House Hunters, the immensely popular HGTV program featuring prospective home buyers as they search for new homes, is a sham, according to one woman whose family was profiled for the show.
House Hunters is a staple of the HGTV channel, which includes a spin-off titled House Hunters International. The program features singles or couples as they narrow the search for a new home. At the end of each episode, the viewer is given the opportunity to guess what home, of three, the home buyer will choose.
Now a woman has come forward claiming the show is staged. Bobi Jensen, a mother of three and blogger on Hooked On Houses, is claiming that the producers of the show profiled her family for an episode a few years back but didn’t accept the family until they had already closed on their new home. According to Jensen, the other two homes featured on the episode belonged to friends of the family who allowed cameras into their homes -- homes that were not even for sale.
“The producers said they found our (true) story – that we were getting a bigger house and turning our other one into a rental – boring and overdone,” Jensen wrote. “So instead they just wanted to emphasize how our home was too small and we needed a bigger one desperately. It wasn’t true, but it was a smaller house than the one we bought so I went with it.”
House Hunters has released a statement neither confirming nor denying Jensen’s 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 some else’s shoes.
My mom will be heartbroken.