Actually, I’m not even sure I can count this as a guilty “pleasure” because an episode of House Hunters (on HGTV) usually ends up with me yelling at my TV. So”¦ more guilty, less pleasure.
House Hunters, for the uninitiated, is a home-buying show that follows an individual or couple as they search for a home. For efficiency’s sake, they only show the top three homes that the hunters in question visit, and they lay out the pros and cons of each in a voiceover that complements the discussions between the home buyers and their realtor.
Sounds simple and fun, right? Well, sometimes it is. Sometimes you watch a fun, plucky person or couple weed through the bad wallpaper and awkward layouts to find a home they love (oh, and each episode ends with a requisite awkward party with their realtor). Or, you see people who seem to find only the best things about each house and overlook the bad parts altogether. I’d say this kind of episode represents about 10 to 15 percent of House Hunters installments.
The rest are a horrifying mix of entitlement, snobbery, contradictions, and overall insanity. I think this might have something to do with the fact that reality show participants are a self-selecting group; perhaps the kind of person who is willing to have their house hunt filmed for TV tends to be more narcissistic than the general population.
So, what’s so bad about it? First, the entitlement issue. It doesn’t matter what the budget is, or what the geographical location is. Everyone seems to expect ““ nay, demand! ““ that their house be the ultimate in modern luxury. All kitchen appliances must be stainless steel, for example, and every countertop must be granite. I’m not sure why. But I do know that it must be so. I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched people walk into a kitchen and say “oh, no. No no no. This kitchen has got to go. It’s so dated.”
What’s funny about the snobby idea of a house looking dated, by the way, is that if you upgrade it with all the modern bells and whistles, it too will look dated within a decade or two. That’s just how these things work. Besides, what’s so dated about non-stainless appliances? I have a ““ gasp! ““ white refrigerator and it hasn’t once occurred to me that I’ve been living in the past. I have magnets and friends’ wedding invitations stuck to the front of it. The food inside is kept cold. I move on with my life. I don’t know why everyone seems to think they deserve a gourmet kitchen.
Next are the contradictions. People frequently have a list of requirements that are in direct opposition to one another. Examples: they want to be able to walk to shops and restaurants but want a quiet street. They want to live in the suburbs but don’t want a single neighbor to be able to see any part of their yard (or, even better, they don’t want to be able to see their neighbors from any of their windows!). They want a pool but OMG THAT POOL ISN’T SAFE FOR MY TODDLER.
Oh, that’s another one, by the way. Parents who base everything about their house around their kids. Easy, now: I’m not saying that the kids’ safety and happiness isn’t important for parents choosing a new home. But a lot of times people seem to think that their children are never going to age. After all, toddlers by definition are only toddlers for a year or two. Depending upon your life plans, you could be in the home longer than that by a factor of 10. Why should you pick a home based entirely on how suitable it is for a 2-year-old?
Speaking of delusions, every house hunter seems to think that they will be entertaining friends and extended family in their home constantly. “This will be great for entertaining!” is uttered at least three times on every single episode. It’s kind of like the kids issue mentioned above; entertaining space is important to keep in mind, but I don’t see why you’d buy your house based on how easy it would be to host a big party there. Isn’t it just going to be you and your family in there about 95 percent of the time? Why not just think about what’s best for the actual residents of the house?
This is all easy for me to say, by the way, because I’m not currently house hunting. I’m sure whenever that wonderful time rolls around for me, I’ll be a demanding, nonsensical mess. But until then, I’ll continue berating strangers on my TV for their bad decisions.