Your House and Your Personality

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Your House and Your Personality

#1  Postby locutus7 » Apr 13, 2010 12:59 pm

In the US there is an enormously popular TV show called House Hunters. Each episode shows a person or couple looking at three houses with a real estate agent, and ultimately buying the one they like best. (there is an international version as well).

This show displays interesting personality traits and trends, and I wonder if people in other countries have the same preferences and budgets. Here are some of my observations after watching 10 years of the show (Americans only):

1. Apparently, there is no such thing as a "starter house" for Americans any more. Newlyweds and other young people expect their first house to be their dream house.

2. Americans want BIG. The single most common remark by buyers, which is in every single episode, is "this room is too small." Rooms are never big enough. Moreover, houses are never big enough. It is common to see a couple with no, or one, child looking for 4 or 5 bedroom houses, with media rooms AND bonus rooms AND home office rooms.

3. ALL home buyers expect the big 3: "granite, hardwoods, stainless." Granite kitchen counters, hardwood floors, and stainless kitchen appliances. No variation is acceptable.

4. Most couples, especially younger ones, want houses with "character." They are rebelling against their parents' suburban tract homes, yet when they are shown older homes with"character", the buyers invariably complain that the rooms are too small, and they end up buying the newer large McMansions (just like their parents' houses). The American search for character is interesting.

Anyway, are these trends the same in Europe, Aus, etc. Please comment. I put a link to the House Hunters HGTV but it may not be accessible. If anyone can help with that, please do.

http://www.hgtv.com/house-hunters/show/index.html
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#2  Postby babel » Apr 13, 2010 1:24 pm

1. Apparently, there is no such thing as a "starter house" for Americans any more. Newlyweds and other young people expect their first house to be their dream house.
Personally, I think there certainly are, but they are a minority. Most couples rent for a couple of years while saving for their dreamhouse. Others buy 'a handymans dream' to renovate and either sell it for a profit or stay there. I bought myself a small appartment and in a couple of years might start looking into buying something bigger. (no room for mini-me's)

2. Americans want BIG. The single most common remark by buyers, which is in every single episode, is "this room is too small." Rooms are never big enough. Moreover, houses are never big enough. It is common to see a couple with no, or one, child looking for 4 or 5 bedroom houses, with media rooms AND bonus rooms AND home office rooms.
Belgium is one of the countries with the highest population density in Europe. Only the upper class can afford those huge houses you're referring to. The trend is to open up the livingroom, by integrating the kitchen into it, so you get a spacious feeling though it's not that big.

3. ALL home buyers expect the big 3: "granite, hardwoods, stainless." Granite kitchen counters, hardwood floors, and stainless kitchen appliances. No variation is acceptable.
that's recognizable, yes.

4. Most couples, especially younger ones, want houses with "character." They are rebelling against their parents' suburban tract homes, yet when they are shown older homes with"character", the buyers invariably complain that the rooms are too small, and they end up buying the newer large McMansions (just like their parents' houses). The American search for character is interesting.
I personally prefer newer houses to old houses, but a lot of people, especially in city centres, are specifically looking for character, though most of them actually go through with the purchase, despite the smaller rooms.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#3  Postby locutus7 » Apr 13, 2010 1:30 pm

Interesting, Babel. I wonder if tastes are becoming more homogenized throughout the developed countries of the world: that previously quaint regional tastes and preferences (in houses and other cultural objects) are blending due to international communications.

Anyway, I do hope Americans' craving for hopelessly enormous houses does not spread to the rest of the world.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#4  Postby heyjude » Apr 13, 2010 1:34 pm

Interesting :) I haven't looked at your link... but this makes me think about my (crazy) brother. He is Australian, and believes he lives up to all the Aussie ideals, but the years of living in the US (must be more than 15 years he has been there now) and working for big companies and earning $$$ has certainly changed his ideas considerably. We grew up in NZ and Oz living in what I think of as normal sized houses. He now has a wife and two kids, and basically sees a HUGE house as the bare minimum and anything less is hardship.

He started off in Cincinnati in a suburb surrounded by insurance salesmen and WASP'y type people who all live in fairly identical homes - you know the kind of area that is all the same and no fences and just large fancy places. All of them have a huge living room as you come in that no one ever uses, and then a family room that is actually where everyone hangs out (what IS that about??)

