Everyone's favourite "reality check" realtor is returning to prime time. Sandra Rinomato, best known for managing the lofty expectations of first-time buyers on "Property Virgins," is back. This time around, she's helping single gals find the perfect place to nest on the new show "Buy Herself."
After 130 episodes of "Property Virgins," Rinomato felt it was time to move on. Over the years, she's noticed that more and more single women are buying homes on their own. In fact, one of four buyers today are single women, while single men represent only one in ten buyers. With that intriguing stat in mind, Rinomato decided to craft a new house-hunting show around it.
HuffPost TV Canada sat down with Rinomato at Yorkville's chi-chi Hazelton Hotel to chat about everything from her unlikely fans (including random marriage proposals from smitten male viewers) to her stylin' new look (buh-bye, pantsuits!) to which nit-picky house-hunting complaints drive her the craziest.
The concept reminded me of that episode of "Sex and the City" where Miranda buys her own condo and then starts having panic attacks because she thinks it's an admission that she's going to die alone. Are you finding that women you're working with are having similar anxieties?
There are a lot of things that women are afraid of, and a lot of this is self-imposed. I dealt with one woman who's East Indian, with a very traditional upbringing. She was raised to believe you be a good girl, get married, have children and make your husband happy. That's how I was raised too. So if you find yourself at a certain age and it didn't work out for you, it can be very difficult to try to find yourself.
When you don't have a role model to emulate or someone to clear the path for you it's that much more difficult. She's not a trailblazer in that she's the first person to ever do this, but she's the first woman in her family who's ever been in this situation. She was one of those women that had self-imposed guilt, so she couldn't bring herself to say the words, "I want to buy a home!" until she heard me on the radio talking about "Buy Herself" several months ago. But her question was, "What if I meet a guy tomorrow?" So what? You can sell it, you can keep it, he can move in with you, you can take the equity out and buy something together.
On "Property Virgins" and "Buy Herself" you have to work hard to manage unreasonable expectations. What's the biggest thing that buyers have trouble looking past that drives you the craziest?
There are two. I think that they overestimate how much space they really need to be happy in their home and to serve their lifestyle. The other thing is, we showed a house yesterday where the walls were painted very distinct colours. And this girl could not get past it. I was really hard on her because I was trying to tell her there's gold in these walls. All you have to do is fix the walls, because it was original plaster in one of those old Victorians. Bring a guy in to fix the plaster and paint it properly. Prime it then paint it, and you've already increased the value of the house!
I noticed you have a lot of pretty fabulous outfits on "Buy Herself." Is that because you're working with these stylish young women?
That's part of it. Sometimes I dress for the buyer. If I'm working with somebody a little bit younger I might bring out my leather jacket. [Laughs] But if it's somewhere rural it's not going to be my five-inch heels. [Laughs] But I'm trying to stay away from the suits because I just wanted a change. My hair isn't straight anymore because I just happened to go to a salon and I told them to just do whatever they wanted. It's really a lot of fun to be able to go to the wardrobe every day and pick something to wear.
House-hunting shows are so hugely popular. Do you watch them, too?
This morning I was watching "House Hunters International" and this guy was buying in Bali and I thought "Wow! You can get that in Bali?" Every house had this beautiful in-ground pool in a courtyard. I think I've got to go to Bali!
You have such a diverse fan base. I noticed a couple of years ago you were even named Dlisted's Hot Slut of the Week!
Yes! That was very flattering. My husband didn't like it, but I did! [Laughs]
What kinds of things do fans say to you? Has anything surprised you?
The most surprising thing were the marriage proposals. Some of them send a picture. No dirty pictures yet! Those were fun. I'm surprised to get email from young viewers, like eight years old. Last week a mother wrote that her eight-year-old daughter doesn't want to be Barbie, she wants to be me! She talks to the fake camera and tells viewers where her "versions" went wrong. [Laughs] I think it's fabulous.
"Buy Herself" premieres on HGTV Canada on Monday, April 16 at 10PM.