House Hunters has been a massive hit for 17 years. Regularly drawing more than 25 million viewers a month, the half-hour reality show, which has launched 12 spin-offs since the start of 2011, has helped make HGTV one of the country’s mostwatched cable networks with its simple premise: Prospective homeowners view three houses and after some intense deliberation finally choose one.
But it’s all just an elaborate ruse. Homebuyers who’ve starred on the show have revealed a big secret in the course of an In Touch investigation: They actually chose their dream home long before cameras started rolling. “You’re already closed on the house,” Ashley Brinkman, whose episode aired in September, tells In Touch. “They want you to be closed so it’s official because otherwise it would kind of be a waste of time for them to fly out somewhere and film [the whole process].” Producers from Pie Town, the company that makes the series, then recreate a false version of the home search over three to five days of filming. “There’s not really a whole lot of realness,” Ashley admits. “It’s fake.”