The Untold Truth Of "Love It Or List It Vancouver"

As the name implies, "Love It Or List It Vancouver" is a reality series that focuses on residents in Vancouver, British Columbia who are at a crossroads with their living situation. According to HGTV, Jillian Harris and Todd Talbot, the co-hosts of the show, engage their clients in a refreshingly entertaining tug of war. Harris uses her interior decor prowess to get homeowners to reconnect, renovate and keep living in their homes. Todd Talbot, on the other hand, makes the right moves to ensure the homeowners view new properties, guiding homeowners every step of the way with his real estate knowledge such that they will be incentivized to list their home.

The show is also called "Love It Or List It Too" (in the United States) and currently has a 6.7 rating on IMDB based on 614 voters (via IMDB). It began in 2013 as a spin-off of the Toronto-based show "Love It Or List It". Since the beginning of the series, when it first aired on W TV, executive producers Maria Armstrong and Catherine Fogarty have managed to successfully offer up 5 seasons to dedicated fans of the show (via Tonight). Their hard work was rewarded when the show won a Leo award in 2016 and received nominations in 2018 (via Beyond Rights). 

All this being said, there is still a lot more information surrounding "Love It or List It Vancouver ” which most viewers do not know. Therefore, as the world waits to learn the release date for season 6, keep reading to discover a few untold truths which we've uncovered.

All episodes are actually not filmed in Vancouver

"Love It Or List It Vancouver ” is indeed the name of the show, therefore you would automatically expect all episodes to be filmed in Vancouver, however, this is so not the case. Granted Season 1 to 4 showcase residents in different parts of Vancouver. However, Jillian Harris, the show's female co-host, got pregnant after Season 4 wrapped up and she realized that she could not continue the tedious commute from her home base of Kelowna to Vancouver, every time the cast and crew needed to film. 

On speaking to Global News, she says, "We had an opportunity to pick up the last part of our season, but this is home for me and I knew I was pregnant at the time we started...I just begged and pleaded and said, 'Kelowna's a beautiful place. There's so many houses that need renovating.' And they said 'Ok we'll give it a shot.'" Todd Talbot further confirms the stress surrounding filming schedules as he says in his blog: "Unlike most shows, we shoot year round and have been filming consistently for the past 5 years. This is a rarity in any TV gig. The good news is we film year round and the bad news is we film year round... Finding time for family and other shows has been tricky."

Even if they did not film all year round, a heavily pregnant woman can easily fall ill if subjected to that constant stress, hence it is quite understandable that Harris chose to reduce her traveling and be close to her home base. It is even more gracious that the team took her suggestion on board, which speaks to the ease of the crew and gives more context to the interview Harris had with DH News when she said, "I will say that my general experience on this show is that I am very spoiled. I am so lucky because we have such an amazing team that takes care of us." Some of the specific areas which the producers considered when filming the fifth season were; Lower Mainland Kelowna, West Kelowna, and surrounding areas (via Kelowna Now).

Jillian has been on two reality shows prior to this

This may not really be an untold truth, but it is a truth that many may still not be aware of. According to The Spotlight Agency, a group of agents which represent Jillian Harris," Love It Or List it Vancouver" is not Harris' first television stint. Prior to signing her HGTV contract, Harris graced the screens of the general public courtesy of her time spent on ABC's "The Bachelor" (where she finished as the third runner-up). In addition to this, she was also cast as ABC's "The Bachelorette," an enviable position which more often than not goes to a runner-up from the previous "The Bachelor" show. After "The Bachelorette," "Jilly" as she calls herself, then snagged a steady spot on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (via She Knows).

Out of all the roles she played prior to "Love It Or List it Vancouver," "The Bachelorette" may possibly be the major stand-out role that most people remember her from. Sadly, all memories surrounding this point in her life were not pleasant for her because things did not last with her beau. Nevertheless, Harris was determined to get over this and start showing her professional side to the world by doing a few more appearances on home renovation shows before HGTV producers reached out to try her out as a co-host. Another one of those shows is "Canada's Handyman Challenge"  (via The Times Colonist).

When asked about her past gigs on television prior to "Love It or List It Vancouver," Jillian is honest and open, as she owes the drama she endured courtesy of the ABC shows to her success in snagging her current HGTV gig. Speaking to US Magazine, she counts her blessings, saying, "It's also hard not to connect my current career situation to 'The Bachelor'...I also was able to stick in the television industry with my role on Love it Or List it Too, which is also a dream. ... I have a ton to be grateful for and I owe a slice of that to the Bachelor family and experience!"

