Romance lured HGTV's 'House Hunters' back to Viera for sequel


HGTV's "House Hunters" films Viera couple Rodney and Chira Gaines, and real estate agent Cartama Ramos-Crafton as the Gaineses search for a new home for an episode that aired on Thanksgiving Day and the morning after.

photo courtesy of International Advantage Realty

Cupid’s arrows have guided HGTV’s popular “House Hunters” show back to Viera.

The cable TV reality series aired a rare sequel to an episode it presented in 2014, when then-single mom Chira Newton purchased a three-bedroom Viera home with help from real estate agent Cartama Ramos-Crafton in Viera.

The new half-hour episode, which aired on Thanksgiving Day and repeated the following day, focused on a romance that blossomed between Newton and Rodney Gaines and eventually led to marriage and the purchase of another residence, a five-bedroom home in Viera, said Tim Kirk, broker with International Advantage Realty in Viera. 

“It’s a whole level of reality to it not only with the house, but with the family and the relationship and how they met,” Kirk said.

“House Hunters” follows people searching for a new home, with the assistance of a realtor. In each episode, buyers must choose between three available properties. The show ends with a follow-up visit to the new homeowners, who describe how the new home has affected their lives. The show attracts about 25 million viewers a month, according to the Washington Post.

After the initial episode aired, Rodney Gaines, an Air Force veteran who owned a house in Palm Bay that had tenants, contacted Newton, whom he had met while stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, about renting a home. Newton suggested that Gaines contact Ramos-Crafton, who eventually found a home that, unbeknownst to Gaines, turned out to be only five homes down from Newton’s residence. 

“Cartama told me and I said, ‘Do not put him next to me,’ ” Chira Gaines said with a laugh. “I was so serious.”

Gaines, who has three children of his own, and Newton began dating in May 2014, and got married in October 2015.

Chira Gaines said she contacted the show’s producers about her new marriage and blended family and need for a bigger house, and they decided to film a second episode.

Kirk is proud of the role his real estate agency played in the reality TV love story.

“It actually all happened through our company because we got Gaines the rental just down the road from the first one,” Kirk said. “It’s a very interesting story and I think that’s why HGTV held off until Thanksgiving to air it.”

The Gaineses say they're thrilled with their new home, and they have another reason to celebrate: They were expecting a baby girl around the time the episode was to air.

The family had a plan in place in case the new arrival made her debut on Thanksgiving night.

“We’ll make sure we have the DVR running,” Gaines said in early November.