What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Background Craziness of HGTV People

So one of the things I do when working or writing at home is having the TV, radio, or iTunes going for background noise. It keeps certain parts of my brain occupied so it doesn't interfere with what I'm working on (those of you who've met me in person know I fidget with my hands, it's the same thing, it keeps parts of my brian occupied). When I have the TV on I usually either have a movie I've seen a few hundred times on, or something that doesn't require any real attention. HGTV is the channel of choice for this.

They have a couple of shows that tend to be on in the evenings when I have it on. Shows like, "My First Place", "Property Virgins" and "House Hunters" or something else that's about the same concept, people looking to buy homes or are selling their home. There's a camera that follows people around while they're inspecting the homes and captures their comments. And I've come away with some general thoughts.

1) It's obvious that of the people who have real money to buy places, or revamp them, gay couples make up a disproportionate percentage of that population.

2) Where do these people work and what do they do that they can afford these houses. "Oh, we're looking for a first house and our top price is half a million dollars." WTF? Seriously, couples that have marriage issues (seriously, the kind of couples you start the office pool on when they're going to have their messy divorce, with the outlying date a yeah and a half out, and that's form the optimist club members), in their twenties, "just out of school" and they're buying houses over twice the value of the house I was able to buy when I was in my thirties (and with a lot of help) and that's their low end.

3) WTF do these people expect? Really. "Oh, I'm not wild about the color. What were they thinking. We won't look at the rest of the house." Hey, there's this thing called PAINT. It's amazing, really, you might want to look into it. (Okay, wallpaper I can understand, that's a bitch to take down, but it's still doable)

4) "The furniture (or art on walls) is really bad and doesn't make the space work." Um, you aren't buying the furniture or the artwork.

5) No, seriously, the gay couples appear to have the most stable relationships.

And then there's the whole financial part of it. Haven't these people been watching the news? Full cost financing? Really? And rolling in the closing costs? Um. Yeah.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand why NONE of them ever buy a house under the price of their original budget? How are they going to pay for it?

As for procrastination: I had little toy soldiers lined up around me during my NaNoWriMo write-in today to stop the procrastination attacks. It seemed to work. I have over 40K words now.

Plus Write or Die. Gotta love that.

Anonymous Cassie

Steve Buchheit said...

Cassie, I think that has a lot to do with house buying mentality. You create a budget, and then see what you can get for just over that line which is so irresistible they can't help it. That' why realtors actually plan the house visits that way (this is below your cost, this is at your cost, this is what you can get for just a little more). When I did a house search, I did a lot of the finding of the homes and then handed our realtor the list. All in all, I think they recommended 1 extra house for us to go see.

I've thought about looking a Write or Die since I hear the Mur do a commercial for it. My problem is my writing time isn't sacrosanct. I may start writing and then get an email I need to deal with, or I get a HoneyDo request, or the cats need attention. The toy soldiers I hadn't thought of. That might work.

Jarrett said...

Having just been neck-deep in the home -buying process, I was watching those shows for tips. Maybe they'd tell me something I didn't know and should. I never got a whole lot from them other than frustrated.

My wife and I thought the same thing you did about these budgets. We both have full-time jobs that pay pretty well. We aren't hurting for money and could afford to buy our nice middle-class home. But we didn't spend anything ear what these people are spending.

I know that what a house will cost will vary by market, depending on taxes and cost of insurance in your state. But one day we saw a couple where she wasn't working and he had just graduated from college. Their budget for a home in Arizona was $250,000. Both of our jaws dropped. We couldn't come anywhere close to affording that.

That's when we came up with the theory that either these people are told that the bank will approve them for X amount and that becomes their budget. Or, they are just willing to accept being house poor and doing nothing else in their lives rather than be a home owner.

Merrie Fuller said...

When the home buyers are in California or NY, I don't think twice about the price tags. But yeah, sometimes I wonder.

Steve Buchheit said...

Jarrett, yeah, those stories leave me scratching my head as well. I wish I could understand that. HEck, I still get squeamish when I spend $100 on something. And with our house we definitely didn't want to be house poor. Last year we got close with all the appliance replacements we had to go through. And next year we might get close again (as long as some of our plans come to fruition, but it'll be worth it). I also think I'll find some tips etc, and from these shows it's mostly on the "okay, before we sell we'll need to paint everything white."

Mer, yeah I can understand that some markets, but still. Just what are these people doing that they can afford a payment like that? Last night after I wrote the post they had a couple from Cleveland, and they were looking in the $250,000 or less, but then they weren't right out of college and they had two kids already and family support.

Anonymous said...


Go try it. You set your goals, you set your times. If you have to stop, you can. If you don't choose kamikaze mode, your words will be waiting for you.

I did much the same as you when we were looking for our first house. I told our realtor our top price was about 5K under what we could have afforded and started looking at the bottom of the available houses in our price range. Eventually, that realtor stopped working with us, but another realtor stepped in and we found what we could afford.

The second house... we stretched a bit and it bites some months. Refinancing isn't really an option, the rate we got in 2005 was low enough that refinancing doesn't make any sense.

Anonymous Cassie