Is 'House Hunters' fake? 4 things you may not have known about the HGTV series


HGTV's House Hunters takes viewers on the emotional roller coaster of finding and buying a new home. The reality TV show's predictable formula — one anxious couple, three houses and one peppy real estate agent — has had viewers hooked since its debut in 1999. What some fans don't realize is that the series is rumored to be scripted.

"House Hunters represents everything that people love about HGTV, all wrapped up in one show, which is buying and loving homes," Kathleen Finch, the network's president, told Ad Week in 2015.

Here are four facts you may not have known about House Hunters:

1. It's all staged

Of course, like much of reality TV, House Hunters is a fantasy. In fact, according to a 2012 Entertainment Weekly article, the show is mostly fake. The blogosphere blew up that year after The A.V. Club tipped off the public and a former House Hunters participant shared her story with the blog Hooked on Houses.

Bobi Jensen, who appeared on a special "Texas Week" episode, claimed that the show producers changed the story about why she and her husband were moving. Apparently, the couple had even selected their new home before appearing on the show; the other two houses featured on the show weren't even for sale. The houses belonged to their friends.

25 PHOTOS
100 years of homes
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100 years of homes

The 1900s: $549,000, 337 Valley St. NE, Abingdon, VA 24210

Known to locals as “The Pink Lady,” this early Victorian home for sale has been refreshed with new appliances, but many of the original details have been preserved (like those beautiful mosaic-glass windows leading from the dining room to the living room!). From the gorgeous wraparound porch to the “gingerbread” trim, historical details are what make this 1903 home a standout.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1900s: $549,000, 337 Valley St. NE, Abingdon, VA 24210

Known to locals as “The Pink Lady,” this early Victorian home for sale has been refreshed with new appliances, but many of the original details have been preserved (like those beautiful mosaic-glass windows leading from the dining room to the living room!). From the gorgeous wraparound porch to the “gingerbread” trim, historical details are what make this 1903 home a standout.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1910s: $439,900, 15 Geneva St., Medford, OR 97504

Tucked behind lush landscaping on a cobblestone street, this 1914 craftsman bungalow in Medford, OR, is a well-cared-for charmer. With original mahogany stain woodwork, box beam ceilings, and bird’s-eye maple and red fir floors, this home is a magnificent example of built-to-last elegance. Add in modern details like heated Carrara marble floors and a newly remodeled kitchen, and you’ll want to move right in!

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1910s: $439,900, 15 Geneva St., Medford, OR 97504

Tucked behind lush landscaping on a cobblestone street, this 1914 craftsman bungalow in Medford, OR, is a well-cared-for charmer. With original mahogany stain woodwork, box beam ceilings, and bird’s-eye maple and red fir floors, this home is a magnificent example of built-to-last elegance. Add in modern details like heated Carrara marble floors and a newly remodeled kitchen, and you’ll want to move right in!

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1920s: $788,000, 1228 Murray Hill Ave., Squirrel Hill, PA 15217

Built in Colonial Revival style, this imposing six-bedroom home sits on one of the most sought-after cobblestone streets in Pittsburgh, PA. Built in 1920, the property includes a converted carriage house with a two-car garage and a one-bedroom apartment above. The main house features details such as hardwood floors, coffered ceilings, updated bathrooms, and a remodeled kitchen. Don’t miss the dual staircases and the level backyard.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1920s: $788,000, 1228 Murray Hill Ave., Squirrel Hill, PA 15217

Built in Colonial Revival style, this imposing six-bedroom home sits on one of the most sought-after cobblestone streets in Pittsburgh, PA. Built in 1920, the property includes a converted carriage house with a two-car garage and a one-bedroom apartment above. The main house features details such as hardwood floors, coffered ceilings, updated bathrooms, and a remodeled kitchen. Don’t miss the dual staircases and the level backyard.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1930s: $579,000, 415 Brackett Rd., Rye, NH 03870

