House Hunters International on HGTV is a show where buyers compare vacation homes in places like Greece or the south of Spain that feature a view of a marketplace or the ocean. Vicarious home buying in exotic locales feeds a fantasy that’s a bit too expensive to embark on in real life; better to watch a couple decide whether they should plunk down a bagful of money for the updated villa near a winery or a smaller, charming cottage by the lake. Decision, decisions. Occasionally, I like to watch and advise the buyers from my living room with savvy advice like, “Get the one with the Versailles-style garden, you idiots!”
Last night though, I caught part of an episode of the regular old House Hunters that featured a young couple touring houses in Oregon that averaged just under $1 million. They needed lots of space (let’s assume they’re planning on kids), but when shown a home with five bedrooms, three baths, and a killer view, the woman proclaimed one of the bedrooms too small; likewise, she couldn’t imagine her new dining room set fitting into the normal-to-me sized dining room. They declared that the perfectly nice kitchen and bathroom “needed a lot of work.” Huh?
When contemplating a 3,000-square-foot home, can it ever be said to be too small for two people with two little pugs? Oh, and the backyard water feature (a waterfall that cascaded down several levels of stone) “wouldn’t be good for the dogs.” The dogs, I think, would beg to differ. My vicarious experience turned to an obscene greedfest. Had the realtor taken them to Boston and shown them that a million bucks here buys little more than a two-room, closetless condo in the Back Bay, they might have settled for the mansion. I think the dogs would have adjusted.