Todd Talbot is a thorough thespian

Harris is not the only star to have graced our screens before taking up the hosting position on "Love It Or List It Vancouver." In fact, Todd Talbot, (Harris' co-host), not only enjoyed his fair share of limelight on various TV shows, but he's actually been in the entertainment industry, perhaps even longer than Harris. According to IMDB, Talbot is a former child actor best known for his role as Matt Walker on the teenage soap opera "Fifteen" under the Nickelodeon network. Talbot is also a trained dancer and a well-known thespian who has made a name for himself in the world of theater. As of the 2019 Christmas period, the news broke that Talbot will be starring and tap dancing his way into the heart of stage play lovers courtesy of his role in the musical "Crazy For You" (via Burnaby Now).

The beauty of this theater role is that it came up after the filming of his HGTV show concluded, which freed him up to further explore his passions. Fun fact: He will be starring in the play alongside his wife, and this is not an unusual occurrence for the Talbots seeing as the couple met while doing a stage production of "West Side Story" in 2002 (via The Vancouver Sun). Talbot seems to love the appeal of filming television shows, but he definitely prefers a live audience as he confirmed to the periodical saying; "...after five seasons of 'Love It or List It,' I'm ready for the interaction of a live audience."

Regardless of his extreme fondness for a live audience, Talbot still continues to venture deeper into other home renovation shows. On his eponymous blog, he wrote "I have been fortunate to participate in a few other home shows: 'Who Lives Here,' 'Game of Homes' season 1&2, and the current season of 'Home To Win'" (via Todd Talbot).

Jillian and co host Todd were not always besties

Yes, you read that right! Often times with co-hosts who have an awesome level of on-screen chemistry, it is easy to believe that they are the best of friends, who've known each other for years. This could not be any further from the case with Talbot and Harris who (believe it or not), had never met or heard of each other until the trial filming day. 

If we back up the timeline a bit to the year 2012, it was Jillian Harris who was announced to the world as some sort of sure pick for the job, way before Todd had even been discovered as a possible candidate. When the news broke on Vancouver City News, the statement from the article clearly alluded to the fact that Jillian (and the rest of the world) would have to wait for the new co-host to be revealed. 

Forget the fact that at the time, both of them were West Coast natives who were super passionate about the real estate industry in Canada. Todd Talbot mentions that he laid eyes on her on the same day they were to do a trial recording. He refers to her as "a lady named Jillian" when he writes on his eponymous blog about the very first time they met. He explains that the pair "came from really different worlds" but it seems like they both wanted the same thing. We are guessing that "same thing," is a relaxed, exciting approach to the show, because that is what they both offer to the series that we have all come to love! (via Todd Talbot)

Homeowners shell out a whole lot of cash for the renovations

Both Harris and Talbot have confirmed that money has to change hands for any homeowner to enjoy their services and the services of the network. Harris went further to dish on the Times Colonist, about the ease with which some homeowners are able to hand over hefty chunks of money for her to work magic on their homes, quoting figures such as $100,000 as an average amount which she could be offered for renovations. This piece of information confirms that the renovations done on the show are in no way at all, free.

Further proof that details the amount of money "Love It Or List It Vancouver" homeowners have to have before they could even be considered as potential candidates can be found within the casting call details. It clearly states that any hopeful wishing to come on the show MUST "have a renovation budget or can access renovation financing" (per Kelowna Now). 

The unwritten part of that casting call information is the fact that homeowners would have to leave their homes vacant so the "Love It Or List it Vancouver" crew can work their magic. Therefore, part of that home renovation fund may include the funds for their temporary living situation when they exit their homes because this is not covered within production expenses. There has been no confirmation of this extra financial burden on the homeowner, but since this is the case for the original show, we can only deduce that it is also the case for the West coast spin-off (per Greensboro).

Homeowners still enjoy freebies courtesy of the show

When Harris sat with Daily Hive she opened up about the freebies that homeowners who come on the show get to enjoy. "... People do have to pay for their own renovations but there are major perks, some of those are in terms of free cabinetry or free furniture. Not to mention, there are no renovations that can get done in a month! ... I think you can see for yourself that these are high end renovations, with good detail and good finishing... our spaces are gorgeous."

Asides from Harris' testament to the freebies she gives away, Harris, who has worked in the interior decor field for so long, is also offering the gift of her expertise. Naturally, she may have forged iron-clad bonds with top-tier decor companies who tend to pitch in to make her job easier. Some of the brands featured on the show and that have been used in the homes include Westwood Fine Cabinetry which offers stellar kitchen renovation designs, in addition to Cosentino, the Silestone island tabletop vendors.

