Delaware is once again getting its fifteen minutes of fame. Bethany Beach, Delaware has recently been in the limelight after the development of a new reality television show. “Big Beach Builds,” premiers this Friday (February 5th) at noon on HGTV. Joining us today is owner of Marnie Custom Homes, Marnie Ousler, who stars in the show.
Buzz: Thanks so much for joining us today. First off, how did you get started in this profession?
Marnie: Thanks for having me! I grew up in a family of builders. My dad was a builder and I followed him around a lot. I got to know construction from the ground up, which is the best way to learn it. After I graduated college, I got paid $11/hour as a real estate assistant, where I got to visit gorgeous, sunlit summer homes that made my jaw drop. I decided I needed one of those. So for two solid years, I worked odd jobs and ate peanut butter sandwiches (jelly was a luxury I couldn’t afford), saved every penny, and then stayed up late to study the market trends, the data — just waiting for my chance to buy into the market. I found a tiny, tired looking bungalow and I bought it for $240,000. Nine months later, I sold that house for $350,000. I reinvested that money right away. From there, I was hooked.
Buzz: How did you get involved with this project on HGTV?
Marnie: A casting and production company approached me about my work and after a few really great conversations; we ended up shooting a casting reel for HGTV.
Buzz: What was your first reaction to finding out “Big Beach Builds” would become a reality?
Marnie: Excitement! Nothing but excitement. It was a dream come true.
Buzz: What is the basic premise of the show?
Marnie: It’s all about taking classic beach houses that have been around forever and giving them modern updates while still preserving their charm.
Buzz: How did the building process change for you with a television crew in tow?
Marnie: It was definitely different than what I’m used to! It was so much fun seeing the process from a totally new perspective — how the audience will see it. It’s refreshing to have a new vantage point on something that’s so second nature to me by now.
Buzz: What do you like most about building beach homes?
Marnie: The challenge. I never shy away from a challenge. I like to find ways to break through the barriers and find innovative ways around the rules. For example, when I was in 6th grade, I wanted to play soccer. But there was just one problem: There was no girls soccer team. So I found a way to break through the barrier — I tried out for the boys team and I made it! Building is like that every single day for me — topping my last project and proving myself when people doubt I can do it. And living on the beach is pretty awesome, too.
Buzz: Our Appraisal Buzz viewership is comprised of those in the valuation business — why should they watch “Big Beach Builds?”
Marnie: It’s important for anyone in the industry to see the process and workload that goes into revamping and building a home. The creative process is so critical to the final product and can make all the difference when it comes to determining the home’s valuation. There’s also an issue of the integrity of the home — for example on the show, you see that the home we worked on in the premiere had major structural issues that no one would’ve known about had we not filmed it. Fortunately, we were able to fix everything before moving on with the revamp.
Buzz: Are there any other fun tidbits you want Appraisal Buzz to know about the show?
Marnie: I hope the audience can see how much fun we had while getting a lot of important work done! I think it’s fun for anyone to see the process of taking a beach home and giving it new life. I love getting people excited about their new home and life on the shore!
Buzz: Thanks so much for joining us today. We are looking forward to the pilot episode of “Big Beach Builds” premiering this Friday, February 5th, at 12PM EST on HGTV.
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