Driving Me Crazy!

We watch them daily—because if we don’t they stack up like cords of wood in our DVR queue. If you record them, you must stay on top of them. I’m talking, of course, about episodes of House Hunters and House Hunters International.

I can identify some positive elements about these shows. They provide perspective on what the dollar buys in different parts of the country and world. Examining the way others live is interesting—the good, the bad and the ugly. We can vicariously involve ourselves in choosing properties we simply could not dream of living in.

However, I have to admit that perhaps the elements that bug me about these shows keep me watching. And I could write a thesis about those!

Realtors. Do realtors have ears? Can they hear the words coming out of their clients’ mouths? The client will say, “It is imperative we stay near the city center because we don’t have a car; we need 3 bedrooms at a minimum for our family of seven—with one on the way; no stairs; move-in ready; and some outdoor space for our dog. The absolute top of our budget is $200,000.” So the realtor immediately takes them to a 2-bedroom townhome fixer-upper in the burbs, with steep, winding stairs, a tiny patch of AstroTurf outside, on a busy street, and listed for $380,000. “Were you even listening?,” I scream at the TV. And then that ends up being the house the buyers choose.  I throw my arms up in disgust!

The Buyers. That brings me to the buyers. I get that the show chooses a couple with completely different requirements. One wants city center, the other wants country; one wants beach, the other wants mountains; one wants modern, the other wants vintage. Conflict sells, right? But it’s buyer ignorance that makes me scream.

I especially love the ones overseas. Normally a mild-mannered person, I find myself wanting to choke the chick who continually says, “There’s no tub,” or “I was hoping for stainless steel appliances,” or “This is so tiny!,” or “In Kansas, our master was three times this size.” I scream, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, you idiot!” (I’m really unkind to these people.)

And these shows have determined society’s expectations. Now, every home must have stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. Even if the kitchen has been newly remodeled, how can anyone hope to ever cook on a black stove? Or an electric one? No, no. You must have a gas stove–and only stainless steel.

And first time house buyers are the worst, aren’t they? Expecting everything for almost nothing. “We really wanted a pool,” they whine, pouting. I scream, “You can’t afford a pool, you morons!”

It’s enough to make you crazy. When I think of all the years I’ve cooked in a tiny kitchen, on an electric stove, with laminate countertops, and popcorn on the ceiling, I wonder how I could possibly have turned out so many delicious meals.

And believe it or not, I’m still so thankful for what we’ve got. In some parts of the world, my house would be worth millions! Maybe it’s that realization that causes me to remain such a faithful viewer of these shows. They remain the shows I absolutely love to hate.

Got to go. I think my DVR is recording another one as we speak!

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