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8 Real Estate Lessons From Emmy-Nominated TV Shows

the emmys
Roll out the red carpet (or the neutral-colored carpet, since it’s better for resale value) and enjoy these real estate lessons from your favorite TV shows.

With the Emmys quickly approaching, we (and the Academy) are reflecting on everything that’s happened on the small screen over the past year. From characters returning from the dead in Game of Thrones to documentaries like Making a Murderer that inspired outrage over decade-old crime stories, the topics, creative boundaries, and chill factor of TV shows continue to get better and better each year.

And of course, with so much great television come so many tales to be told and lessons to be learned — in real estate, naturally. From best comedy series to best reality competition program, here are a few Emmy-nominated shows that have plenty of lessons to teach when it comes to buying or selling a home.

1. Do your research before you move

Picking up and moving to a new area of the country is exciting — until you realize you have no idea where, exactly, to move. Don’t jump in blindly, like Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. Just because you met some intriguing, faceless man doesn’t mean you should pick up and move across the seven kingdoms for him, especially if you don’t know anyone else in your new ’hood. Do some neighborhood research, talk to locals, and figure out if an area is really right for you before making the move. (And avoid entering any cultlike groups in your new town.…)

2. Find a real estate agent who has your back

A good real estate agent can make or break a home sale, and Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy epitomizes an agent who puts his clients first — and takes his job very seriously. His dedication to remembering the ABCs (Always Be Closing, that is), plus his compassion toward his clients, makes him the second-most-successful real estate agent in Southern California (darn that Gil Thorpe). Don’t fall for sales gimmicks (like Gil pickles, ugh) and make sure you find an agent who’s committed to you.

3. Know what you can afford before you buy

Rule number one of buying a house is to make sure you can afford it. In Silicon Valley, former Hooli employee Big Head buys an amazing nine-bedroom mansion with his multimillion-dollar severance package. The only problem is, he promptly loses the severance by violating his nondisclosure agreement and is left making the monthly payments on said mansion without a dollar to his name. Lesson learned: Make sure you have a steady income and emergency savings so you can make your mortgage payments without fail.

4. Consider a tenant to help pay your mortgage

In competitive markets, buying a home and making the monthly mortgage payments can put a serious strain on your finances. One potential solution? Turn your basement into an income property. In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Lillian rents to Titus and Kimmy to make money on her brownstone, though whether they actually pay the rent on time and in full is questionable — as is the asbestos that continually rains down from the ceiling of their apartment.

5. Respect your neighbors

No show has taught us more about the importance of being kind to our neighbors than Orange Is the New Black. Granted, instead of living across the street, neighbors are actually bunkmates in OITNB — a tight living situation that proves the power of community. When Piper can’t bully her new bunkmate, Hapakuka, into submission in her rising prison gang, her cruelty backfires, and Hapakuka turns against her, leaving Piper burned — literally. The lesson here? Always be kind to your neighbors, even if you’re a block away. And watch your back in the clink.

6. Remember the work triangle in kitchen design

A well-designed kitchen can be a linchpin in a home sale. Besides solid cabinetry, bright light, and vast countertops, the work triangle — the relation of the sink, stove, and refrigerator to one another — is of utmost importance. Case in point: the Top Chef kitchen. When the chefs are in hectic quick-fire challenges, the lack of a triangle is noticeable — foods burn, preheated ovens are “stolen,” and chefs have to sprint across the room to get mascarpone and capers from the fridge. It’s pandemonium. Design with efficiency in mind, especially when it comes to the kitchen — it will always help with resale.

7. Less is more when you’re making it work — er, selling your home

Coco Chanel famously advised that before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take off at least one accessory. Her words still hold true: Season after season of Project Runway, designers get torn apart for going overboard with details — be it too many patterns, too much ruching, or too many blingy necklaces added at the last minute. The design of your clothes — and your home — should speak for itself. Turn a critical eye to your house during the staging process: Do you really need those canisters on the kitchen counter or umbrella stand by the front door? If not, remove them.

8. Don’t overprice yourself

If there’s one predictable thing homebuyers and sellers will disagree on, it’s the home price — sellers list high, buyers come in low. On Shark Tank, the same is true for the entrepreneurs and the sharks: The entrepreneurs usually overvalue their business, and the sharks want to talk them down. The fact is, if the sharks all agree your all-natural deodorant is overvalued, it probably is. Similarly, if all the offers you’ve received for your house over the past few months are low, you may want to consider a price drop (and you might regret not taking that first lowball offer).

What lessons have you learned from your favorite Emmy-nominated TV show? Share in the comments!