‘House Hunters’ Buyer Spills All: Is it Staged?

House Hunters

HGTV/YouTube "House Hunters" has aired on HGTV since 1999.

Is “House Hunters” staged? A former homebuyer who appeared on the long-running HGTV series’ international edition shared her experience in a May 2022 TikTok.

The woman in question is Melissa Rodgers who appeared on “House Hunters International” in 2019. She and her husband were house hunting for a home in Spain.

“First thing you need to know about ‘House Hunters’ is that it is a reenactment, not reality,” she said in the video with more than 80,000 views. “So you’re watching people pretend to choose a house. When you’re watching people tour houses, they already permanently live in one of them. So to get on the show, you actually have to show proof with like a lease agreement or mortgage or whatever.”


Reply to @feliciamason7 This shouldn’t have blown my mind when I found out but it totally did 😂 #househunters #realitytv #hgtvshit #tvshow #PCMadeMeBuyIt

♬ original sound – Melissa

She went on to reveal in the comments that she was contacted after her moving date to verify she was “settled.”

The series continues to be a hallmark of the network. “House Hunters” first premiered in 1999 and “House Hunters International” followed in 2006, with additional spinoffs popping up in the franchise’s more than 20-year history.

Rodgers went on to explain how the series recreated the moving experience and even fed them lines to say.

“So they show up with movers and they take everything out of your house and then they film you viewing your house as though you were viewing it looking to buy or rent it and then they put everything back in and they film you living there as though it were three months later,” she said. “Like in different outfits and with the house decorated a bit differently. Also they make up the prices.”

When one commenter wrote that the couples on the show “are huge red flags,” Rodgers explained, “We used to think that and then we went on it and the director tells you want to say and how to say it to make you seem crazier and more in conflict.”

Her time in Spain ended up being short. “We were new to Spain so just renting- we actually had to leave right after filming to come get my teen brother [so] we are back in Canada for now,” she shared as an update on another video.

Rodgers Revealed She Was Paid for Her Appearance

Some commenters were left wondering why Rodgers decided to go on the show if it was staged. She explained that while she felt “ripped off” after learning it was not real, she still had “fun.”

They earned “$2000 for five 12-hr days and 23 minutes of ‘fame,’” for their experience, she commented. “It was so fun though, the crew was so great and we had a blast!”

Rodgers Is Not the First Person to Reveal ‘House Hunters’ Is Staged

Rodgers is not the first one to share her experience on the show.

In 2012, Entertainment Weekly reported Bobi Jensen, who appeared on “House Hunters,” already selected her house before going on the show. The two other options she toured ended up being her friends’ homes.

HGTV provided the following statement to the outlet at the time:

“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 someone else’s shoes.”

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