LEE COUNTY, Fla.- There's a lot of buzz going around about the HGTV show "House Hunters," after a former participant says the show is fake. But a local realtor who was on the show says that's not true.
Some people are accusing the show of being misleading, after a participant criticized the show's producers for not accepting her unless she was close to closing on a house, and also showing homes that were not on the market.
Last year, "House Hunters" came to Southwest Florida to film an episode, so we caught up with the realtor from that episode to find out her perception on the reality show.
Victoria Yereance with Remax Realty Team in Cape Coral says, "as far as people thinking this is fake and feeling disappointed in that, perhaps they need their own reality check. It's an entertainment show."
She says she did about six weeks of work to prepare for the filming.
"It's very real. They really bought a house. We really looked at the properties in the show except for one. And the only reason we had to substitute another property is because we couldn't get approval from the board in time for production, but that house was definitely in their wheelhouse with respect to criteria," she says.
Yereance says there were no scripts, and they recreated the home-buying process the best they could.
"Every realtor is different, every buyer is different, every viewer is different. With the hundreds of shows that they've done, I can only assume that maybe one or two get passed with respect to production quality. But from my experience, we made sure we had a certain level of integrity to maintain and because frankly, I'm a realtor, I'm a resident, I'm a viewer, I'm a human being, I want to make sure that what is put forth is honest and real," she said.
During the episode filmed here in Fort Myers, Yereance helped Ohio couple Crystal and Bradden Jozsa find their dream vacation home in Palmetto Cove.
Crystal Jozsa tells us she did in fact have an offer on the Palmetto Cove home before "House Hunters" would accept her application. But she says she understands the process, and that the TV show would not want to accept someone whose offer may fall through.
She says it does not change her opinion of the show and she enjoyed the experience.
Yereance says everyone has their own reason for watching the show, and she hopes viewers will continue to enjoy it for what it is- a snapshot of the home-buying process.
"For those who think this is really a day in the life, again that's another show. They have done it as accurate as possible in my mind," she says.
HGTV released a statement to WINK News which says, "We've learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a period of time -more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television. However, with a series like House Hunters, HGTV viewers enjoy the vicarious and entertaining experience of choosing a home - from establishing a budget, to touring properties and weighing the pros and cons of each one. 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. Often everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate, so we go back and revisit some of the homes that the family has already seen and we capture their authentic reactions. Because the stakes in real estate are so high, these homeowners always find themselves RIGHT back in the moment, experiencing the same emotions and reactions to these properties. Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to "play along" and guess which one the family will select. It's part of the joy of the House Hunters' viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else's shoes."