My Friend Was On The Reality TV Show House Hunters – And She Says It’s All Fake

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home with for sale sign in front yard

Reality TV isn’t always so real!

Have you ever watched the reality TV show House Hunters and wondered how they make the house-hunting process look so simple – with no contract problems, bad inspections, or seller issues? Well, I’m here to tell ya that what you see on the screen is not how it really all goes down.

Here’s how my friend’s house hunting story happened…

A friend of mine, Melissa*, was once on House Hunters International and we were all so excited about how cool it was going to be to see her family on television. That was until she started telling us about it… you’d be surprised to find out that the reality of it wasn’t so real after all.

house for sale

You see, my friend Melissa was moving overseas from the U.S. which requires a LOT of planning, organizing, and coordination. She and her husband found a great home, purchased it, and moved in. There were no TV cameras; they were just regular people moving into their dream home.

Fast forward about a year and a half later and they were cast to be on House Hunters International. Hold up… what? Yep, over a year AFTER they had already moved overseas and settled into their new home, they were filmed doing the entire process… well, a recreation of the process.

moving boxes stacked in kitchen

The show filmed my friend packing up her belongings in the United States and talking with another friend about her move, how nervous she was about picking the right neighborhood and finding the right home, when all along she had already done all of that. House Hunters International had her pretend to do it all over again – and it wasn’t even her house, she was packing up a friend’s house. 🤪

realtor showing buyers a home

When it came time to “search for a new home,” she and her husband had to box up most of their belongings in their overseas home, and cover what was left with sheets so that it wouldn’t appear to be their items or that the house appeared to be lived in.

They had to tour two other homes that were actually not even for sale, in addition to their own home, to try and decide which one they wanted. I tell ya, the suspense was real – we had NO clue which house they were going to pick. 🙄

Melissa mentioned that the show had her create conflict with her husband and disagree on things they would normally agree on so that it would make for better television. This makes sense as I often wonder why the buyers on the show complain about simple things that can be changed in a home such as wall paint colors. 🤷🏼‍♀️

front of a house

I asked Melissa what she got out of it and why she did it, and she said that she was given a flight back to the U.S. to film the portion of her show where she was “packing up her house.”

The flight was worth it to her as they can be pretty expensive coming from her new country back to the States, and it gave her the opportunity to visit family and friends. She mentioned that she was given the option of a free flight or a small amount of money and she opted for the flight (she said some friends who appeared on her episode received a small fee for their time).

woman being interviewed by tv crewPhoto Credit: Jeff Newcamp

Do you think this is an isolated incident? NOPE – My friend Melissa is not alone!

Travel Blogger Elizabeth Newcamp and her husband have appeared on both House Hunters and House Hunters International TV shows and also had a similar experience. Much like Melissa, the Newcamp family had already purchased a home and actually toured Airbnb properties for the other two homes just for the sake of television.

While it was so much fun to see my friend and her beautiful family on television, it sure made me second guess all of these “reality” TV home shows.

(*my friend’s name was changed for this post)

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About the writer:

Angela graduated with a Bachelor's Degree and has 25+ years of experience as a writer and photographer with her work being featured in US Weekly Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, and more.

Join The Discussion

Comments 71

  1. Lynne

    Have known this forever, but I continue to watch😂

    • up2trouble

      I actually assign House Hunters International to my college class as an extra credit assignment. It is great for learning about different cultures and styles of living.

  2. Livlee

    The truth about this came out YEARS ago..

  3. franny5

    I wonder why they still film this show if everyone knows it is fake.

    • leigh

      I didn’t know. I think a lot of people don’t know.

    • lenin1991

      Everyone knows wrestling is fake, yet WWE continues…

      • Mannu

        I had no idea Wrestling is fake

        • Kimber


  4. ChristieG

    I must be the only one that didn’t know this! UGH

    • Chrissy

      I had no clue. 😢

    • Lisa

      I had NO idea!!

    • charity

      I didn’t know either

  5. Amy

    this is not news to anyone. It doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch.

    • Snowflake1211

      It did for me. I stopped watching after I found out it was fake years ago…..Who wants to see fake fights, fake houses, fake everything…. BORING!

  6. Brandonnlenee

    Most shows are staged to a degree. I work with someone who is on Lone Star Law and I hear stories about it all the time. Funniest story was that it almost caused a divorce due to cutting and editing.

