First time home buyers Amanda and Zach Davy—along with their decision-making influencer, 6-year-old daughter Audrey—turned to HGTV’s House Hunters after a daunting, years-long search for their Sarasota dream home.
Amanda, an assistant public defender, and Zach, owner of an embroidery company called Say It With Stitches, narrowed their search down to three homes in the $200,00-$300,000 budget range.
With that, the upbeat trio set off to find their dream Sarasota abode, all the while being trailed by a television crew. The episode, titled Pushy in Sarasota—Amanda pushed for a turnkey home while Zach wanted a project with potential—aired Aug. 26.
We caught up with Amanda to learn about the process, the family wish list, and what it was like to be on camera while making a stressful life decision. “We will be seeing it for the first time with the rest of America,” she said. “I have no idea what I’m walking into.”
How did House Hunters find you?
"My friend is a television producer and encouraged Zach and I to apply for the show because we had been looking for approximately four years—all this while we were living with my parents and saving money for a home purchase. Zach and I tried to go through the process alone, but that was clearly not working out. Finally, we hired a realtor, and then HGTV called.
"The application process was fairly simple. We applied online, were asked some follow-up questions, and from there we got on a FaceTime call with one of the producers. We never expected to be chosen for the show."
Tell us about the house-hunting process with HGTV. Did a camera add pressure to the decision-making?
"It was a lot of fun, and it was also a lot of work. Neither of us had ever done TV before, so it was a challenge trying to be ourselves and stay focused on the homes we were looking at. But as we got to know the crew, we felt a lot more comfortable with this unique and unforgettable experience.
"The camera did add some pressure in terms of Zach and I having candid conversations about the properties we were seeing. But it didn’t add as much pressure as my mom! As much as she loves us, she was ready for us to find a home of our own already. We are thankful that my parents allowed us to stay as long as we did."
What was on your family’s dream home wish list?
"Zach and I were on opposite pages. I was more optimistic that we could find something in the new-construction category, at the top end of the budget, with a nice master with an en suite bathroom and walk-in closet.
"He was OK with a house that needed improvements, but not a fixer upper, on the lower end of the budget with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a big, open kitchen.
"Then there’s Audrey, who was very strong in her opinions about our future home—she was looking for a two-story house with a staircase and a pool. When the crew was shooting, though, she became camera shy and kept her thoughts to herself until we got home."
Why did you finally make the choice you did?
"After looking at the big picture, we made a strategic decision to buy a home based on budget, and one that we could grow into over time. We also did not want to sacrifice lifestyle activities—from travel to concerts—because of a house payment. The house we ultimately settled on was a good compromise. Also, with Zach being a small business owner, I knew his schedule would not allow time to upgrade our home while running the business."
Are you happy with the decision?
"We are super happy. We have been in the new house since November 2019, and have made lots of improvements—it’s feeling like home. Nice, too, that we are just 15 minutes from everything in town. Audrey’s favorite part of the new house is her bedroom. There’s lots of room for her toys and books!
"You know who else is happy? My parents!"