HGTV's Urban Suburban stars talk about their new show and share their investment strategies

by Shane Buckingham17 Aug 2011

When Sarah Daniels left her career as a Global News traffic reporter in 2005, most people couldn't believe it. To many, a job in TV seemed like the perfect career. But Daniels says, with a grin, that's not always the case. Part of a perfect job, would be good pay - enough pay to prepare for retirement, for instance.

Unfortunately, that's something a job in media can't typically provide, she says. So she made the move to real estate, and considering the pace of the market last decade, her choice obviously made sound financial sense.

Her brother Philip DuMoulin, by contrast, started his career in commercial real estate after graduating from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 1990, but soon ended up working in the sports world, doing sales and marketing for the Vancouver Giants hockey team, as well as launching and running the very successful Molson Thunderfest Hydroplane races in Kelowna from 1996 to 1999.

So how did these two siblings, with very different backgrounds, come to be on the same HGTV show, helping ordinary homebuyers through the struggle of choosing to live either in the city or the suburbs?


Daniels and DuMoulin started working together in 2007 at Re/ Max Colonial Pacific Realty Ltd. in Surrey, B.C., and, though there is the occasional brother-sister squabble, Daniels says the partnership has been very successful. "The good thing about working with a family member is that you can yell and scream at each other but you never take it personally," the 47-year-old says. "Philip can't get rid of me, and I can't get rid of him."

DuMoulin, in his spare time, began to focus on real estate investing, while Daniels pursued her dream of educating others about real estate. In the fall of 2010, Daniels had her first book, Welcome Home: Insider Secrets for Buying or Selling Your Property, published by John Wiley and Sons Inc., and just six months later her next writing project, Buying and Selling a Home For Canadians For Dummies, hit store shelves.

While real estate books can steer many homebuyers in the right direction, Daniels knew TV would be a better way to reach a broader audience. At the time, she had already been getting a lot of positive feedback about her real estate commentary on Global News, which she started to give every two weeks after quitting her full-time position at the station, as well as her appearances on Urban Rush, a Shaw Cable show dealing with the Greater Vancouver market.


Based on her continuing television and real estate success, Daniels, along with her business colleagues, pitched a show idea to a local production company (Force Four Entertainment), in which two Realtors would work with one client to help him or her decide on living in the city or the suburbs. The idea was then quickly snatched up by HGTV. But there was just one problem. The amount of time she would need to devote to the show would mean DuMoulin would be stuck doing all the work back in Surrey.

"So I thought, 'If I'm going to do a show, I better include my brother because he'll kill me if I disappear and leave him with all of the work," Daniels recalls.

DuMoulin in no way expected he'd be involved in television at this point in his career, especially with his sister. But once Daniels explained the concept of the show to him, which consisted of, essentially, doing their jobs in front of cameras - DuMoulin says he was more than sold on the idea.

"I just said, 'OK, let's give it a shot. I'm more than game.' That was essentially my attitude," the 44-year-old says. Plus, since the show needed a competition (albeit a friendly one) between two Realtors, what could be a better match up than a brother and sister? The siblings resolved that DuMoulin would be the urban Realtor of the show and Daniels would be the suburban Realtor.

To get the inside scoop on Daniels and DuMoulin's investment strategies, pick up a copy of our September issue, on newsstands now.



DuMoulin will also be speaking about investing in urban areas of British Columbia at the InvestorForum in Vancouver on Nov. 12 and 13, as well as moderating the closing debate. To learn more about the latest speaker updates and the InvestorForum conference agenda, please visit

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