|Narrated by||Suzanne Whang (1999–2007)
Colette Whitaker (2008–2009)
Andromeda Dunker (2009–present)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||13|
|No. of episodes||538|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original release||October 7, 1999 – present|
House Hunters follows individuals, couples, or families searching for a new home, with the assistance of a real estate agent. In each episode, the buyers must decide between three properties, ultimately choosing one before the end of the episode. The show concludes by revisiting the buyers in their new home a few weeks or months later, where they describe the changes they've made and the effect the new home has on their life.
Although the TV format is that of a reality show, producers usually recruit buyers who are already in escrow with one of the houses that is featured in the episode. One participant in the show stated, "The show is not really a reality show. You have to already own the house that gets picked at the end of the show. But the other houses in the show are actually the other houses we considered buying." The network director of the show at the time, Brian Balthazar acknowledged that production required some advance knowledge of the purchased home.
In response to questions about the show's truthfulness, the show's publicist said,
- "We've learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a prolonged 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."
In early seasons of the series, prices and locations were never mentioned. The viewing audience is now privy to where each property is located along with the amount being asked and paid for each property.
The series was originally hosted on-screen and narrated by Suzanne Whang. In 2008, the show was narrated by Colette Whitaker. The current narrator, Andromeda Dunker, began voicing the show in 2009, but does not appear on screen.
Marketing and growth
A 2016 Washington Post article said that the "milquetoast" and "proudly formulaic" series was "one of the most unlikely and unstoppable juggernauts on TV," consistently attracting 25 million viewers per month, nearly all through household television.
The show's 26 first-year episodes (1999) grew to 447 new episodes in 2015, with the number of new episodes tripling between the 2005 peak of the real estate bubble and the 2009 end of the Great Recession. As of 2016, fifteen camera crews were recording new U.S. episodes at any given time, with another 25 teams of directors, camera chiefs, sound technicians and local fixers producing House Hunters International episodes.
The average episode is filmed in three days, and costs a small fraction of the US$2 to $4 million typically spent on an hour-long TV drama. The show’s ratings and "safe predictability" attract advertisers, especially those targeting homeowners. Marketing techniques have included in-episode product placement and sponsor-related quizzes.
- House Hunters International is the first House Hunters spinoff series. It features the same narrators, but the show focuses on properties around the world. Normally it features an individual, couple, married couple, or family moving from either the United States or Canada to another country (primarily in Europe, Asia, Central America, or South America) with a different language and culture either for a retirement or vacation house, schooling, or job opportunities.
- House Hunters on Vacation is the second House Hunters spin-off series. Rather than featuring the same narrators as the other two series, this show is hosted by Taniya Nayak. Families have the opportunity to stay in a vacation home for one week. Each episode has homebuyers choose which of three properties they would most like to stay in for their week-long vacation (which is paid for by HGTV).
- House Hunters: Where Are They Now focuses on people who have previously purchased homes on House Hunters. They are typically visited 6–12 months after the original filming and shows how they have settled in.
- House Hunters Renovation is a one-hour show as opposed to the typical 30 minute episodes. The first 30 minutes are spent in typical fashion looking for the home and then deciding between three homes. The second half is spent following the purchaser through the renovations they do to their homes.
- House Hunters International Renovation fuses together two other spinoffs, taking the original renovation concept around the world.
- House Hunters: Million Dollar Homes crosses international boundaries investigating lavish estates. This show focuses on people looking to spend over one million U.S. dollars (or the local equivalent) on their dream home. This is not listed as a separate series by HGTV, but a designation for several occasional episodes across several different seasons (of which there are now several dozen ) of the original House Hunters.
- House Hunters International: Million Dollar Budgets is a separate series, again combining the concepts from two other spin-offs into another.
- Island Hunters is House Hunters focusing on buyers moving to tropical islands. Island Hunters originally premiered New Years Day 2013. Buyers are looking for a tropical getaway, their own private island. Families investigate three separate islands, complete with vacation homes and private beachfronts. It is hosted by Chris Krolow, CEO of Private Islands Inc., who is also the executive producer of the show. Rental episodes are hosted by his associate Adam Mckie. The series was renewed for a second season in May 2015.
- Houseboat Hunters is House Hunters with people seeking a primary residence or a vacation home that floats (such as the eponymous houseboat).
- House Hunters: RV features people who are seeking a recreational vehicle as their primary residence or a vacation home on-the-go.
- Tiny House Hunters debuted in November 2014, and features families looking to downsize to a house smaller than 600 square feet (56 m2).
- House Hunters Pop'd debuted in November 2014, and features families looking to purchase a home while trivia questions and facts pop up on the screen, similar to VH1's Pop-Up Video.
- House Hunters Off the Grid features people seeking homes in remote and secluded areas, where they live off the grid.
- The House Hunters format was also used in Car Hunters, a series of commercials in Fall 2010 for Chevrolet in which a prospective buyer test drives a Chevrolet Cruze or Chevrolet Traverse and two other cars, always choosing the Chevrolet vehicle. Conducted by an independent research firm, the shopper was not informed until the end that Car Hunters was actually a commercial for Chevrolet. The series of ads, which carried the same look as House Hunters (apart from using a blue color scheme instead of yellow), debuted on HGTV in September 2010 as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by HGTV and Chevrolet.
- "Our Shows". pietown.tv. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "Interview with Ted Prosser, Owner of Into the Mystic, Coral Bay". On-St. John.
- Chan, Anna (June 13, 2012). "Is House Hunters Faked? Does It Even Matter?". The Today Show.
- Strecker, Erin (June 12, 2002). "'House Hunters' scandal: Is the show a fake?". Entertainment Weekly.
- Harwell, Drew (January 27, 2016). "How “House Hunters” became the most unstoppable juggernaut on TV". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 28, 2016.
- "House Hunters International". HGTV. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "House Hunters on Vacation". HGTV. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "House Hunters: Where Are They Now?". HGTV. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "House Hunters Renovation". HGTV. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "House Hunters". HGTV. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "Island Hunters". HGTV. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "Houseboat Hunters". pietown.tv. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "House Hunters RV". pietown.tv. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "HGTV Builds Two More 'House Hunters' Series". multichannel.com. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "Tiny House Hunters". HGTV. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "House Hunters Pop'd". HGTV. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- House Hunters Off the Grid
- HGTV: Car Hunters
- Jeff Glucker. "Video: Chevrolet sweeps HGTV Car Hunters Challenge". Autoblog. Retrieved January 30, 2015.