December 18, 2011

House Hunters: Somebody Call a Waaaambulance

Description: Los Angeles newlyweds are anxious to buy their first home.
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Ok, so I've seen a ridiculous number of House Hunters episodes. A lot of episodes have doofy husbands.  Or casually sexist husbands who joke about their wives doing the laundry or bringing them beers in their future man caves. And there have been a lot of Mormons, when you consider the number of Mormons in the general population to the number that have been on the show. But no one has been as awful as the husband in this episode. Meet Matt:

Actually, meet Matt and Melissa:

Matt is like an LA version of Fat Mac: cocky, delusional, and wears ugly shirts. Even the narrator hates Matt. I love it when the narrator hates one or both of the house hunters.

Matt is a horror movie screenwriter. Of fucking course he is. That's him working on a screenplay right now!

Matt and his wife Melissa have been married for three months, but have been looking at homes in Chatsworth, CA, outside of LA, for the past three years. They have looked at over 100 houses and have put offers on four of them, but all those fell through. They even packed up all their shit before the deal on the last home was finalized and the seller pulled out at the last minute. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, ya'll.

Melissa really wants to buy a house because, as she explains through tears, "I grew up in a house that my family didn't own." Ok, why the hell is she crying? How is that something to cry over? Whether it was rented or owned, you still had a roof over your head. Jeez. Whatever.

Matt and Melissa's budget is $750,000 to $800,000. Hmm, maybe I should start writing horror movies. I think I'll call my first horror movie Death Bed: The Bed that Eats People. Anyway, Melissa and Matt want a big house with 4 bedrooms, walk in closets, an updated kitchen, and outdoor space.

Their realtor is Matt's friend Travis. Under normal circumstances I would make fun of Travis for wearing the puka shell necklace he bought at his class's end of the year field trip to Six Flags back in 1998, but compared to Matt, Travis is a gem.

House #1 is a 2900 square foot 5 bedroom 3 bath house for $775,000.

Travis points out that television mounting hardware is already installed above the fireplace and Matt huffs, "Come on, you've seen my TV."

Yes, how could Travis forget something as important as what his friend's television looks like? Maybe Travis is the real villain of this episode. 

There are worms at the bottom of the pool and you would think that it was covered in dead bodies by the way Matt and Melissa were acting. Maybe Matt can write a horror movie like Human Centipede called Pool Worms that's about those really scary worms that are sometimes at the bottom of SoCal pools. 

Matt hates the width of the closets and says, "I was really hoping the closet was bigger than my wing span." Jesus fucking Christ. Melissa suggests that since there's a lot of space in the hallway, they could increase the size of the closet and Matt whines, "You want to do more work again! I don't want to do any work!" God forbid your lily white hands do any actual work, Matt.

House #2 has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms in 3200 square feet. 

The house, and its furnishings, are very 80's, but Matt likes the bookcase and thinks it will be able to hold all his movies. Of fucking course he is the kind of guy who owns a ridiculous number of movies.

Matt hates the glass blocks and says he feels like he's back in Miami. I was unaware that glass blocks were exclusive to Miami. Someone should tell the glass block factory at 103rd and Halsted that they're in the wrong city.

Matt describes the kitchen as "country kitchen gone nouveau." What does that even mean? He hates all the pink and asks who would put all this pink in the house. Melissa smartly answers, "Somebody who likes pink."

Matt isn't happy that Melissa sassed him.

House #3 is a 4 bedroom 3 bath 2600 square foot house for $699,000. 

I really like mid-century SoCal houses; I just hate the SoCal part. And for once Matt likes something: the fireplace. 

But being positive is contrary to Matt's nature, so he has to start bitching about something. He hates the detached garage and says it might be a dealbreaker. Seriously? He argues, "Wait til it rains and we have to walk to the garage." It would be Matt's own personal trail of tears is what it would be.

Melissa likes the kitchen, which does seem to be pretty nice, even if it does feel like it was just thrown in the corner of a big room.

They check out the master bedroom and Matt's pissed.

"Well this kind of STINKS because there's no walk in closet." Is this motherfucker for real?

Melissa's at the end of her rope and rightly tells him, "*sigh*Matt, it's 100 grand less." 

"But I WANT a walk in closet." Maybe Melissa should give him a juice box and then put him down for his nap. That might help.

"I get that. You want everything, though, We're not going to be able to get everything."

Wishes he was anywhere but here

"We can't afford a million dollar house. Just, you gotta give somewhere, please."