It’s impossible to deny the all-American appeal of this cedar-shingled, 1,570-square-foot cottage in Rye, NH. Sun shines through every window of the home, which is located just a few streets from the water. Built in 1935, it’s been updated with modern features such as granite countertops, Energy Star appliances, and a jetted tub in the master bathroom.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1930s: $579,000, 415 Brackett Rd., Rye, NH 03870

It’s impossible to deny the all-American appeal of this cedar-shingled, 1,570-square-foot cottage in Rye, NH. Sun shines through every window of the home, which is located just a few streets from the water. Built in 1935, it’s been updated with modern features such as granite countertops, Energy Star appliances, and a jetted tub in the master bathroom.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1940s: $463,000, 8634 San Benito Way, Dallas, TX 75218

Located in the funky Forest Hills neighborhood of Dallas, TX, this three-bedroom home has been expanded and remodeled inside, while staying true to its original 1943 exterior. With hardwood floors, an open kitchen, and a private, fenced-in backyard, the home is the ideal blend of past and present.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1940s: $463,000, 8634 San Benito Way, Dallas, TX 75218

Located in the funky Forest Hills neighborhood of Dallas, TX, this three-bedroom home has been expanded and remodeled inside, while staying true to its original 1943 exterior. With hardwood floors, an open kitchen, and a private, fenced-in backyard, the home is the ideal blend of past and present.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1950s: $810,000, 964 Buckingham Circle NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Beauty is not trumped by function in this Atlanta, GA, split-level home, built in 1953. Four bedrooms — including a main-floor master suite addition — offer plenty of space for a growing family. Don’t miss the large slate patio that leads to the backyard and basketball court, the open chef’s kitchen, beamed ceilings, and a 1,200-bottle wine cellar. This home is functional and stunning.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1950s: $810,000, 964 Buckingham Circle NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Beauty is not trumped by function in this Atlanta, GA, split-level home, built in 1953. Four bedrooms — including a main-floor master suite addition — offer plenty of space for a growing family. Don’t miss the large slate patio that leads to the backyard and basketball court, the open chef’s kitchen, beamed ceilings, and a 1,200-bottle wine cellar. This home is functional and stunning.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1960s: $309,900, 3560 Fairway Lane, Longview, WA 98632

Contemporary style pairs with earth tones, geometric design, and modern details in this three-bedroom, 1967 home for sale in Longview, WA. The home has been well maintained and updated for modern conveniences, with travertine and hardwood floors, an updated master suite, and a private deck.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1960s: $309,900, 3560 Fairway Lane, Longview, WA 98632

Contemporary style pairs with earth tones, geometric design, and modern details in this three-bedroom, 1967 home for sale in Longview, WA. The home has been well maintained and updated for modern conveniences, with travertine and hardwood floors, an updated master suite, and a private deck.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1970s: $699,900, 1130 Burnham Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

How do you know this Bloomfield Hills, MI, home was built during the ’70s? No, there aren’t any harvest gold– or avocado-hued appliances here. But if the floating staircase, sunken living room, or stone fireplace doesn’t give it away, look toward the windows. Large walls of glass let light into this four-bedroom home and allow views of the large, grassy, fenced-in backyard with a pool.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1970s: $699,900, 1130 Burnham Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

How do you know this Bloomfield Hills, MI, home was built during the ’70s? No, there aren’t any harvest gold– or avocado-hued appliances here. But if the floating staircase, sunken living room, or stone fireplace doesn’t give it away, look toward the windows. Large walls of glass let light into this four-bedroom home and allow views of the large, grassy, fenced-in backyard with a pool.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1980s: $725,000, 1632 Treetop Ridge Lane, Knoxville, TN 37919

With a finished lower level that includes two bedrooms, a rec room, a laundry room, and a full bathroom, this 1986 five-bedroom home got in on the finished basement fad. But it was also custom-designed by its original owner, an architect. Careful attention to detail is noticeable in the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows, cathedral ceilings, and skylights. It’s not hard to imagine cozying up in the lofted office space above the living room, or in the living room itself, which features a built-in entertainment area.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1980s: $725,000, 1632 Treetop Ridge Lane, Knoxville, TN 37919

