The Problem With House Hunters


You know how people on reality TV can make you marvel at the stupidity of the human race?  And yet we (or at least I) still watch.  Maybe to feel better about myself.


Ever-obsessed with real estate — and yet far too mentally fragile from my own basement project to watch renovation shows — I have a borderline-unhealthy, love-hate relationship with House Hunters on HGTV.  It’s like the Law & Order of reality shows — it always seems to be on when you can’t find anything else to watch.

But I need to air my grievances about the show.  Because yelling at the television alone on my couch, repeatedly, doesn’t seem to effect change.

So can we talk about these people for a minute?  The ones on the show.  On the house hunt.  The ones who say something like this:

“We’re in our early 20s, just married and living in my mom’s basement.  What we’re really looking for is a 5 bedroom, 4 bath home with at least 4 acres, a pool, top-notch finishes and a golf course view.  And a butler.  We are putting down zero percent and our budget is $65,000.”

I realize that, living within 30 miles of Manhattan, I am a victim of inflated pricing.  I’m all for a bargain — trust me — but the real estate crack pipe some of these people are smoking drives me crazy.

I especially love when these house hunters walk away from a perfectly good home option for things like the horrid paint color on the walls (because that would be tough to fix) and the dated furniture (did anyone remind them it’s not built into the floors and staying?).

But one of my all-time favorite House Hunter Crack Pipe Moments was when Bill From Pennsylvania complained that there simply wasn’t enough storage.  For his vast hat collection.  In every room, Bill was all:  “Well, I can’t fit all my hats here.”

Bill.  Bill!  Areyoukiddingme?

As far as I’m concerned, there is a special place in heaven for the realtors on this show.  I’d love to see the outtakes.  I imagine Bill’s realtor had this to say, which — sadly — ended up on the HGTV cutting room floor:

“Bill, let the motherfucking hats go.  This was the 37th house I showed you, even though viewers at home think there were only three.  That  last house?  It was a foreclosure property that far surpassed anything your budget would normally allow you to purchase.  Why not put your damn hats in the massive en-suite bathroom I showed you?  Oh wait, you didn’t like the color of the pristine marble finishes.  Fine.  We’ll go see a 38th property.  But if you mention the hats again, I’m going to drop kick you.  Liz, that goes for you too — keep Bill quiet or I’ll run you both down with the golf cart that comes with this next house.”

Something like that.  Or I might be projecting.  A little.

Maybe what the show needs is to shake up its format.  The people are annoying. And they always pick the third choice.  It’s like watching Hugh Laurie on House, knowing that the real diagnosis can’t be valid if you’re less than 50 minutes into the episode.

But I think I’ve found the solution.  House Hunters should consider joining forces with another reality show.  Hear me out — I think this might work well.  Here are a few teaser ideas:

1)  House Hunters Survivor:  You are shown houses in a group dynamic.  The moment you make any unrealistic demands {I’m looking at you, Bill} you are voted out of the real estate hunt and you will stay in your parents’ basement forever.  The last couple standing gets the house.

2)  House Hunters Intervention:  Level-headed people living in the real world sit you down and tell you that you need to put down the real estate crack pipe and get some help.  Mortgage applications are involved.  Suze Orman makes a cameo in the pilot episode.

3)  House Hunters Hard Core Pawn:   You reject aforementioned intervention and begin pawning off your worldly possessions to afford the house  you think you must have.

4)  16, Pregnant & House Hunting:  Your parents kicked you out because you got knocked up, and now you need a place to live.  Preferably within proximity to your OB.  Luckily, your BFF from study hall can come along to help.

5)  House Hoarders:  You are presented with a home that belongs to a hoarder.  If you agree to clean it out completely, you get it for free.  Everyone wins here, no?

6)  House Dance Moms:  Caught in a bidding war?  Your daughter will dress in a completely age-inappropriate manner and participate in a dance-off for your cause.  Winner takes all.

7)  House Storage Wars:  Your daughter lost the dance-off and your options are running low.  You decide to bid on a sweet storage unit and consider the real estate value of living in there for a while.  After all, these things are bigger than most Manhattan apartments.  Plus, they are climate-controlled.

8 )  Ice Loves House Hunters:  I think this is the real win, from a network pitch perspective.  At the end of your real estate rope, none other than Ice-T himself will show you some final housing options.  And he will make sure you stay within your means.

Any other suggestions before I take my ideas to HGTV?

I think they are totally going to invest in one of these golden nuggets and make it the next reality sensation.  In return, my demands are meager.  Just a new basement please.
Finding the Funny

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  1. Beth says:

    I absolutely think they would air House Hoarders. And I, for one, would watch.

