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'House Hunters' comes to Detroit Lakes

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Detroit Lakes, Minn. (WDAY/WDAZ-TV)--Fans of the HGTV television series "House Hunters" may notice that this week's episode features some mighty familiar locations.

Yes, Detroit Lakes is the setting for the series' latest installment, airing locally on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. Titled "Single Mom Seeks Dream Lakefront Home in Minnesota," the episode focuses on Dr. Jennifer Pedersen, owner/operator of Northland Chiropractic in Detroit Lakes.

A longtime fan of "House Hunters," Pedersen was seeking to relocate from her Vergas-area home to one in Detroit Lakes.

"I wanted to be closer to my business and my daughter's school," she said. "I've been watching 'House Hunters' for 15 years, and I love the show."

So she decided to take a chance and applied online, emphasizing the fact that, as a longtime viewer of the show, she noticed that most of the series' episodes tended to focus on larger cities rather than smaller rural communities like Detroit Lakes.

Her gamble worked, as she was approached by one of the show's producers a short time later—something that isn't very common.

"They told us that the chances are pretty slim for someone to be chosen" through the online application process," said realtor Jen Maxwell of Jack Chivers Realty, who is featured in Tuesday's show along with Pedersen's longtime friend and "touring partner" during the home selection process, Missy Dresch Newberg.

Along with Pedersen, Maxwell and Newberg also had to submit video clips to be considered for the show, she added.

Pedersen said that the HGTV filming crew (from Chicago) and producers (from Los Angeles) came to Detroit Lakes for two separate filming trips, one in December 2015 and the other in February of this year.

Each trip lasted 3-4 days, and the three women had to be on set for all 13-14 hours of filming, even when they weren't being featured.

"They gave us lunch breaks, but we ate with the crew," said Newberg, noting that though the days on set were long, the producers treated them quite well.

"I think we went to a different restaurant every day," she said, adding that 'House Hunters' paid the tab for their food as well as for the crew, and they always had snacks available on set.

Newberg also noted that the producers and crew were all very impressed by how much there was to see and do in such a small town.

"They were glad to come and film in a small town that was thriving," she said, adding that they seemed quite surprised to learn that there were several $3-4 million lake homes on the market in the area.

They were also quite pleased with their warm reception by the community's residents, Newberg said. "There were a lot of questions," she added.. "Around here it's not every day that you see three women being followed around by a full film crew. But at all the places we went around and filmed, they said how welcomed they felt."

Pedersen said that one of the most surprising aspects for her was how much work went into the process of creating a TV show.

"A lot goes into a half hour of television," she said. "There's a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that I don't think any of us were aware of, but it was a good experience."

"We all had a good time," Maxwell agreed, but added, "It was definitely a learning experience."

So what can viewers of Tuesday's show expect to see? Even if they aren't familiar with the three homes that Pedersen was given to choose from, those who tune in will notice several local "hot spots" that were featured, including the city beach, Detroit Mountain, The Fireside restaurant, and of course, Pedersen's own office on Jackson Avenue. Their daughters are featured prominently in some of the segments as well—and friends and family of the three women will probably notice that Maxwell's and Newberg's husbands were recruited to serve as "extras" during their filming at The Fireside, which took place outside regular business hours.

All three of the women admitted that they were a little nervous about how the show turned out, as they will be seeing it for the first time on Tuesday along with everyone else.

"They'll be sending us a copy, but not until after it's aired," said Newberg. "We haven't seen any of it."

As for which of of the three featured homes she chose, Pedersen said that although her friends, family and neighbors already know the answer—she's already living there, after all—she'd prefer not to ruin the surprise for anyone else.

Spoiler alert! "It's on Detroit Lake," Maxwell said.

One thing Pedersen would like to emphasize, however, is how much she and her daughter are enjoying life in their new hometown.

"Detroit Lakes is a great place to live and raise a family," she said. "I'm proud to call it my home now."