Jillian's current partner also features on the show

Harris is in a committed relationship with the father of her kids, Justin Pasutto, who snagged a role on "Love It Or List it Vancouver" right beside her! Most people know him as an ex-pro athlete, but Pasutto also boasts skills in the world of construction, project management, and development. His Instagram bio reads: "Creator, Investor, Dad, Developer ▪️ ♥️ @jillian.harris." Garnering a role on the HGTV series most likely would not have happened if Harris did not suggest the Kelowna move for Season 5 of the show. As the renovation queen, she always has a trusty project manager on site who would look through the house and give the green light on ideas that will work and those which will not work. 

For the first four seasons, the main project manager working alongside Harris was the man and the legend known as Kenny Gemmil. However, because Gemmil and the majority of his staff were based closer to Vancouver, the spot opened for a new Kelowna-based project manager to take the reins and replace him when they began renovating the homes in Kelowna. The replacement news remained under wraps until the first episode of Season 5 aired and Jillian dished all to her loyal blog audience saying, "you'll get to see Justin on all of our Kelowna renovations as he's our Okanagan Project Manager!!" (via Jillian Harris). 

According to IMDB, Pasutto starred in all 11 episodes of the show between 2018-2019, when the current season aired. This will make "Love It Or List it Vancouver" the second show Pasutto and Harris have worked on together from the W Network. They also have "Jillian & Justin," a docu-series chronicling their second try at parenthood, produced by the same company that produces "Love It Or List It Vancouver" (via Real Screen).

They've faced nasty legal suits

Just like life, things aren't always hunky dory in the world of home renovation tv shows. There are some couples who absolutely adore the results they are presented with on the home reveal date, while there are others who close their episode out with utter dissatisfaction. According to CBC, Jeanine Almeida and Norman Waine are a couple who were led to believe that the man and the legend, Kenny Gemmil, would be the project manager working alongside Harris to handle their home renovation. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to the production team, someone else was brought onto their home site to handle what would have been Gemmil's job. The couple was infuriated at this move from the "Love It Or List It Vancouver" team, so they took legal action and in no time, the show was faced with a nasty legal suit with court documents documenting the deep sense of betrayal that the couple felt.

 Granted, Kenny Gemmil has his accolades, so it's no surprise that the couple may have truly banked on his expertise (via Kenny Gemmill). Even Jillian attested to how much people love him saying on her blog about her husband temporarily replacing him for the episodes with Kelowna homes: 'But don't worry, for those die-hard Kenny fans, he's still here too! Kenny will be managing the Vancouver homes!!" (via Jillian Harris)

News Beezer reports that the production company responded with their own court documents in which they denied any foul work. They stated that "Plaintiffs have assumed no liability for any renovation work after the [on-air] disclosure."

Majority of viewers feel the show is scripted

One disappointed reviewer wrote on IMDB about the show saying; "The homeowners are real and so are their houses. Having said that, the rest is scripted for gawd sake...the fact that they (the renovation team) often know in advance where some of these surprises might be and they make it seem like they found it in the middle of the reno for the dramatic effect. That's show biz." Another reviewer wrote; "I think the show is great but tired that there are always significant construction errors on all houses that is not realistic nor true! The entire show is just fake – annoying."

But Harris has refuted these claims of the show being scripted, and the fact that her team pretends to find nasty surprises along the way for dramatic effect. When speaking to Daily Hive, she says, "The show is committed to making sure the homeowners are happy...a lot of time homeowners have issues with their home that they fail to mention or hadn't thought through, so they give you a bunch of money and you go for it and then they have no siding on the side of their house and there is a huge leak and I have to fix it. You can only do so much research because they need these projects done in 6-8 weeks and we rely on the homeowners to communicate with us."

Jillian will not be returning for the next season

Jillian Harris decided not to return for the next season of the show as it was of utmost importance for her to be closer to her kids, instead of spending all her days on a constant commute from Kelowna to the "Love It or List it Vancouver" filming location (via Jillian Harris).

UC Davis Health Medical Center makes a case for her decision to be intentional about spending more time with her toddlers, stating that bonding with them at an early stage will aid the child's development and help shape their character.

Nevertheless, now that we know Harris is surely not returning, the next question is who would replace her, and will W Network really shoot another season with a new face? As of the time of this article, no concrete release date has been announced for the next season (via Tonight's TV).