Home Hunters Idiot Edition

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Because not getting everything you want is not a reason to go over budget.

During one of my pregnancies, I had an obsession.  It was watching, “Say Yes to the Dress.”  Not just watching.  Binge watching.  My husband, then boyfriend, asked me, “Is this your not so subtle hint that you want to get married?”

Why, yes.  Yes, in fact, it was.

In keeping with tradition with watching reality TV shows to propel my life goals, I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV-esque stuff lately.  I’ll admit it: on the nights where I have time, I’ve been binge watching.  I’ve learned as much as you possibly can from staged, addictive TV shows.  Or at least as much as I possibly can.  Here are some of the things I’ve gleaned:

  • I’d only ever want to buy a foreclosure if I had mad liquid capital at my disposal.
  • You don’t get everything you want out of a house.  Pretty much ever.  Unless you go way over budget.  (Which some people do.)
  • Some people literally won’t buy a house because of the living room’s paint color.
  • There are people out there who buy homes planning to live in them for less than five years.  I don’t know the dynamics of each and every housing market they’re shopping in, but this always shocks me.  They’ll be paying almost all interest and building almost zero equity.
  • You can get a four bedroom mini mansion in the Houston area for under $300k.  I need to learn more about Houston’s local economy and maybe schedule a visit to check it out.  (Just kidding.  We’ll never leave the Burgh.  Darn if that’s not tempting, though.)

The other night, there was one woman who just about killed me.  She was arguing with her husband over the budget.  He didn’t want to go over no matter what.  Then they cut to her talking with the camera, and she seriously said this:

“I understand the budget’s important.  But at the same time, I don’t want to not get everything we want just because we can’t afford it.”

WHHHHAAAATTT?  There were so many things I wanted to say to this woman.  Like:

  • YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT.  Just because you want it doesn’t mean you can have it.  What led to you thinking like this?  Were  you spoiled as a child?  Are you delusional?
  • You are the reason our economy collapsed.  Case in point.  You.  People like you took out loans for houses they couldn’t afford because they really wanted them.  Then they couldn’t pay their mortgage. Then the housing bubble burst.  Then our economy fell.  Then tons of people lost their jobs.  In this post-Great Recession world, I don’t understand how you could allow yourself to be filmed with that garbage coming out of your mouth, even if it’s running in your internal monologue.
  • If you really want to buy the perfect house and it’s out of your budget, maybe you need to save up a little longer.
  • Please tell me this is something they told you to say?

The story has a pseudo happy ending.  The husband convinced her to buy a house within their budget.  Because it was the option that would make the dogs the happiest.  If it were me, I would have chosen the house that was within the budget that made me as a human the happiest since I’d be the one paying that sucker off for 30 years.  But to each their own.

The episode that immediately followed was a single guy buying a four bedroom mini mansion in Houston. For himself.  And that’s it.  Presumably he could afford it, and he cited the reason for wanting such an expanse as having room to grow.

Kudos to him for thinking long-term?

At that point I had to turn it off.  I think I may be done with reality TV for a while.  At least until I set another life goal.


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28 thoughts on “Home Hunters Idiot Edition

  1. donebyforty

    Love your narrative voice in this post. You’ve got chops.

    I feel like HGTV itself is a driver for a lot of the house lust in North America. Would we crave granite countertops and designer counters, and the five and six figure bills that come with them, if cable television didn’t make it seem like everyone was getting them? (I also find it curious how many of the shows are coming out of Canada, who is currently building up a housing bubble that would rival our own from 2008.)

    1. Femme @ femmefrugality

      That means a lot from an English teacher! And that’s a great point about Canada… more than 50% of the shows are Canadian anymore. I hope they don’t have to go through the same thing, but it’s not looking good…

      I wouldn’t know anything about counter tops without these shows. Definitely promotes lifestyle inflation!

  2. kay ~ the barefoot minimalist

    Femme, you are SO funny! I love to watch those House Hunters shows too. Yes, I binge on ’em sometimes. Okay, OFTEN. I find it hysterical when people buy houses to accommodate their pets too. But then again, if I had a cat and found out I had a cat allergy, no matter how much I loved said cat, the cat would have to go before I’d be taking medication to keep Fluffy around. I have to go tweet this post. I had SO much fun reading it! 😀

  3. Tonya (Budget & the Beach)

    ha ha you sounds just like me! I’m seriously obsessed with HH and HH International and sometimes yell at the computer screen when I making lunch because I’m either worried the couple will go over budget, or scream at them for being picky about a tiny kitchen which is about 4 times the size of my current kitchen….”you don’t like the color of the granite…boo hoo! It’s granite!!!” “oh the laundry is upstairs instead of downstair?!! At least you HAVE laundry.” hee that show is my guilty pleasure. 🙂

  4. Charlee @ Humble in a Heartbeat

    I love watching House Hunters, but most of the people looking for houses make me scratch my head. I don’t know if I’d ever want to buy a home that costs $850,000 just because I could afford it. There’s too many what ifs! Now the lady that thinks she should have it even though she can’t afford it…that’s just mind-boggling!

