Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Let's talk HGTV

I am addicted to watching HGTV. It's my dirty pleasure and I take it very seriously. There are a lot of shows I don't care much about on HGTV, but House Hunters and House Hunters International are not amongst them.  Those are the shows I could watch over and over again. What is it about those two shows that attract me? The bizarre, materialistic spoiled bratishness (yes, that IS a word) of the actual househunters is the big attractions.

Scene: Couple and their RE agent are looking for a house. They drive up to a suburban mini-mansion with vinyl siding, a pretty lawn, and a 3 car garage.

Wife: Oh, nice curb appeal.
Husband: Grunt

They enter the house and are immediately thrilled by the two-story entrance.

Wife: What haa nice feature.
Wife: Oh but there is WALLPAPER. It goes all the way up the stairs.
Husband: Grunts
RE Agent: And here's your formal dining room.
Wife: Honey, do you think my piano would fit in here?
Husband: Grunts
RE Agent: Lets go look at the kitchen.

They enter a room larger than most NYC apartments. The kitchen has oak cabinets and corian countertops with a laminate wood floor.

Wife: Oh, we would have to gut the kitchen. No stainless steel appliances, no granite, and the cabinets. What is this, 1990?

RE AGENT: This kitchen was redone about 5 years ago

Wife: Oh, it needs total updating. The appliances are OLD and I can't use them. How much do you think it would cost, honey, to replace the whole kitchen?

Husband: Well, we could live with it as it is for a while.
Wife: NO WAY. This kitchen is disgusting and outdated. I want a glass backsplash, a professional grade stove and a sub zero 48" fridge, real wood floors, and high grade granite. This countertop is (horrors) builder grade.

RE Agent: Do you want to see upstairs?
Wife: This house has too much work to do. We would have to upgrade all the bathrooms, the kitchen, remove the wallpaper and paint before we could move in.

Husband: Let's go see another house.

Best part of whole show? Obnoxious greedy couple are currently renting in some shithole with a galley kitchen and one bathroom, but they believe their first house should be perfect, done exactly to their taste, with no problems and no work. They are delusional.

Now in the International version, people from the US, Canada and especially the UK go looking all over the world for second homes or places to retire to. They all seem to have plenty of moolah. They want US-style homes in Argentina, France, and Costa Rica. The foreign builders are building remarkable US-like properties with all stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, but the spoiled rotten buyers find nothing but complaints. They can see the neighbors. It is too far from the beach. There isn't a garage. The ceilings are too low. The rooms are too small to fit a California king bed. NO AIR CONDITIONING!!! The horror of it all, expecting an American home in Fiji.

Now, let me admit right now that my parents had a vacation home in St Croix that was not only right on the beach, but had a pool as well. And it only had one bathroom which drove my father crazy, so they built a second bathroom out of a closet and imported all the fixtures from Florida. So I am not foreign to spoiled. They also had an vacation apartment in NYC with a galley kitchen that was tiny and not one bit fancy. I understand the lure of a vacation home. But to me, if you're going to live in a foreign country, the specialness of looking for a home is wanting to live like the natives of your chosen local live. What is the point of living in a European country and not taking advantage of an old cottage or row house? How will you get the experience of living another lifestyle if your new home looks like you just pulled it up from Dallas Tx?

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