Life's eternal question of whether to stay or go (in jobs, relationships — and homes) is the premise behind HGTV's long-running "Love It or List It," hosted by interior designer Hilary Farr and real estate agent David Visentin.
Farr remodels a couple's outdated home, tailoring the look to current styles, while Visentin hunts for a new residence that can best Farr's reveal and entice the couple to list and move out. The show is set in Raleigh, N.C.
Like an angel and devil perched on battling homeowners' shoulders (owners often initially disagree whether to stay or go), the hosts dangle their charms — whether it be blown-out floor plans and expanded closets in the couple's remodeled home, or a new home's pool and better neighborhood.
In between searching for new homes for clients, Visentin spoke with us about the show.
You're clearly at a disadvantage — competing against decades of rootedness and memory.
It's not like you're going to move to a new house and you're going to forget all those great memories. As a kid, I think we moved every 5½ years. I loved every one of those houses. The future is unknown, and that can be exciting.
Moving, like leaving a lengthy marriage, can be a huge gamble. In that, you and Hilary strike us as therapists.
We are kind of like therapists. Usually you have two people that don't really agree, and they have to come together as a couple and make a decision. People get very invested in their homes, and not just in what works but mostly what doesn't work.
Many homeowners want to stay in or near their neighborhood. How often can you deliver on that?
It's rare. They ask, "Why aren't you showing us anything in our neighborhood?" and I say, "There's nothing for sale in your neighborhood." Part of the process is showing them what it costs to get what they want — where they want it.
There's the nagging question of regret: Do I now agree with the decision I made a year ago?
I've actually bumped into some people who loved it and then listed it a year and a half later.
Viewers always wonder whether home renovation shows are scripted. Thoughts?
There's a certain number of things we have to say that are scripted. But when we walk into a house, we are seeing it for the first time. We don't preview it. We go in, guns ablazing, and say exactly how we feel, and it's the same with the homeowners. They are not allowed to look ahead.
Your banter with Hilary is priceless and sometimes cutting. But we suspect that you both adore each other.
Hilary and I got along right off the bat. It's the perfect relationship. We allow each other to say exactly what the other one feels even if it's irrational. And then we get over it and move on.
Now you're going to have to name some of that irrationality.
She will never admit that sometimes it just doesn't work to have kids growing up in the same bedrooms their whole lives. That's usually because she can't give them another bedroom. I've tried for years to get her to even admit it once, and it's been, like, 180 episodes!
This show is all about seduction. Who's the more powerful devil?
It depends on the homeowners. There are certain things they drool over, and it's sometimes not what you think. We had a homeowner who left because of a garage.
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