The Untold Truth Of Home Town

If you're not watching reno show Home Town, you're missing out. Home Town follows married couple Ben and Erin Napier as they help create the perfect homes for their fellow residents of Laurel, Mississippi. With the ultimate small-town vibe, the show makes us feel like we, too, live in Laurel. The couple is as passionate about their little town as they are about restoring the historic character homes lining their streets. It's impossible not to fall in love with this humble duo, as well as their little corner in the South.

Ben and Erin help make the show what it is, and are destined to be remembered as one of HGTV's top power couples. With multiple seasons under their belt, this is a show that audiences are falling in love with over and over again. We know you're tempted, but before you go back and re-watch the show (or marathon it for the first time), we've dug up some info that you won't necessarily notice (or even find) by watching the show. Let's get to know this couple better — there's a lot you don't know about Erin and Ben Napier — and uncover some of the untold truths of HGTV's sweetest reno show, Home Town.

Home Town's Ben and Erin Napier met in college

Ben and Erin Napier's love story started in college. As reported by E!, Erin was aware of Ben before he noticed her. She shared, "He was the guy on campus that everyone knew, and I just wanted to be his friend."

And as for Ben, it was love at first sight. He said, "The first time I met Erin was in the cafeteria at Jones County Community College," adding, "I was talking to a group of girls and they said, 'Wow, I love that girl's style.' I turned around and Erin had this really short pixie cut and she was wearing these loose-fitting jeans and it was like, oh man, she was so cool. From that moment on I was hooked."

They were both on the yearbook team together, and the rest is history. Ben continued on to say, "It took six days," noting, "I hugged her for the first time on a Tuesday, at the yearbook meeting, and we spent every minute that we could together for the next six days. Then I told her that I loved her and that I was going to marry her one day." Swoon.

They have their show thanks to social media

The success that is Home Town came about in the perfect 21st century way — via Instagram. According to E!, the couple and their home were featured in a magazine, and the photo of their house found its way onto social media. Erin said, "An executive of development at HGTV saw the photo, and we ended up connecting." She continued, "She reached out and asked if we'd ever thought about doing TV; she'd been stalking our Instagram for a while and was like, 'I'm in love with your town, with your relationship and I just wonder if you'd ever thought about a show.' But we never intended for this to happen."

And the couple had no idea a TV show could even be a future possibility. As Ben described, "We owned a stationery company at the time, and our minds went to, what if she bought stationery, and how awesome that would be. She'll send it to all these important people that she knows. ... She decided to put us on TV — and thankfully HGTV loved it and here we are."

The casting process for Home Town is relatively straightforward

If you're considering moving to lovely Laurel and wondering how to get your property featured on Home Town, fear not because local publication Downtown Laurel has got it covered. After reaching out to HGTV and RTR Media, they were advised that, first and foremost, applicants need to be prepared to really sell themselves. "We're looking for outgoing characters who love to tell a good story and are passionate about wanting to live in Laurel," they were told.

Simply send an email to Home Town's casting team with details about you who are and why you want to move to Laurel, if you've recently purchased a property or are looking for one and not sure where to begin, and, naturally, your renovation budget. The producers also advised, "We are looking for homes of all types, shapes, and sizes in Laurel and require that you have a renovation budget that fits the needs of your new home." The next step is filling out an application form, after which there's a casting process that lasts anywhere between six weeks and six months. 

Home Town's Erin Napier had her eye on her dream home since she was a little girl

Home Town star Erin Napier knew exactly which home she wanted to settle in some day. Since her childhood years, she kept an eye on a house in Laurel that she dreamed of buying when she was older.

As she later posted on Instagram, describing her history with the house, she said, "I loved it when I was child, passing by on trips to town, deeply curious about what it would be like to live in that little yellow cottage, right in the middle of town. I loved it as a teenager when I took photos of it that I deemed creative. I loved it on long walks with Ben in college when we would daydream about our someday life together."

