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‘It Was Absolutely Crazy’ [Exclusive]


HGTV’s ‘Steal This House’ Cristy Lee Reveals Filming Challenges – ‘It Was Absolutely Crazy’ [Exclusive]

by Gina Ragusa | More Articles: ExclusivesPublished onJuly 8, 2022

HGTV‘s Steal This House proves that magic still exists in the real estate and home renovation world. Metro-Detroit-based real estate agent Cristy Lee leaves her clients’ (and likely viewers’) jaws on the ground when she proves that real estate steals are still on the market – and with a little imagination, homebuyers can have their dream home.

The new series follows frustrated homebuyers in search of their dream home. But they are outpriced when it comes to the properties they prefer. Lee shows the buyers how they can still find love with hot property “steals” they would have never considered. And how newfound wiggle room in the budget and renovation magic can end up exceeding the home buyers’ expectations.

Cristy Lee reveals challenges filming ‘Steal This House’

Steal This House is escapism at its finest for the viewers. But Lee said filming the series in the middle of a pandemic had some serious challenges.

Cristy Lee | HGTV

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During an interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Lee had to laugh when she looked back on the filming hurdles. “I mean, are we going to be really honest? We actually started filming this first premiere episode before the pandemic started,” she revealed.

“So this was the absolute crazy whirlwind rollercoaster of renovating a home, purchasing a house, filming a TV show – on top of a global pandemic that no one could have seen coming,” she continued. “It was just crazy. It was absolutely crazy. We had so many things that were thrown our way that I think may have never been a factor in a normal home renovation type of scenario with time availability, budget materials … supplies. Contractors actually being available. Covid scares, anything. Like there’s just a crazy time in the world and we nailed it. I’m so happy with how everything turned out. It took a minute. But we got to the finish line.

What exactly is ‘the steal’?

The most important part of the entire process was seeing happy clients, she said. “So I think, it’s hard to say when you renovate any project, a very specific timeline,” Lee said. “And it’s even harder when you’re filming a TV show around that very specific timeline. And I think that we all did so well getting through some extreme challenges and making the best of some extreme situations. And came out with an amazing home that they love and hopefully an amazing episode and season for the viewers as well.

Lee added that the point of the show is finding that needle in the haystack steal. “What is really important to note about this show is that we’re looking for the steal,” she emphasized. “Sometimes what makes these houses a steal is that no one else is seeing that vision. So it’s not necessarily that the house has horrible decor or is in dire need of renovation. I always look at it like someone lived in that home for possibly a really long time and they probably really loved it. So I never really want to take away from the fact that whoever lived in that house prior, probably loved that decor. So I don’t want to knock them. It just might not be the taste and style for everyone.”

Cristy shared her favorite part of filming ‘Steal This House’

Lee also loved leaving a piece of nostalgia or material from the original home in her new renovations as a nod to the property, especially when it came to historic homes. “So any chance that I can keep any of those really unique historical and true to that era types of things in a home, I want to try to keep them intact as much as I possibly can,” she said.

Looking back on the experience, Lee loved helping homeowners finally find a property they love. “My favorite part is definitely working with the homeowner and being able to create a plan, and design a home that they love,” Lee reflected. “I love people and I love getting to know people. I love finding out their wants and their needs and helping to translate that for them into this final design, into this home. That’s the most exciting and rewarding part of the show.”

Steal This House premieres Saturday, July 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV. 

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