Baking a fresh batch of cookies in a house for sale is a time-honored method of making a kitchen seem more enticing to buyers. But Tina Newby, an agent with Team Realty and Investment Solutions in Tampa Bay, Fla., takes it a step further, baking banana bread, rolling out Christmas cookies, and cooking scrumptious vegan tacos.
And she does it while hosting an online cooking show-right out of her sellers' kitchens.
Newby's show, "Home Cooked Real Estate with Tina Newby," is available to view on Facebook and YouTube, and the friendly, engaging host demonstrates how to prepare some of her favorite sweet and savory dishes-all while extolling the many fine features of the kitchen-and the home-she is representing.
Newby says the idea of the cooking show came to her in October 2019. A self-described foodie, she decided to combine her love of cooking with her love of real estate. "When you show a home, one of the first things you do is show off the kitchen," says Newby. "I also saw that video was the way everything was moving. I decided I could showcase a kitchen, do a little extra marketing, and share some of the recipes that I make for my own family all at the same time."
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Newby decided that the first episode, which highlighted a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, waterfront house in Hudson Beach, Fla., would feature one of her favorite holiday desserts-apple dumplings. The client liked the idea so much that she asked if she could be involved. Though the client ultimately decided not to appear on camera, she did discuss some of her favorite features of the house-such as the custom cabinets in the kitchen-and narrated a short segment that showed off the view of the canal behind the house.
Newby has now filmed 14 episodes of "Home Cooked Real Estate," garnering thousands of views. Her most popular episode-one of the Christmas cookie episodes-has racked up over 1,500 views. As views have increased, sellers have grown a little less camera-shy. "Now that I've grown more popular, sellers want to appear on camera with me," says Newby. "That adds a little bit of extra work because I have to write a script for them."
In fact, Newby says, the entire production is quite a bit more work than people might imagine. The fun, breezy episodes go by in 10- to 30-minute segments. But each episode takes days to produce. Newby estimates that preparation for an episode-going to the store to purchase ingredients, prepping the ingredients for use on the show, and pre-cooking a finished version of the featured dish-can take one to two days. The process of filming takes about four hours-"depending on how many mistakes I make," she says-and then the kitchen Newby cooked in has to be cleaned up once filming is completed. After that, editing the filmed footage into one neat, seamless episode takes several more hours.
"Sometimes people ask me how they can do something similar. When I tell them how much work is involved, they say, 'Oh, never mind,' " Newby says with a laugh.
Since Newby has no film crew, she relies on her family to help her create each episode. Her husband acts as her videographer, her 15-year-old daughter helps to prep the ingredients, and her 11-year-old daughter helps with the lighting and the cleanup. The whole family works to cart equipment and supplies to each listing-which include the utensils and bowls Newby uses in every episode to keep a consistent look-and they all load and unload the car. "I would never be able to do this without them," says Newby. "It's truly a family affair."
The professional, polished look of the "Home Cooked Real Estate" episodes is all the more remarkable considering that Newby has no prior TV or broadcasting experience. She graduated in 2005 from the University of South Florida with a degree in Business Administration and Management, and initially went to work as a business analyst with investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. After leaving the company and spending several years as a stay-at-home mom, Newby decided to turn to real estate in 2018 and earned her license that same year. She joined Florida Luxury Realty in Trinity, Fla., and gave herself two years to test the waters and start earning some name recognition. Newby discovered she was passionate about real estate and ended up coming in fourth in sales volume at her brokerage in her first year. She now focuses that same enthusiasm on the show: "I learned about filming as I went along, and I love it."
Newby continues to improve the show, and while attempting to add value, she ended up creating a spin-off: " Tina Talks." Initially, Newby began inviting industry experts, such as a mortgage lender and a tax expert, onto "Home Cooked Real Estate" to share their expertise and educate potential buyers. She soon realized, however, that showcasing a home and offering advice to buyers was making the videos too long and complex. So she decided to split the advice segments off and create a new show. "Tina Talks" debuted in April 2020 with an episode on maintaining financial health during the pandemic. Since then, Newby has done episodes on forbearance and home refinancing, tax issues, and insurance-and she even has one in-depth episode that outlines the buying process from the beginning of the search all the way through closing.
"Because we as real estate professionals are in the field, there's a lot that we think is just common sense," she explains. "But for someone not in the field, buying a home can be confusing. And you can't ask the right questions as a buyer if you don't have that knowledge."
Newby plans to continue growing her business and her brand, and merchandising is the next ingredient on her list. She has received a flood of requests from viewers who would like to buy the apron she wears on "Home Cooked Real Estate," and Newby is looking into reproducing and selling the item, with all proceeds going to benefit local charity Women with Purpose, which supports the families of cancer patients.
And of course, she plans to continue sharing more recipes on her cooking show while showing off her sellers' kitchens. "I believe the kitchen is the heart of the house," says Newby. "It's where conversations happen. I want to show buyers all the wonderful things that their family can do in that kitchen."
As promised, here is Tina Newby's recipe for her fan-favorite vegan tacos: