Writer  /  Julie Yates

The popular series, Lake Front Bargain Hunt on Home and Garden Television (HGTV), is known for its vivid visuals of lake life and voice-overs describing the joys of the lifestyle. After mentioning morning swims, afternoon fishing and sunset sail boating, the narrator poses this thought, “Lake front living; it’s only for the rich – or so you thought!” Each episode highlights a regional lake along with buyers on a budget who are looking for their dream lake home.

Rhonda Hurford, a realtor for Collins and Company Realtors at its Koontz Lake office, knows the pleasures of lake life firsthand. Having grown up on Koontz Lake, she is a natural at matching buyers with lake cottages that perfectly fit their needs. She never imagined that she would be featured as the realtor in a July 2017 episode of Lake Front Bargain Hunt.

Hurford says, “HGTV put a call out to different reality companies, such as Collins and Company Realtors, that market lake homes. They are always looking for new areas to feature. People in the office kept telling me I should contact them and I ignored it several times. Finally, I submitted to them and I was very surprised when they contacted me!”

That initial communication from HGTV led to multiple interviews over the phone and Skype with both Hurford and her clients. Koontz Lake appealed to both the buyers and HGTV since it is within two hours of many Chicago suburbs. Another aspect that mattered was the budget of the couple Hurford was working with. Their wish to find a lake home under $399,000 was a good fit for the show.

“The buyers were awesome to work with,” Hurford says. “They were in their mid-forties with three teenage girls and wanted a second home just to come play at the lake.”

Hurford says she’d never done anything like the show before.

“My clothing had to be approved. The crew looked at six outfits I brought, and they picked three or four for me to wear,” says Hurford. “It took about four days to film but a lot of that was waiting around time while they filmed the buyers by themselves.”

In the end, the clients picked the fourth home Hurford showed them. Since they were not entirely sold on what she offered to them prior, she reached out to a friend who had just entirely renovated his lake house. When asked if he would consider selling it, he agreed. The buyers fell in love with it and the sale was made.

“The day it aired we had a ‘reveal’ party for friends and neighbors. It was so fun to have everyone here the first time I saw it,” Hurford says. “I just enjoy my job and love to meet people, hear their stories and then match them with the perfect home.”

Hurford was featured on Season 7, Episode 12 Kicking Back on Koontz Lake. It’s available via Amazon Prime Video. Contact Rhonda Hurford, Collins and Company Realtors, Koontz Lake Office, 574-250-1835, for more information.