Behind the Scenes: House Hunters International

Well the reviews are in... maybe we didn't make total fools of ourselves on House Hunters International!

If you're from the United States or Canada, you've probably heard of HGTV's House Hunters International, and if you're from the UK or New Zealand, they've got lots of similar shows (I think it airs on the Living Channel in NZ eventually - just waiting on an air date). 

The premise - a couple looks at 3 houses in a foreign location and picks one to live in. Sounds simple, but it was so interesting to see the work that goes into making a 23-minute episode. While I can't give away all of the secrets of reality TV, I thought it'd be fun to share a behind-the-scenes look at our 'Nesting in Napier' episode. When five days of filming gets cut down to 23 minutes, there's all kinds of good stuff you don't get to see...

... Like the fact that I also have a job and didn't just 'follow' my doctor boyfriend to New Zealand. ;) What you didn't see: My friend and co-worker Charlotte and I filming a scene at my office. 

I used to religiously watch the House Hunters International in the states. It always inspired me to live abroad and showed me that living abroad was doable and maybe even affordable. When Joe and I decided to move to New Zealand, after much encouragement from friends, I applied to be on the show. The producers liked our story, we did a Skype interview and soon it was official - we were going to be on House Hunters International!

The real appeal of House 1 - ALPACAS in the neighborhood!! What you didn't get to see: I made Joe pull over so we could say hello!

(We've moved to Wellington since filming the show almost a year ago, so it's exciting to look back on our time in Napier!)

Te Mata Peak - This became one of our favorite hiking spots. When it's not so cloudy, the Pacific Ocean is a beautiful turquoise color. What you didn't get to see: A guy walked up to us while we were filming this 'decision' scene and said, "Are you guys filming House Hunters International? Is it gonna be house 1, 2 or 3?" haha!

On the first day of filming, we were so nervous pulling up to the first house.

I didn't know what to expect and didn't want to say anything stupid. I was apprehensive about how we might be portrayed in the episode... Because let's be real - sometimes the couples on House Hunters are super annoying. 

But really, those curtains were ugly. ;)

As the sound man taped a mic under my shirt I thought, "Great, now he's going to hear my heart pounding and know how nervous I am."

Why yes, I am wearing a wire. 

The crew was super laid back and put us at ease right away.

Director John hunting for good sound bites. 

Soon it was as if we'd known them for years. It was as if the camera wasn't even there!

Seriously though, House 2 was kind of amazing.

I remember at the end of the first day Joe turned to me on the car ride home and said, 'That was easy! I could definitely do this for a living.' Psssh! We're basically like the Kardashians. Right? ;)

Getting the GoPro ready before our drive around the neighborhood 'Kardashian style' - just swap Kim's Bentley for our Subaru. What you didn't get to see - me shrieking and Joe slamming on the breaks as a rabbit dashed in front of the car while the GoPro was filming. If only this were a comedy show.

Over the course of five days, we viewed three houses, did 'couples' and 'single' interviews about what we thought of each house, explored Napier, toured a Waka (Maori ship), tasted lots of delicious wine at Black Barn Vineyards and had plenty of fun off camera and at lunch with the crew. 

John our Director asking us what we thought of house two.

Drinking on the job at Black Barn Vineyards, one of our favorite wineries in Hawke's Bay.

Drinking on the job at Black Barn Vineyards, one of our favorite wineries in Hawke's Bay.

Taking a stroll around Napier. What you didn't get to see: the belly dancing class that set up shop in the background while we were filming. Time for a new location?

I didn't really know anything about Maori culture before moving to New Zealand, so I loved getting to experience it on the show and share it with US.

House Hunters International was a great opportunity to explore Napier, but more importantly it was a great way to share memories of our experience in Napier with family and friends back home who wouldn't get to visit. 

By the end of five days of filming, I had such an appreciation for all the work that goes into making television.

I loved our little beach house in Napier and will always treasure the time we spent there. 

When I finally got home after we wrapped the final scene, I actually felt a twinge of sadness that it was over and that we'd have to say goodbye to the friends we'd made. The crew was off to Christchurch the next day to film another episode. 

My very favorite spot in our Napier house with the best views!

I'm so glad we decided to do the show. It's been so much fun hearing all of the hilarious comments from friends and family back home. Thank you to our wonderful crew who made this such a fun experience and to HGTV for capturing our story. 

Stay tuned, as I'll soon be posting the episode online for all of you who missed it!

Photos courtesy of our amazing Director, John Hagen!