  7. Jen

    Yep! My one cousin was one of the realtors, she was an actually realtor at the time. They had her use her own home, and a friend of hers as their own to show as an option-when it never was. All reality is not reality 🙂

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh wow! Thanks for sharing with us, Jen!

  8. Emily

    A friends in France also had a similar experience. It was just a few months after she moved in but they basically emptied her apartment then filmed her looking at it as one of the 3 choices. I guess it’s just how they do it.

  9. Barbara

    i didn’t know this but i stopped watching the show years ago.

  10. Sandy Meyer

    All reality shows are fake. Some make for good entertainment though.

  11. happyrunner

    Coming from a television Producer background, sad to say that reality tv is not at all reality. Even shows like Shark Tank are Producer driven. Our main goal in television is to make money, and most of the time reality is not entertaining enough! Be careful what you believe 🙂

  12. Jlinsey

    I did know they were staged, however that is one true friend that packs up all her belongings for her. Lol! I hate packing!

  13. Josie

    I have a relative in Waco who says the same thing about Fixer Upper. So much is staged. And some people were not happy with the quality of “fixing up” their new home.

    • Erin

      The “fixing” is designed to look good for TV purposes. They aren’t concerned about longevity or even functionality. It’s more about making a splash.

      • Aunt Jenny

        When they are finished with a home it seems like they leave rooms off the design list, there has to be more than one bedroom and bathroom in these homes. They always make the outside look fantastic but that’s their signature before and after shot for the show.

  14. kidsallgone

    So now that you burst my bubble, I’m guessing “My Lottery Dream Home” can be added to that list? 🙄🙈🤷‍♀️😩😎

    • Aunt Jenny

      Yes it has to be too. I’ve seen decorations that were in the house they were looking at still there when they show the final house they “purchased”. There are episodes when they say, “The house comes will all the furnishings, if you want them.” 😜 Love it or List it is also staged. Knowing this hasn’t stopped me from still watching.

  15. mel1313

    I knew these were staged but not to that degree! That’s crazy. But I still watch because I like to see what homes in different areas of the country and world look like.

  16. Ann

    Well in all fairness…she didn’t HAVE to participate in the show, she herself chose to do it and go along with what they asked of her. So, the way I see it, everyone involved is somewhat fake.

    • JackieMN

      I thought the same thing, Ann! I would participate in something like that if there was a disclaimer for viewers so they knew things were ‘reenacted’ but without that, the people doing it are just as deceptive.

  17. mragle

    Wow!! Had no idea 😳

  18. Saranburks

    I was on house hunters too. It’s fake in the way that you already have your house under contract. The other 2 houses are “decoys”. They don’t tell you what to say however the producers to influence where the conversations go. And there are many takes of each room.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for commenting! Good to know what your experience was like!

  19. joshuayismarysantana

    That’s EVERY reality show. Lol It’s really just entertainment. That’s why these reality shows keep going season after season.

  20. Elizabeth M

    I have a friend who was on Carribean Life. Exact same thing. She had already found, purchased and moved into her new home in St. Croix. It’s all fake. Even the home improvement shows are a lot fake, but I still enjoy watching.

  21. Bryant

    Yes, everyone knows it’s fake. Everything about “reality” television is staged so it’s no shocker at all. We watch because we enjoy the process and the fake drama. I especially love the international show myself. There’s no way it’s real if you think about it. House hunting is way too unpredictable for it to work out so seamlessly as it does each and every episode.

  22. mariemakinson

    We came back from a long weekend away and found our neighbors house packed with guns and bottled water. I called my friend, who is a detective and he said they were filming a reality show. The following week, construction began on the house. When it was aired it showed the house was where survivalists were living, in reality it was a sweet old couple. Reality shows are all fake.

  23. Em C

    I just assume all these shows are fake, but it’s funny to hear exactly how! Thanks for posting!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      It sure is! You’re welcome!

  24. Nancy B

    When I bought a condo in Cabo a few years back, we had to delay our closing because our realtor wanted to use it on HHI as one of the properties that the client didn’t buy.

  25. Sylvia

    Love this show my dream is to retire to Caribbean, till than I have to watch the show.

