- Anne Cusack/ Getty
- Homeowners who go on HGTV sometimes say they face the ugly truth when the network’s cameras stop filming.
- One couple sued the production company of “Love It or List It,” accusing it of “shoddy work” on their home, according to The Charlotte Observer.
- Shows like “House Hunters” and “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” have been accused of being fabricated.
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Since the ’90s, HGTV has been constructing and designing homes that viewers love. Whether it be a million-dollar mansion or a simple fixer-upper, the network is known for giving everyday people the home of their dreams.
But sometimes, contestants have said their dream home becomes a nightmare. In reality, some HGTV participants say they end up with pricey expenses, home damages, and even harassment from neighbors.
Here’s what people have said about some beloved HGTV shows after the cameras are turned off.
Every year HGTV gives away a free million-dollar dream home, but most of the winners just accept the cash prize instead.
Emily Muniz of Nashville won the 2018 HGTV dream home, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom, $1.8 million home in Gig Harbor, Washington. But Muniz opted to take the cash prize instead of moving into the home.
“While we would have loved to have moved in, it just wasn’t the right time to uproot our daughter from school and change jobs while also trying to tackle the finances that come along with such an expensive property,” she told People.
In case you were wondering, this year’s cash prize option is just over $1 million.
Similarly, many of the homeowners on “Fixer Upper” rent the space out on Airbnb instead of moving in.
- HGTV, Courtesy of the Bells
In 2016, Chip and Joanna Gaines remodeled a shotgun house for Cameron and Jessica Bell. The following year the Bells put the house up for sale, but they then took it down and now rent it out on Airbnb for $325 per night. The home has a 90% occupancy rate, according to its listing agent.
Likewise, the Gaines renovated a 1,290-square-foot home for Kristi Bass in season two, but Bass is now renting the place out on Airbnb for $269 per night.
In fact, a number of the show’s participants have listed their “Fixer Upper” homes on VRBO or Airbnb.
“Fixer Upper” does not allow homeowners to keep the furniture you see on HGTV.
- HGTV/ Hulu
Jaime Ferguson’s home was remodeled on “Fixer Upper” back in season three. In a blog post, Ferguson recounted her experience on the show and said she was not allowed to keep the furniture that Joanna staged her home with. However, participants are able to purchase the furniture.
Ferguson decided to buy the coffee table and striped chairs, while everything else was taken out of the home after the show finished filming.
If they do decide to live in their newly designed home, “Fixer Upper” homeowners say people are always touring their neighborhood and homes.
- House Beautiful/ YouTube
Chip and Joanna Gaines single-handedly put Waco, Texas, on the map, and now, the homeowners are paying the price.
The couple renovated David Morrow’s Mailander House back in season one. Since then, he said that people frequently drive by his house and slow down to get a glimpse. At times, people even get out of the car and take a selfie in front of his house. Others knock on Marrow’s door and ask for tours.
“They’re mostly women in their 50s and tend to be big ‘Fixer Upper’ fans,” Morrow told the Waco Tribune-Herald.
On the other hand, some of the homeowners welcome these tours into their fixer-upper. Josh and Jill Barrett, for example, had their mid-century modern home remodeled on season two. Now, they give tours of it.
“Come one, come all,” Jill Barrett said.
While tourists love traveling to Waco, Texas, some locals hate “Fixer Upper” for driving up taxes.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ Getty
When a car crashed into Ken and Kelly Downs’ “Fixer Upper” home in Waco in 2017, they didn’t know if they wanted to fix the home or move away. The couple said ever since they moved to Texas, the locals have not been welcoming, accusing them of driving up property taxes and ruining the town.
“We have been intimidated and harassed,” Kelly told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “People have complained about their taxes going up because we moved here. Store owners have complained about taxes.”
“There’s a big problem here. It’s not safe … This is a ‘Fixer Upper’ gone bad,” she added.
One couple sued the production company of “Love It or List It,” accusing it of damaging their home during the show’s remodeling.
- CBC This Morning/ YouTube
Deena Murphy and Tim Sullivan had their North Carolina home remodeled in 2016 on the HGTV show “Love It or List It.” After the cameras stopped rolling, however, the couple said their home had “damaged and stained floorboards, open holes,” and “low-grade carpeting over chipped concrete,” according to “CBS This Morning.”
The couple decided to sue the production company, calling the repairs “shoddy work,” according to The Charlotte Observer, and accusing it of not distributing the $140,000 they invested in the renovations on the show according to contract.
In April 2017, both parties filed to dismiss the case, and the terms of their settlement were not revealed.
On the other hand, the upgrades may be too difficult and too expensive to keep up with. For example, a man who appeared on “Curb Appeal: The Block” said some of the renovations actually hurt his home more than they helped.
- Andy Cross/ Getty
Cenate and Wendy Pruitt appeared on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal: The Block” when their Atlanta home was given a $20,000 makeover. In an interview with the AV Club, Pruitt said some of the upgrades were actually detrimental to his home (not pictured bove). In the basement, for instance, the show built a retaining wall that trapped water inside and Pruitt said his basement subsequently flooded several times, forcing him to buy a pool pump to drain the inside of his home.
Additionally, Pruitt said the show planted exotic plants and grass in the front of his house, which were immediately ruined by Georgia weather. He said he had to hire landscape experts to fix the front lawn, which ended up costing him $1,200 to $1,500 a year, according to the AV Club.
The show “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” has been accused of being staged.
A realtor said that the producers for “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” approached her to find a person who was already under contract for a beach house that costs under $400,000. When the realtor could not find a client for the show, she offered up herself because she had just bought a beachfront property, according to E! News.
The show agreed to film her pretending to look for a beach house even though she already bought one, she said. Additionally, the realtor said they shot in March and pretended it was summer.
Some participants on “House Hunters” said they already owned their new homes when they appeared on the show.
Bobi Jensen appeared on season three of “House Hunters,” and a few years later, she said that her entire episode was fiction. Jensen said she had already bought a new house, and she had to pretend to tour two other homes while filming. And the other two homes that she and her husband toured weren’t even for sale, according to Jensen.
Jensen isn’t the only one who has come forward to say “House Hunters” is staged. Elizabeth Newcamp appeared on the show twice, in 2017 and in 2018. In a post on Slate, Newcamp said the first time, she had already bought her new home when filming started, and for the second time, she had already lived in her new home for over a year. She even said the producers hired a random actor to play the part of their real estate agent.
One “House Hunters” participant said she was paid $500 for appearing on the show.
- Cameron Fontana/ YouTube
Kim Christenson appeared on “House Hunters” in 2015 and filmed for over 30 hours. Christenson said she was only paid $500 despite the show’s $45,000 to $50,000 budget.
- Read more:
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW: 5 of the most iconic homes that Chip and Joanna Gaines renovated on ‘Fixer Upper’
- Every year HGTV gives away a free home to a lucky viewer. Here are the million-dollar dream homes from the past 5 years.
- 7 of the biggest home decor lessons I’ve learned from HGTV
- 6 surprising things you didn’t know about HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’