And that dream one day became a reality. As reported by Country Living, the Napiers moved into Erin's dream house some time after marrying in 2008, restoring the 1925 house and creating a new home and story for themselves.

They care a lot about small towns

Laurel is not just the backdrop for Home Town, but rather takes center stage in an important way for the show's hosts.

Ben and Erin Napier have made it clear that they want their show to give a focus to small towns and the charming elements of that lifestyle. As Ben shared with Fox News, "For us, we kind of felt like it was only worth it if it would shine a positive light on our town and on our state." Erin then joined in, commenting, "And on small town America in general." She noted, "We were tired of the stereotypes about small towns and the kind of future and career you can have in a small town. So we wanted to shine any kind of positive life over that kind of lifestyle."

The Napiers are making sure they do whatever they can to show support. Aside from starring in a show that puts Laurel in the spotlight, the working couple also makes sure to use American factories to produce their own products. As Ben told E! during an interview, "We're focused on revitalizing a small town in America," noting, "And if we're going to be serious about that, we have to be serious about supporting American factories because that's what those small towns depend on. We're having a lot of fun designing these products."

Home Town has had a massive impact on Laurel

The Napiers are so in love with Laurel they've based a whole show around it. Happily, the impact of Home Town is keenly felt by the denizens of the Mississippi haven, too. A piece by Realtor explained how Ben and Erin were part of a wave of entrepreneurs who moved back and reinvigorated Laurel's local commerce. "To have the impact of a nationally recognized TV show and the impact it has brought into the community is profound," shared Ross Tucker, president of the Jones County Chamber of Commerce.

Before Home Town became a hit, Tucker said, "We haven't had a traditional attraction for tourism. Now people are coming through. ...They want to see where the show was filmed." Downtown is booming, as is the property market. The Napiers are also instrumental in giving back to the town, running their own businesses there and donating to local charities, as Erin did with her old clothes from the show. Driving the point home further, Judi Holifield, executive director of the organization Laurel Main Street, told Atlanta magazine, "We probably have 100 percent more tourism than we had five years ago." 

Home Town renovations go on the market for huge money

In keeping with the idea that everything the Napiers touch turns to gold, properties they've renovated tend to hit the market with massive price tags attached. Take the charmingly rustic Kollar house from Season 3, which, according to Peoplewas listed at $229,000. The 1960s-era home, a 2,160-square-foot cottage boasting three beds and two baths, was redone by Ben and Erin utilizing a $200,000 budget set by the owners. As listing agent Kandace Monsivais told Realtor, "It's bittersweet. Even after the show, they [the sellers] renovated every single room. Everything's been done."

Likewise, the Trest home, renovated during Season 1, went on the market at $210,000, per People. The 2,436-square-foot, split-level property was actually owned by the Napiers' friends, who put it back on the market following their extensive renovations for a whopping $95,000 more than they originally paid for it. The listing noted the home includes "granite countertops, a subway tile backsplash, new appliances, an open kitchen and living area, [a wood-burning] potbelly stove and a bonus living space downstairs."

Home Town stars Ben and Erin Napier don't feel like celebrities

With a successful business and show, it's possible that this new fame could go to one's head, but that is simply not the case for Home Town's Ben and Erin Napier.

The couple still goes about their day-to-day lives. As Erin discussed with Country Living, "You don't feel like a star. You feel very regular. When you see your face on TV or you hear your voice, you think, 'This can't be a big deal because I'm a part of it.'"

The entire town of Laurel appears to have the same sentiments. Erin continued on to describe her town since the show began airing. She said, "People in Laurel are not impressed."

Erin Napier shares what she's grateful for every day

During each episode of Home Town, the audience gets to know Ben and Erin Napier better and better. Aside from watching the show, the audience can also do that by following Erin Napier's online journal, which can be found on the Laurel Mercantile website. This is where Erin takes the time to write about what she is grateful for in life. This is already impressive, but even more so applause-worthy is the number of posts Erin shares.

