A former subject of HGTV's Designed to Sell home-staging series wrote in to Hooked on Houses to dish about being filmed for the show. Well, turns out it was quite a magical, mystical experience! It starts with the plain fact that their home was not on the market at the time of filming and continues from there.
"Most of the work is done by people off camera. We had moments where we filmed scenes with the show designer and carpenters, but once our little bit of filming was done, the rest of the work was done by production crew. Only things that will be seen on camera are taken into consideration. Example: our “custom” pillowcases in our bedroom were actually duct taped fabric around our pillows. Ceilings and areas of paint that wouldn’t show on camera were not finished.
The open house at the end of the show is fake. Everyone at ours was family or friends. The production crew asked us at the beginning of the taping to give them a list of people to invite to be on camera. Considering they all had to sign waivers to be on camera and such, it’s not really such a surprise. (And this wasn’t just because our house wasn’t on the market yet – they do it for all houses.) It’s funny to see my mom talking about how she loves the makeover and wants to buy our house.
We taped two endings to the show–one where we say that our house has sold and thank the show for the makeovers, and one where we say that we’ve seen a lot of interest in our house and hope it sells soon. It’s up to the network which ending they want to show (and which is actually true at the time of editing.)
The budget for the makeover is $2,000 in materials (labor is free). Homeowners have to pay taxes on the improvements, which the show usually tries to cap at an estimated value of $5,000, but sometimes it’s much more. The total amount of taxes we paid that year for the improvements was $400."