The producers of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (aired 2003-2012) knew they had a winner in the very premise of their show. A construction crew, led by the charismatic Ty Pennington, granted gorgeous new homes to people who struggled with financial hardship or were otherwise deserving of such a life-changing experience. It seemed like the perfect feel-good watch – who doesn't fantasize about landing the home of their dreams? Each episode captured the moment of the home reveal, when everyone in the family, their friends and neighbors, cried happy tears. So did the audience. But was it all too good to be true? Is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition fake?
In one sense, the answer is no – they really do build those houses. But behind the scenes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the situation is not always as joyous and exciting as it appears onscreen. None of the families' financial problems vanished when they entered their freshly constructed palatial estates. The new houses came with pools and gourmet kitchens, but also with very high real estate taxes and astronomical utility bills. Over the years, a number of the "lucky" families have been forced to sell their homes, and some have even gone into foreclosure.
None of those outcomes are what any of the families ever expected. But when presented with such an offer, who would turn it down? Fans might think Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is one of the best reality TV shows ever, but the truth is much darker than you might expect. That's how Extreme Home Makeover is faked: by taking advantage of the dreams of desperate families.