Published On: Fri, Jan 10th, 2014


Share This

Most expats living here in Merida, Yucatan, are quite familiar with House Hunters International.  The long running series shown on HGTV has had, of late, a love affair with the region.  Crews and couples have been seen roaming around “looking for houses” , trying to find that dream home in a matter of days.

Now, most of us know the inner workings of the show, and that many aspects of it are scripted for tv…just like any reality show.  The background stories of where they have come from are real, as is their desire to be in the city/country they are hunting in.  But seriously, nobody comes and buys a house after looking at only 3…or do they…?

My partner and I arrived here in Merida in May 2009 amidst the hottest heat wave in years.  We thought that we would be settling down into our new anonymous life here in a house we renovated from the ground up.  By July/August we met Agent Eric Partney who was looking for a couple that was interested in taking part in a new episode of HHI.  One thing led to another and we found ourselves entwined with the world of “Reality TV Real Estate.”  Our story up to our return to Canada from Tokyo Japan was real, but it was necessary for the producers to modify our “hunt for a Merida house” to fit their script.

5 years later, and loads of meeting people saying “No pressure, but you’re the reason we moved to Merida~!”, we found ourselves shooting with them again in a new project called “House Hunters: Where are they Now?”

This time around, the content was completely real.  Our businesses, our friends, our lives, all of it shared with the public once again.

Why do it, you ask?  It’s certainly not for the money or the fame.  You basically become an ambassador of sorts to the audience of the show who come to check out the city.  As well, there are the people who will criticize and judge you for participating in it, calling you a fake and a fraud.  You will be shunned by friends, people will treat you different…some good and some not so good.

The reality is that we did it because we know what kind of impact the media has on a place like Merida.  As Alistair Bell at Reuters’ Mexico City Bureau told me “…the Yucatan is Mexico’s equivalent to Siberia…it can use all the coverage it can get!”  When our first episode aired January 27, 2010, the number of people that contacted us saying “Thank you for what you did…do you realize the positive impact you have made for business?” This made us aware that doing this show was not about us, but about Merida, and inviting the world to get to know her.

So, if you decide to sit back and check out the show on HGTV January 10, 2014 (10:30pm EST), try not to see it as just another bit of reality tv, but rather a great promotional tool that will keep Merida in the spotlight of the international community for years to come.

House Hunters International

House Hunters International

by Erich Briehl

Erich Briehl is a veteran videojournalist/photojournalist who’s work has taken him to Asia and throughout the Americas.  With his beginnings back in 1997, Erich has strived to maintain ethical and professional journalistic standards, while delivering the truth in all stories he presents.




Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>