EDINA, Minn. — Everyone said they were made for TV.
But for real estate experts Brad and Heather Fox it was never a goal. They hung up on the call two years ago that became their big break.
"When the production company for HGTV first reached out to us," said Heather, "We thought it was a prank."
The deal they just struck for their own home remodeling show is no joke. After discovering the Foxes through their before and after Instagram posts, the network signed them to a full season of a new series called “Stay or Sell.” The premise: Brad and Heather help homeowners decide to keep their house or buy a new one, then update whichever they choose.
"It definitely hasn't sunk in still," said Brad.
Now a 12 person crew shoots them five days a week, and in true "do-it-yourself" fashion the Foxes handle it all, from publicity to scheduling to their own hair and makeup.
"This is what we actually do," said Heather. "We're not actors pretending to do this, so really a lot of it is just us doing our own thing."
Their 'own thing' isn't always easy. Eight years after their first flip the couple has a realty company and a construction firm, plus two young sons and, now, the show, where they do up to eight renovations at once.
"We once stopped the entire crew because we had to go to our five-year-old's Zumba performance at daycare!" said Heather of their challenge to juggle it all.
“It's way harder than we expected,” said Brad.
Just ask Jay and Abby Brown, the subjects of Brad and Heather's latest episode.
Outgrowing their St. Louis Park rambler, they signed up for Stay or Sell.
"It really was fate," said Abby.
"It was clear with two kids and a busier lifestyle that we were running out of space," said Jay. "We weighed all of our options and, when this came along, it did look like a good opportunity for us. We weren't trying to be on TV."
But now... they are. And though they gave the Foxes a wish list and some Pinterest boards, they have no control over any choices and can't even see the house until it's done.
"It's been tough," said Abby. "It's been really hard to just let go and let them do their thing and be out of the process."
"It's really hard," Jay agreed.
Also tough is the show's shooting schedule, which has totaled about 5 full days, sometimes requiring that they leave work.
Still, Jay and Abby have no regrets. Thanks to HGTV's quick timelines, their seven month project took just four. And they've realized that not making decisions isn't so bad after all, especially when experts make them for you.
"It's kind a nice to just say, 'Ok, you pick that out,'" said Jay "[It takes the stress out] in a way. And there have been moments along the way where I've been thankful."
And that's before they've seen the results, which both couples say is even better in reality than on reality TV.
"We're expecting it's going to great, and we'd be really shocked if it isn't," said Jay. "I'm more worried I'm going to end up crying or something!"
"You see that magic moment when they open the door and the music changes and the clouds open up and that's actually like a real thing," said Brad. "We are there for that moment and I'll tell you that's real."
"It's pure happiness," said Heather. "It's pretty cool."