Now he's in his 3rd house (I think... they move a bit) in New Jersey and it's a whopper. I have only seen photos but it's a 3/4 million $ fancy schmancy crazy thing. Totally not my kind of place and just huge ... whatever ;)

The thing is... he was posted to England for a year, and put up in a BRAND new house on the ocean looking across at France right near where the Channel tunnel leaves from. It looked so nice from the photos... but he basically complained about *everything* for the entire year. I guess the English idea of a nice house is MUCH smaller than the American one... and they felt like none of the rooms were big enough and really bitched and moaned. Mind you.... he got paid so much extra for the 'hardship' and a BMW to drive and yadda yadda. (Meanwhile I was living in India and seeing what the real world is like, and losing my job and in dire straits ... so I wasn't too interested in hearing him complain about his tough life and his big bonus!). It certainly is interesting. My conclusion is that you get used to what you have... and just want MORE. That is a cultural thing though. I don't see that as much in India or Thailand... I think we in the West are just used to an ideology of expectation.

Anyway.... just my thoughts! :cheers:
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#5  Postby locutus7 » Apr 13, 2010 1:42 pm

heyjude, your brother is the american success story.

I live in a very small house (for America) and our suburban friends and colleagues cannot imagine downsizing to such a small place, although they all think it is charming.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#6  Postby keypad5 » Apr 13, 2010 1:47 pm

Interesting observations.

I'm not sure if the same trends are occurring in Sydney. We've had years of home renovation style tv shows, so people here probably have more of a "fix-it-up" or "decorate to create the illusion of space" mentality rather than a "buy big" mentality.

But I'd say location plays a big part in what people are looking for. You just can't expect to get a big place in the main Australian cities without paying a packet (the suburb over from me just auctioned off a property for $45,000 per square metre!) . But in the outer suburbs and country it's easier to find larger properties for less.

I actually just bought a 2 bedroom apartment in Sydney. It's only 785 sq feet, but that's actually pretty decent for a 2 bedder in this area. And while I was looking there were plenty of ads for "entry level" properties or "first investment homes," so I think Australians are still pretty realistic about what they can buy and what they'll get.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#7  Postby I'm With Stupid » Apr 13, 2010 1:49 pm

No, I think in the UK, most first time buyers are more interested in getting a house. Any house. If it doesn't need too much work doing to it, and has enough bedrooms to fit everyone in, that's a bonus. As a result, these terrible aspirational property programmes normally have slightly older people on, who are as insufferable as the people you talk about.

What I'm guessing you don't have to put up with over there are the endless shows about people doing it abroad as well, where they want exactly what their imagination has decided rural France or Spain should look like.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#8  Postby babel » Apr 13, 2010 1:51 pm

@ keypad: That's 30000 € per m²??? :o
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#9  Postby keypad5 » Apr 13, 2010 1:58 pm

babel wrote:@ keypad: That's 30000 € per m²??? :o

He he. Well, it was a multi-million dollar house on Bondi Beach. :grin:

If only I had the finances for something like that. *sigh*
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#10  Postby heyjude » Apr 13, 2010 2:02 pm

locutus7 wrote:heyjude, your brother is the american success story.



Oh so true... you got that right! he must make $250,000 a year at least and worries endlessly about money. It brings him no happiness. And he certainly doesn't want to help his family at all ;) he is the American Dream alright..... the funny thing is I have been so much happier than him, earning less. When I lived in LA and eventually made $100,000 I thought I was insanely rich and flew my parents on trips and had such fun doing generous things. I knew how lucky I was back then.. every minute of every day. Now my husband and I make $900 a month between us and we are still happier than my brother! Some people figure stuff out... and some don't.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#11  Postby I'm With Stupid » Apr 13, 2010 2:10 pm

heyjude wrote:
locutus7 wrote:heyjude, your brother is the american success story.



Oh so true... you got that right! he must make $250,000 a year at least and worries endlessly about money. It brings him no happiness. And he certainly doesn't want to help his family at all ;) he is the American Dream alright..... the funny thing is I have been so much happier than him, earning less. When I lived in LA and eventually made $100,000 I thought I was insanely rich and flew my parents on trips and had such fun doing generous things. I knew how lucky I was back then.. every minute of every day. Now my husband and I make $900 a month between us and we are still happier than my brother! Some people figure stuff out... and some don't.

Yeah, but you're living in a country that others pay thousands to visit. Presumably also earning quite a bit more than the average local?
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#12  Postby amyonyango » Apr 13, 2010 2:10 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:No, I think in the UK, most first time buyers are more interested in getting a house. Any house. If it doesn't need too much work doing to it, and has enough bedrooms to fit everyone in, that's a bonus. As a result, these terrible aspirational property programmes normally have slightly older people on, who are as insufferable as the people you talk about.