With a finished lower level that includes two bedrooms, a rec room, a laundry room, and a full bathroom, this 1986 five-bedroom home got in on the finished basement fad. But it was also custom-designed by its original owner, an architect. Careful attention to detail is noticeable in the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows, cathedral ceilings, and skylights. It’s not hard to imagine cozying up in the lofted office space above the living room, or in the living room itself, which features a built-in entertainment area.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1990s: $330,000, 4208 Karen Court, Plano, TX 75074

What better way to occupy extra space than with a game room or a luxurious owner’s suite with two walk-in closets, a soaking tub, and furniture-style vanities? Built in 1991, this brick home for sale in Plano, TX, may not look the part of “mansion,” but it definitely delivers on luxury. If that’s not enough, check out the backyard, which includes an outdoor living room and a side garden.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 1990s: $330,000, 4208 Karen Court, Plano, TX 75074

What better way to occupy extra space than with a game room or a luxurious owner’s suite with two walk-in closets, a soaking tub, and furniture-style vanities? Built in 1991, this brick home for sale in Plano, TX, may not look the part of “mansion,” but it definitely delivers on luxury. If that’s not enough, check out the backyard, which includes an outdoor living room and a side garden.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 2000s: $439,999, 31235 N. 164th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85262

Who wouldn’t want to spend all day in this four-bedroom, adobe-style home for sale in Scottsdale, AZ? Enjoy desert mornings outside in the home’s outdoor living room and afternoons in the cozy family room, which features wood vigas (beams) and a stone gas fireplace. Built in 2000, the home was recently remodeled, with a new kitchen and landscaping.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 2000s: $439,999, 31235 N. 164th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85262

Who wouldn’t want to spend all day in this four-bedroom, adobe-style home for sale in Scottsdale, AZ? Enjoy desert mornings outside in the home’s outdoor living room and afternoons in the cozy family room, which features wood vigas (beams) and a stone gas fireplace. Built in 2000, the home was recently remodeled, with a new kitchen and landscaping.

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 2010s: $739,900, 2214 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, CO 80211

Dreaming of a place to call your own in Denver, CO? Enjoy proximity to everything in this three-bedroom townhome in Denver’s hip LoHi neighborhood. With its modern exterior and sleek finishes, it’s an ultrafashionable abode, whether you’re into the nightlife or you’d rather soak in the creature comforts at home. (Just head to the rooftop deck for sweeping views of the city — and bring some hot chocolate with you!)

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

The 2010s: $739,900, 2214 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, CO 80211

Dreaming of a place to call your own in Denver, CO? Enjoy proximity to everything in this three-bedroom townhome in Denver’s hip LoHi neighborhood. With its modern exterior and sleek finishes, it’s an ultrafashionable abode, whether you’re into the nightlife or you’d rather soak in the creature comforts at home. (Just head to the rooftop deck for sweeping views of the city — and bring some hot chocolate with you!)

Photo credit: Trulia.com 

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In a statement to EW, HGTV confirmed that its producers generally pick couples who have done most of their home shopping already.

"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," read the statement. "However, with a series like House Hunters, HGTV viewers enjoy the vicarious and entertaining experience of choosing a home. ... To maximize production time, we seek out families who are pretty far along in the process."

Is 'House Hunters' fake? 4 things you may not have known about the HGTV series
An example from HGTV's article on '17 Things Every Home Must Have.'
Source: 'House Hunters'/HGTV

2. Even with staging, the show is very popular

Even if House Hunters skewers our vision of what's achievable, Americans watch it — lots of it. In 2016, the Washington Post reported that there were over 440 episodes of the series released the previous year. The series has also spawned 13 spinoffs, including Island Huntersand House Hunters International.

