House Hunters Insults My Intelligence

House in Galveston, Texas

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In case you’ve never had the misfortune of sitting through an episode of House Hunters, let me start by explaining the premise of the show.  Each episode follows a person or couple as they tour three houses and choose which one they want to buy.  That’s it.

That the show is staged is not a big deal.  I sincerely hope my readers don’t think reality shows are straightforward reality.

Instead, let’s look at this TV show as a realtor’s dream.  I have never purchased real estate, but I can tell you that most people look at more than three houses when they’re on the market.  If I were a realtor, I would love for people to think it’s normal to only be choosing between three houses.  It would save me a lot of work, especially if one or two of those “options” can be outside of the purchaser’s predetermined budget.   The show presents decisions like “will they buy the house that’s too small, the house they’ll want to renovate heavily, or the house that costs too much?”  This makes your budget look like one negotiable detail among many, and that surely makes realtors happy.  After all, they earn a higher commission when someone buys a more expensive house.

I’m sure that’s all just a coincidence because overly expensive houses are such a great opportunity for the purchaser.  If we’ve learned anything from the economic downturn, it’s that nothing bad ever happens to people who buy more house than they can afford.

In fact, buying a new house leads to the most amazing results on this show.  Just look at how happy everyone is when the show checks back in after a few months.  Mr. Guest got a big promotion at work and Mrs. Guest is expecting triplets while having planned a massive charity gala in the enormous basement of their new home.  The house made their lives perfect!  It’s a huge change in tone compared to the challenges the Guests always seem to face at the start of the show.

In case you were wondering, no one is ever looking for houses in less-than-ideal neighborhoods because that’s all they can afford.  The biggest crime you’ll ever hear of on this show is that a house lacks granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.  You’ll hear about that one ad infinitum.

You may be asking where the suspense in all of this is because it all sounds incredibly formulaic.  What you’re missing is that, over the span of thirty minutes, you’re supposed to grow attached to the Guests and be on the edge of your seat anticipating which house they’ll choose to buy.

What kind of heartless person wouldn’t be excited by that?

Probably the kind of heartless person who recognizes House Hunters for what it is: an infomercial.