Maria Sanchez: 'First-Timers Are More Work But More Rewarding'

The real estate pro explains why shoes mattered as much as problem-solving skills while filming "First-Time Buyer."
Maria Sanchez

© National Association of REALTORS®

Maria Sanchez’s Instagram feed is an inspiring gallery of happy first-time buyers. “First-timers are more work but more rewarding,” says Sanchez, a Benchmark Realty agent, of her Nashville-area niche.

Her reward? Seeing that special first-time homebuyer glow, which she often captures in photos or video during the transaction, and posts with permission.

You’ll find two of her recent clients, Levi and Pedro, in her social media feed, aptly called The Home Matchmaker, and in a new National Association of REALTORS® reality docuseries about first-time buyers, now streaming at

The shoot was a great experience, even if her feet were killing her. “I wore the wrong shoes” for standing all day, she says—and the sale almost went off the rails.

Just as the buyers were headed to close on the home they loved, the attorney called Sanchez about a thorny title issue. You’ll have to watch the show to see what happened, but it’s clear Sanchez’s combination of problem-solving skills, learned during her time in the U.S. Navy and her 15 years of real estate knowledge, kicked in.

Like any production, a funny bit ended up on the cutting room floor because of time constraints. The sellers’ agent had mailed the mailbox key for the new home to the new home, effectively locking it in the mailbox. The apologetic agent had to purchase a new key from the HOA.

Flubs aside, what’s it like to star in a reality show? Some events were re-enacted given that filming in real time would be impossible in the warp-speed Nashville housing market. “As soon as we would leave a showing, I got notice the home was under contract,” Sanchez said. “It was that fast.”

Tune In to ‘First-Time Buyer’

The eight-episode reality series, available on Roku, Facebook Watch, YouTube, and, offers “a more realistic portrayal of the homebuying process,” says Alicia Bailey, marketing director and head of production for the National Association of REALTORS®, which commissioned the show. In each episode, an NAR member is featured helping the buyers navigate the fast-paced 2020 real estate market. Because some taping was done before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. and some was delayed until summer, you’ll see masks and social distancing in some but not all of the segments.