Beginning Friday, October 7 more than 40 million people will be able to start their weekends with A Place in the Sun, a half-hour eclectic reality series based on the adventure of finding a home abroad. As a big fan of the UK show, which is the number one property show in the world, I can assure you this is very good news indeed!
The first season takes viewers on a breathtaking voyage across the globe from Belize to Nicaragua, Mexico, Argentina, Greece, Croatia, New Zealand, Italy and beyond. Recently, I was given the opportunity to interview Danielle Robb, Executive Producer and host of the U.S. version of the show.
Danielle, what was the main thing that drew you to this project?
There were actually a few things that drew me to this project, April. One was real estate and the other was the idea of living abroad. One of my only regrets while attending UCLA was not taking advantage of their study abroad program. I have always dreamed of living in an international location, and this project gave me the opportunity to combine my real estate background with my desire to explore the possibilities of living abroad. It was a perfect mix for me!
Please tell me a little about your clients on the show. Are most of them well off and seeking to enjoy their success?
Great question! We have a wide range of clients from young entrepreneurs who are looking to start businesses abroad, to couples looking to explore a new life together in an international location, to baby boomers looking for spots where their dollar stretches further. Most are “ordinary folks” looking to make a change in their life and our show gives them that platform to explore opportunities abroad. What I Iove about this show is it opens the viewer up to a world of possibilities, the idea that this is not just a dream but something you can turn into a reality!
Most of the shows in the first season are affordable and I think the audience will be shocked at what the dollar buys in some of these international locations. For instance, the wine country of Argentina where some of the best wines are flowing out of, you can find 50 acres for 100k and turn-key vineyards for 60k. These are the shows that I find ultra exciting. Of course we do have the “dream” type of shows, such as the one we did in Mayakoba where the villas seem to float on top of emerald green lagoons. Or the one in the first episode which showcases some incredible beach front property in Fiji. But even if the average American cannot afford a million dollar home in these locations, the overriding idea is exploring new territories, lifestyles and cultures. There is something for everyone in each episode. Plus as we all know, Americans love to dream!
I do want to touch on the element that makes us different from any show out there in our genre. We don’t just show you these properties, we get into the stories of these locations. The show opens with a segment called “scouting.” This is the day that I explore multiple properties, so I can narrow down the search to the top three for my clients. In that segment, we not only show the viewer a great selection of properties but we take them in and out of “vignettes” that tell the story of the property and/or location. When you buy a property, you don’t just look at the home, you look at the area around the home. What is the lifestyle/culture like there? Is it close to shops and restaurants? What would you do if you lived there? This I thought was just as important as the property itself, but we wanted to introduce it in an interesting way. It is also an element of the US version that you won’t find in the UK format. Oh one more thing, this show is all about Americans buying abroad. No other show here in the US focuses on that aspect, it’s very important to us.
Do you have your own place in the sun? If not, where do you think you might choose one in future?
I absolutely plan on buying my own “place in the sun” some day. For years I dreamed of owning an Italian villa, as well as maybe a flat in London since I do business there. However, after the first season, it opened up so many other locations that I never thought of before, but could now see myself buying in. I loved the Okanagan, it’s a four season destination spot and has a little bit of everything….laid back lifestyle, hundreds of vineyards to explore, lakes, hiking and skiing for the adventurous. And this part of Canada is only about a 2 1/2 hr flight from LA where I’m based. I think I could also buy in New Zealand. In fact, that is an incredibly popular spot for Americans. We get a ton of people looking to buy there. Croatia is another hot spot that surprised me. What a magical place. Talk to me after first season, the list is going to be even longer!
I really enjoyed learning more about this exciting new series and I can assure you it is definitely worth a look! You can tune into A Place in the Sun, starting today, with back to back episodes on the new Velocity TV channel Friday afternoons at 3:00PM (ET) and Saturday mornings at 9:00AM (ET).