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Monday, October 15, 2012

House Hunters' Hang Ups



It seems like every time I open a newspaper or turn on the television lately, I see something about the Bachelor Canada which premiered this month.   I have NEVER watched any of these matchmaking shows.  Frankly, I think they are all repugnant and I have never been able to fathom how people stomach watching such crap.  I feel similarly about most reality shows (Biggest Loser, Survivor, etc.).

The one exception is real estate/home reno shows.  I could watch HGTV all day.  Personally, I think these shows are qualitatively different than above mentioned.  They are not about competition or exploitation or public humiliation.  Just pure real estate porn and voyeurism.  Nothing wrong with that!

I particularly love watching the shows that follow house hunters.  This includes, of course, House Hunters and House Hunters International, but also ones like Urban Suburban, Property Virgins, Buy Herself, etc.

Nevertheless, there are certain things that I see frequently on these shows that drive me nuts and really make me wonder about North Americans' (particularly those in the U.S.) values and expectations.  Here are some examples:

Man Caves - I had never even heard this term until I started watching American house hunting shows.  Seriously?  You cannot be serious!  Any man who thinks he deserves his own room in a house where he can scratch his balls and act like a neanderthal doesn't actually need a house, he needs a cave.  A real cave.  Where he can eat raw meat with his bare hands.

Need for Privacy - I don't understand people who want to live in densely populated urban areas, but can't handle the idea of ever seeing another human being near their property.  What exactly are these people doing that they need so much privacy?  If you like to run around naked, you can always close your blinds, or your neighbours can close theirs...and if your neighbours prefer to watch, I say, "You go girl!"  Or "Guy!".

Stairs - When young, able-bodied people refuse to live in a home with stairs, it's not difficult to see why we have an obesity epidemic on our hands.  Like come on, a few stairs is gonna kill you?

Need for space - Okay, if you have 4 kids, you need space.  But why does an older, child-free couple need a 2,600 square foot home?  What about trying to minimize our carbon footprint, or live a simpler life??

Luxuries - It amazes me that even people looking for their first house, with a minimal budget feel they are entitled to a home with all the bells and whistles.  This is particularly true with Americans and seems to include a huge master suite with ensuite, soaker tub and double sinks, and granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.  The double sinks is really weird to me.  Does a couple really struggle over sink space that much?  I don't think Adam and I ever have, and growing up in my parents' home, I don't recall either they nor my brother and I ever fighting over sink space in the morning...and we were all a.m. showerers!

Bathroom placement - Although if you have someone in your family with IBS I can see how this would not be ideal, I don't really understand the hysteria over having a bathroom near the kitchen.  Actually makes sense if you ask me!

Size over location - I love cities and I like being right in the center of everything, so I am always puzzled when house hunters choose a sprawling property in the middle of nowhere with a long commute to work over a smaller place downtown.  But that's just my personal bias and my desire to be able to walk everywhere.

Okay, that's it, that's my rant for the day.  Now go watch HGTV like good little boys and girls and see what I mean!

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