Sunday, December 19, 2010

Random Natterings #1

I watch a lot of HGTV, as my Significant Other will complain.  I like to watch the programs about people searching for homes or apartments.  I'm not sure why I enjoy them as much as I do; perhaps it's a bit of voyeurism.  I especially like watching house-hunters searching for homes in other countries.  I like seeing what sort of living arrangements people have outside the US - although I am getting a bit weary of watching Americans looking for tropical vacation homes, when I can't even afford to put a new roof on my house.

Many of the shows taking place outside the US still feature Americans looking for homes in other countries, rather than native people.  Watching these programs sometimes gives a rather unflattering picture of Americans.  That may be in part due to editorial choices by the program's producers.  But here are some of the things I've learned about American home buyers, or at least the ones who are willing to have their activitiies presented on television.
There must be a separate bedroom for every family member.
Ideally there should be a separate bathroom for every family member, also.
Stainless steel appliance are a must.
Granite countertops are a must.
Bedrooms must be large enough to support a sitting area.
Bathrooms must be as large as a small bedroom.
Walk-in closets are a must.
You must have an unobstructed view into the living area from the kitchen.
No stairs is best, but if there are stairs, only one flight is preferable. 
Being able to see and hear your neighbors is bad.
Shops and restaurants must be conveniently close.
A bidet is scary.
Water closets are weird.
Every home must have an oven.
Shared laundry facilities are bad.
Hardwood floors are ideal.
Having to shop for groceries more than once a week is strange.
Visible water heaters are weird.
No air conditioning is unbearable.
You should never have to walk any significant distance to your car.
Walking more than 5 minutes to public transit is inconvenient.
You should never have to hear traffic noise.
Children will never grow up. They will not need bigger rooms, be able to climb stairs, or want privacy from parents.
Most people are afraid of color.
You should be able to find American-style homes anywhere in the world.
If one partner in a couple likes traditional style, the other will prefer modern.If one partner likes doing renovations, the other will want all the work already done.
Many people say they want to downsize, but they don't really mean it.
It really isn't necessary to do any research about living in another country. 
If you can't live with it, change it.
New construction will never have anything wrong with it.There will be a perfect home out there that suits your every wish.  You just have to keep looking.
Of course you should be able to buy a home that suits all your desires for an incredibly low price.

I'm being judgmental, but  I'm often appalled by how demanding and intolerant Americans appear on these shows, especially when they're looking for homes overseas.  If I should ever be fortunate enough to purchase a home in another country, what I'll want is the experience of that country, living the way people do who are native to that country.  If that means the entire bathroom is the shower, or I have to climb three flights of stairs to get to my flat, then I'll live with that.  And I'll find out what to expect before I start shopping.  I'll do the same should I move to another state, since I realize that housing isn't the same in every market.

I will continue to watch these shows and point and sneer at the demanding and intolerant people, while enjoying the vicarious experience of looking in other peoples' houses.  Truth be told, I don't really want to shop for a home.  It looks like a horrible experience.

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