PITTSFIELD — For more than two decades, the HGTV program “House Hunters” has long lifted a curtain on home-buying.
Two real estate agents in the Berkshires got a firsthand look at how these stories are told.
A “House Hunters” episode, which aired recently, featured Michael Martin, 36, a trumpet player for the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops, who was looking for a first home in the Berkshires. “I really feel the need to have roots somewhere. Just the reassurance of knowing there’s a place I can go to that’s mine,” Martin said during the show.
Initially, according to one of the brokers, the “House Hunters” team had a hard time finding available houses for an episode set in the Berkshires — the same experience local homebuyers have faced.
Danielle Giulian, a local Realtor, said the HGTV team came across two of her listings. “My sellers loved the idea,” she said in an interview.
For one of them, the backstory of selling the home, at 237 Eleanor Road in Pittsfield, was bittersweet.
“He and his wife lived in the house for 60 years but she was now in an assisted-living facility and he needed to sell the house to pay for it and go live with her,” Giulian said. “He was very happy to participate, it felt like putting the house in a time capsule.”
Being involved in the popular show was also emotional for local Realtor DeWayne A. Powell, who showed Martin, the buyer, three houses. “You get reminded why you do what you do. I help people find shelter. And I think they’re grateful. It’s a nice feeling to have something showing the rest of the world that it’s possible to find what you’re looking for,” he said.
Powell showed Martin and his friends three options — two in Pittsfield and one in Hinsdale. With a budget between $300,000 and $350,000, Martin embarks on a weekend of house-hunting with his friend Kevin, a fellow musician and contractor.
At the time, Martin rented a 300-square-foot apartment in Boston, but for a Berkshires property, he longed for more, as well as a different pace of life. His ideal house, according to the episode, was within 10 to 15 minutes of Tanglewood, the BSO’s summer home, and near a lake. He wanted a property that needed only limited repairs and had space for a music studio and quarters for his 7-year-old daughter, Nora, when she visited.
According to his profile on the Boston Symphony’s website, Martin has been spending time in the Berkshires at least since 2006 when he was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. In 2010, after 14 unsuccessful applications, he earned a spot with the symphony, he said in an interview with a music blog.
The first house they visited was a 1,139-square-foot bungalow in a residential area at 345 Elm St. in Pittsfield. It was priced at $169,000, on the lower end of Martin’s budget but was built in 1928 and needed new appliances.
They then visited a cottage in the woods close to Ashmere Lake, at 318 George Schnopp Road in Hinsdale, listed at $249,000. Martin was initially skeptical about the location because it would mean a 35-minute commute to Tanglewood.
Despite the smaller size (906 square feet) Martin was charmed by the cottage’s proximity to the lake and by a shed, which he saw as a possible music studio.
Martin and his friend returned in the episode to Pittsfield to visit a third option, on 237 Eleanor Road. This property was on the pricier side, at $329,000 and featured four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a pool.
“This is very suburban, it’s very quiet, very nice,” Martin said upon arriving. However, he said in the episode that the house wasn’t unique enough. “I think this place falls a lot more in line with the houses I grew up in. A little more cookie-cutter, so this one is a little bit of a question mark for me,” he said.
Martin ended up deciding to buy the house in Hinsdale, closing the deal for $257,500 with the furniture.
Martin told the program he’s happy with his decision.
“I think this house is what I’ve just not always dreamed of, but I think what I’ve really needed. To come out and the only thing I hear are birds and the trees and the wind sweeping across the back deck,” he said. “It absolutely feels like a very good step.”
Powell, the broker, said taking part in the episode was a lot of fun for him. However, he said that not all of what viewers saw was real.
“We had to do a number of different takes,” he said. “As much as they’d like [people] to believe reality television is just a camera rolling and everybody reacting, it’s directed and edited.”