home ownership, rental income property

WHAT IT WAS LIKE BEING ON HOUSE HUNTERS (OUR FAQ)

what it was like being on house hunters

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on House Hunters? We are going to be on HGTV’s House Hunters this Monday night February 27th at 7:00 pm. Be sure to check it out! We are having a big watch party so we will keep you up to date live on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Our close friends and family that have known about our episode for months and asked the following questions, so we wanted to share our answers with you. [**UPDATE: we’ve updated our FAQ since the episode aired**]

  1. Is it true that the show is staged? Partially true. Hopefully it isn’t too shocking to hear that reality TV isn’t 100% “real.” A few things are staged, such as the other two houses that the buyers (us, in this case) go look at. We owned our home before we even started filming. A lot of little details are also staged, like the style of homes we liked and even our reasons for moving where we moved. I will admit I was disappointed when I learned that the show wasn’t actually going to help us find a house. A few true things about our home purchase that are not going to be included in the episode: we bought a home in a very hot market. We previously put 2 other offers in the area, after the homes had only been on the market for a few hours. We were beat out by better offers. For our home, I saw it pop up online and called our realtor immediately. She drove straight to the house and FaceTimed me a walk through of the house (she was in Tulsa, I was in Utah). We were lucky to be the first ones who made an offer (of several!) and got the house. So, when we moved to Tulsa we had never seen our house before. Another big thing is that we bought the house as a rental income property. That won’t come up in our episode, but that was the main reason we bought it in the first place. We plan to live here for a year or so and then rent it out which is why we were dead set on our area because it has a good rental market.
  2. What parts of your episode are real and fake?
    1. Amber’s hatred of granite: REAL(ish) They’re not my first pick but I don’t gag over them like I did during the show. The producers had us exaggerate what we loved and hated about each home.
    2. Danny’s long showers: REAL.
    3. Pedestal Sinks: FAKE. We both hate them. A lot.
    4. The two houses we didn’t choose: FAKE. We didn’t see either of the other two houses before purchasing ours. Hopefully that helps understand our choice a little better. Ha.
    5. Our budget: FAKE-ish. In the general ball park. We would have preferred to buy a duplex for around $200,000.
    6. Style we were looking for: FAKE. We both like mid century modern AND bungalow style homes, but the real thing we were looking for was a duplex so that we could rent out the other side. We didn’t care too much about style as this was meant to be an investment property plus a place for us to live for a year or so. The show originally had me saying that I liked shot gun style homes because of my growing up in Mississippi but later it changed to bungalow since there are a lot of that style around here.
    7. Location: REAL. We really wanted to be in Brookside because this cool park called the Gathering Place for Tulsa is just down the street and will hopefully finish being under construction later this year. We really do love all of the cute shops and eats and having access to the river trail for biking, running, etc.
  3. How did you get picked (how can I get picked) for House Hunters? We applied online at Pie Town TV (you can access the application HERE). I think anything you can do to make yourself sound interesting will help. We sold up the fact that we run this blog and are a dentist and attorney with a new baby. We also tried to be very specific with what kind of style of homes we liked and tried to show that we were very opinionated in what we liked and didn’t like. The producers really liked that (and I’m really afraid about how much that might be played up in our episode).
  4. Did you get paid? Yes. Well, technically we received a “gratuitous gift” of money.
  5. Did House Hunters choose your realtor for you? No. Honestly the two main reasons we applied for the show was because we thought the show would hook us up with an awesome realtor and secondly that the show and realtor would help us find a dynamite house. So we were a titchy disappointed when we figured out that we were really on our own. In the end, we loved our realtor and we love the house we chose so I guess it all worked out.
  6. Was it worth it/are you glad you did it? For sure! It was really fun and the crew we worked with was a blast. They had us laughing our heads off all day long.
  7. How many days did you film? A total of 5. Three days in July and two days in August.
  8. How many hours a day did you shoot? Usually between 6-8. They had us carve out 10 hours a day to film. On some of those days we spent the entire day on location aka at one house. That is a long time to spend in a small house without any furniture. It was crazy to think that we had spent 8 hours at one of the houses we filmed at, and only a couple of minutes made it onto the show!
  9. Did they choose your clothes and/or make up? Kind of. This was by far my least favorite part of filming. There were tons of rules about what we could and couldn’t wear. Almost everything I wear in real life is neutral in color and the “camera doesn’t like neutral colors.” We were prohibited from wearing most things where the brand was apparent. We couldn’t wear clothes with patterns. There were other colors we couldn’t wear. Almost any jewelry that I wore got vetoed. I changed my wardrobe multiple times most days of filming for one reason or another.
  10. If you could do House Hunters again what would you do differently? Well, I’d definitely have a better sense of what to wear 😉 I think we would have also waited until we are buying our dream home somewhere that we have lived for a while. It was a little tough moving across the country and keeping all of our stuff in a moving truck for several days while we filmed. We didn’t know where any of our clothes or other things were so I guess I would be more organized and prepared going into it so we could track stuff down easier.
  11. Was there anything about doing House Hunters that surprised you? The fact that we had to buy our house first before “house hunting”, the fact that we had to find our own realtor, as discussed above. Also, we had to film most shots 3-5 times so that they could get different angles on the camera. I think we both felt a bit silly repeating how surprised we were by things at each house.
  12. How far in advance do they film an episode of House Hunters before it airs? I can’t speak for every episode, but for ours it was around 7 months. We filmed in July and August the episode aired at the end of February.
  13. Why did you decide to do House Hunters? One reason was that we wanted to show that home ownership is possible (and in some cases, smart) even if you have student loans. We also wanted to show that its possible to live well while staying within your means. We were able to buy a house despite our student loans because the cost of living here is so cheap. The rental market is also interesting. The cost of rent is high but the cost of home ownership is low. So buying really made sense (cents) for us. We bought a fairly inexpensive home. It’s small. Sometimes there is a tendency among people (especially in both of our professions) to go nuts with money after school is over. It’s hard to resist over spending once you get a job and start earning a decent living. I believe Dave Ramsey calls this “doc-itis”– the feeling that you have been working hard for a long time and that you “deserve” expensive things because of that. We wanted to make sure we were keeping that in check and living as minimally as we could/can. We’d like to keep living this way even after our debt is gone.
  14. What do you like about your house? The location and the yard! We love our neighbors and love Brookside for the reasons listed above. And, we love that we use every inch of our house. We use the guest bedroom as an office slash guest room, Max has a room and place for all of his toys, and we have our room. It feels good to actually use what we have, instead of having empty space that doesn’t have a purpose. It’s not too big or too small; it’s our Goldilocks house.
  15. What do you dislike about your house? Still not crazy about the washer and dryer in the kitchen. We started working on moving them to the garage but decided it actually was really convenient to have them in the kitchen since that is where a ton of our messes happen. They don’t bother us like they did when we were first looking at the house. Having only one bathroom presents issues sometimes, but is really not that big of a deal.
  16. What were the best/worst parts about filming House Hunters? Best parts – we genuinely enjoyed hanging out with our crew and filming all around Tulsa. Also, the crew fed us legit delicious food every day and kept our Diet Coke addiction going strong by keeping us fully hooked up. The worst parts were “acting” when I wanted our experience to come across as genuine, being apart from M (he’s only in a few scenes from the show). And filming in July and August in Tulsa. It was HOT.

