Home & Style  |  Real Estate

Inside DC’s New House Porn TV Series

If You Lived Here explores neighborhoods like Shaw, Petworth, and Silver Spring

John Begeny and Christine Louise. Photograph courtesy of WETA.

For fans of real estate shows, there’s nothing more exciting than realizing this week’s episode takes place in your town. You know that intersection! And that coffee shop! And hey, isn’t that house, like, three streets away from yours?

The beauty of WETA’s new real estate show, If You Lived Here, is that every single episode takes place in the DC area. The first season premieres February 15 and follows WETA producers Christine Louise and John Begeny as they tour a series of neighborhoods throughout the Washington region.

Each of the 12 episodes focuses on a different area, like Anacostia or Silver Spring or Old Town. In the 30-minute segments, Louise and Begeny meet with a local real estate agent who takes them on tours of three properties: a starter home, a mid-level home, and an aspirational dream home. After each tour, Louise and Begeny compete to guess the listing price.

Begeny and Louise have worked together at WETA for more than 20 years and are best friends (they even used the same agent and purchased condos at the same time). The duo has hosted WETA documentaries focusing on subjects like the cherry blossoms and historic Alexandria.

While Begeny and Louise aren’t real estate professionals, they really, really love peeking into other people’s houses. The committed home DIY-ers surf Zillow or stop by open houses for fun, and they’ll call each other when a DC property pops up on a home show. “What’s cool about If You Lived Here is it’s all local,” says Begeny. “You know, we get so excited about one-offs on HGTV when they’re local, but now you get to explore all local homes.”

Viewers will also get to dive into the wild world of Washington real estate. The show was initially supposed to begin filming in the spring of 2020, but the pandemic delayed it. And by the time Louise and Begeny started filming in July, the competition for Washington properties was fiercer than ever. “The market turned into a market that I don’t think any of us expected,” says Louise. In some instances, the duo would have to pivot last-minute before filming after a home they were going to feature was snapped up in a bidding war.

While seeing a two-bedroom condo listed for $750,000 can be a painful reminder of this area’s high living costs, If You Lived Here doesn’t focus exclusively on real estate. Throughout the episode, the show also takes viewers on tours of the featured neighborhoods, outlining their culture and history; highlighting aspects like walkability, nearby parks, or local restaurants; and covering topics like gentrification. “It became much more than the initial concept of just a house-hunting show,” says Begeny. “It became more about neighborhoods and communities. I got to know neighborhoods that I thought I knew. That’s what’s cool about the show: The neighborhoods all have their own identity. They all have they have their own flavor.”

While the WETA crew initially considered over 50 neighborhoods, they narrowed it down to 12: H Street, Shaw, Capitol Hill, Petworth, Anacostia, the Southwest Waterfront, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Hyattsville, Old Town Alexandria, Falls Church, and North Arlington. But don’t worry if your spot didn’t make the first cut—there’s talk of filming a second season.

“If You Lived Here” premieres February 15 at 8 PM on WETA PBS and WETA Metro.

Best Real Estate Stories of the Week

Love DMV real estate? Us too!  Sign up here for our weekly Real Estate e-newsletter.
Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. Her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Petworth.