Whether the market favors sellers or buyers, more and more people on both sides of the transaction have to deal with expectations that have been skewed by reality-style real estate shows on HGTV and other networks.

Merely mentioning such shows to Crawford County-based real estate agents elicited reactions ranging from sighs to groans to eyerolls so pronounced they could seemingly be felt over the phone.

Given the popularity of shows like “Love it or List it,” on the air since 2008, and “Property Brothers,” on since 2011, real estate agents have largely become resigned to their influence — and the unrealistic expectations that often result from that influence.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Cherie Jones said finds herself thinking when she encounters the kinds of shows that have become a staple of the HGTV and DIY networks. With no cable TV at home, Jones generally avoids such shows, but they have become so ubiquitous that she still sees them occasionally.

“I appreciate that they can do that in California,” the associate broker at Howard Hanna Bainbridge Kaufman said, “but if they did some of those shows in Meadville, it would be very different.”

Debby McCain of Ready2Go Realty offered a similar response.

“That’s not our market,” she said. “We typically have older houses than the houses they’re portraying on those TV shows.”

HGTV’s widespread influence is not surprising, according to a report from The Washington Post. Since the network was launched on basic cable in 1994, its viewership has skyrocketed. According to the most recent Nielsen ratings, HGTV is the fourth-most-watched cable network in the U.S., averaging more than 1.6 million viewers overall.

The HGTV-educated buyer is becoming more and more common, even in Crawford County, according to David Gordon of ERA Richmond Real Estate Service.

“They watch a 30-minute infomercial,” he said of such buyers, “and everyone expects houses in Crawford County to be like that.”

While some houses in the area measure up to the expectations created by such shows, he said, others do not.

Still, the real estate reality shows do have something to teach sellers even if their primary effect is to create unrealistic expectations in buyers.

“What I would like is for more sellers to watch those shows to learn more about how to stage a house and get it ready to market,” Jones said. “They would learn a lot about how to stage a house so a buyer comes in and falls in love.”

Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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