Let us know if you have any other questions and we’ll add them to the list!

16 Comments on “WHAT IT WAS LIKE BEING ON HOUSE HUNTERS (OUR FAQ)

  1. I am ridiculously excited to see your episode and to hear what was accurate and what wasn’t! I had no idea that this is how you bought your house! SO MANY QUESTIONS! Mr. Beach Life and I keep joking that we need to get on a HGTV show but his dad works for the company that owns the network so I think we wouldn’t be eligible 🙂

    1. Haha thanks Jax! I am SO nervous. Hopefully I don’t have lipstick on my teeth the whole time! And you and Mr. Beach Life should totally still apply anyway! 😉

  2. Very cool and congrats on finding the right house. I really want to ask how much you were compensated, but understand if you can’t or choose not to say. 🙂

    Some friends of ours were on the American Pickers show a couple years ago. Their description of the “reality” factor was similar to yours – a little yes, a little no. You can imagine that without a little staging, filming and producing a truly realistic show could be much more expensive.

  3. Very cool Amber. Can’t wait to see your episode about moving to the Paris of the Midwest! Thanks for telling us what’s going on behind the scenes. I look forward to reading the update after the episode airs.

  4. I’m totes watching this with my wife and will be acting all like ‘yeah, we’re Twitter buds. NBD.’ 😜

    Congrats on the episode and on the RSF feature as well!

    Did you get to mention the blog on the episode?

    1. Haha thanks Ty. Sadly we didn’t get to mention the blog 😭 Hope I don’t have boogies or lipstick all over my face tonight!

  5. After the show, I am curious how you like the way they portrayed you. They edited a lot of tape after all. The set up (teasers) is intriguing since you two can’t agree on anything (LOL)

  6. Fun to hear the inside scoop! The way you describe the experience, I’d say the fact it is staged is 110% true. Have fun at the party tonight!

    As an aside, would there be an advantage to living in the home for two full years? If you sell and have lived in the home for at least 2 of the previous five years, there are no capital gains taxes owed. Once it becomes a rental, tax treatment may be completely different. And I suppose you’re not planning to flip if it’s a long-term investment.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

  7. I never would have guessed they have you buy your house before filming. Not surprised about the acting. Did they make you say this is my closet in the master and then ask your husband where he will put his clothes? Seems like that is in every episode. Regardless, sounds like a really fun experience.

  8. Does the contract to appear on the show require you say certain things that every single buyer says in every show. Example, as you pull into the driveway one of the couple ALWAYS says, “it’s not the bungalow I was looking for? or “Complete gut job” or “open and airy” or “make it our own” etc. So many couples have such a lack of consideration for each other’s needs/desires that I wonder how they even agreed to get married.

    1. Ha it’s not in the contract but the producer would tell us to say “well it’s not a bungalow” etc right before filming walking up to the house for example. As mentioned in our post, we bought the house over FaceTime so obviously weren’t too concerned with details in real life 😊 I’d give most couples on the show the benefit of the doubt – they were probably asked to say what they said

  9. Co-worker of mine was involved in “purchasing” a house in a similar TV show, featuring remote, exotic Canada. It just happens that same show featured another episode in the same town; this time involved a Realtor who happens to be my best friend’s fiancee. Both said that the show was mostly done for the viewers; neither “purchaser” qualified for the mortgage, and the producers knew about it. Still very entertaining.

  10. I found your blog about a month ago and related to you guys in that my wife and I also live in Oklahoma and our digging our way out of six-figure student loans from professional school. Coincidentally we were watching HGTV and whenever they mentioned that the couple is new dentist and lawyer in Tulsa, I thought to myself “Wow, that is the same as those redtwogreen guys! I wonder if this couple knows them!” Haha
    It is very cool to see that this post confirms some my suspicions about the show, and also surprised me some about the fabrication of so much info!
    I hope your house will turn out to be a good rental and good luck on the rest of your journey!

  11. This was a super interesting read!! I watch House Hunters International sometimes with my mum and I’m always shocked by the people’s giant budgets and snobby attitudes 😛

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