As she describes on the website, "In an effort to count my blessings, this journal has documented only the good things that happen on each and every day of my life since January 1, 2010." From her and Ben's work on houses, to the cherished dinners with friends who are like family (she calls them her "framily"), Erin makes sure to show her gratitude for all of the good things in her life. 

They have some famous HGTV mentors

Joining the HGTV family has some major perks. Aside from the major excitement of having a TV show, the stars of the other HGTV shows are there for advice and support.

Home Town's Ben and Erin Napier have taken some advice from fellow famous home-renovating couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines. Erin told Country Living, "The biggest piece of advice I've taken away from them is to keep our marriage and our family first — the stuff that's been important to us all along — and as long as you do that, you're going to be fine."

Home Town inspired its own spinoff

Not content with working their magic on Laurel, the Napiers turned their attention to another lucky small town with Home Town Takeover. The spinoff show was announced in January 2020, with People confirming just a few months later that the 8,278-strong town of Wetumpka, Alabama had been chosen to undergo a facelift on the six-part series. There were more than half a million submissions for the spot, emphasizing just how popular Ben and Erin are. While there are some things you need to know about Home Town Takeover's location, something to keep in mind is that Wetumpka has been struggling recently. But the Napiers aimed to give its citizens hope for the future by renovating various homes, small businesses, and public spaces.

"The people of Wetumpka know they have a small town worth saving, and now the world will see why this tight-knit community deserves a fresh start," enthused Erin in a press release. According to local publication WBRC, the Napiers' impact can already be felt with fans reportedly traveling over to try to catch a glimpse of the couple. Local business owner Katie Davis even reported business has improved by 30 percent, while Ben and Erin are definitely putting their money where their mouths are by supporting local stores.

Their town is compared to Stars Hollow

As Home Town gives attention to Laurel, the town is now getting compared to a well-known, fictitious location: Stars Hollow.

Ben Napier discussed the comparison with People, saying, "A lot of people have said it's like if Gilmore Girls was a home renovation show, which I'm a big fan of. That sounds really good to me." He added, "When they first said that, I was like that doesn't make any sense. Stars Hollow is in New England and we're in the South. But it's very much the characters in the town. And everybody has those characters in their home town."

Home Town Season 5 was shot during the coronavirus pandemic

In May 2020, Deadline confirmed that HGTV had renewed Home Town for a fifth season, with new episodes slated for release in 2021. On her Instagram page, Erin gushed, "We can't wait to meet 16 more families and bring 16 homes back to life," describing working on the show as "the honor" of the Napiers' lives. As House Beautiful reported, the busy working mother further clarified in response to a fan comment online that the season was due for release in January.

The Napiers explained during an appearance on the podcast Quarantine Creatives with Heath Racela that the fifth season was shot entirely during the COVID-19 pandemicErin confirmed masks were mandatory with the exceptions being herself and Ben (at least while they were on camera). Home Town would not be making direct reference to the global health crisis, however. Ben admitted to being disappointed by the lack of crew lunches, since everybody had to eat separately for safety reasons. The couple also had to chat to their casting producer over Zoom since she was stuck in Canada (via House Beautiful).

The Home Town stars don't believe you have to splurge to have a nice home

The various renovations that Ben and Erin Napier take on always look professional... and expensive. Yet, that's not the case. This Home Town couple is very careful with budgets when it comes to renovation. 

During an interview with Southern Weddings in 2014 — long before any HGTV success — Erin spoke about her thoughts on money dedicated towards decorating. She said, "We like shopping flea markets and architectural salvage, or Ben builds things himself. I'm not impressed by money or expensive things." We imagine they still feel this way, despite the fact that Ben and Erin Napier are worth a lot these days.

The couple finds steals and deals when possible, but they also know when it's time to invest more in a project. She continued on, "If we do splurge, it's because we just couldn't live without it or couldn't find a less pricey comparable option."