I love watching HGTV’s House Hunters. In my opinion it’s one of the most reliable television shows out there; I can always be assured that no matter what other crap is on one of my 200 other channels, House Hunters will always be there to entertain me.
However, if you watch a show long enough, it’s bound to start annoying you with all its idiosyncrasies, and House Hunters is certainly no exception. Over the years I’ve noticed that the most annoying home buyers often fall into certain categories, which I have lovingly outlined for you below. You’re welcome.
The 6 Different Types of House Hunters (totally unofficial and stereotypical, but astoundingly accurate)
- The Overly-Cautious Parents. These are the parents who are convinced that most houses are death traps waiting to harm their offspring. No matter how innocuous a house seems, the parents will find some reason to find an obscure and often ridiculous safety hazard. Common quotes include: “Well I know that in-ground pool with deck, waterslide and spectacular landscaping is pretty cool, but what if the kids sleepwalk and fall into it?” Or, “Hmmm the slant on that hill is a bit steep. Too much of a risk when the kids are running around.” And then there is the ever popular, “The master is on the first floor and the kids’ rooms are on the second floor?” (Note: at this point I think to myself, “Perfect!”) But then the parents say: “Yeah…that is way too far away. We need to be next to the kids at all times in case something happens.” Cue my husband and me, trying to make pretend helicopter noises.
On a related note, these parents are also most likely to be huge germophobes who ironically let their cats roam freely across kitchen countertops. And speaking of pets…
- The Ones Who Care Most About the Dogs. These episodes start innocently enough. The couple seems very likeable and normal, they have good taste, and they both agree on what they want. As the narrator explains the things they are looking for (i.e. open concept, a modern kitchen, a large master suite), the words I dread are then delivered: “They’re also looking for a large yard for their two German Shepherds.”
As the couple starts to look at houses, my opinion of them changes very quickly. These are not just dog people; these are crazy-ass dog people ready to go all Parker Posey in Best in Show on you at any given moment. Not surprisingly, the housing decision is primarily based on the yard space for the dogs, fencing for the dogs, the proper environment to walk the dogs, and proximity of a park to run the dogs. After looking at every house, the hunters mutter something like this: “Well it’s in our budget and in our desired neighborhood. Plus it’s got those stainless steel appliances and open concept we love. Basically everything is absolutely perfect for us except the yard is a little too small for Buster and Roscoe.” I then want to stick a fork in my eye as the couple ends up buying a fixer upper with mustard yellow appliances and knotty pine walls. But at least the yard is big enough for the damn dogs.
- The Wealthy Empty-Nesters Who Are “Downsizing”. Usually he’s some corporate executive or Wall Street maverick, and she’s never had a job outside the home. Now that all their kids are gone, they decide that maybe the 8000 square foot mansion in Westchester is a bit too large for just the two of them. Their plan is to “downsize” to 3500 square feet. As soon as they begin the hunt, she will continue to complain that the houses are way too small, and he will be overly concerned with the price even though they already own condos in Palm Beach and Aspen. They settle on something around 5000 square feet, “for when the kids come to visit.”
- The Couple with Polar Opposite Tastes. This one can be summed up pretty quickly. For example: His tastes are modern and she loves Victorian style. You know from the start that dude can kiss his chances of a minimalist, neutral palette goodbye. It’s going to be toile and lace for that poor guy for the rest of his life. The closing shot is a quote from the dejected husband who tries his best to smile and say, “Well, it was most important that she was happy.”
- The Couple Who Want a House “In Their Current Neighborhood”. This couple is also commonly found on HGTV’s Love It or List It. It’s usually a family who has outgrown its current home due to all the kids’ crap: i.e., the dining room has been overtaken by giant plastic puzzles pieces, a pretend kitchen set, a fort, and several makeshift tunnels. The wish list for their new home is impossibly long, but it most likely contains the following: 1) A bedroom for each child, 2) A playroom for the kids, 3) a craft area for Mom, 4) a Man Cave for Dad, and 5) the location absolutely must be in their same neighborhood.
Is it just me, or isn’t it hard enough to simply find a house you love within your budget? What are the chances that house is going to be in your same neighborhood?
“Little to none, you completely unreasonable hoarders”, I want to tell them. As is the case with Love It or List It, once a decorator bulldozes all their crap into a nearby storage unit, the couple realizes they are going to stay in their same house.
- The “Mystery Money” Couple. The intro goes something like this: Robin and Josh are twenty-something newlyweds looking for a starter home. Robin is a social worker while Josh is finishing up his graduate degree in Russian Literature. They both want a colonial within easy commuting distance to the university, while still staying within their budget of $450,000.
In other words, mommy and daddy are fitting the bill, therefore delaying the couple’s entry in the “real world” until they are well into their mid-thirties, if not longer.
At this point I usually turn the channel in disgust. The Simpsons have got to be on somewhere.