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House hunter

Emily Rooney, left, friend Lindsey Grauman and realtor Amy Jurek look at a house in Minneapolis while filming the HGTV show House Hunters.1 / 2
Rooney, right, said she thinks she and friend Lindsey Grauman were picked for the show because they both work for professional sports teams. Rooney works for the Vikings and Grauman for the Minnesota Wild.2 / 2

There are so many things to consider when buying your first house: location, price, number of bedrooms, what you'll wear while touring any potential properties.

Well, maybe that last quality is only relevant for Emily Rooney.

That's because the 26-year-old Red Wing native is featured on HGTV's House Hunters, a show that follows home buyers as they choose their future house.

"They gave us strict wardrobe guidelines," Rooney said. "No patters, no stripes, no solid black, no solid white, no big jewelry."

Rooney was first approached to be on the national show last spring as she was just beginning to look for a home to buy in Minneapolis. Rooney, who works as a marketing coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, said her lease was up and she felt settled into her job.

"I thought it would be a good time to buy," she said.

Rooney worked with Remax realtor Amy Jurek, who had previously been on House Hunters with other clients and asked Rooney if she would be interested in applying to be on the show.

"She put the idea in my head," Rooney said.

The first step was a simple online application: name, age, occupation, what city you're looking in.

"I just did it, and I kind of forgot about it," Rooney said.

But three weeks later, she was contacted by a casting director asking if she was still looking for a house and if she was still interested in being on the show.

"I got back right away," Rooney said, adding that she is an HGTV fan and commonly watches House Hunters. "I said, 'Oh my gosh, I'd love to.'"

Because the show requires that participants have a second person to look at the houses with them, Rooney asked her friend Lindsey Grauman -- who had already planned on renting a room from Rooney -- to fill out the second application with her.

The day after the pair sent in the six-page application, the casting director set up a phone interview for the next day. Next, they sent in a five-minute audition tape, and Rooney and Grauman were notified that they were going to be on the show at the end of April.

"I was so excited," Rooney said.

Filming for the 30-minute episode took place over four days at the beginning of June; a cameraman, field director and audio technician met Rooney and Grauman in Minneapolis. Rooney said they spent the first day filming B-roll footage of both Rooney and Grauman at work and at various locations around Minneapolis.

The three days were spent filming the women touring houses. But despite the fact that House Hunters shows homebuyers looking at three potential properties before choosing the one they will buy, Rooney said she had actually already closed on her condo before filming began.

"They wanted to make sure that my offer was accepted," she said.

Still, Rooney said what viewers see on the show is authentic. The pair hadn't yet seen the other two properties featured on the show, so their reactions to those houses were real.

"I wouldn't say it's fake at all," Rooney said. "It was all very genuine. It's more planned than it makes it seem, though."

Rooney said she was eager to get into her condo after filming delayed the moving process. The pair began hauling furniture immediately, despite a nearly 12-hour day of filming.

"As soon as we were done, we moved in," she said. "We wanted to move in so bad."

Now, Rooney said she is looking forward to seeing the final episode, which will premiere 8 p.m. Monday.

"I hope I didn't say anything to embarrass myself," Rooney said, laughing. "I hope I don't sound stupid."

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.