Here's the Scoop: June 20, 2012

Is reality TV fake?
Imagine my disappointment when charges were leveled last week that “House Hunters” is a fake TV show.

I don’t watch a huge amount of TV, but “House Hunters” is one of the shows I enjoy. In case you’ve never tuned in, the show basically follows a couple looking to buy a home and they visit three places, eventually buying one, after weighing the pros and cons of each place.

There have apparently been some previous rumblings questioning the show’s authenticity, but last week a former “buyer” reported that much of her experience was staged. The biggest problem, she told the media, was that two of the three houses that she and her husband looked at were owned by friends and weren’t really for sale. All house buying should be so easy!

The show’s producers reportedly responded to this information by stating that there weren’t a lot of similar homes for sale in the area, so they had to improvise.

Not a big deal to me
I personally don’t care if there’s a bit of manipulation happening in “House Hunters.” To me, the real fun is listening to the prospective buyers’ comments about the homes they visit.

“Oh, my…I can’t stand the pink color of this bedroom!” is a common reaction. Paint is obviously a five-letter word to some of these folks.

Many house hunters also get worked up about homes they are visiting having “small rooms.” I often shout two words at these folks: sledge hammer. Don’t these people watch any renovating shows — they’re on the same network?

Because most of the homes being visited are in cities, it’s also interesting to see what the prospective buyers view as “a big yard.” From what I can tell, if the outdoor space can accommodate a lounge and a lawn chair (at the same time), that’s pretty gigantic.

Of course, when it comes to home buying, the purchase price is customarily a big consideration. Some big spenders have a very large budget, sometimes going over a million dollars.

Glad it’s not me
I like touring these high-end homes along with the prospective buyers, content to know that I won’t be footing that mortgage each month. But the question I have while watching many of these shows is: “How do these dorks afford a mortgage on a million-dollar property?” Guess I’m just jealous.
Making me even crazier is the fact that these high-end buyers often have vague jobs such as “consultant.” The cynic in me labels them as making money the old-fashioned way — illegally.

The part that I find “fake” about “House Hunters” is that people buy a home after only looking at three options. I’ve never worked in real estate, but I know many people who have and I’d say that such a small number of showings is uncommon.

My cousin told me that he and his wife once looked at more than 50 properties with a broker. And they ended up buying a place after seeing a “For Sale By Owner” sign. That would have made for some interesting TV viewing, I’ll bet.

As one might guess, the network people behind “House Hunters” defended the way the show is produced. The corporate response to the brewing scandal follows:

“We’re making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process.”

They painted right over the outcry. Now, if they could only get some of the show’s prospective buyers to see how easy it is to do some covering up, they’d all be in the pink. Or out of the pink.
— Brian Sweeney