  5. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini

    What drives me crazy about that show (and yes we see it in Japan) is when a couple is living in a 2000 sq. ft home and is upgrading to 4000 sq. ft to accommodate the new baby. I never could understand how one baby could need so much space.

    1. Femme @ femmefrugality

      Yeah that is a lot for a new baby. We contemplated moving after the last kid, but didn’t and realized how possible it is to for so many people in our house; as uncomfortable as we may be at times.

  6. Engineer Cents (@engineercents)

    Oh, gosh, I loathe HGTV. If only because now everyone asks me when I’m going to put in some expensive, hideous granite counters. Also, dedicating an entire network to making people even more freaked out about buying houses than they are… ack!

  7. Chela @SmashOdyssey

    Okay, I don’t watch tv, but when I do (at my mom’s house), I turn on HGTV. Those shows ARE addictive! And um, YES, I can totally attest to the mansion thing in Houston. I’m currently living with my brother in law in Houston, and his house is seriously 5 bedrooms, huge kitchen, living room, two play rooms, and an office. Oh and the back yard is attached to a golf course. He told me how much they paid for it just 2 years ago. My jaw dropped. $198k.

      1. Chela @SmashOdyssey

        I’m not sure about that… my bro in law works in big oil, as do most young people here–either big oil or big hospitals–both of which I’m pretty sure pay very well. He makes $250k+, I think, and he’s only 33. …don’t get me started! This is a whole blog post in the making! Haha

        1. femmefrugality Post author

          Well that’s freaking awesome! I wonder why the housing costs are so low, then…I must know! If you write that post please tag me on Twitter or something so I don’t miss it!

  8. NZ Muse

    Hah! Priceless.

    There’s a show that sometimes comes on here – don’t know the name but basically it’s about couples house hunting in crazy cheap places in the US (Alaska, Louisiana etc). Makes me a bit sick to see how much they get for their money (even though I wouldn’t want to live anywhere that remote).

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      That’s kind of cool. Alaska I’ve heard good things about. You get a stipend for living there, too. A couple of years ago it was 3k/pp per year. Pretty much to compensate for the government raiding the land for natural resources. LA….it would depend on the part. Unfortunately the government and oil companies have been working there for a while, too. There’s a pseudo large region called Cancer Alley because of all the pollution. If it was dirt cheap in that area I think I’d skip it. But Cat and Chela probably know all the good places to look. 🙂

  9. vmorgan456

    We were a family of 7 (5 kids) in a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom house when I was growing up. I seriously don’t know how we did it. We never did think a thing about it though. That same house is in my area is cheaper now than when Mom and Dad bought it.

    I’ve also seen this mentality more and more about how if we want it we should just get it. Doesn’t matter about the cost. They never worry. Man I would worry!

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      I would worry, too! Amazing that you guys made it work. I think the same thing is true in our house; we are the only ones who notice, but the kids don’t know any better so they’re perfectly happy.

  10. houseoftre

    I love watching House Hunters! It gets me in trouble when I watch House Hunters International because I want to pack up and move overseas 🙂

  11. Toni @ Debt Free Divas

    Haha! I like your hint. LOL. Well another thing to consider with Texas (Dallas and Austin are pretty fabulous places too – and not as humid), no income tax…however, I guess property taxes offset that. So while the RE prices are phenomenal (yes they are) the property taxes level the playing field. Just something to keep in mind if you ever really do consider leaving the Burgh (didn’t know people called it that lol).

  12. Hayley @ Disease Called Debt

    I’ve never seen HGTV but I think there’s a similar programme here in the UK. Although I’d love a dream home, I definitely don’t want to take out more of a mortgage than I can deal with. Let’s hope that lady was told to say that about the budget!

  13. Mel

    Oh my gosh, I like those shows too, but start to yell at the TV whenever they start to go over budget. People are so crazy.

  14. Melissa

    Haha I am you!! Except I can’t yell at the TV, because I watch House Hunters at the gym (because I’m too cheap to pay for cable, lol), and… well, I think they’d kick me out if I yelled at the TV?

    But yes, people who “can’t stand the paint color” and insist on going over budget (because “they want it” or “the kids won’t be happy sharing rooms” or “the dog needs a huge backyard”, etc. etc.) drive me crazy.

    There are only a few things that should be deal breakers when buying a home: bad neighborhood (like, extremely unsafe your-house-would-get-broken-into-daily-and-you-might-die), the foundation is bad (and will cost you a fortune down the road) and okay, maybe the backyard isn’t big enough and you do spend a lot of time out there. Quality of life stuff, but reasonable.

    Oh well, my fiance and I are selling our house soon and we’re putting in those “fancy” touches because we know people will pay more for them. So I guess we’re feeding into the HGTV-phenomenom too :-/


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