Whenever I visit my parents, I am enthralled by their satellite TV like a cave woman who has just been thawed out of a glacier. One of the shows that invariably captivates me for hours is House Hunters. Something about those upper-middle-class couples struggling to choose between a backyard pool or long-range views is almost hypnotic.
What I'd really love to see, though, is a realistic version of House Hunters, in which people on a shoestring budget grapple with harsh realities.
HOUSE HUNTERS: REALISTIC EDITION
Today on House Hunters: Realistic Edition, we're following a young couple looking for a home in lovely Asheville, North Carolina. They have not set a budget because "all the numbers are just so big."
House #1 is actually an apartment in a historic north Asheville neighborhood, just a quick 20-minute walk to downtown. The building has no elevator, so the apartment is only accessible by three flights of weird old stairs.
This apartment features hardwood floors, washer/dryer hookups that occasionally make a mysterious gurgling sound, and all-new kitchen appliances as of 1992.
Haley and Ari are impressed by the convenient location and historic charm, but also concerned about the high price. They decide to consider some properties a little further from Asheville.
Only a short 45-minute drive from Asheville, House #2 is an early 1980s mobile home that has been updated by a drunk, chain-smoking Greek man who enjoys carpentry and is also the landlord. Located at an elevation of over 3,000 feet on a mountain that is called either Buck Cove or Buckeye Cove, no one seems to be quite sure, this quaint trailer-cabin is accessible via a dirt ravine that vaguely resembles a road.
The trailer-cabin is heated by a small "high-efficiency" wood stove and a propane tank that the landlord swears will last all winter. When there are no leaves on the trees, you can almost barely see the very top of Cold Mountain from the deck. Inside the house, however, Haley and Ari are not impressed with the floor coverings.
House #2 is also the cheapest option, which is good for Haley and Ari's nonexistent budget.
Slightly terrified by House #2, yet wanting to throw up a little bit when they consider the cost of House #1, Haley and Ari view one more property, this time in the neighboring (if by neighboring you mean "separated by a mountain range") town of Waynesville, North Carolina.
House #3 features an actual yard, a garage, a deck, a porch with weird outdoor carpet but we'll overlook that for now, a giant stone fireplace, and central heating and cooling. It is slightly more expensive than House #2, but still far cheaper than House #1.
The cost still makes Haley and Ari want to throw up a little bit, and they're no longer in the same city they intended to live in, but after taking thirty seconds to consider their options, they decide to go with House #3.
Six months later…
Coming up next, you don't want to miss Renovations Gone Wrong.
For the record, those are all places we've actually lived. We have been living in House #3 for almost two years now, and we like it very much now that we've sprayed the yard sale couches for fleas.