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Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

HGTV's House Hunters are on the prowl in Ann Arbor this week

By Ben Freed

Cable network HGTV’s show House Hunters is in Ann Arbor this week. They are filming an episode in which Annette Janik searches for the perfect home.

Janik, a 30-year-old digital producer moving back to Ann Arbor from Chicago, is being aided in her search by Alex Milshteyn of Edward Surovell Realtors and her friend, Elisa Noeske. In the show, Janik will look through three possible houses and hopefully pick one to purchase.


Alex Milshteyn, photographed in 2009.

House Hunters is no stranger to Ann Arbor. An episode aired in March of a young couple searching for a house to mark their one-year dating anniversary.

“One of the producers is from Ann Arbor, so she loves to come back to shoot episodes here,” Kim Almonroeder, an account executive at McCann Detroit who represents Pure Michigan, said.

Almonroeder said HGTV was also looking to shoot an episode of House Hunters in Michigan after large advertising buys by Pure Michigan on the network’s shows led to a partnership between the advertising agency and the cable network.

House Hunters has also wanted to feature Milshteyn in an episode for a while.

“[They] have been after me for probably almost five years now trying to get me to do an episode for them,” he said.

“This time around I had a client interested in doing it with me, so we were able to make it happen.”


House Hunters could be in Ann Arbor three times this year.

Milshteyn said it is a new experience for him to be taped while showing properties to a client, but it hasn’t been all bad.

“It’s really been a lot of fun,” he said. “Having someone behind you with a camera makes you more self aware about everything you say and do.”

He added that the producers have already talked to him about coming back to Ann Arbor in the fall to tape another episode.

Thursday was the second day of shooting for Janik and Milshteyn. Almonroeder said the crew will be shooting “beauty shots” of Ann Arbor throughout the city on Saturday.

It is unclear when the episode will air. Almonroeder said it was scheduled to be shown in April or May of 2013, but Milshteyn was under the impression that it would air this fall season, probably in October.

House Hunters airs new episodes every weeknight on HGTV at 10 p.m. EST. The show has averaged 1.53 million viewers over the past 5 weeknights according to

Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

Is it okay if I tell people to check the tax records and search her name? Will you delete me for that also?? I am not sure how my last comment was off topic or wrong other than the fact that I shared a fact. I realize is not big on them, but facts can be fun!!

say it plain

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

Oh, I see from another active thread here that Ben Freed is not on vacation, and is commenting on other pieces in the news right now! Please, Mr. Freed, can you tell us whether you are aware that HGTV is filming a series of scenes depicting a house search that is all done now? And that this is what they standardly do? That unlike what you've reported here, Annette Janik is not being filmed as she's having her realtor show her homes, along with her friend, but is *re-creating* that? Why is this treated as so secret if there is no problem with it?

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Oh my, now my excerpt from a piece on how House Hunters is fake was also removed lol. This was recent national news. A former participant came forward last month and told how she cringed to have to play along with their faking. She was told that her real story wasn't compelling, and she was forced to come up with a different one (straight out lie... she was going to be renting her old place, blah blah, they made her tell instead "we're desperate for more square footage" was the general gist). When called on it, House Hunters producers admitted they shorten the process, with a hedge about how in the interest of time they have to showcase people who've already done 'most of the legwork'. But the whistleblower claimed they made her use her friends' houses, which were not for sale, as the two 'uchosen' homes! Oh, and we all know, and it was both myself and other posters here who posted it... that the house Janik chose, that they are filming the pretend 'buying' process for right now today and yesterday and tomorrow, was closed on three weeks ago! Why is it okay for to remove these comments?! I'm amazed, really!

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Just a reminder- We welcome active commenting on all articles, but request that readers stay on-topic and balance the quantity of their posts in a way that is relevant to the discussion at hand. Thanks!


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

let's remember it's made for tv and it's all a SHOW.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

Burned out on HGTV. Boring and sooo scripted.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Of COURSE it's fake, it's a TV show!!! In case anyone doesn't know... all reality shows are fake & staged too!!

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

Well, you can say that, but as the piece says, the head of HGTV specifically states that their station is *not* drama-based, but *journalism*. I think it's problematic to claim that a network does "news", but stages their shows... and that other news outlets, like this one, repeats their claims that this is "happening now" when it happened without cameras rolling, is all done now, and they're now going to pretend this person is making decisions as they film. It's one thing to imagine the Bachelor or whatever being fake, they don't claim to be journalists... This should be disturbing. At the very least should be telling us something more like "while Janik bought the house 3 weeks ago according to public tax rolls, the show will highlight the decisions she was faced with" kinda thing. But, the realtors and the alleged journalists are invested in letting people believe this is 'real', so they continue pretending, lying. Are all storied in the business review full of pretense and staging and lies too? Maybe we have to come to accept that to. And learn to like it, because what good would reporting facts and such do for anyone, right?

