LEVELING UP IN MALMÖ: OUR HOUSE HUNTERS EXPERIENCE
As some of you may know, in February 2020 MacKenzie and I were featured in our very own episode of House Hunters International. It was such an interesting and unique experience that I haven’t talked about much, so I thought it would be fun to go into a bit more detail here!
Warning: if you are a fan of the show and are under the illusion that everything filmed and said is 100% real – read at your own risk!
The Application Process
Let’s start with how this all came about – in July 2018, MacKenzie and I were getting ready for our move to Sweden. We had been watching a few HHI episodes here and there to get an idea about what apartments looked like in Malmö, and thought it would be funny to apply to the show and see if they could also help us find a place! After a little searching, I found an email to send our application to. I included a little about who we are and why we were moving, our timeline, and a few pictures of us on our travels. I sent off the email, and kind of forgot about it…
Fast forward a few months. We’d moved to Sweden, were living in company-owned housing, and had found an apartment that we wanted to buy. It was new and still in the process of being built, so we weren’t able to move in until March 2019. In October I received an email from someone at House Hunters International, telling me that they were interested in filming an episode with us and would like to set up a meeting. During the meeting, we talked with a producer who wanted to get to know us a bit more, learn about our housing search in Sweden, and what kinds of things we looked for when deciding on a place to live. These questions were pretty expected, but we were shocked to find out that the show doesn’t actually help you find a house – you need to already be living in a place that you’ve purchased or rent and then they will come and film.
Once we had met and gone over the process for filming, legal forms, etc, we were asked to send over more pictures, make a short video introducing ourselves and our apartment, AND fill out a super long questionnaire talking about our relationship, likes, dislikes, what we fight about, what we agree on, what I look for in a house, what he looks for in a house…basically just a lot of info they can use to create an episode around.
Completing these tasks + setting up more meetings with producers + giving them time to pitch our episode to the network took quite a bit of time, and so wasn’t until October 2019 that the crew was able to come to Sweden and film. (Reminder: I applied for the show in July 2018!) Luckily, we weren’t actually waiting for them to come and help us find a place to live!
Timing: We were told that filming would take about 5 days, starting on Thursday and ending Monday. Each day we started around 9 am, and finished around 4-6pm depending on the light, weather, etc. There was always an hour or so break for lunch, and snacks and drinks were always available in case we got hungry.
Clothing: We needed 3 outfits that we would wear during the week – one for the main interview scene, one for house visits, and one as backup for extra scenes. Before filming, we were given a color palette with a variety of colors that show up best on tv, and that we were encouraged to wear.
Locations: We filmed in quite a few locations around Malmö: the three apartments, our broker’s house, an arcade, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, and even on our bikes. We were given a schedule beforehand of where to be and when, and if we needed to change locations during the day transportation was provided.
Camera time: Having obviously never been on tv before, I was definitely a little nervous about speaking on camera. It’s not like I was playing a character, so I felt a lot of pressure to “be myself”. They asked a lot of personal questions about our relationship, how we met, what we fight about, qualities we like/dislike in ourselves, plans for the future, etc. For the most part, I felt comfortable answering the questions, but if I ever felt weird about or didn’t have an answer to a question, there was no pressure to push further. I’ve seen the show before, and I knew that someone is usually the bad guy, or at least the picky one who has trouble agreeing on a place. Surprise surprise, I’m pretty sure I came off as the bad guy/downer because I said I wanted to stick to the price and had certain things I was looking for (bathtub and laundry lol). After answering the same question 5 different ways, and seeing how things were edited to make it seen like we meant something else, I have to say I have some empathy for reality tv stars. Let me tell you people – everything is not as it seems on tv (or did you already know that?) – the editing is real. We were prepared for this, and it was all in good fun. After a while, there’s only so many original things you can say about how you like/dislike an open floor plan, so we tried not to take it too seriously.
Overall, our time filming House Hunters International was one of the most interesting and memorable experiences we’ve had in Sweden. It’s also pretty special that we’ll have this type of documentation for the time that we lived here to look back on. The whole experience was low key, I never felt pressed for time or pressure to do anything I didn’t want to do. The crew was so kind, and it was obvious they’ve done this kind of thing many many times – they had it all down to a science. While it was at times hard to “play myself” and say things that represented how I actually think and feel, I tried not to take it so seriously, relax and have fun.
When our episode aired in February, we had some friends over for a viewing party. It was hilarious to see their reactions, and to see how we actually came off on tv. I’m pretty sure my friend even made a few memes of us at one point… People have asked if I would do it again, and to be honest, I think I would. It was pretty fun to see our city through the eyes of outsiders, and to have this time of our lives documented in such a cool way – just don’t make me say the words “bathtub”, “charm” or “open floor plan” again!
Have you seen our episode of House Hunters? Is this something you would ever consider doing? Let me know, and drop any other questions in the comments!