Flip this, pal

Whose house is it, anyway? Lynn spots a dispiriting trend:

HGTV is being taken over by real estate shows and even the normal home improvement shows beat you over the head with equity, equity, equity and don’t paint your walls that color because buyers won’t like it and you must “invest” in granite countertops because it’s what all the buyers want. This is exactly what has caused the problem in the housing market — people are encouraged to think of a home as an investment.

This is absolutely the wrong attitude to have about home buying. I’m not an expert in these matters but it doesn’t take an expert to know that when someone creates a bubble it will eventually burst. A home is not an investment, at least not in the sense that you will sell it and make money; it’s a home, a place to live.

Lately, not in that other sense either.

And should I want the inside of my house to look like the office of a deranged dentist from the 1950s, or if were I to install Formica countertops with a boomerang pattern — well, HGTV can bite me. I’m not going anywhere. When the next owners take over, they can send any complaints to me at Pine Box, Seventh Space From The Right, Row Twenty-Nine. I don’t much care what anyone thinks about that interior styling, either.


  1. fillyjonk »

    10 June 2009 · 7:17 am

    Having been involved with the sale of a house – way back in the late 80s – when I was still fairly young and idealistic, I remember being horrified when the agent came for a look-through and basically told my parents, “The house looks great. Now remove everything that bears even the slightest hint of your personalities.”

    My house has salmon-pink Formica countertops in the kitchen and bath. I couldn’t stand them when I first moved it (it is HARD to find towels that match that particular shade) but I couldn’t afford to change them. Now I’ve kind of grown to like them, and I hope they last at least as long as I have the place.

    And incidentally, granite countertops release radon. Looks pretty, but can increase a person’s risk of lung cancer. I feel a slight sense of schadenfreude about that.

  2. jen »

    10 June 2009 · 8:07 am

    You mystify me. You sound so Gen X. =) Of course, I want all cool peeps to be Gen X.

  3. Suzette »

    10 June 2009 · 8:36 am

    HGTV has lost their style chops if you ask me. I cannot bear to see one sheet of fabric stretched out flat and then referred to as a “window treatment”. “Window ailment” is more like it.

  4. Jeff Shaw »

    10 June 2009 · 10:03 am

    ME TOO! Everything you and Lynne said above. Thank God I’m not the only one thinking like this!

  5. fillyjonk »

    10 June 2009 · 11:00 am

    Yeah, I guess I kind of quit watching HGTV. I thought it was because I was now a homeowner and knowing all the things that can go wrong with plumbing or walls or electricity make me twitch, but maybe it’s actually because I don’t enjoy shows about people walking through someone’s house and going “OH ICK! I would never buy THIS!”

    They also got rid of Christopher Lowell, who, at the very least, was good for a laugh.

  6. Lynn »

    10 June 2009 · 2:32 pm

    There are still a few good shows on HGTV. I like Over Your Head, Don’t Sweat It, Landscape Smart, Save My Bath (haven’t seen that one in a while) Carter Can and… oh, what was the name of the one with the Australian host? (haven’t seen that in a while either) Also, there’s Design on a Dime. Seems like there’s one more good one that I watch but I can’t remember it now. Some of those do like to sneak in the old, “this will boost the value of your house” bit but mostly they’re just about regular people who want to fix up their homes.

  7. Dan B »

    11 June 2009 · 12:01 am

    When I used to sell real estate (six months ago), strangers/potential customers thought it odd that I didn’t watch HGTV all the time. I tried watching it back in 2005 when I first got into real estate, and it only took 2 hours to realize that HGTV has as much to do with selling a home as a fish does with riding a bicycle. Especially when you compare the cost of the “improvements” with any potential home price appreciation in THIS market.

  8. Lisa Paul »

    11 June 2009 · 1:23 pm

    I always liked William Morris’s advice: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

    The operative second word being “believe”. Design for yourself for a space you are going to live in.

  9. CGHill »

    11 June 2009 · 1:27 pm

    Evidently I should move; I’m not beautiful, and I’d hate to have to argue that I’m useful. :)

  10. unimpressed »

    11 June 2009 · 7:41 pm

    IMO, it’s “function over form”. I have no problem sacrificing some of the beauty in order to make whatever it is workable. Form over function is worthless and that’s what I see most often when I do watch the home makeover-type shows.

  11. Scott »

    11 June 2009 · 10:36 pm

    Seriously, now, what else can you expect from a narrow-cast “channel”? They gotta pay the bills. Yall are just realizing that you’re at the far end of the sausage machine, same place we people who love to fish have been for two decades. And really, the fishing shows are much better these days, thanks to competition.

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