HGTV's long-running real estate series (and its sibling, ''House Hunters International'') follows prospective home buyers as they choose between three properties. Here's how it comes together...and what makes it so hard to turn off

1. Why is this show so ridiculously addictive?
The series (airing Monday-Friday at 10 p.m.) follows a consistent formula: Buyers look at three houses, debate their pros and cons, and reveal their decision. It’s impossible not to make your own pick as they go through the process. ”It’s real estate comfort food,” says HGTV director of original programming Brian Balthazar. ”You really feel like you are on this house hunt yourself.”

2. How do they find the buyers?
The show’s producers usually rely on local real estate agents to give them a heads-up when they think they might have an interesting client. ”We love to find those [couples] who are not in agreement about every little thing,” says Balthazar. To minimize the risk of a deal (and an episode) falling apart, producers sometimes choose buyers who are already close to making a decision on going after a particular home.

3. Do things ever go wrong?
Of course they do! In 2011, work on an episode of House Hunters International in Iceland was temporarily shut down after a volcanic eruption spewed a dangerous ash cloud. Balthazar also recalls an instance where one bickering couple split up while an episode was still in production.

4. Will there be more spin-offs?
House Hunters on Vacation, which lets families pick a house to spend a week in, premiered last summer, and House Hunters: Where Are They Now? is planned for this October.