What I'm guessing you don't have to put up with over there are the endless shows about people doing it abroad as well, where they want exactly what their imagination has decided rural France or Spain should look like.


Oh I agree! I'm just proud to own a house - any house. I love our 3 bed semi on ex-council estate (well still 25% council tenants) simply because it's ours. It's far from "perfect" and there's a lot we can do to improve it, but we've been so busy filling the spare bedroom with extra children that home improvements have taken to the back-burner. Actually -you could say that filling the house with children is doing home improvements. We have a bog-standard property, but an amazing home.

Large, sprawling, grand properties can be wonderful, but I sure as hell wouldn't want the heating bill! And they can be characterless.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#13  Postby babel » Apr 13, 2010 2:16 pm

Oh I agree! I'm just proud to own a house - any house. I love our 3 bed semi on ex-council estate (well still 25% council tenants) simply because it's ours. It's far from "perfect" and there's a lot we can do to improve it, but we've been so busy filling the spare bedroom with extra children that home improvements have taken to the back-burner. Actually -you could say that filling the house with children is doing home improvements. We have a bog-standard property, but an amazing home.
Amy brings up what I felt was missing in my own reply: a house is but a house. I'm looking for a home and that's actually something you achieve by filling it up with people you enjoy having around. I've lived alone for almost two years, but it feels like home now I share it with my SO.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#14  Postby Paul G » Apr 13, 2010 2:22 pm

The UK Progs are awful.

"Yes I'm looking for a period property with period features, Martin loves his period features but I simply don't do beams. I just can't do beams. Any Particular period? PERIOD PROERTY! I WANT A PERIOD PROPERTY! But no beams. Janice simply can't do beams, she finds them vulgar and they interfere with her painting. I like this one, it ticks all the right boxes and is fantastic for my karma, but I spy a fucking beam. I simply can't do beams. Is this a period property by the way?"

Fuck off.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#15  Postby babel » Apr 13, 2010 2:24 pm

Paul G wrote:The UK Progs are awful.

"Yes I'm looking for a period property with period features, Martin loves his period features but I simply don't do beams. I just can't do beams. Any Particular period? PERIOD PROERTY! I WANT A PERIOD PROPERTY! But no beams. Janice simply can't do beams, she finds them vulgar and they interfere with her painting. I like this one, it ticks all the right boxes and is fantastic for my karma, but I spy a fucking beam. I simply can't do beams. Is this a period property by the way?"

Fuck off.

:what:
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#16  Postby Paul G » Apr 13, 2010 2:29 pm

Sorry. Coffee/Hayfever/Boring afternoon = Mindless rant.
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#17  Postby devogue » Apr 13, 2010 2:29 pm

Paul G wrote:The UK Progs are awful.

"Yes I'm looking for a period property with period features, Martin loves his period features but I simply don't do beams. I just can't do beams. Any Particular period? PERIOD PROERTY! I WANT A PERIOD PROPERTY! But no beams. Janice simply can't do beams, she finds them vulgar and they interfere with her painting. I like this one, it ticks all the right boxes and is fantastic for my karma, but I spy a fucking beam. I simply can't do beams. Is this a period property by the way?"

Fuck off.


:lol:

I hate that "period features" thing as well.

I'd love to put a sanitary towel on a mantelpiece in some flat and tell those poncey bastards to check it out. :plot:
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#18  Postby Tsuyoiko » Apr 13, 2010 2:33 pm

Paul G wrote:The UK Progs are awful.

"Yes I'm looking for a period property with period features, Martin loves his period features but I simply don't do beams. I just can't do beams. Any Particular period? PERIOD PROERTY! I WANT A PERIOD PROPERTY! But no beams. Janice simply can't do beams, she finds them vulgar and they interfere with her painting. I like this one, it ticks all the right boxes and is fantastic for my karma, but I spy a fucking beam. I simply can't do beams. Is this a period property by the way?"

Fuck off.


You forgot, "This is such a nice space, it's so light and airy". Why do they always say 'space' instead of 'room'? And of course it's airy, otherwise you'd suffocate :crazy:
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#19  Postby devogue » Apr 13, 2010 2:36 pm

En suite = handy bog.

Master bedroom = Ma and da's room

Utility room = Washing machine room

Reception room = The "good" room
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Re: Your House and Your Personality

#20  Postby Paul G » Apr 13, 2010 2:37 pm

Glad I'm not alone! :lol:

Contemporary design = New build.
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