More Links

Are you looking for an experienced agent to help you buy or sell a home? Contact Jim the Realtor!

(760) 434-5000

Carmel Valley
(858) 560-7700

Posted by on Jun 13, 2012 in Tips, Advice & Links | 17 comments | Print Print

House Hunters is Fake


Threatening to destroy whatever vestigial rubble of innocence was left standing after Cash Cab decimated your faith in reality TV, the Hooked On Houses blog has posted a story revealing that HGTV’s House Hunters is, in fact, totally fake. Of course, it’s called the show fake before, beginning its exposé of the popular series with a 2010 post that delved into the producers’ own self-admitted revelation that, “for quicker turnaround,” they “sometimes” choose buyers who are already in escrow on their chosen property, rather than buyers who are actually hunting for houses, as one might expect from a show named House Hunters.

Instead, its participants only pretend to consider multiple options, faking a protracted deliberation of fake-weighing the pros and cons, all before fake-arriving at a final decision and making a fake offer that they already made long ago. For their performance—and much of it does involve acting over long hours of filming, until they provide the acceptable fake reaction to a house they’re not even interested in or are already partway to owning—they receive $500, and obviously, nothing in the way of actual help finding a house. One former subject went so far as to claim, “They won’t even consider you for the show unless you already have a purchase agreement signed, and have access to both your new home and your former home for the duration of the filming period.”

Anyway, as we said, this is all apparently old news (if not exactly common knowledge), but it all became a little more concrete with this firsthand testimony from one such participant, Bobi Jensen, who backed up those claims by describing how the show faked every single aspect of their story, drafting them to appear only after they’d already closed on a new house, forcing them through multiple takes of fake conversations, and—in one of the most revealing instances of how much the show can often be completely staged—taking them to houses that “weren’t even for sale…they were just our two friends’ houses who were nice enough to madly clean for days in preparation for the cameras.”

So basically, just assume that everything you see on reality TV, even in its most innocuous and straightforward forms, is totally and completely fake, in case you weren’t already doing that.


I hope this is old news to most of the bubbleinfo readers: that House Hunters is a staged event. 

Combine these real-estate reality shows with the research available on the internet, and you have consumers who feel much more confident about how to buy and sell homes.  People come in ready to direct their realtor on how to do their job, and expect their experience to be similar to what they see on television.

In most cases, it isn’t as easy as it looks.

Why?  Because you have people on both sides of the table who are undergoing a life-changing event, with many different variables.  An experienced agent knows how to manage those variables, and make your transition smoother.


  1. Ha Ha, A lot those home renovation and flipping shows are fake too. I can never understand how they can make major structure changes and windows changes so fast. Over in in California, adding or moving a few little windows need so many permits from HOA, City permits, structure analysis to 24 energy Cals.

  2. I’m crushed. It’s like I lost a fiver.

  3. I love the international version of HH. But it was always suspicious how in hundreds of episodes of HHI, not once did the buyers NOT get their top choice. Never a lost bid. Always got the house. Every time, batting 1000. How does that happen if it’s not staged.

  4. I don’t know common this is in San Diego, but we just walked away from 2 consecutive counteroffers in rural Washington before going into escrow: 1 because of environmental disclosures; the other because the counter confirmed my suspicion that the sellers were dishonest, and we refused to continue dealing with them. Won’t ever see that on HGTV!

  5. I think Jim just volunteered to be the showing agent on the new hit show “The Real House Hunters of San Diego County”.

  6. Not surprised. 95% of what you see on tv today is fake. I stopped watching it years ago and I have a much clearer perspective on things now.

  7. That the buyers also pick out one house of just three houses makes me feel like a picky buyer. I wish buying were that easy.

  8. Agreed, with these shows not depicting much of the grit and grind of real house hunting, they aren’t preparing people for the real world.

    They are just for entertainment purposes only.

  9. There should be some kind of FCC regulation governing this kind of “reality” show. How many idiots with an inheritance from grandpa watched a few episodes of “flip this house,” and went on to lose everything they had because it looked like anyone could flip a house with few obstructions to bleed them dry in the process? We all saw where that led.

    These kinds of “reality” shows, where commerce is involved, should be better regulated, and phony house purchases should be abolished.

    Currently, it’s seems the same as creating a show called “Daytraders,” and showing some guy in his underwear high-fiving his wife as he makes consistently amazing trades every 15 minutes. To put that kind of show on the air is kind of… dangerous, and carries a level of would normally qualify as… fraud.

    I astounded that there is no regulation whatsoever to govern this cheesy genre of reality show.

  10. too much garbage on tv these days.

  11. Bwahahahaha! Does anyone actually think TV reality shows are real?? Box of Moonlight movie: The Kid: (after Al tells him that professional wrestling is fake) “Uh, Al, I know you must be smart because you have a scientific-style job, but if this shit is fake and everyone knows it’s fake, why the hell would anybody waste their time watching it?” Al: “It’s a question you may want to answer some day, kid”

  12. Kill your TV. Smash into pieces.

    Send the pieces to Lawrence Yun, att: NAR
    – Freight Collect.

    Tell’ Em Suzanne Researched it.

  13. Totally fake in my mind would be if the transaction never happened and the homes they were pretiending to look at were not even on the marktet with fictional buyers and fictional agents. Hey look, they have got to keep it at 1/2 hour. I know for a fact at least one episode was for the mostpart, real. The international episode in Saint John USVI–It was pretty accurate, just summarized. The buyer’s bought the house they showed and they considered the ones they looked at. A close friend of mine knows Debbie Hayes (the featured agent) well–stays at her house on St. John. I call it more “Summarized” or “based on a true story” maybe??? IMHO, not 100% accurate but definitely a “Total Fake” I find it both entertaining and educational.

  14. Local Boy,

    The show’s producers aren’t transparent because being so would undermine the narrative, rendering the show ridiculous to discriminating viewers.

    If it’s too expensive to document events as they occur, then they should be required to put a disclaimer at the beginning of the broadcast, indicating that some houses were purchased before the episode was filmed, some home purchases were simulated for dramatic purposes, mortgages should be handled with the same degree of caution as women, electricity, and high powered chain saws, etc.

  15. “Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We’re in the boredom-killing business!”

    — Howard Beale, Network

  16. Yes, it is a re-creation of actual events, however, I don’t consider that to be “fake,” it is just TV. To me, it is still more intersting than most TV.

  17. All smoke and mirrors, at least it is an accurate representation of the NAR !

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.