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

Yep, America is screwed when even shopping on television is faked, orchestrated by the people who stand to benefit from selling lies, touted by the local "journalists" as great showcasing of the local lying salespeople, and the sheep populace say they "prefer it that way". No wonder we get the political life we get, and the economy we have, and so on down the line. Keep enjoying the 'reality' tv Ann Arbor! The most recent group of entrepreneurs will soon have successfully "flipped this country" (unlike flipping those houses some years back, this can't be done quite over a couple weeks!) while we're busy looking at shows like HouseHunters...


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

For me the fun is in seeing the different houses. And in House Hunters International (my personal favorite) seeing how the houses are different, getting a glimpse of the community, and seeing what different money buys in different places.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

I agree but I am a little disappointed disappointed that is is all fake - but I love the disappointed show


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

My other favorite is when the kitchen is a real dog, a complete remodel waiting to happen, and the Realtor says...."Oh, that can be easily changed".... Yah, nothing several thousand dollars won't fix!


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Great show.......What would it be without the Realtor leading the buyer through, exclaiming..."This is the living room, this is the kitchen, this is the bathroom........." And the buyers ogling...." I love the hardwood floors!"


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Well, who doesn't realize it is somewhat fake with loosely scripted phrases and buyer stereotypes? However, regarding if the rejected houses are actually on the market it not, I think it would actually be best if they were not. I mean, if these are real houses to be sold why would the community, and those homeowners, want these houses shown in a negative light?

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

too funny! Yes, I think a network that claims to be journalism should claim that the other houses a buyer looked at with their realtor should be instead homes of their friends that aren't even for sale. Because journalists wouldn't want to be involved in hurting people's feelings. Actually pretty similar to some of the stuff I've heard the lousy lying realtors in Ann Arbor...and it's not just here, but they are especially skilled at it here I see...tell buyers. Refusing to offer less than asking or close to it, because you "wouldn't want to insult the seller" lol.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

"Alex ...and HER friend....Elisa" I thought Alex was a dude?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Come about reaching to point out a possible error. In fact, if you read it again, the female buyer is being helped by Alex (the dude) and her (the buyer) friend, Elisa.

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

"...and BY HER friend..." proofing is a small issue... I wonder if the reporter will ever address the fact that the person has already bought her house? Are we all supposed to have realized this? I guess so...


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

ohhh TV.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:40 a.m.

Who cares if most of the house hunting featured on the show is already done. Of course it is! It usually takes months to find a home, House Hunters has to fit all of the info into a 1/2 hour segment- what do you expect? The point here is that the show is for entertainment and it features Ann Arbor and shows the town and Realtors in a good light.

say it plain

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

I just think, unlike @Suzanne, that this is *terrible* publicity for Ann Arbor. This "news" report is, that is, because it highlights a couple of unsavory things... Among them, the status of our news-outlet as a (willing? I leave it to the reporter to tell us) participant in the mis-representation that is this HouseHunters show... Bad enough that the show's producer is from here lol, and that they'll be back over and over lol. Though, I am happy to see the 'disclosure' that the program has decided to ...ehem..."highlight"...Michigan's cities as part of a new relationship between the Pure Michigan advertising/marketing firm and its network. That comes close to setting a little bit of context for this alleged reality show!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

Is this the say it plain show?

say it plain

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Well, House Hunters surely isn't lol... The folks filming in Ann Arbor now, if it works like the show sited by the recent 'whistle blower' participant tells it, will have the little house-hunting team walking through the homes in question and re-create 'first' impressions and so on, cute! Funny to hear from the realtor here that it has been interesting to be so newly 'self-aware' of what he says and does, what with the camera following him and all.

say it plain

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

Wait, I just noticed the "news" story here... The text reads "Janik will look at three possible houses and hopefully pick one to purchase". Does the reporter here *not* know that this is all an already-done deal?! Or are we parsing the words "will", and "hopefully" and "possible"?! Cool, this is getting better with each read-through!

say it plain

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

I can't help but laugh *hard* at the idea that the show had been wanting to feature this particular agent for a long goodness...I'd seen first-hand some great acting once! Can't wait for the episode to air...I trust will give us a heads-up when it's about to!!

Potato Chip

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Alex Milshteyn is the best realtor in town and beyond...congrats to him and Edward Surovell Realtors for the great publicity!

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Fair enough, @Amanda Zee, but for some reason I can't fathom they took out my post telling about the commentary pieces on the web about how it *does* matter that House Hunters had to admit, after being outed by a former participant on it, that it's often *not at all real* despite their claiming it is! And also they took out my (and another commenter's) revelation that the property tax records show Janik closed on a house in town a couple of weeks ago!? Isn't that *relevant*?!

