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Behind the Scenes: House Hunters International in Cuenca Ecuador

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This week we finished filming a House Hunters International episode in Cuenca. (Our episode aired February 15th, 2012.)

This part was our house-hunting component which was shot Sunday through Tuesday. Our back-story (the why of our move) was shot while we were in Miami last month.

The shoot is a reenactment of our actual move and we hope will give viewers an idea both of the type of real estate available in Cuenca and what Cuenca is really like.

Here is our little casting video that we produced for our casting producer. We were contacted three times by two different casting producers – the first two times it didn’t work out for a couple of different reasons – but this time it did.

Our episode is part of a new angle for the show. They are expanding to cover home/apartment rentals – not just home purchases. It’s really going to broaden the audience for the show.

It was a great experience – albeit a bit weird to be mic’d up and visiting our favorite places in the city. Now after 4 days of filming, I’m curious how they will cut it down to just 24 minutes. Can’t wait…

It will be a couple of months before it airs and when we know the dates, we’ll share it here.

Haines Family Casting Video for House Hunters International

 

What do you think of the show? Do you even watch it? If you have been a contributor on the show, would love to hear from you!

If you have seen the episode we did with House Hunters International (HHI) you may be a little confused. If you are, we can understand why.

House Hunters International: Behind the Scenes

HHI contacted us after reading Gringos Abroad because they wanted us to reenact our initial move to Cuenca Ecuador. So that is what we did, we reenacted or “pretended” to be hunting for apartments in Cuenca.

As everyone knows, much of what is filmed for TV is pretend. The nice thing about HHI is that much of it is also real. The filming we did in Cuenca was very much like when we moved here two years ago.

The biggest difference was that we had a friend help us find an apartment, and we didn’t have to repeat our lines over and over again with bright lights shining on us. 🙂

Episode HHINT-3213H Read our House Hunters profile page. (a few details are a little confused: we are from Nova Scotia, not Toronto and Cuenca is in the province of Azuay, not Anzuay).

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Bryan being filmed near Miami, Florida

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My turn being interviewed for House Hunters International

Why Did We Do House Hunters International?

Why did we do the show? We thought it would give people a good idea of what Cuenca is really like. We hope that people will see the show and realize that they can do what we have done.

The apartments we looked at during the filming were a little pricey. You may find more reasonably priced apartments in Cuenca, it just takes a little more hunting around.

But for someone just arriving that does not know any Spanish, the episode really caught what it would be like. If you don’t know Spanish and need to use a real estate agent, the apartments in the show were very similar to what you would be shown.

There is a growing feeling in Cuenca that because gringos are willing to pay high prices, Cuencanos are finding it hard to find apartments at “real” price points.

The landlords may not rent to them at a more normal price because they know they could get more money from a gringo. It would be good to know about fair pricing before settling on an apartment.

For example, our apartment is a brand new three bedroom / two full bathroom apartment for $250 (no condo fees).

To keep things simple for the episode, we “pretended” to choose from the three options presented to us. In real life we would have (and did) shop around a bit more.

It was fun to do the filming. The crew was wonderful and they treated Drew like gold – even letting her help with some of the equipment. This made the experience that much more special for us.

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Ever wonder how they get those great driving shots? Being filmed while driving through Miami

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Cameraman, director and Drew (working the boom mike) during filming in Cuenca

Is Our House Hunters International Episode Going to Ruin Cuenca?

Some people have expressed concerns that the show will in some way ruin Cuenca, like it will contribute to raising prices. Or it will draw more people to a spot that some feel should be kept quiet so that others can’t have the opportunity to enjoy the lifestyle that they have.

But most people understand that people do not plan their future solely based on one TV reality show. People do research and make informed decisions. They educate themselves on community issues by reading this blog, and doing a lot of other research.

And after doing their research, if they do find Cuenca to be right for them, let’s be happy that they are happy – because they deserve it as much as we do. Let’s not be selfish or greedy.

It did feel a little funny shopping for an apartment when we already had one, but we were asked to act. And that’s what we did; we acted like the Haines family acted when they first moved to Cuenca two years ago. That’s TV for ya!

And after all, the show wasn’t really about us, was it? It was about Cuenca!

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The final day – the final scene shot at Hosteria Duran just outside of Cuenca

house hunters ecuadorIt’s been a number of years since our House Hunters Ecuador episode originally aired.

Our episode is just 1 of 14 filmed here in Ecuador. See all 14 HHI Ecuador episodes. Many of our readers have cited House Hunters International as having helped/influenced them in determining the country (and area) that they eventually move to.

Although it’s a little embarrassing, we wanted to share this video with you. It’s part of our story of life here – so here it is:

Our House Hunters Ecuador Full Episode

This episode features many aspects of our life in Ecuador when we first moved.

Update (November 15, 2015): The publisher decided to remove the video from our channel. While it isn’t available on our channel anymore, you can see it on Amazon Prime. Sorry about that.

More reading: Check out this set of the best Ecuador living and travel books.

House Hunters International isn’t without controversy. Some viewers are offended that the shows are actually reenactments. Others view HHI as the reason for inflation in their target/new country.

Something to remember is that HHI covers countries around the world. It would be hard to blame a television show on affecting inflation in all these area around the world.

A quick tally of their 77 seasons, shows a current total of 800 episodes since 2006. Have the 14 Ecuador episodes really damaged the country that much?

What Do You Think?

Does HHI do more damage than good? Or do you see it as a light-hearted travel show? Please share your comments below!

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