Some Fans Claim 'House Hunters International' Is Heavily Staged — What's the Truth?

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Mar. 31 2021, Published 12:02 p.m. ET

The price estimates, participants' expectations, and drama-filled viewings are just some of the aspects of House Hunters International that has aroused suspicion among fans. A spin-off of the ever-popular House Hunters, House Hunters International has sparked debate several times since its first episode aired on HGTV in February 2006. So, is House Hunters International fake? If so, to what extent? 

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Some aspects of 'House Hunters International' might be fake.

Conversations about whether House Hunters is accurate likely began in the early 2010s. In 2012, a former participant named Bobi Jensen shared her experiences with appearing on House Hunters in a first-person piece published by Hooked on Houses. Touring houses that weren't on sale, faking a large chunk of the deliberation process, and doing several takes of the same scene came with the gig, Bobi wrote. What about House Hunters International? Where does it fall on the fake versus real spectrum?

house hunters international fake
Source: Twitter
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Similar to Bobi, a former House Hunters International participant named Elizabeth Newcamp also volunteered to share her side of the story in an eye-opening essay published by Slate. As Elizabeth wrote in the piece, she and her husband were already living in a property located in Delft, Netherlands, by the time they were contacted by the producers of House Hunters International. 

Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that any difficulties they may have encountered while hunting for their next abode had to be faked. Instead of touring real estate listings, Elizabeth and her hubby had a few Airbnb listings picked out for the relevant scenes — which, in turn, indicates that any argument they may have had while on the quest to find their new home was also a matter of good acting. 

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The episode entitled "Cuckoo for Canals in Delft" features a scene in which Elizabeth expertly rode a bakfiets — a heavy-duty cargo bike — across a bridge. As she revealed in her piece for Slate, she hardly exhibited the same poise the first time she rode the bike. 

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Unlike Bobi, Elizabeth also shared a few details about the real estate agents appearing on House Hunters International. As she wrote, she and her husband ended up asking a neighbor, Michael, to transform into their relocation expert for a day. Michael works in IT, she added.

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Over the years, House Hunters International came under criticism for its overt focus on young people on the move. The optimism-inducing prices and the home buyers' unrealistic expectations are just some other aspects of House Hunters International that tipped viewers off that everything they're seeing on the show might not be 100 percent genuine. 

"Ok, I seriously need to know how these people on house hunters international can afford 4,500 per month rent on one income. I cannot imagine," tweeted @squorked

"[People on] House Hunters International be like, 'I need a house that's traditional but also modern and has the same space I'm used to in the States and a backyard in city center plus a view of the beach and a two-minute walk from the office,'" tweeted @stuffKRISwrites.

HGTV addressed some of the concerns via a statement shared with E! in 2012. 

"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," reads the statement. 

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