Amanda Zee

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

@Say It Plain- Sorry, I wasn't trying to 'advertise'... @Goober had asked what @Potato Chip was basing their comment on, so I posted some info. It's easily found with a Google search. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with Alex. I don't know what your comments said, but perhaps the way in which they were worded violated the posting rules? Although I admit it seems that what does and does not get deleted seems to vary.

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

Wait, why is @Amanda Zee allowed to paste Alex's advertising on here, but I can't relay my own personal experiences with him, which were not positive? Oh my, and the reporter never actually answers the questions about whether he too knows this is all faked!?

Amanda Zee

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

Pardon me, Edward Surovell Realtors.

Amanda Zee

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

@Goober- Alex certainly is one of the best, at least. He came highly recommended to my husband and I, and did an amazing job helping us out with purchasing a foreclosed home in the Lakewood sub. He is one of the top selling realtors at Surrovel. Here is some information from his website, if you actually care. Professional Experience: * Associate Broker * Ten years experience * Multi-million dollar producer - $28.5 Million Sales Volume and 160 Homes Sold in 2011 - $27.2 Million Sales Volume and 143 Homes Sold in 2010 - $18.4 Million Sales Volume and 120 Homes Sold in 2009 - $13.4 Million Sales Volume and 68 Homes Sold in 2008 - $12.3 Million Sales Volume and 47 Homes Sold in 2007 - $13.2 Million Sales Volume and 43 Homes Sold in 2006 - $10.8 Million Sales Volume and 46 Homes Sold in 2005 * Serving Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dexter, Saline, Chelsea, Milan, Manchester, and all of Washtenaw County * Certified Corporate Relocation Specialist * Specializing in Residential, Condominium, Income Property, and Vacant Land Sales * Former Committee Chair, Multiple List Commitee, Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors * Former President, Board of Directors, Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors * Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, Eastern Michigan University * Associates Degree in Marketing, Washtenaw Community College * Graduate, REALTOR Institute (GRI) * Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR)


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

@Goober. You actually sit and think about lists of best realtors? Do you have a list of best librarians or buss drivers as well?


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

On what basis is Alex the best realtor? I have other names in mind and Alex never entered the mix.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

House Hunters doesn't deny that the show is pretty much fake. I suspect that Ms. Janik has already purchased a home and that they're now just doing the filming. Check the property records.

say it plain

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

But it's actually more like "another Milli Vanilli" than @Goober may realize... because as the slate piece points out, HGTV has specifically claimed that they are *not* like the "drama-creating" reality television shows, but rather claim they are journalists. Like this outlet claims to be, I suppose. They admitted, when they had to, that House Hunters is 'pretty much fake'. It's worse than what they'd admitted to in this case, because here the person being filmed currently actually has closed on the house she chose. They claimed they 'sometimes' work with people who are 'rather far along' in their house-buying process lol....I'd say Ms. Janik is indeed that! But with these 'high-stakes' real estate transactions of course, she will no doubt be able to totally reproduce her distaste for the other homes 'in the running'! I just wonder if these other homes are actually places she'd *ever* looked at! Maybe the reporter can do a follow-up?!

say it plain

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

Yes @LauraM, that's exactly what happens! When the ruse was revealed recently by a participant, they admitted it, but claimed they really have no choice but to do it that way. Which is silly to claim of course, and belies some serious problems with the whooole scene and the realtors who don't have a problem with such misrepresentation. I tried to post a link to a slate piece considering these issues, but I couldn't get it to work it seems...


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

Most people look at more than just 3 houses before buying. I've always wondered if the client had already chosen a house and then they film them looking at that one and two of the worst that they had looked at so they can complain to the agent that such and such is a deal-breaker.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

Another Milli Vanilli, eh?


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

Way to go Alex!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

To be honest, A2 really does have a lot to offer! Good publicity!

say it plain

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

"To be honest", @Suzanne, that's an interesting phrase ;-) And while I gotta admit I love Zingerman's (yet don't love the City officials at all these particular the Mayor and his folks...and vote Democrat often, but not always, including not for the Mayor this last time 'round!), I wonder, @Goober, if the Dexter house's proximity to *both* Zingerman's Roadhouse *and* the deli didn't factor into the featured house-buyer's decision lol! But the Roadhouse existed in 2009 too, didn't it, so *that* couldn't have accounted for the increase in 'value' in the house since then! I can't wait for the show to air!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

Yes they do. A mayor and city council unrestrained by good sense, fiscal responsiblity and visionary leadership. A town and populace that mass rejects anything other than a Democratic point of view. And, anything that has to do with either Zingerman's or the UofM - walks on water! Welcome to Ann Arbor!