Matt likes the bathroom and the backyard, but he's concerned that because of the age of the house - which was built in the 1950's, not the 1850's, jeez - there will be hidden costs. 

Melissa is now just openly contemptuous.

They go on a picnic to talk about which house they want. They rule out house #2 immediately, so it comes down to #1 and #3.

Melissa calls her mom to tell her they got house #1 for $750,000. She says she's crying because they got their dream home, but I think she's crying because she's realized she hitched her wagon to a big asshole baby star. You know how some people have a baby or buy a puppy to save their relationship? I think in this instance it's a house.

December 12, 2011

House Hunters International: Why you hafta make-a da fun?

Description: Nicole is searching for a hip flat in central Rome.
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So you know how there are those people who are like super into Italy and visit all the time and want to buy a centuries old second home there? I'm not one of those people. In fact, I think Italy is kind of overhyped. It's fine, but I think there are other places in Europe that are better. Italy, for me, is just meh. Maybe it's because I don't really like wine (well, any wine besides Arbor Mist). Or maybe it's because I really, really hate Silvio Berlusconi.

Nicole is moving to Rome to take a job as a first grade teacher at an international school. I wonder if it's the Italian branch of France's USA High.

Nicole is already bugging me for two reasons:

1. She has that annoying Barbara Walters-type accent where R's sound slightly like W's.

Too bad she's moving to Rome and not Milan or Tuscany or any of the other places in Italy that don't have an R in the name.

2. She wears an ascot with a sweater draped over her shoulders.

That's really all it takes to get on my bad side: an annoying voice and poor accessory choices.

Anyway, Nicole heads to Rome to look for an apartment with the help of her realtors Sabrina, a native New Yorker, and Katia. Nicole's school will subsidize her housing costs up to 3,000 Euros a month and she can afford to pitch in $1,000US herself. Nicole wants a two bedroom apartment with modern amenities and lots of closets in a central location. Yeah, good luck with that, Nicole.

The first apartment they look at is 4,500 Euros a month and has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. 

Nicole doesn't like the color of the dining room, which she describes as "puke green." I don't know anyone who pukes the color of shamrock shakes, unless they're puking after too many shamrock shakes. 

Ok, I also don't like Nicole for two more reasons:

1. She's wearing a joutfit/Texas tuxedo/Canadian tuxedo.

2. She asks, "Why would the washing machine be in the kitchen?" I've never planned a move to Europe and even I know that they put the washing machines in the kitchen. When the realtors explains that it's for space reasons, Nicole replies, "That's not quite what we have at home." No shit? Europe and the US are different in a lot of ways? Huh. Why couldn't someone have told Nicole that before she decided to move there?

They show Nicole the master bedroom and tell her that air conditioning units are only in the bedrooms. Nicole does that thing where you passive aggressively raise your eyebrows exasperatedly when you're annoyed, which is hard to capture in a picture. She really wants air conditioning because Rome is humid and congested. When I'm in congested areas, I only like recirculated air. No fresh air for me or Nicole.

I really want to have a bedroom one day where the bedding matches the walls. It's totally antiquated and 60's and I love it, but only for one room.

The second apartment is $6,500 a month and has two bedrooms and two baths. It's also right next to the Vatican which would absolutely freak me out. 

Like, running into nuns on the street, no thank you. 

The living/dining rooms is nice and bright and has good hardwood floors and the kitchen is updated.

They check out the bathroom and Nicole points to the bidet and asks, "What's this?" Ok, seriously, you're moving to Rome and you don't know what a bidet is? When the realtor says, "A bidet," she then asks what a bidet does. Seriously? You haven't even heard of a bidet before? Did you not watch the Real World Los Angeles? Because that's how I learned what a bidet was, when I was ten. 

They check out the terrace and Nicole is disappointed at how small it is and curtly says, "Is that it? Let's go." But outdoor space wasn't even on her wishlist, so qualunque cosa.

Apartment #3 is $7,500 a month and they never say how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has. This third apartment felt really rushed. 

The apartment has exposed beams in every room, which would be awesome. They would be even more awesome painted pink. Or with glitter on them.

There's also a large outdoor space, which Nicole likes, but I wouldn't like looking out on all those other buildings. It feels like turn of the last century New York with like clothes lines and someone dirty kids playing kick the can.

