The Michigan couple’s chemistry was adorably warm and comical as they navigated their many differences in opinion.
FLINT, MI — Cable television’s darling design network HGTV made its first stop ever in Flint for an episode of one of its most popular shows.
“House Hunters” has been taking homeowner hopefuls through America’s neighborhoods since 1999. The program travels coast to coast and even has an international spinoff, making repeated visits to fan-favorite cities.
But HGTV’s longest-running program had never made a stop in Flint before. Until now.
Almost-empty nesters Matt and Katie Bach met and worked as journalists in Flint years ago. When it was time to look for a new home, the Grand Blanc couple knew exactly where they wanted to be.
“[The city’s] revitalization, the vibrant downtown, the focus on placemaking were all important to us in the home selection process,” Matt Bach told The ‘Gander. “So we said, ‘let’s see if we can get a larger platform and let the world know about Flint through our eyes.’”
Living the HGTV Dream
The Bachs and their real estate agent, Jonathan Schlinkler, applied to have their home search featured on the television program.
“We had numerous interviews, and I think HGTV really caught Matt and Katie’s passion for moving to Flint,” Schlinker told The ‘Gander. “They [the producers] knew there was more to Flint beyond the negative news.”
Outside of Michigan, most people only know Flint for its eight-year-long water crisis, which has been covered by national media outlets like National Geographic and NPR on and off for years. Today, Flint is still struggling with clean water, while 40% of its population is living below the poverty line, including two-thirds of its children, as Vox recently reported.
The Bachs, like other people moving to the area, they said, are seeking to invest in Flint.
“That’s really what we’re doing, but it’s also what so many other people are doing,” said Matt Bach. “The city has been through so much, but the people are so resilient.”
In standard “House Hunters” fashion, Schlinker and the Bachs toured three homes. The Michigan couple’s chemistry was adorably warm and comical as they navigated their many differences in opinion.
He wanted a home with historical charm in or near downtown and had his heart set on a property with a pool.
Meanwhile, she wanted a ranch that could be customized to become the ultimate dream home.
The couple also had a $200,000 difference in their maximum budgets. But it was an hour of great television, complete with a happy ending for both Matt and Katie.
The Bachs passed up on a charming four-corner home with historic details in Carriage Town (a neighborhood currently undergoing gentrification) and a stunning Tudor with amazing curb appeal and Matt’s dream pool — but not before showcasing a side of Flint never before seen on HGTV, whose ratings surpassed CNN during the last election cycle.
And the Winner Is …
The Bachs chose the first home Schlinker showed them and opted to renovate to their hearts’ desires. The house was initially listed at $159,000, but the couple walked away for a Michigan song – $145,000.
Since moving in, they’ve already begun building a community, meeting neighbors who moved into the city from other parts of the state for similar reasons.
“Hopefully I portrayed that Flint is a great place to live,” Schlinker said. “There’s great neighborhoods, great architecture, great people. The show has been on for 20 years, and as a realtor it was a dream come true to actually be part of it.”
The “Investing in Flint” episode originally aired on June 8. Check your cable listings and streaming options to catch it now.
Editor’s note: We’ve updated this article to add context about why Flint has been covered by national media outlets in recent years, including because of its ongoing water crisis.