Believe it or not, Love It or List It has been on our screens for over 12 years now. In that time, we’ve met hundreds of couples, seen an equal number of renovations, and of course, born witness to the answer to that all-important question – will they love their glammed-up home, or list it? But what’s lurking behind the scenes that we don’t know about? What secrets are buried deep in someone’s closet? Hold tight, because you’re about to find out.
1. David and Hilary had never met before the auditions
The onscreen chemistry between David and Hilary would make anyone think the two had known each other for years. Not so. Despite being close friends these days, the pair’s first meeting actually came during the auditions for Love It or List It. At that time, David was already making a success in real estate and Hilary was doing the same in interior design. Of the two, Hilary was the first to get cast, with David getting the call later. ‘You’re brilliant. We want you. We think you’re going to make Hilary look good,’ he’s recalled the producers saying.
2. The affection is real
The affection you see on see on-screen between the presenters is no fake, “smile for the cameras” showbiz affair. Since meeting, Hilary and David have become as close off-camera as they are on, with David telling The Real Estate Talk Show, “Hilary and I have a lot of fun together. “I think people enjoy watching us having a lot of fun.” Hilary clearly shares the sentiment, telling Post City, “We adore each other. We make each other laugh a lot.”
3. It’s not scripted… according to Hilary
For years, gossip has been circulating that the show is more fake than real… and we’re not just talking a few tweaks here or there, or producers asking people to ‘up’ the emotion a little. According to the rumors, Love It or List It is scripted to the very last detail; there’s even been some suggestion the producer’s film two alternate scenarios, one in which the couple ends up loving their house and another in which they decide to list it instead. They then decide, or so say the gossip mills, which ending best fits the overall series. The rumors have, understandably, been hotly denied by the makers of the show. Hilary has done the same, saying in interviews, “The show is not at all scripted and the reactions of the homeowners to renovation realities and bad news is very real.”
4. It’s faced legal troubles
Things aren’t always a bed of roses in the land of home design, as the makers of Love It or List It have sometimes found to their cost. Take the court case with Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan as an example. According to the couple, they handed over a hefty $140,000 for the renovation work on their home, but in return, got little more than painted shut windows and some “low-grade industrial carpeting”. According to their lawsuit, “[Farr and Visentin] are actors or television personalities playing a role… in this case, none of them played more than a casual role in the actual renovation process.”
5. Homeowners and hosts don’t mingle
Despite there seeming to be a real connection between the hosts of Love It or List It and the homeowners, the two sides rarely meet during filming. The few times they do actually appear together on screen, the sequences are usually short and rehearsed. Although it seems an odd set-up, it’s actually a pretty standard approach in home renovation shows, as Curb Appeal: The Block participant Cenate Pruitt’s experiences reveal. “The people we dealt with most directly were the actual TV crew,” she told AV Club. “The producer, the camera guy, the sound engineer…I had limited interaction with the on-air talent.”
6. It’s gone global
Since Love It or List It first aired in 2008, it’s become one of the most popular home design shows around. So huge has its success been, the show, which is shot mainly in Toronto and Ontario, has spawned 5 spinoffs. The first spin-off, Love It or List It Vancouver, was, as you’ve probably guessed, filmed in Vancouver. Love It or List It UK is filmed in the UK with hosts Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer; Love It or List It Vacation Homes features hosts Dan Vickery and Elisa Goldhawke, while the Canadian based Vendre ou renover au Quebec debuted in 2017 with hosts Maika Desnoyers and Daniel Corbin. The fifth and so far final spinoff, Love It Or List It Australia, hit Australian screens in 2017 with hosts Andrew Winter and Neale Whittaker in the hot seat.
7. Are they really listing?
The premise of Love it or List it is simple: if a couple doesn’t love their home after the renovations are complete, they list it. It’s that ultimatum that the show revolves around; remove it and you don’t have a show anymore. But are the couples who choose to list it really doing that? According to some, the answer’s a resounding no. “This show chooses families who want a professional renovation done on their home. There is NOTHING real about the ‘list it’ part,” says a reader of Hooked on Houses.
8. Leaving jobs undone?
If the rumors are to be believed, the Love It or List It renovators have a terrible habit of not finishing what they started. According to some claims, rooms are made to look “finished” for the cameras only; the reality is a far cry from anything that can even loosely be described as complete. Although in fairness, the tight budgets and time constraints might be more to blame than shoddy workmanship.
9. Hilary and David start each morning with a smoothie
BFF’s Hilary and David have gotten so close, they even share the same morning routine. Every morning, the pair start their day with the same smoothie of kale, lemon juice, cilantro, banana, almond butter, cacao, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and black pepper… although David’s occasionally been known to go rogue and throw some avocado into the mix.
10. More people love than list
So, to the final and most crucial secret of all… who’s winning the competition? Is Hilary convincing more people to stay in their homes than David’s convincing to leave? Although most of us haven’t been keeping a tally, it seems Hilary’s leading the race at the moment… although whether or not this changes, we’ll have to keep watching to find out.