  2. Kari says:

    LOL!!!! Love your humor 🙂 Glad to know I’m not the only one who has HGTV on constantly as “white noise”.. seriously love to sit down at night with my computer and let the HGTV play.

    I dream a little too much tho when it’s the International episodes!!!


    • fordeville says:

      Thanks Kari!
      Yeah, the HH International episodes are just 10x more annoying because, well, they are buying a second home in an exotic locale and I’m not.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Roflmao :). You should print this out and hang it up near the nail dryers at Galaxy nails where they play house hunters on a constant loop.

    • fordeville says:

      I shouldn’t get my nails done there — it would annoy the other patrons when I start yelling at the people on the show.

  4. Amen, Sister.

    “I can’t live with these counter-tops,” and “I need more room for entertaining,” should be drinking games.

    • fordeville says:

      This, I love. A HH drinking game? I believe you’ve discovered my personal Holy Grail.

    • Shawnda says:

      Really late here, but I’m thinking we should add “it’s a little small” to the list. I’m sorry, a 16×20′ bedroom isn’t big enough? For the nursery for the child you have yet to conceive? Really?

      And I wonder what kinds of wardrobes these people have. The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom with linen closet and there are TWO ginormous walk in closets…and you say you don’t think there’s enough room for your clothes. Hm. How much room do those flowy sleeveless shirts cut down to *here* take up anyway?

      • fordeville says:

        Having lived in a tiny Manhattan apartment where the oven may or may not have served as backup sweater storage — I couldn’t agree more.

  5. Ninja Mom says:

    So, so funny. Sharing it on my FB page!

    Bill’s a dumb shit.

  6. Oh, thank you. I mean, these things must be obvious to everyone watching right? My perspective on real estate is from the greater Boston market, but even I know that NO GODDAMNED FAMILY OF THREE needs 3,500 square feet of space plus a finished basement and whatever the hell a ‘bonus room’ is.

    The Ninja sent me.

  7. Naps Happen says:

    Genius, genius. We say many of the same things and of course watch HH anyway – plus the Internation version (preferred) which has its own group of crack-smoking fools. We have a few signature HH moments we like to recognize with applause. One is the inevitable moment when the couple jokes that the master bedroom closet will hold all of HER stuff, anyway (ahhh – golf clap – the sexist closet joke!) and another is the awesome new hand-slammed-on-the-keyboard chord the editors have been using to indicate a moment of house hunting skepticism. We call it the “changgggggg.” In any event, I am with you on this 100%!

    • fordeville says:

      I love it! I completely know what you mean by the changggg. I think it should be added to the HH drinking game referenced in the earlier comments!

  8. House Hunters International makes me weep.
    People who ask for that 5BR 4Bath house with pool on a beach with sweeping views for $92,000…and get it. I HATE THEM.

    I saw one this week where a guy wanted a Man Cave and was shown a spare bedroom that the current family used as an exercise room. He was all “WellllI…I GUESS I could use this room as a gym…but I REALLY wanted a Man Cave. And the New Bride was all “Ooooh…I can see myself on this elliptical!”. WTF? IT’S NOT YOUR STUFF. But once it is yours, you can make it into a Man Cave. YOU IDIOTS.


    And yet? I can’t stop watching.

    • fordeville says:

      I know — I can’t look away. Maybe it’s just therapeutic to direct all of my pent-up rage at these moronic people.

      • When we were trying to leave our condo and city life to buy the house in the ‘burbs, I had to revoke Husband’s HH privileges. He was about to make us move into Deliverance, USA, just because in this part of Jersey there’s no 4BR houses for $100K.

        • Naps Happen says:

          And what is with man caves, anyway. If the man needs a cave, then it implies that the rest of the domestic space in the house belong to the woman. So my room is…what…the laundry room? The KITCHEN? The BATHROOM? Oh – wait – I’m a woman, so I must be the one who needs the entire master closet.

  9. Leslie H. says:

    I am beginning to sense that we have much in common… I want to strangle the people who are holding out for a 3 car garage on their $150,000 budget. And so true about the inability to see beyond what is in their faces and having absolutely no vision.

    Reminds me of how annoyed I would get at Trading Spaces back in the day (the show that sparked all of this reality home crack!) People would come back to their spaces and start tearing up – NOT because of the improvements to their shitholes, but practically sobbing because – “Look honey, he hung up pictures of the kids!” Seriously, the kids are 8 & 10 and it hasn’t occurred to you to hang their pictures yet?!?!?! God, I loved that show.

