Live-Here! Moves You Around the World
Thailand, Italy, Panama, Croatia. Have you ever fantasized about packing up and moving somewhere more exotic, or at least somewhere warmer? Danielle Kiraly has, and the idea became one her production company pitched for a new HGTV show that lets families do just that. Called Live Here, Buy This, the show offers an escape, showing couples what the value of their current home could get them in far-flung spots such as Austria, Belize and more.
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For Ottawa couple Flora and Mike, that meant seeing what their $650,000 Hintonburg home was worth in Venice, San Francisco and Vancouver, their top three destination choices if they were in a position to relocate.
The newlyweds are bored with life in sleepy Ottawa and have had it with the brutal winters, it’s revealed in the episode that features them.
“There’s not a whole lot to do when it’s that cold outside,” Mike says in the show.
So they were game to see what their 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom home would get them in more moderate climates.
From the comfort of their living room, they watched as the show’s globe-trotting guides (actors who are meant to ask questions of the local real estate agents that the homeowners would be asking themselves) take them on a tour of homes — two each in Venice, Vancouver and San Francisco — all worth the same amount as their home. The couple then got to choose which one they liked the best.
The formula is similar to other reality TV shows (think House Hunters and Property Virgins), but it’s one that works.
“Who doesn’t fantasize about some better place to live than where they’re living right now?” says Kiraly, of JV Productions. “It really is just sit back, relax and imagine how you could live elsewhere in the world, what you could get.”
Toronto-area couple Meri and Franco, who were featured in the show’s première, would also like to escape the cold — a common thread throughout the series — and like the idea of trading in their 2,600-sq. ft., four-bedroom home worth $575,000 for a new place in Croatia, Spain or San Diego. They were surprised to find how far their money could go, especially San Diego.
“I was amazed that I could get a house like that in California for the same amount of money as my house here,” says Meri. “After having seen everything, I think we really need to put some energy into seeing if it could actually happen.”
The first two seasons of Live Here, Buy This have been filmed. All the couples so far have been Canadian, with homes that range from $140,000 — “that was hard,” says Kiraly — to $1.6-million and about 19 countries visited.
All of he families had ideas of where they might want to live. “But some of them had never been to those places,” says Kiraly. “A lot of people aren’t that well travelled and that’s part of the fun. Sometimes you’ve been to some of these places and sometimes you just wonder what life would be like there.”
So has anyone on the show taken the fantasizing to the next step?
One couple might be, says Kiraly. “Their house is currently up for sale and they are thinking of moving shortly to the East Coast,” she says. “And it wasn’t a real thought for them until we showed them what could be, what the possibilities are.”
Live Here, Buy This airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on HGTV.