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


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HGTV's "House Hunters" films Viera couple Rodney and Chira Gaines, left, and real estate agent Cartama Ramos-Crafton, center, as the Gaineses search for a new home for an upcoming episode airing at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24. Viera Voice photo courtesy of International Advantage Realty

Photo by Mike Gaffey

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

The cable TV reality series is airing 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, scheduled to air at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, will focus 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 is holding off until Thanksgiving to air it.”

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

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

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

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