    • fordeville says:

      Trading Spaces. Wow. I haven’t thought about that show in ages. You’re totally right — Paige was responsible for this whole real estate show phenomenon. I always wondered if the neighbors stayed friendly after some of those horrific home makeovers…

  10. Kim says:

    I love you. That is all.

  11. Jen T. says:

    I’m going with #3, which, in all likelihood, would solve Bill’s problem.

  12. LeeAnn says:

    Thanks for the laughs! I feel like I just time traveled to 1994. Your sense of humor hasn’t changed one bit 🙂

    • fordeville says:

      You mean the 1994 when we must have only been 5 years old? Because any other math doesn’t work for me 😉
      So glad you stopped by — thank you!

  13. Anna says:

    so funny, and all so true. i also like when the house has some awesome feature like a round room in a turret, or the originial fireplace and mantle and they’re like, “i just wasn’t imagining it quite like that…” exactly! it’s better than your own brain ever even considered!

    • fordeville says:

      I know — everyone thinks that every house should conform to their style. But, turrets — now those may be legitimate deal breakers…

  14. Bonnie says:

    When Mr. A and I start looking for a house (and selling one), I’m sure we will get some strange stories of our own. I can’t wait! Haha.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  15. Lori says:

    This was a great read…I laughed out loud….

  16. Robbie says:

    LMAO! I get sooo annoyed by the people who base their entire home purchase on their dog. Get him his own damn dog house get a life…buy what you want not what appeals to Rover!

  17. Sooo funny, and so true! I can never figure out the 20-something couple that wants a house before they leave on their honeymoon (in two weeks) and their budget is $650k. Where the $%#* did you get $650k???? And if I hear the words “man cave” one more time, I’m gonna scream.

    Love the drinking game mentioned in the comments – why does everyone claim to need so much room for entertaining? No one entertains THAT much, so stop trying to act like you have friends.

    I’m here from the Finding the Funny hop & I’m your newest follower!

  18. M says:

    I am hysterical. I speak to those shows all the time, practically yelling at these crazed house virgins! As a dedicated hgtv fan, I urge you to put your list out there and get to it. I’m stuck btwn one and two.

    Ps finally I have found someone that obsesses over hgtv like I do!

    Pps what’s with the new young guy on Holmes on homes? Hmmphhh

    • fordeville says:

      I haven’t seen the new guy on Holmes on Homes! Yet…

    • mk23666 says:

      The show you speak of is a new show called “Holmes Inspection” and that “new” guy actually comes from the original “Holmes on Holmes” show. The original show became so popular that Mike does a lot of speaking engagements, product hawking and if I’m not mistaken Mike is writing a book about improving the house building industry as well as working with the various Govts in his home country to improve building codes.

      Then again, I may be projecting all that I would be doing with my popularity and knowledge if I were THE GREAT Mike Holmes!

  19. Kelley says:

    Hahaha!! Your show ideas are hilarious! I laughed out loud at the outtakes and the realtor telling him to let his mothereffin’ hats go. So, so glad you linked this up over at #findingthefunny. It was perfect!

  20. Jenny says:

    I’m a little late getting to this post, but I love it! Too funny – but so true! I often think that the young twenty-something homeowners on this show were a reason that the housing market collapsed. I’m sorry, an $800,000 mortgage with no money down when you’re an office manager and a teacher? Not so much. Either all these kids have parents who will be helping them or none of them can actually afford their homes. (I’m a young twenty-something too and even I know better!)

    • fordeville says:

      Exactly! Maybe they should give us a behind-the-scenes peek at the parents who are bankrolling this situation. I’d also settle for an on-air IQ test.

  21. Serg says:

    well put my girlfriend and i watch the show all the time. We usually end up shouting at the TV too, and also mocking the ignorant house hunters with eachother. It is extremely annoying that they say “well its a little small” but yet they wanted to downsize. Or like you said they turn down a house or doubt it because the “nursery room” is pink and they need blue. ..Have they ever picked up a paint brush in their life!? If i were ever to be on the show i would make it a point to say something along the lines “well i dont like the color, but unlike everyone else on this show.. i can freakin paint it!” Their always looking at the superficial negative aspects of the houses, rather than the valuable components of the perectly good home.
    glad someone else notices.

    • fordeville says:

      I never thought the day would come when I’d scream at the TV over a show about home purchasing. This officially makes me old.

  22. I once saw a couple complain (HH International) that the closet was disappointing b/c it didn’t have a WINDOW in it. A window.

    I like all your combo ideas w/ other reality shows, but one suggestion. There should be one (and Idk what show it could be joined w/ – maybe Hillbilly something or other or Redneck House Hunting) where the people get shot at the end if they are too annoying.

