Here's How Much It Really Costs To Be On HGTV's Love It Or List It

On the surface, being on "Love It Or List It" seems to be every homeowner's dream. To those unfamiliar with the show, it's an HGTV program where interior designer Hilary Farr and realtor David Visentin battle it out to get homeowners to decide whether to stay in their current homes or live elsewhere. In each episode, Farr transforms each home according to the homeowner's budget and design requirements, while Visentin offers them new property options that they may like better.

After taking a tour in their newly-renovated home and taking into consideration other houses, the homeowners need to decide whether they love Farr's interior design magic enough to want to remain in their current home, or if the property Visentin has shown them is enticing enough to make them want to list their property (in all its freshly-painted glory) and move instead.

Whether they "love it" or "list it," the homeowners still benefit. It's a win-win situation for them whatever option they end up choosing. It's either they remain in their spruced-up space or list the property — the value of which had already been boosted thanks to the renovations — or they buy their new dream home. But as with all home makeover shows, there's more to it than meets the eye.

Homeowners need to shell out a lot of money to be on Love It Or List It

If you think about it, homeowners that participate in "Love It Or List It" are essentially enlisting the help of Farr and Visentin and benefit from their expertise. Farr puts in the work to make them love their home again, while Visentin rolls up his sleeves and scours properties that may suit them better. In the real world, one would have to pay top dollar for these services, but participants get them free of charge.

However, this doesn't mean that they would come out financially unscathed. Homeowners would have to cough up a lot of money for renovation costs alone. They also have to spring for temporary lodging. HGTV told News & Record that they're not obligated to pay for the homeowners' interim housing. "We do not cover the cost of the homeowners' temporary living arrangements while their home is being renovated," they said, with one caveat: "except in the case of some unexpected circumstances such as delays due to COVID."

That's not all! On top of paying for the renovation, the furnishings and decor used for staging are also taken from their pockets if they decide to keep them. "The homeowners always pay for the renovation and they are given the opportunity to purchase the furnishings and décor used for the staging," HGTV added. "What they don't purchase is removed from the home," but "the renovations remain intact."

Some episodes of Love It Or List It are allegedly staged

At the end of the day, "Love It Or List It" is all about entertainment. Sure, you may receive tips on how to renovate a home and have an inside look at the state of the real estate market, but it's ultimately a show created to entertain viewers — which is why it wasn't surprising when rumors of "Love It Or List It" being fake began circulating.

In a Reddit chat, one user shared that the show on TV isn't exactly what had happened behind the camera. "My aunt and uncle were on "Love It Or List It" [and] they had them record both endings," the post read. "The network chose which one they thought was best. They are still in the house and they love it, but the show says they listed it." Apparently, the homeowners' decision ultimately doesn't matter to the showrunners and the episode of TV they're trying to produce.

In the popular real estate blog Hooked On Houses, blogger Julia Sweeten shared that she had intel that some of the houses that were considered as options to buy aren't actually up for sale. "My spy reports that another neighbor's house was chosen as one of Matt and Marci's three options to buy, and they spent an entire day shooting in it," the post read. Per The Charlotte Observer, the series was even sued in 2016, partially because the homes presented for sale weren't actually on the market. Hey, real or not, it sure is entertaining.