Just How Fake Is HGTV's House Hunters?

Long-running basic cable staple House Hunters (and its various iterations) are the lifeblood of HGTV, which sometimes seems to air nothing but half-hour after half-hour of incredibly picky people looking at three possible places to purchase, one of which seems to always fit the incredibly finicky buyers’ check list. Most of us have known the show is at least partially staged, but now a woman featured on the show pulls back the curtain even more.

As most House Hunters viewers have either long figured out or learned by doing a Google search, it’s usually incredibly easy to sort out which of the houses the buyer will select in the end — it’s the empty one, because the buyers have already gone into escrow on the property and are just waiting to close.

(NOTE: This doesn’t always work, especially in areas where there are oodles of foreclosures or new construction.)

But the folks at HookedOnHouses.net recently spoke with a Texas woman whose home-buying process was featured on the show. Among the revelations from her story:

* Those other houses that don’t get sold? They may not even be for sale.
“[T]hey were just our two friends’ houses who were nice enough to madly clean for days in preparation for the cameras!” says the woman.

Given how badly people insult and nitpick the houses that go un-purchased, this has surely caused problems among friends who have volunteered their homes to be decoys.

* The buyers may have actually already closed on the property.
While previous House Hunters exposes have said the selected properties were in escrow, this homeowner says, “They didn’t even ‘accept’ us being a subject for the show until we closed on the house we were buying.”

* The ticking clock back stories may not be completely true.
For the episode featuring this family’s already-completed property search, the producers decided that the true story — moving into a bigger house and turning their current home into a rental property — was “boring and overdone.”

Thus,the family was told to say they desperately needed a bigger house because their current place was too small.

“It wasn’t true, but it was a smaller house than the one we bought so I went with it,” says the woman. “However, when I re-watch the episode I cringe, since we have lived in an even smaller house quite comfortably!”

These revelations don’t do much to change my House Hunters drinking game, which involves doing shots whenever these fakers throw out phrases like “The counters aren’t granite,” or “We were really hoping for two sinks.”

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