Have you ever found yourself glued to episodes of House Hunters on HGTV? Of course you have. Your friends watch it, your plumber watches it—everybody but the family dog watches House Hunters. We can’t help wanting to peek behind front doors and see how everyone else lives—or wants to live. There is an international version as well, which spans locations throughout the world. Ever notice the difference between American buyers compared to those in other countries? It seems we’re a bit spoiled.
Yes, it’s true. If you watch the show regularly, you come away thinking that we are an unbelievably persnickety lot. How so? Well, let’s just start with the living room. It’s always too small. Never mind that you could land a small aircraft in it, it’s still a bit cramped. And the ceilings aren’t high enough. I mean, what if the kids should want to shoot skeet on a rainy day. And that floor plan! It’s just not “open “enough. You never know when you might want to fix a snack while lobbing your Wii bowling ball over the breakfast bar, through the dining area and onto the great room big screen.
You cringe and think, maybe the kitchen will be acceptable, but no. The cabinets are a bit too light/dark and barely make the grade, but the counter tops aren’t granite. This is unforgivable. It doesn’t matter if a granite pattern looks like a painting by a three year old, and that it might be radioactive, it is the must-have look! And the appliances must be stainless steel, not some tacky, bourgeois white. Who cares if they show every fingerprint and will be so dated in five years they might as well be avocado, no stainless–no sale.
If there isn’t hardwood flooring throughout the house, take it off the short list. We don’t want carpet anywhere, even if there’s wood underneath because we don’t want to have to pull up a bit of carpet. And we certainly don’t want to have to paint anything either. The colors better be our favorites, and our already purchased furniture better fit perfectly in every room. Heaven forbid that the biggest investment of our lives doesn’t neatly hold all of the furniture that we’ll probably replace in a year or two anyway.
Moving onto the master suite (forget it if it’s just a bedroom), well, the closets won’t do unless they’re large enough to board a couple of pure breed stallions in there. I mean, the 200 extra pairs of shoes wouldn’t like the ambiance in the attic. And the master bath? It better have a spa tub, separate shower, more granite counter tops, and, of course, dual sinks. What did we do before dual sinks were invented? The horror! (Do we really need to brush our teeth in tandem? Can side by side commodes be far behind?)
Let us not forget the yard. Muffy and Pumpkin(the pups) must have ample room to cavort. At least two acres are a must, and they better be flat, green, not in view of any neighbor and not near one iota of street noise. Pumpkin cannot be expected to do her business when there’s street noise.
Lastly, there’s the big consideration of the garage. If there isn’t one, forget it. Two-car, it’s a maybe. The short list requires a three car garage, because there has to be room for all of the grownup toys and the massive SUV(which is probably almost big enough to live in, just in case the house thing doesn’t work out).
Yes, we Americans are a picky, trendy bunch. It’s a bit embarrassing, really. There’s only one house in the country that seems to have all the specs we want. It’s huge, with gourmet kitchens, big manicured grounds and gleaming marble. The color is neutral and the wood is polished. It’s been renovated and decorated to a tee. Too bad the President already lives there.