Local house hunters make TV debut

When Cristina and Josh Harty launched the search for their new nest back in July, they did so in the limelight. This family of seven, and their house hunting, will be featured on the HGTV show “Beach Hunters” Sunday.

Beach Hunters documents the search for a waterfront home at beaches around the world and in our own backyard.

Each episode of the show introduces a family in search of a place to call home on a shoreline and a real estate agent looking to make that dream come true. The family views a number of possibilities and narrows down their choices to three homes in the area — in this case three homes in the coastal Navarre and Gulf Breeze area — before surprising viewers with their final pick.

Every step of the homebuying process, from viewings to closing, was followed by a 10-person film crew and producer. The couple also had to stop for the occasional interview on camera.

harty familyWhen the husband was given orders to a military base in the area, the couple decided to move their family from inland to coastal living. It took a few years, but they made that dream come true.

“Both Josh and I grew up on the water in Minnesota, and we wanted to give that to our kids… There is beauty and peace living on the water,” Cristina Harty said.

Jessica Drew of Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast guided the Harty family through the process. Drew took the family’s list of wants and needs and found homes in the area that could meet that.

“We had a blast,” Drew said. “It was just some hot July days, though. We were filming for three days straight for nine hours.”

Harty said doing the homebuying experience on camera was a snap for her. Harty is the founder of New Beginnings, an online Christian women’s ministry. Each week she creates video messages to be viewed by the public.

But for her husband it was a different story.

“It was something that comes natural to me. For my husband it was a little more intense,” she said.

And there were plenty of bloopers, she said. There was also a lot of footage taken of her family just being a family, either spending time on the beach or playing volleyball at Juana’s Pagodas and Sailors Grill.

“My favorite part was capturing our family moments on the show,” she said. “They were capturing our raw moments of being a family in the area. I loved that because my favorite thing on earth is to spend time with my family.”

Harty said they had a hard time deciding which home to choose. She said there were a number of factors that directed the decision. Any home that would be considered suitable had to have plenty of space for Chloe, 12, Angelica, 10, Julia, 9, Andrew, 5 and Gabriella, 3.

“For me it was a big kitchen and enough space for everybody,” Cristina Harty said. “We were also looking for the view of the water. A dock was something we really wanted to have but wasn’t a deal breaker. Privacy was also important.”

She said her husband’s attention to the bottom line was also a factor in their decisions.

“He is my Mr. Budget man, and we really played off that on the show. He is really sweet though,” she said.

According to the online episode description, the couple had a budget of $700,000.

“They all three are beautiful homes, and there were pros and cons to all three of the houses,” she said.

Harty said she did not want to spoil the surprise of which place they picked, so she would not share too many details about the house. But she said they are very happy with their choice.

“I love the space and the beauty of the water and the surroundings,” she said.

She said overall it was an amazing experience.

The episode will air on HGTV Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. and will be shown again  three hours later.


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