Abaco has been flexing its muscles yet again on an international stage – this time landing a spot on HGTV’s Caribbean Life show.
Local realtors Kerry Sullivan and Lydia Ruth Hill along with two American couples in search of new homes in The Bahamas are the stars of the show. Sullivan is a real estate broker with Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, and Hill is the owner of Abaco Vacation Planner as well as a sales agent at Abaco Real Estate Agency Ltd.
While Sullivan was featured with Drake and Karina of Jupiter, Fla. in Season 4, Episode 9 of Caribbean Life this month, Hill’s Michigan couple – Matt and Cathy – were shown in a more recent airing (Caribbean Life Season 4, Episode 10) last week.
In their episode with Sullivan, Drake and Karina were in search of a four-bedroom oceanfront home suitable for their entire family on Hope Town. However, Matt and Cathy decided on a seafront fixer upper in Eastern Shores in exchange for battling through Michigan’s harsh winter season.
“I had them feature more of the island in my episode, and things here like conch, going to the bakery, and fishing with Errol Thurston as that was my goal – to introduce people to Abaco,” Hill explained.
Overall, Hill shared that her experience with HGTV was a positive one.
“I loved it. I had been asked before about being on television with House Hunters International, but that didn’t work as the buyers didn’t want to be on television,” Hill expressed. “I’m happier on this as it gave me the opportunity to have more focus on exactly what the episode says ‘Caribbean Life,’ and not have the focus on just the buying and selling process. That’s why I enjoy being a rental/real estate agent – I love it here and want to introduce my island, my home to others and hope they enjoy it as much as I do.
“The ones that do enjoy it like Matt and Cathy come year after year as a rental guest and eventually they want it to be “home” also, so they buy to invest in a future here.”
Although the episode ended with Matt and Cathy not purchasing the home, Hill said that the couple persevered, so the closing on the home is expected to take place within three to four weeks.
Hill was excited that HGTV is interested in filming another episode with the Michigan couple as they go through the process of permits for renovations, etc., and to observe the ups and downs involved in the process.
The Caribbean Life show was the culmination of a four-year process from the time HGTV first discovered Hill on YouTube introducing her island and her home. HGTV stayed in contact with Hill until they finally found an episode that suited her and the buyers.
“Filming was four days with over 100 hours, and it gets edited into a 30-minute episode [actually] 22 minutes with commercials,” Hill said, amused. “But it was a great experience, and I had days of texts and e-mails to weed through including an e-mail from a couple I met on a cruise 15 plus years ago who recognized me as well as rental guests from five plus years ago.
“Apparently I look like I did 15 years ago even with a different name.”
Hill added that beyond purchasing homes, second homeowners continue to be a great asset for The Bahamas in terms of their valuable contributions. In fact, homeowners she knows recently made $1,000 in donations to Long Island.
“[There were others who] donated to Forest Heights Academy’s Interact Club to shop for food and necessary items shipped by local pastor Randy in Man-O-War.”