I’d always been vaguely aware of “House Hunters,” and could, from time to time, find myself getting sucked in and then just kill a Sunday afternoon thinking about what it would be like to need a condo in Vancouver or a starter home in the Chicago suburbs. And then, not long ago, Eric and I started watching a bit of “House Hunters” because we figured we could finally, actually relate. Except…no. We could not relate at all.
But right around the time we wrapped up our house hunting, it came out that “House Hunters” is actually kinda really fake. Tragic, right? No. It’s a huge relief. It means that people aren’t actually that obtuse when it comes to making huge decisions and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. A lot of people were really surprised to hear that HH is a sham; while there were some major clues before, now that I’ve gone through the process, I can see that the writing was on the freshly-painted walls. (Don’t worry; a Magic Eraser should take it right out.)
Real people don’t have such raging boners fors granite countertops. The people on “House Hunters”? This is like their Number One Thing. Why, exactly? I don’t get it at all. It’s not that I hate granite countertops exactly — though I admit that my lip would curl every time they would be mentioned as something that made the house attractive — I just don’t get why they are the end-all, be-all. I feel like whenever couples are discussing houses on the show, granite countertops are used to forgive so many sins. “Well, my work commute would be an hour and the foundation does need to be replaced…” one says. “But the countertops are great!” the other says. Annnndddd we all know which house they are going to choose. (The house we chose actually does have them, and I still do the lip curl whenever I think about them them. They look fine, so I don’t know why they bother me so much; I think it’s just that I just think they are overrated so I dislike them on principle.)
Real people have knowledge of home improvement techniques that can be done in a day for around $30. This magical, still-unknown-to-HGTV product IS CALLED PAINT. I can’t wrap my head around the number of people on this show who get really uppity about the color of a room. “Well, that pink just has to go,” they say, arms folded, as they list the cons of a house. “And that shower curtain is so ugly.” In what world are these people living that you wouldn’t buy a house because of its interior paint? I don’t consider myself a DIY expert but come on. These people really seem to have no idea what any kind of improvements would cost. They are heartbroken over the paint but then turn around and say, “Well, we can just rip that wall out and put your fish tank right there, no problem!” as they look at a clearly load-bearing wall.
Real people actually care about things that gender stereotypes do not allow those on “House Hunters” to care about. I feel like every episode features a guy who cares about whether or not the place has a man cave and a woman who cares about something relating to the babies or the kitchen. (I will give HH credit for showing a good amount of mixed race and gay couples, but stereotypes still persist in those episodes.) When Eric and I were looking, one of the first things we determined in nearly every house was where my office would be. If I couldn’t have an office after we’d accounted for at least one room for a potential spawn, we weren’t interested. I would love for just one woman on “House Hunters” to demand her own office, Virginia Woolf style! And speaking of potential spawn, we both talked about them. It wasn’t him shouting, “Baby! We can hang my plasma TV over here!!!” while I was wailing, “But I’m worried there isn’t enough backyard for our unborn babies to play in!!!” While there were definitely some things one of us had less to say about (I’m still trying to understand Eric’s preoccupation with cool/modern bathroom sinks), it wasn’t split down gender lines quite as clearly as “House Hunters” always is. And from the dining room to the patio to the laundry room, we both had a lot of opinions.
Real Realtors are awesome. I’m not saying the Realtors on “House Hunters” aren’t good people, but they sort of fade into the background. Our agent, Mary, was our rock. I can’t say enough good things about her (and if anyone is looking for a house in the Houston area, I highly recommend you speak to her!). During our first meeting, when we weren’t sure yet if she would be The One, she straight-up told us, “I’m very good at my job.” I was impressed by her confidence and, turns out, she has every right to be so confident. I was pretty skeptical that the seller would give us some of the things she advised us to ask for, and I was anxious and impatient during the times she told us to wait things out, but in the end, she was right every time. And while I would hope most Realtors would know more than I do about this stuff, we met another Realtor during the process and that experience affirmed my belief that Mary is exceptional. Someone like her would never would have us choosing between three houses that actually all seem kinda shitty.
Real house hunting comes with real drama. Isn’t that the whole thing with reality TV? It’s overly dramatic, and sometimes they have to stage it to make it that dramatic? Yet “House Hunters” has absolutely no drama! Eric and I experienced far less drama than a lot of people do, but the week when we were waiting to find out if we’d get the house we’d put the backup offer on — while our option period was quickly flying by on the other house we’d already put an offer on — was so drama-filled, and the night we found out we didn’t get the house was a pretty sad conclusion. (We were out to a nice steak dinner when he got the call; I’ve never seen two people lose their appetites faster.) Seriously…why is this show not the “Toddlers and Tiaras” of real estate?! I want to see tears! I want to see cutthroat Realtors! I want to see two couples waiting to hear back on the same house! Reality TV is unscrupulous, so why they won’t show house hunters fighting for the place they want like it’s a $5 DVD player on Black Friday is beyond me.