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'House Hunters' staged

6:55 AM, Aug 2, 2012   |    comments
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  • Alex and Azalia appear on an Atlanta episode of 'House Hunters'.
  • Moore talks about what really happened behind the scenes.
    

ATLANTA -- "House Hunters" has been on the air for more than a decade, and you probably have seen more than a few episodes filmed right here in Atlanta, but there's something you may not know.

"Everything isn't what it's always made to look like on TV," Alex Moore of Smyrna told 11Alive News while sitting on the front porch of his "House Hunters" home.

He was filmed for the show in an Atlanta episode taped in May of 2011. Participants are shown through houses on the "reality" show and then at the end of the show, it's revealed which one they are going to buy. However, there is something the viewers don't know.

"I actually saw this house long before 'House Hunters' and fell in love with it, and I kind of stalked it until the price went down to the price that I wanted," Moore said.

He was already under contract before filming began.

We confirmed that same thing happened on another episode filmed in Atlanta. Real estate agent Sally Alcock told 11Alive News that her clients were also under contract before they were contacted to re-create the experience.

We've even learned that the other two houses shown to the couples on the show aren't always the ones they looked at before they made the decision to buy.

"We had two very generous friends allow us to just tour theirs and pretend they were part of our lineup of houses we were choosing from," said Bobbie Jensen, who was featured on "House Hunters" in a San Antonio, Texas episode filmed in 2006.

This may come as a disappointment to fans, so we contacted the people behind the HGTV show at Scripps Networks in Knoxville.

Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, Cindy McConkey sent us this e-mail:

"We aren't showing a documentary - we're simply entertaining our viewers in a 30-minute format that conveys the ideas, emotions and experiences of the house hunting journey."

One of the producers behind the show says the fun is in the experience.

"It's also just to be a voyeur, so you're looking," said producer Brian Balthazar. "Who doesn't love looking inside someone's house?"

Some fans we talked to are a little disappointed.

"I always thought it was real," said Alexandra, a "House Hunter" fan in Atlanta.

But she understands why the show's producers may do that. We're told it's so they can control the variables and also because it speeds up the process because the actual house hunting experience can be a long drawn out process and each episode is filmed in about four days.

We also learned participants don't get a whole lot for their time.  For the couples we talked to, we learned it was a gift card.

"Under $500," Alcock said.

Even though Moore knows how it works behind the scenes, he says he still watches the show.

"At the end of the day, there are much bigger things going on in this world to be pissed about than 'House Hunters,'" he said.

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