Is 'House Hunters' fake? 4 things you may not have known about the HGTV series
One of the dream homes featured on 'House Hunters.'
Source: 'House Hunters'/HGTV

3. It's really hard to get on the show.

According to a former House Hunters participant, getting on the show is no easy task. In a piece for UtahValley360.com, Kim Christenson wrote that the producers get anywhere from 100 to 200 applications a week. She adds that the producers want people with a story. Maybe they're quirky, maybe they want unusual features in their house. If there's conflict, all the better.

Think you've got what it takes? You can apply for the show on the Pie Town Productions website. But be ready for a phone interview and a 10-minute audition video if you make it far enough in the process.

4. Local news often tips off future House Hunters properties.

If you really want House Hunters spoilers, you don't have to look hard. Chances are good that your local news outlets will plug a house that's coming to House Hunters before it airs. Take this recent out from ABC 13 (KTRK) in Houston, Texas. The outlet gave locals a video tour of the house earlier this month. Set Google Alerts to see if the show will be shooting in your area soon and keep an eye on local news.

House Hunters airs on HGTV weeknights at 10 p.m. Eastern.

33 PHOTOS
Instagram pictures of the 'Home Alone' house
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Instagram pictures of the 'Home Alone' house
@myatt_m1 and I are currently fighting over who gets to live here one day #homealonehouse #kevinwhereareyou
@kaitlindday and I couldn't be anymore excited that she is shooting down the street from this house
Home Alone House!)🏡 Как будто попала в фильм детства!😍😍😍 #chicago #usa #homealone #kevinmccallister #workandtravel
Home alone house! I love this movie😊 Дом где ещё в 1990 году сняли "Один дома" #671lincolnave #одиндома #homealone
Мечта детства исполнилась🙏🏻🙆🏻🎉 , я побывала в доме ,где снимался фильм "Один Дома ".🤗 Кевинннн ...😀😝 Этот фильм был самым любимым 💕в детстве , который я смотрела миллион раз . В этом доме в 1990 году сняли этот любимый всеми фильм .The home Alone house ! #HomeAlone #Kevin #chicago #chicity #illinois #городвeтров #windycity 🇺🇸🏤
Oh yes I did. #homealone #dreamcometrue #gamechanger #jackie #tremblidoux #onreculelheure #RDTCcontrelamontre
"No, for three reasons: A, I'm not that lucky. Two, we use smoke detectors and D, we live on the most boring street in the whole United States of America, where nothing even remotely dangerous will ever happen. Period." #homealone #bestmovieever
Home Alone House
This is my house, I have to defend it. #homealone #mcallisterresidence
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AHHHHHHH!
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Home Alone 🏡
"Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal."
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AHHH!! We went back in time to our childhood and geeked out when we found the house where Home Alone was filmed! #Chicago #fefestravelchronicles
La casa de Mi Pobre Angelito. Hoy vive un pibito rubio. Y creo que estaba solo.
This is my house, I have to defend it ~ Kevin McCallister #homealone #ahhh #keepthechangeyafilthyanimal #winnetkaillinois #bestdayever #bucketlist
Home alone is one of my favorite Christmas movies ever!! I always dream to see this house. HERE WE GO!! Dreams come true!!!
Sonho realizado porra!!!! Esqueceram de mim!!! 😍😍😍
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Home Alone 😱
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Kevin McCallister 🏡 movie comes to life 🏡 #homealone #homealonemovie #winnetka #illinois #travelphotos #traveling #travelgram #instatravel #movies #travelporn
Esqueceram de mim 😱🏤 Home Alone' house. KEVIN WHERE ARE YOU?!?!😱 #homealonehouse #homealone #kevin #kevinwhereareyou #winnetka #Illinois #igtravel #traveller #travelblogger #usa
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Home Alone
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Get outta here you nosy little pervert or I'm gonna slap you silly! #homealonehouse #homealone #Chicago #travelblog #travel #travelingram #asmithabroad
Saturday field trip. #homealone house
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