W.Va. native helps HGTV house hunters find a home
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Her clients fit the bill. Rudy wanted a house that could accommodate his parents. His partner, Fuz, wanted a fixer-upper that he could give a vintage industrial feel to, whereas Rudy wanted a comfortable, affordable place.
Can this house dilemma be solved? Watch "House Hunters Renovations" at 10 p.m. Oct. 28 to see Charleston native Brittany Walter take her clients on a tour of three houses.
"'House Hunters' is the No. 1-rated show on HGTV. 'House Hunters Renovations' is a spinoff. It's the same concept," said Walter, 27, now of West Hollywood, Calif.
In the hour-long episode, Walter will show her clients three houses. Viewers guess which property they will choose. The second part of the episode involves the renovations that the new homeowners undertake.
"I am not in the second part," said Walter, who has been in Charleston this past week, visiting family including her mother, Kathy Walter.
She said she responded to an email to real-estate agents from the producers seeking participants. Her clients, she said, fit the criteria and wanted to be on the show.
Both Walter, as the real-estate agent, and Rudy and Fuz, as the house hunters, had to submit separate audition videos to the production company.
Walter hopes her appearance on the show will bring business her way. She's had a couple of sales and has done lots of leases, but acknowledged it's a tough time to crack the California housing market.
Walter moved to Los Angeles shortly after she graduated in 2008 from Marshall University, where she majored in criminal justice.
"I came out here and, obviously, it's the film and entertainment industry. I didn't want to do that. I woke up one day and decided I wanted to go into real estate," she said.
Walter said she lives at the base of the Hollywood Hills. "I would go hiking in the Hills and was fascinated by the houses, the architecture and the history behind the houses."
She took into consideration that it was the worst time for the housing business. "I thought the worst time is probably a good time to get in and learn the business because there will be a big change," she said. "If you get in when times are tough, when it's better it will be all that easier."
For the past 18 months, she has worked for Keller Williams -- "a huge, huge company -- a worldwide franchise company" -- first as a part-time assistant to a top agent in the office.
"The market out here is crazy -- very, very competitive," she said.
Walter said people have been hesitant to try to sell their houses because the market is so low. As a result, the housing inventory is also low.
"There are a lot of bidding wars and multiple offers on properties. It's shifted from a buyer's market to a seller's market," she said. And unless the purchaser has all cash, they can't get a great deal on a house anymore.
Walter maintains a Facebook page, where she shows the properties she has sold or leased. To keep viewers engaged, she puts several celebrity-owned houses, such as Madonna's, on her page as well as other houses in those neighborhoods that she finds interesting.
She takes the caravan tour of houses every Tuesday for agents to look at new listings. She's toured the house Ashton Kutcher was buying and has been through several designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
"It's fun and exciting to be in a celebrity house, but 1 out of 10 houses on tour is a celebrity's house," she said.
"I'm not working with multimillion buyers yet," said Walter. And she has a part-time job on the side to help make ends meet.
"I am not from L.A., so it's a little harder to build up a clientele base, but I am slowly getting my stride," she said.
"It is so much fun. To be in a contract and negotiating and helping people find their dream houses ... it's very rewarding."
Walter added that she is always willing to help out any West Virginian moving to L.A. to lease housing or for advice on buying or selling.
She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Rosalie at email@example.com or 304-348-5115.