House hunting for dummies

Does there exist a blog, website, or even random street corner where people can meet to poke merciless fun at the people featured on HGTV’s House Hunters? If not, there should be. They’d get a million visits per day.

According to the HGTV (Home and Garden Channel) promo “House Hunters focuses on the emotional experience of finding and purchasing a new home; each episode shows the process as buyers search for a home.”

Let me note for the record that the process is emotional because, for the most part, the potential home buyers are crazy. It’s so amusing to watch people who somehow have the wherewithal to purchase a whole entire home, yet labor under the delusion that paint colors are impermeable and forever.

Paint

Almost without fail, a home-buying couple will enter a lovely home where the paint colors are not quite to their liking. This is to be expected since taste is subjective and there are at least a thousand shades of gray in the paint palette alone.

The woman (it’s ALWAYS the woman) will wrinkle her nose like she just smelled raw sewage and say “Oh I don’t like this paint.” This confuses me. They do know that you can paint OVER paint right? If this were not possible I would STILL be living in a house painted almost entirely in Pepto-Bismol pink and a color we could only call “puke yellow.”

Potential buyers will also pronounce a house uninhabitable based on the furniture choices of the sellers. “Oh I hate this sofa …” Since few homes in the U.S. are sold furnished I have never understood how that is germane to the issue at hand? I’m waiting for the episode where they turn down the house because they don’t like a sweater hanging in the closet.

Granted, this is the point where Mr. Wonderful really gets into this show. He loves it when I shout “and I hate YOUR brand of crazy!” back at the home buyers.

Not funny

Speaking of closets, let me speak directly to the female homebuyers. Viewing a closet the size of a starter home and saying “so where are you going to hang YOUR clothes honey?” to your husband was funny the FIRST time a homebuyer said it on camera. That happened sometime in 1994. That ship has now sailed and you just sound tired and completely lacking in creativity.

Granted the latter may explain why you can’t see past the paint color and the sofa but really, I’m just trying to save you from yourself here. People have no vision anymore.

I realize not everyone wants to take on the kind of project Mr. Wonderful and I did back in the day with a baby tucked under one arm and a ladder under the other. Not everyone says, “No heat? No plumbing? AND rats and roaches? We’ll take it!”

Reality

Nonetheless, I don’t think expecting Americans to revisit the outlandish notion that your starter home may not be a mansion and you may have to share a closet — or paint a wall — is too much to ask? I honestly don’t know how Realtors don’t crack and beat their buyers with a wad of open house flyers. I really don’t.

Realtors you have my sympathy — and prayers. It’s sad really. If I were old enough to be a curmudgeon (which I am NOT) I’d also point out that “champagne tastes on a beer-and-paint budget” probably got quite a few people in over their heads economically. It’s not so funny to wonder, even momentarily, if HGTV and heightened expectation is to be partially blamed for the housing crisis?

Settling

No one wants to “settle” for a starter home anymore. The home where my grandparents raised five children was less than 1000 square feet. Few would live like that today.

I know I could just change the channel but this type of programming has taken over one of the only three channels I can safely watch without seeing ads for sexual enhancements and/or someone blowing up. I suspect this type of program is incredibly cheap to produce. Grab a camera and follow a couple around as they stick their foot in the door — and in their mouths.

They view at least three homes, then revisit them a few months later when they’ve purchased one. They will have inevitably already remodeled and renovated the “perfect house” anyway. The number one comment of nearly every home buyer is to imply that if your master bathroom doesn’t have double-sinks, you’re living no better than an animal.

We are a nation founded on “can-do” spirit and pioneer gumption. Our ancestors settled a wild new land, now inhabited, if HGTV is to be believed, by a nation of people that can’t even find their way to the paint store.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt purchased a home with a window held together with duct tape. It’s possible her standards aren’t high. She welcomes comments c/o LifeOutLoud@Comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 or visit her online at www.KymberlyFosterSeabolt.com.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

7 Comments

  1. Jen says:

    Did you read that post I wrote a few days ago about Blogger Crushes…I have another crush.

    You are funny, irreverent, and ….. I totally agree with you. Who doesn’t buy a house because they hate the color. What is wrong with people? We are slowly venturing out into the sellers market, and already I am preparing myself for the deluge. What no spacious double sinks, no three car garage?

    Move on people, I am sure that there is a level headed, intelligent person out there that will choose our cute, and cosy little condo over a big box square.

    So glad that you dropped by, I am still giggling.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  2. What you said ! When we bought our first house it had green grasscloth on every wall, linoleum floors over oak, suspended ceiling tiles over a beautiful high ceiling and no insulation in the walls. Oh and it was green and gray siding on the exterior. But it was $27,000 in 1968 when the ones in move-in condition were over $50,000. After many years of rehab and restoration, much of which we did ourselves, it’s a grand old dame over a century old and worth nearly a million dollars on today’s market. That’s not the reason we bought it, though. I just loved its potential and folksy American craftsman design. It ishome, where we raised our children and a grandchild.

    The old adage , ” There are none so blind as those who will not see, ” is so true. I love the HGTV show where a woman designer
    ( forgot her name ) buys a fixer-upper and turns it into a dream home, without spending a fortune. Much more realistic.

    Have you ever wondered why HGTV has garden in its name? They really don’t have enough shows to merit that word.

  3. Jen says:

    One day I will be brave and post before and after pics of our condo. Burnt orange carpet, and honestly 10 different kinds of wallpaper. Oak toilet seat, pink walls, and blue kitchen. But I could see the beauty behind the false eyelashes.

    Now it’s a tasteful and cozy spot.

    Jen

  4. Kymberly says:

    Perhaps we are looking at this wrong and should embrace all the blind-to-potential home buyers?

    They leave all the good stuff for the rest of us to snap up?

    I know what lurks under grass cloth and orange shag. It is fabulous!

  5. Kymberly says:

    Test of my Gravatar because I’m getting sensitive to the fact that my random icon is usually a horse or a cow.

  6. TOO FUNNY!! :-) I think we are bloggy twins, as I just wrote about that stoooopid Property Virgins show. I was going to also do House Hunters, but was saving that for a separate post, lol!

    and, I think there ARE places where people meet to discuss how much they hate these shows. I’ve seen them. Just Google “I hate Property Virgins” and/or “I hate house hunters” and sit back, read, and laugh!

    (Another thing I hate about House Hunters: if the wife goes into the closet, the husband closes the door on her and they laugh and act like that was SOOOOOO “original.”)

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