Tom Ferry has a long-running podcast in which he provides real-world tips for scoring leads and bringing in sales. Past episodes delve into topics like personal branding and open houses while the most recent one takes on what’s on everybody’s mind these days: how to run a real estate business when the world around us is falling apart.
Made by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and hosted by Stephen Gasque, Real Estate Today Radio delves into the most current topics in the real estate industry — markets, mortgages, investing and tips for working with clients who have unconventional housing needs.
Launched earlier this year, the Inman Reconnect Podcast brings the ideas that are discussed at each Inman Connect to you in the form of a podcast. Follow along as Inman editor-at-large Clelia Peters sits down with real estate influencers and newsmakers as they discuss the most pertinent issues facing the industry today.
While not strictly a real estate podcast, 99% Invisible is a longtime favorite for the way it looks at the elements of design that most people overlook — bus stop benches, dollar bills, suburban cul-de-sacs. In the most recent episode, host Roman Mars walks through his house during California’s shelter-in-place orders and gives a brief history of the everyday items that he sees along the way.
Donald Miller’s award-winning podcast is relevant for anyone who has ever tried to market themselves and build a strong personal brand. The author and founder of the StoryBrand company discusses ways to build a company and push out a message in a way that gets both customers and clients to listen.
In his podcast, entrepreneur and real estate investor Toby Salgado delves into why some agents are able to kick-start their careers while others are stuck fighting the same battles year after year. To do that, he brings in guests like Tom Ferry (his podcast is listed above) and Brian Buffini to discuss the strategies needed to succeed in the industry.
Hosted by top-producing agent and real estate writer Pat Hiban, the Real Estate Rockstars podcast brings in a different industry insider several times a week — guests like Robert Kiyosaki, Barbara Corcoran, and Ryan Serhant talk about problems facing the industry as well provide inspiration for those who are trying to launch or kick-star their careers.