Anyway, it's decision time. Nicole immediately rules out the first apartment. Sabrina tells Nicole that they were able to negotiate with the second apartment's owner and he brought the price down to 3,300 Euros a month, within Nicole's budget. She decides to take that apartment.

And she's still wearing that damn sleeveless denim shirt four months later.

December 11, 2011

House Hunters: A Dream Detroit?!

Description: Jay and Booyoung are ready to settle down in a historic Detroit home.
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Ok, so let's be real. Detroit is basically America's Haiti. I googled Detroit and went to the official City of Detroit website and, hand to God, this was a story on the front page:

A total Detroit stereotype! 3,000 abandoned buildings torn down? 3,000 abandoned buildings to begin with? And there aren't 3,000 new buildings to replace those torn down buildings, so I guess it comes down to what's worse: abandoned buildings or empty lots?

But, hometowns are like families. They may not be perfect - in fact, they may be downright assholes - but damnit, they're your family and you're probably just as big of an asshole when it comes down to it, so fuck anyone who bad mouths your family or your hometown. I love ya, Detroit. You're scrappy; you'll be alright. And that car commercial makes me want to yell, "Fuck yeah, Detroit!"

With all that said, let's meet our house hunters.

Jay is from Detroit originally and he met Booyoung when he was working in South Korea. They've been married for 5 years, but because of his job, they haven't really settled down yet. They've been living with Jay's brother for the past three months while they look for their dream home. I love my sister, but we would kill each other after three days if we lived together.

They want a historic property with two to three bedrooms, an open kitchen, and a water view for $350,000 to $450,000. He prefers the suburbs, but she wants a home in the city because she "likes smells and pollution." Heh.

House #1 is a 2000 square foot, 2 bed, 2 bath loft in a 1906 building for $387,500. 

It has the open kitchen they like and Jay thinks "it's enough space." What exactly are you doing that would require more space than that? Dissecting bodies and draining them of their blood like the basement doctor on American ShitshowHorror Story?

On a sartorial note, is she wearing thigh-highs? Is Detroit stuck in 1997? Because that's the last time I saw anyone wearing thigh-highs.

Jay describes the bathroom as "humble" and he says that like it's a bad thing. I once had a bathroom that was an arrogant dick and when he was on Top Chef all he did was make foams and everyone hated him. Booyoung wants a marble or granite countertop in the bathroom. I can understand wanting that in a kitchen because it has a higher heat resistance and you can chop on it, but in a bathroom, does it really matter?

The loft has a rooftop deck, which would be nice if they lived in a city with decent views, and not just of torn down buildings.

House #2 is 4500 square foot, 5 bed, 3.5 bath single family home from $399,900. The house was built in 1915, so it has a ton of character.

I do think it's a bit boring to decorate old homes in period-appropriate furnishings. I think it's more interesting to juxtapose modern items with an old setting, like Carine Roitfeld's apartment

If I ever have the chance to buy a place with a fireplace in the dining room, I'm totally going to get it. It would be like I was on The Cosby Show whenever I ate in there.

The kitchen has nice old wooden cabinets and the original tile counters, but I can't help but think about how germy the grout is. That would be a pain to clean.

Jay thinks that this "feels a little small for a master bedroom." I hate when people go on these shows and act surprised when old homes have smaller bedrooms, closets, and bathrooms than newer homes. Get your head out of your ass, Jay. Overall, they like the house because it has a "wow factor," but Booyoung still wants something downtown.

House #3 is a 1400 square foot condo with 2 beds and 2 baths in a 1924 renovated hotel. The HOA fees are a crazy $1000 a month because the condo has access to all the hotels amenities, including room service, concierge service, a pool, and a gym. 

The unit they're looking at is the model unit, so it has upgrades that will be an additional cost, which is such a shady racket. Like, "Hey, I'm gonna show you this supernice condo and tell you that it costs one thing, but then, BTW, all the things you like about the condo are going to cost you an extra $30,000."

The combo living room/dining room seems tight, especially compared to the last place they looked at. 

They love the stunning? views of Detroit. 

They also love the kitchen, even though they specifically said they hated the galley kitchen in Jay's brother's house. If I were Jay's brother, I'd be pissed.

So now they have an important decision to make. Clearly, they should go with house #2. But 99% of the people on this show have shit for brains, so they go with #3. 

It's so spacious? Actually, the unit they got had a smaller living/dining room than the model - shady racket! - so they can't even fit any tables by their La-Z-Boy couches. 

But being in this bustling? hip? downtown location is worth it.