* Air date and time: The show will air July 18 at 8 p.m.
So, which house will the buyer choose — house number one, two or three?
Guessing is all part of the fun of watching “House Hunters,” the popular HGTV show that presents a potential homebuyer, or homebuyers, with three different options that were selected because they meet some or all of the amenities on the buyer’s wish list.
Viewers tune in by the millions to muse over whether the buyer will choose the home with the four bedrooms they wanted but a yard that might be too small. Will they choose size over location? The cheap fixer-upper or the move-in ready model with the heftier price tag?
Watching and guessing is as fun as guessing the value of the prized family possessions on the PBS TV’s “Antiques Roadshow.”
On July 18 at 8 p.m., Tucson audiences will take a vested interest in the homes presented to a single mom and her son because they are all located in the northwest part of the city, including two in Oro Valley.
Leigh Ann Ganuelas, a Realtor with Kai Associates, applied to the show a year ago. Ganuelas, 43, wasn’t seeking fame. She was thinking outside the box in an effort to bring in revenue after a lengthy illness resulted in an extended hospital stay and depleted her client pool.
The attractive single mom found herself in the hospital for a month after contracting clostridium difficile. Often called C. difficile or C. diff, it is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Ganuelas got hers as a result of taking an antibiotic. At first, doctors told her parents she might not make it, but she fought back. As the single mother of three teenagers, failure was not an option, she said.
Last August, she applied online for the HGTV show. Although still weak and in recovery, she was looking for creative ways to rebuild her client base. A representative from the show contacted her with bad news – it was not filming in Arizona, Nevada or New Mexico because much of the scenery there didn’t film well.
However, she and the rep hit it off. Ganuelas was persistent and sent it an audition tape. The producers liked her. They also liked the local buyer who appeared on the tape with her. The concept of a single mom with three kids selling a house to a single mom, Jennifer Elton, with one son, Patrick, appealed to the producers.
They also were intrigued by one of the housing options Ganuelas had proposed. In addition to single-family homes in two Oro Valley subdivisions, she took the buyer to a cohousing development. Cohousing is a form of intentional community. People who live in cohousing work closely with their neighbors to design their community. This often includes landscaping, community policies and governance methods, while maintaining their own individual home. Physically, cohousing communities are intentionally designed and built to foster and reinforce regular, daily interaction between community members.
Elton’s three homes were selected for how closely they matched her wish list. She wanted something located in a good school district and safe community, was low maintenance, and had a great kitchen and three bedrooms. Patrick’s wish list was to have a pool. Their budget range was $200,000 to $225,000.
The HGTV crew of three – the director, cameraman and sound person – traveled to Northwest Tucson in November. They spent one day filming Elton in the home in which she was living at that time, followed by three days filming Ganuelas taking her clients to their three prospective homes.
The crew then returned in January for three days to film Elton and her son living in their new home.
Ganuelas is excited about the positive light in which the show will portray Tucson and the exposure that Oro Valley will receive as a result of the show’s airing.
“I’m excited to see what kind of out-of-state calls I may receive afterward,” she said. “Tucson is beautiful. It has the mountains, less traffic, is 10 degrees cooler and has year-round outdoor recreation.”
Ganuelas, her family and friends will meet at Noble Hops in Oro Valley to watch the show. Only she knows which house Elton chose.
Was it one, two or three? You’ll have to watch to find out.