There’s no doubt that HGTV’s House Hunters is the most easily consumable show on television, which is why it’s wildly successful and has tons of clones.
What’s not to love? You get to sit back and judge/mock the couples on the show, while getting a full tour of other people’s homes from the comfort of your pyjamas.
But here’s the thing. There is actually not a lot of reality involved in this reality TV. In fact, it can set some really dangerous expectations that could ruin your home-buying experience, particularly if this is your first home.
Only Looking 3 Houses? That’s Adorable
We realize that they need to condense the home buying experience into a tight 22-minute package. But this part of the show is just goddamn nonsense.
We suppose it would be hard to mass-produce these shows if they showed the real journey.
They would have to film you browsing countless online listings, going out to look at 5 different homes, finding one that you love, losing it in a no-holds-barred bidding war, and going back to the drawing board. One couple in a busy market could fill a 10-episode season.
In fact, we’ve read rumours that some of the buyers on the show are already in escrow with one of the three locations and they’re only pretending to be interested in the others. And then, at the end of the show, boya, they magically choose the home they’re already invested in.
Oversimplification on a Whole New Level
They spend half the episode showing the husband worrying about closet space for his vintage lunch box collection. But they give zero screen time to important things like the neighbourhood’s comparables or growth, the schools in the area, or what any inspection reports may have turned up.
… You know. Those tiny little things that will make or break a real estate transaction.
These conversations clearly don’t make for good TV, but they are absolutely essential to any real estate deal that takes place in the real world.
This show would love you to believe that the listing price is carved into a stone tablet on the front of the house.
“The home ticks all of the boxes on our list, but it’s $10,000 out of our range. I guess we’ll move on. Next house.” Sorry, what? You’re not even going to see if you can negotiate the price?
At the other end of the spectrum, houses in a hot market like Burlington will routinely sell for over the asking price. This leads to a lot of disappointed would-be buyers that lost the bidding war. But again, that’s not something they show you on TV.
The Head-Shaking Deal-Breakers
A number of former buyers on these shows have said that producers asked them to really play up their desire for certain items.
For example, a woman may say that she’s always wanted a soaker tub. Producers get her to talk about it, and then edit the episode to make it look like she won’t shut up about soaker tubs. She appears to walk away from a property because it doesn’t have one.
Meanwhile, we’re all yelling, “You can buy a god damn soaker tub anywhere” at the television.
This show makes it look like people walk away from properties for some frankly stupid reasons.
Negotiations Don’t Happen in Coffee Shops
This is part of the oversimplification of the house buying process. This show can make you think that your faithful realtor will just whip up a deal with a laptop and a latte while sitting in a trendy coffee shop.
Negotiations can take place over several days, with long phone calls, games of phone tag, and endless email strings.
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