  23. One more thing. I saw another one recently (regular HH, which I don’t normally watch – I only like the international one b/c then I get to see where I imagine I will live next). They were in NYC, which is why I watched. I think they should do a HH spinoff just in NYC, don’t you think? (HGTV, I want a finders fee for that.) I know they have some show in NYC, but I think it’s for the rich & famous. I mean a regular show. Anyway, this couple who had LIVED in NYC for 8 years and should pretty much be in touch with property values and what you can get for your money, which is a Single Occupancy Room somewhere in the South Bronx for anything less than $500,000, wanted a one bdrm in a doorman building with all the amenities and gourmet (she actually said gourmet) kitchen in Manhattan for $600,000. Oh, and they didn’t want neighbors. I’m like do you know where you are? What’s w/ ppl? (And your basement reno is scaring me. We did our basement but now are talking about the whole rest of the house.)

    • fordeville says:

      As a former NYC dweller — in an apartment the size of a postage stamp — I totally agree.
      {And don’t renovate anything else. Just don’t. Trust me. Just move.}

  24. I actually had a NICE apt in Bkln (guess where) for $1000 a month. Why did I ever move?!*%#@!

    We just made the decision to renovate. Ut oh.

  25. Linda says:

    How about when the buyers have a ore-approval for say $100,000 and the real estate agent shows them a house for $50,000 over their budget–and then they get in a battle with other buyers–so they make an offer that’s more than the asking price. And instead of praying that the offer isn’t accepted because there’s no way they can afford to be strapped like that, after a very short amount of drama, the sellers choose THEIR insane offer. They never say where the rest of the $$$ comes from. It couldn’t be from selling their first born–no one is that stupid to consider that a serious offer!!

  26. As a Realtor I can attest that people like these actually exist and I do say, Bill let the fucking hat collection go. I was once sort of on House Hunters. I represented the sellers and the buyers were the ones who couldn’t see past paint colors or horrid furniture, but finally picked my house. I was never on there, but my listing was. Apparently I had enough space for their hat collection. Really funny post!

  27. Susan from GA says:

    Just found you! Laughing my a*s off!?!!? I, too, continue to torture myself nightly with HH (except when I watch Parenthood on Tuesday’s…nobody gets between me and Parenthood). When we finalize the drinking game “prompts” I think we should do TWO shots when the single person is accompanying their buying friend and during the end of show sitdown/decision making time the friend says….”You know you are going to have to compromise”. Double shots because the friend is SO wise and the buyer would never think that they might need to compromise on their 10,000 sq ft house on a $100,000 budget!!! And TRIPLE shots when “Daddy” accompanies his princess on the house hunt! Puleese….if you can’t make a decision w/o Daddy…..go back to your french provencial bedroom at Daddy’s house?!?!?

    And….I can’t watch International HH…it just makes me mad. Especially when the couple is crappy and I am so nice and DESERVE a bazillion dollar mansion on the beach for $50,000. Just sayin’.

    Susan from GA

  28. Susan from GA says:

    And….I could NEVER be a realtor. I would be on America’s Most Wanted 6 months into my career…..!

    Susan from GA

  29. Mama says:

    I’m a tad late to this…but just found your blog this morning. Great post – very funny! When my hubby and I moved last year, we used a realtor who had previously done several episodes of House Hunters. For a brief moment there was a small chance our story might get filmed too, but it never panned out due to timing. However, the entire time we thought it might happen, we totally obsessed about making sure we did NOT come across on television like all the douchebags we regularly yelled at while watching the show (even though we are so not like any of those idiots), lol! Oh, and true fact – when the clients are filmed walking through the various homes, they’ve actually already chosen a house and closed on it! The segments are taped right after settlement, and so what we all watch on TV is pretty much set up. The other 2 homes we see them walking around in during the show are often just picked at random by the realtor. Still completely addicted though, can’t get enough of HGTV!

  30. KMG says:

    About a year ago, there was a story about House Hunters being staged. One of the buyers on the show admitted that they had already bought one of the houses before the episode was recorded and that another one of the three houses belonged to a friend…a house that wasn’t on the market. HGTV gave a response to the story that pretty much admitted that not all shows contain buyers who haven’t already made their purchase. In other words, they re-write history or re-enact the buying process of a recent buyer. I’m sure some episodes are legit, but regardless, any time my husband and I flip by the show, we yell “Liars!” at the tv.

  31. Jule Dragstrem says:

    Holy crap! I could have written the first paragraph to this article. We are wanting to do a basement reno and I scream at the TV every time I watch. I just watched the Manhattan Beach episode. The chick on there was soooo spoiled. Plus the guy had no balls whatsoever. Why I keep tuning in is beyond me. Boredom, I guess.

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