Se Hunters FAKE!
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To be on TV, homebuyers have to agree to go along with the format. “They didn’t even ‘accept’ us being a subject for the show until we closed on the house we were buying,” Texan Bobi Jensen, who was featured on House Hunters in 2006, reveals. “So then when they decided to film our episode, we had to scramble to find [two other] houses to tour and pretend we were considering [them].” Other buyers have reportedly had homes in escrow, and on the show’s application for Realtors, it specifically asks when their clients expect to close. Utah couple Kim and Clay Christenson, whose episode aired in 2015, admit to In Touch that they, too, had chosen their home before filming began, but declined to share specifics about the show’s process. “The timing is one thing we’re not allowed to delve into too deeply,” she tells In Touch about her agreement with the show.
The search isn’t the only thing that’s staged. Participants claim producers play up conflict and manipulate the truth to make the show more dramatic. “They coach you a little bit,” Ashley says. Bobi’s family was even told they “needed to act out” a false storyline about needing a bigger home, with producers going so far as to “feed us a script,” she reveals to In Touch. “I wish I hadn’t let them direct what the story was going to be.” For one of the show’s spin-offs, House Hunters International, producers went even further. Andrew Christian, an LA designer, bought a house in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in 2015. He closed on the home before filming began and tells In Touch, “All my stuff was moved in and then we had to move it out [for the show] and move it back in again!”
House Hunters remains unapologetic. There are no disclaimers in the show’s credits and HGTV sidesteps the issue of the show being faked by citing time constraints of the house-hunting process. “The people you see in the series are real people who have searched for, negotiated and paid for a home with their own money,” reads a statement from HGTV to In Touch. “We simply shorten a very lengthy process for television.”
But participants believe fans are being duped. “I enjoyed the filming process but the chink in my conscience came while putting it out in the world,” admits Bobi. “I feel like viewers got scammed.” ◼