Cha Barefield is a self-proclaimed “big fan” of the long-running, iconic HGTV reality series “House Hunters,” but she’s also a licensed real-estate agent. So you’ll have to forgive her if the 48-year-old Charlottean sometimes treats it like a sitcom.
“We all have our jokes about ‘House Hunters,’” she says, laughing. “It’s always that first-time homebuyer and their budget is like $850,000, and he collects butterflies and she makes homemade knives. ‘How the hell are these people (affording this)??’ Or when you start seeing the real-estate agents showing them homes in Canada and also showing them homes in California. ‘How are they licensed in all of these places?’”
This week, though, Barefield will be watching “House Hunters” through an entirely unique lens — because hers will be one of the faces featured in Episode 12 of the show’s 225th (!) season; the 30-minute episode, titled “Daddy-Daughter Decision,” airs at 10:06 p.m. Thursday and again at 1 a.m. Friday on HGTV.
“Daddy,” she tells CharlotteFive, is Alex Graham of Raleigh and the “daughter” is Natalie Graham, who is in her early 20s.
The episode description on the network’s website reads: “A father looks to purchase a home his newly graduated daughter can rent in Charlotte, North Carolina. He wants her to live in a conventional single-family home in the suburbs, but she’s set on a downtown loft with history and character.”
Barefield — herself the mother of a 15-year-old daughter — was an agent with Offerpad Charlotte at the time the episode was shot, in mid-August, although she has since left the agency. In fact, she’s left the profession entirely, for the time being. (More on that in a moment.)
We caught up with Barefield by phone on Thursday afternoon to get additional thoughts from her about the show, how her involvement in it came together, and more. Her comments have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
How she got the opportunity
I have a friend I met years ago who knew a producer at Pie Town Productions (which makes “House Hunters”). He told the producer, “There’s this girl, you gotta meet her, her name is Cha. She would be amazing. She’s even in real estate for her career.” That producer and I got together in 2019. I had a couple (prospective homebuyers) interviewed (for consideration). But as production work came to a halt in 2020 due to Covid, so I’m sure did her job. They weren’t doing in-person types of filming. So it just went quiet.
Then last spring, I got a call from Pie Town Productions. This time it was a different producer, and he called me — I’m pretty sure — because the previous producer had had a list. He said, “I just found your name on a list of great people to reach out to as we’re trying to ramp up our filming.” I was just lucky she liked me enough that she must have put my name down somewhere that lived beyond her lifespan even with Pie Town Productions. I was like, “Let’s do this!”
The parameters were: “We have to find someone who wants to buy a home pretty soon, and could be under contract this summer.” And I had a client — Alex — who actually is the brother of one of my closest friends. I was helping him and his daughter Natalie buy a home. I knew that they were moving fast, and with all things it’s all about story, right? I knew that this would be a good story. Here you have a father and daughter, she’s starting off her life for the first time out of college, with that first real career and looking for her first real pad.
I pitched them to the producer, and he was like, “We love it.”
Why she’s particularly honored to have been cast
“House Hunters” is not known for having tons of Black real estate agents on the show. And I’m very well aware of how I present. I’m blackity-Black. You know, I’ve got this head-wrap on. There’s so many things that mainstream whiteness could disqualify. So I love the fact that they loved my look. They actually really, really liked how I looked.
So I definitely love the representation. But it’s not because they’re doing me a favor. I’m good at what I do. I ask questions, I make people feel comfortable, I pull you in. So nobody was doing me a favor. We both got something good out of this. I got this cool, great experience. They got someone who is good at what they do, and is encompassing a lot of folks who are Realtors in the Charlotte market.
I’m not unique in the Charlotte market. There are a lot of Black Realtors. There are a lot of Asian Realtors. There are a lot of Hispanic Realtors. There really are. It’s just oftentimes our faces are not “out there.”
What she appreciates about the show, in general
“House Hunters” gives you a full-closure experience. You get to look at the homes, go through the antics with the people — like, “Oh my gosh, which one?” You always have your very own idea of which one is the best idea for them, and it often is not whatever house you were thinking is the best option for them.
Their decision has nothing to do with you. It ultimately has to do with the people. And if you’ve been in real estate like I have, for years, people (always surprise you). They will tell you what their must-haves are, and then … I can’t tell you how many times people will be like, ”It has to be a brand-new build, it has to have a bathroom for every bedroom” — and then the house that they end up walking into and buying is, like, a (preexisting) three-bedroom home with one and a half baths. And you’re like, Huh, this does not line up with anything. You know why? The intangible thing is how something makes you feel.
When she’ll have her watch party
I’m a grandma. No, I don’t have any grandkids. I just — I fall asleep early. It’s sad. I’ve been this way since college. I would always want to pull an all-nighter with my friends, and they would always just be like, “Cha, just shut up. You cannot pull an all-nighter.” I would sit down with them, and around 9 o’clock, I would tell them I was gonna go take a power nap.
There was no way I was gonna have a watch party tonight at 10 o’clock. “We gotta sit here together and stay awake and look at this TV until after 10:30? Absolutely not. We gotta watch it on the replay.” So I’ve invited my friends to come over at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
Where she’s headed next
Since shooting the show, I have since resigned from Offerpad. After being in the industry since 2007-08, I’m pivoting into a different field — I’m going into medical sales.
I just knew that I was needing something that felt even more impactful. I found a company that works on formulating therapies for people with rare diseases, which is meaningful to me because my husband has a rare kidney disease, and he’s in full kidney failure.
But I would hate to think being on “House Hunters” is my last hurrah in real estate. I’ve got some things up my sleeve….
This story was originally published January 5, 2023 7:00 PM.