I’ve often wondered how the show would work logistically to film the home viewing process as it can take place over a number of months. Then, to narrow it down to three homes, and be there to know if all goes well with closing, and so forth. So, of course, it’s at least a little set up; there had to be some production in play in order to sum it up in 30 minutes.
But is it this set up?
Bobi Jensen, who was featured on the show in 2006, wrote on her blog, Western Warmth, that the producers of the show didn’t accept her family for an episode until they had already closed on the house they wanted (I better apply now!). So, when they were ready to film, they had to scramble to find homes to pretend they were considering. Apparently, they couldn’t find agents willing to agree to let them show their homes.
The other two homes showcased as prospective buys belonged to friends of the family. They were not even for sale. The couple said the show told them to just find homes, any homes. The show says it was a unique idea from the home owners to show homes of friends.
If it’s so fake, why did they agree to it? The husband was a realtor so they saw it as free advertising for him.
Now, I must say, Bobi did not do an interview on another blog and then write on her own blog about her experience in order to out the show. She has been very gracious, still loves HGTV and wishes them the best.
“House Hunters” has released a statement about the claim:
We’ve learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a prolonged period of time — more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television. However, with a series like House Hunters, HGTV viewers enjoy the vicarious and entertaining experience of choosing a home — from establishing a budget, to touring properties and weighing the pros and cons of each one. We’re making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process. To maximize production time, we seek out families who are pretty far along in the process. Often everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate, so we go back and revisit some of the homes that the family has already seen and we capture their authentic reactions. Because the stakes in real estate are so high, these homeowners always find themselves RIGHT back in the moment, experiencing the same emotions and reactions to these properties. Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to “play along” and guess which one the family will select. It’s part of the joy of the House Hunters viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else’s shoes.
The somewhat vague statement seems to, at least in part, leave open the question of whether or not House Hunters is totally fake.
What are your thoughts? Will this deter you from watching the show? How staged do you think it is? Do you think maybe it doesn’t matter as the joy is getting to look inside of homes and to see the markets in various cities?