  26. Shelley

    Not all are fake. The hoarders show had a real neighbor of mine on it. They had to bring in hazmat suits to clean it out. We all watched them filming and then watched it. It was pretty accurate. And I know of someone who got a house fixed up (I don’t remember the name of the show) for free as she was in a wheel chair so they did it to ADA specs and it was filmed and pretty real. I have seen the house. Those two shows actually helped people in my city, so that was nice.

    • Dana

      There was a couple near my grandma’s house that were on Hoarders. Everyone knew they were hoarders, so that part was real.

  27. patricialavenz-goff

    Television is always fake but we still watch it.

  28. Cathy Zeiler

    A friend of mine was on Wife Swap. By the time they edited the film footage and put it back together, the story had been completely convoluted. It wasn’t at all accurate to the way things really happened.

  29. hip2trade

    I never watched this show but makes you wonder about others. Please don’t ruin survivor for me lol.

  30. SamShops

    I’m sad to hear this😞I really like the Beachfront property ones. Are the prices fake too?

    • Elizabeth M.

      Ok this one cracks me up because my husband and I are always joking about this. Like the husband is a dental assistant and the wife is a SAHM. They have 6 kids and the budget is 1.8 million. We’re all like, what?!!!

  31. Baker's Wife

    I’m shocked, I tell ya. Shocked.

  32. Tia in FL

    My co-worker was on HGTV’s Color Splash years ago and it was all mostly true. It took longer than they said it did. They ended up repainting one of the rooms. While she liked it at the moment (probably just because it was new/different) after a few weeks, it was just too much!

  33. Tess

    You have posted this before. Old news

    • Mika

      OMG, I thought I had seen this post on here before and thought I was going crazy when I checked the dates on the post and comments. Normally when they repost something they leave the old comments.

  34. kellyluvsdealz

    Everyone involved in this was fake. She basically went on television for a free trip back to the states. So, she knew it was fake from the start. Nobody forced her to participate.

  35. Felicia

    This is not the type of content I look for on this site.

    It has been happening a lot lately, the site is transforming out of “deals” and into more lifestyle. Not what I am looking for anymore.

    • Joyce

      Agree. This is way off topic.

      • Berly

        Please go back to original Hip2Save Colin content, I’m starting to view this site as a waste of time.

    • kellyluvsdealz

      Exactly. This has nothing to do with saving money.

    • Shirl

      I really miss the old Hip2Save.

    • nikkiwadevandyke

      Agree. Interesting but this is not the place I go for stories like this.

    • Bobbie

      I don’t understand… You don’t have to click into anything you are not interested in. You could tell by the title that it wasn’t a deal post. So keep scrolling.

  36. Rn404

    Most shows out now are fake AF, with that being said I love the show and will continue to watch esp when they have the marathons on

  37. Chloe

    Funny. I actually did know this, as I had a sister who was a candidate for the show. Film crew came and everything. I still watched the shows.

  38. Jessica

    Officially heartbroken 😅

  39. Jenn.Weir

    My friend’s wedding was on Bridezilla years ago. Same thing. We had to recreate shopping for the dress, flowers, etc and they asked her to stage a conflict with her husband-to-be. I was so disappointed when I realized it was all fake 🙁

  40. Erika

    My shock is all she was paid was a flight home. That is unacceptable!

    • Mika

      I agree. I get that it was worth it to her, but it should have paid more.

  41. Anne

    We were on Desperate Landscapes about 10 years ago and it was actually real! The yard makeover was incredible and we did it all in one day. It completely changed the look of our home and increased our property value for sure! And it was a blast!!

  42. Jody Paul

    My son was on America’s worst cooks. Same thing on there. All fake

  43. SKS

    My mom was on a court tv show the one that has the 3 judge’s. She thought when she went that it would be like going to a real small claim court. It wasn’t it was a joke even the audience is paid to pretent they are there waiting for their cases. She was told the judge’s didn’t know anything about the case. Which wasn’t true they decide who is going to win before you get there they didnt even read her contract thats why she was suing to get what she was owed in the contract. They decide who’s going to win before. And the one they decide who is going to lose they attract.

  44. Pat

    I can’t believe anyone is surprised, ALL reality shows are scripted.

  45. Cheryl

    I don’t watch these shows for the human “drama”. I like seeing the different house layouts and designs. Gives me ideas for my own home.

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