Why watching House Hunters is bad for my finances

by Nick on September 3, 2010

I apologize in advance, but this is another one of my rants.  It’s one of those days.  But I’m keeping my head up.  And it’s my fault for watching it!      I’m sure I’ll feel better after I’m done typing this post.  :)

I’m not sure the show is actually bad for my finances.  But if you know how hard (and often) I look for housing options, you might appreciate how frustrating watching that show could be!  At the end of the day, it’s probably just bad for my (temporary) mental stability.  But, either way, I need to stop watching this show.  Why is it so hard to stop?!?!

I just turned on the TV and HGTV was on.  And House Hunters was on.  They were in Texas (I live in NJ, right next to NYC).  By the way, why the heck I do not live in Texas?!?!  Have you seen those houses?!?!?  OMG!!!  It would probably be cheaper to buy normal houses for all of our family in Texas than one near our families for us….

Just to put it in perspective, I moved to NYC in 2004.  I lived right in the City for five years until I moved to Jersey in 2009.  When I first moved to NYC I lived in a “room.”  No, I didn’t share an apartment.  I rented a room with a toilet and “kitchen.”  A 400 sq. ft. studio apartment (for $1700 per month).  I lived there for two years.  The last year and a half, my now-wife shared it with me.  God bless her.  Very few people could live in a room with me, far from family for a year and a half and survive. 

Let’s dig in to the best (READ: most annoying) parts of this episode.

My (least) favorite quotes from the first house ($550,000):

  • It’s not as big as it seems.  It’s not quite 4500 square feet.
  • It’s only 4 bedrooms, but there are a lot of “extra” rooms.
  • I’m a little upset that it doesn’t have a pool.
  • When referring to the wine “closet”: “It’s no cellar, but it will do.”

Then they went to the second house ($499,900):

  • This one is only 4200 square feet.
  • It’s a smaller yard.  (umm… what’s a yard?)
  • It didn’t have a pool, but it did have one in the (golf course) community, so that’s a decent compromise.

And the third home ($599,000):

  • It’s five bedrooms, almost 4800 square feet.
  • Where is the grass?  Only in a front yard?  There is no grass around the pool area and outside kitchen in the back?
  • Question:  What’s that space? (That space was a random “room” at the top of a stairwell that was as big as the $1700 per month apartment I used to live in)  Response:  It’s just kind of flex space.  They don’t really use it for much.  (WHAT?!?!?!  Put a toilet, shower head and hot plate and I’ll move in!)

By comparison let’s list the top questions you ask and statements made about $500,000 houses apartments in my neck of the woods:

  • Do the roaches come with the apartment or are those extra?
  • Is that an airplane or a train passing by?  (the answer is most likely “both”)
  • The following is all stated from the same physical location while spinning in place:
    • Here is the “kitchen area.” 
    • There is the bedroom area. 
    • There is the living area. 
    • The bathroom area is in the kitchen area.
  • Just so you know, the old lady across the hall cooks a lot of garlic and curry-based dishes – for her twelve cats.
  • And, of course, taxes and maintenance are another $2,000 per month. 

So watching this episode was particularly annoying.  They were literally looking at places over ten times the size of my first apartment (I’m in about 1,000 square feet now).  And the “difference” between the largest and smallest places is one-and-a-half the size of that apartment…

By the way, they picked number one. They love it. It’s very nice. I feel better now (that the show is over). I’m going to wait until tomorrow to post this. I don’t like to go to bed or blog angry…

What about you?  Does this show make your blood boil or is it just me?  I love watching people succeed.  The issue I have is when someone says:  Our budget is $200,000 and we need seven bedrooms, twelve baths, nine acres of land and, of course, gold-plated walls and granite everything.  We’ve had a hard time finding anything like that for under $225,000.

Any other shows I should avoid?

Ha!  It’s all good.  I’ll get there someday.  I just live in an expensive part of the country.  I have a budget.  I save.  I earn.  I sell.  I earn more.  I sleep (sometimes).  I pay attention to my money.  So I’ll see you on TV in a few years.  (But I won’t be looking for 4,000 square feet.  Who needs that much space?!?!).  And, of course, I put my credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!

Image: Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

ihavetriedit January 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I live close to NYC, also. My husband's side of the family lives in the south….I hate discussing housing prices/property taxes with them! The disparity is too great! They can live in a mansion for $250,000. If we looked at a home for $250,000 in our area, we would be sorely disappointed. I feel your pain!

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Nick January 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

We have family in Florida, too, and visit them annually (my wife is there now). Every time we visit I pick up one of those "local listings" booklets and get sick to my stomach. I keep telling myself to not do it, but for some reason I just keep looking!

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Joanne July 27, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Oh, I miss living in NY! I had more room, but it was in the Bronx :) Texas and Los Angeles can not compare to NYC.

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