I’m nowhere near the time in my life where I can afford to buy a house. Last night I had to check my bank account before ordering takeout, so I’d say a house is pretty far down the line. Regardless, I’m obsessed with the show House Hunters on HGTV. It’s a show centered around a couple looking to buy a house, and while that sounds boring, it is endlessly fascinating. I don’t have a particular interest in the home buying process and I can’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of the housing market, but I love watching House Hunters for one reason and one reason only: to judge the shit out of the prospective homeowners.
Oh, this young professional couple is trying to buy a house in San Francisco for under a million dollars? This ought to be good. Another young couple is buying their first house and wants a newly renovated property with modern finishes? Give. It. To. Me.
I know it’s bad, but I actively enjoy seeing couples’ hopes and dreams go out the window as soon as they step foot into a dingy shack and their realtor says “This is what is available at your price point in this area.” The wife looks at the outdated kitchen appliances with disgust while the husband optimistically says they can always renovate, knowing full well that’ll never happen but he’s trying to make the best of it because this is the only house out of the three that’s under budget. That right there is better than crack.
The high that I get from judging couples on House Hunters is not unlike the high that I get from judging PNMs going through recruitment. They’re basically the same thing: young, dumb, optimistic schmucks who are quickly and swiftly disappointed by the people they place their utmost trust in. In House Hunters, that person is their realtor (who, unsurprisingly, is unable to find a 5 bedroom house in their desired neighborhood within their budget) , and in recruitment, that person is the entire Greek system. As a bystander with absolutely zero skin in the game, it’s incredibly entertaining to watch both groups of people as they realize they can’t get everything they want and that at some point, they’re going to have to settle.
PNMs and couples on House Hunters have incredibly high expectations at the start. PNMs spend their entire summer before rush fantasizing about their life in college and in a sorority. They talk about how they’re so ready for new places and new people and while they had fun in high school, they’re excited to move on to bigger and better things. They spend months preparing, gathering recommendation letters and trying on a million different outfits. They’ve researched which sororities have the best reputation on campus and which ones they want to avoid, but you know by the end of that dreadful process, they’re most likely going to be dropped by the top sorority on campus, unless of course, their parents are millionaires.
It’s no different from couples on House Hunters. They start the episode ready to leave their shoebox-sized apartment in the city in the hopes of finding a home in the same desirable area where they can start a family. Their optimism about house hunting is almost adorable. In reality, you know they’re either moving to the suburbs or living in another tiny shoebox. Their wishlist is full of things like walk-in closets, an office space, stainless steel appliances, a pool in the backyard, a butler to cook and serve them meals, etc. etc. So young. So naive. You know that by the end of the episode, they’re most likely going to be living in a house that checks very few boxes on their insane wishlist, unless of course, they’re millionaires.
At the end of the week, PNMs gather in their dorm rooms discussing the pros and cons of each chapter, whether or not they should suicide, and carefully ranking their choices. They go to bed panicked about what’s going to happen the next day, if their top choice will pick them, or if they’ll get dropped from recruitment entirely. The couple on House Hunters meets in a coffee shop or a bar to go over which houses they liked and which ones they didn’t like before finally settling on one that fits some of the most important aspects on their wishlist and placing their offer. Once both parties settle on a house, it’s out of their hands.
Bid day is a frenzy. Some PNMs are over the moon excited about being accepted into their top house, while others are still trying to convince themselves that they’re perfectly happy with being given a bid by their third choice chapter. House Hunters are also either smug with excitement about getting their dream house at a decent price or trying to convince themselves that the bigger house in the suburbs is worth leaving their swanky downtown apartment in the city.
One thing’s for sure. Once PNMs meet and get close to their new sisters and the couple on House Hunters make a few renovations to their new place, it’ll start to feel more and more like home. .