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House Hunters & Kitchens

I like this show but always get a bit irritated at the entitled crowd who expect granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances for next to nothing.

And the HH International's who get so much less and pay so much more than us here.I would have no problem cooking in the kitchens some of those women turn down.

Interesting and fun show.

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  1. I'm not sure about the original HH but International HH is entirely fabricated. I know this because one of my family members (living in Mexico City, moved from NYC a few years earlier) was invited to be on the show. The arrangements were: 1. My family member would fly back to NYC and "pretend" to get ready to move to Mexico; 2. The show would stage my family member's Mexico home to make it look like he was not already living there; 3. My family member had to recruit other friends in Mexico City to "pretend" their homes were on the market and let the show film the "house hunt"; and (here's the kicker) 4. My family member had to "recruit" a friend or actor to play the role of International Real Estate Agent!! LOL

    As I said, I don't know for sure about the original HH show, but my guess is that it's also probably totally fake.

    The funny thing is that even though I now know that the international HH show is entirely staged, I still enjoy watching it.

    35 Replies
    1. re: MrsPatmore

      Well, that puts a whole different spin on it.:-(

      1. re: MrsPatmore

        Mr. Shallots is going to be so very glad that you wrote this. He's been saying it's scripted since the second or third episode we watched.

        I will also admit to enjoying watching it, more for the places they drive through than the uppity attitudes about 'not good enough for me' that seems to be the editors' choice of comments. I just mutter to myself that they should learn to cook and then comment about the way some of the kitchens are arranged. (And I'd take a lot of their rejects.)

        1. re: shallots

          Well, Mr. Shallots is a lot smarter than me (or less naive) because I was gutted when my family member confirmed the rumors that I'd heard (that the show was totally fake)

          Later I found out that the entire Iron Chef series was also fake/staged. Now, I just assume that everything is 100% fake unless it's proved otherwise!

          1. re: MrsPatmore

            Well Mr. Berheenia is not going to hear one word about this from me. Watching HHI with a glass of red is one of the few pleasant TV experiences we have during the preprandial hour. There isn't much left on TV that he likes besides the national news and a few cooking shows.

            1. re: shallots

              I already knew it was fake but I still enjoy HHI for the look at different house styles.

              1. re: tcamp

                HH makes for lively wine TV viewing in our house. Mr. CB and I wish there was a talk back feature so we could tell people how silly they are about certain features of the houses.

                1. re: cleobeach

                  Please consider this an invitation to join Mr. Shallots and me in our faux drinking game (thumb in the hole of an imaginary moonshine jug) every time "Friends and Family" get mentioned as a need for a larger home than that which could be more easily afforded. And tilt your hand for a big ole faux gulp of Tennessee 'shine.

                  1. re: shallots

                    And don't forget -- they need to be close to "shops and restaurants" !

                    1. re: HeyImBack

                      And let's not forget "we want room for entertaining guests" & "we don't want to be too close to the neighbors, we want lots of privacy". Of course, they expect the sellers to pay their closing costs for them too. What else do they want the sellers to do? Move their furniture & paint the walls?

                      1. re: Jerzeegirl

                        Yep. The 22 year old guy who bought my house asked if I was going to paint the walls. Uh, no.

                        1. re: chowser

                          I was watching some HGTV show last night at the gym, and she kept complaining "but it's not open concept". That is pretty much the LAST thing I want. I don't want the kitchen to be visible from the dining room or the living room. I don't want my dinner guests to see the mess I made preparing the meal. :/

                          1. re: Kontxesi

                            I wouldn't want that either. Or glass cabinets doors. I'm just not that neat.

                        2. re: HeyImBack

                          I figure by the time they get through making those mortgage payments they can't afford they won't have any money left over to spend at the "shops and restaurants" anyway.

                          1. re: HeyImBack

                            Oh, I love the ones looking for a 100 year old house with large closets and an open floor plan.

                            1. re: mike0989

                              "Something with character" As long as that "character" comes with an open floor plan, large closets, remodeled kitchen and bath rooms etc... In other words, I want "character" where the "character" has been remodeled out.

                        3. re: cleobeach

                          I get a kick out of the first time buyers who ooh and aah over the 25 ft ceilings. I'm like yeah wait until those warm weather electric bills start rolling in.

                          1. re: miss_belle

                            and who, just who I ask is going to dust all those exposed trusses way up there?

                            1. re: miss_belle

                              A lot of so-called live/work housing (imitation factory lofts) was built in the early '90s in San Francisco. I always wondered about the utility bills, although in the winter rather than summer here. Even though we've got a temperate climate, that's a bunch of (vertical!) sq ft to heat.

                              1. re: monfrancisco

                                y'know, in the 10 years I lived in SF I never had central heat. but while I always had high ceilings, I also never lived in an open-floor plan type of place either.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  I've lived in a couple of railroad flats that had a wall heater in the central hallway. That meant that A) the hallway was nice and warm when the heat was on and B) we never turned on the heat. I've also lived in a legit converted loft, and that place was freezing in February. We had a Reznor that heated the ceiling beautifully and used sparingly. But maybe I should've learned more about fans and so forth...

                                  But back to kitchens-- both flats had a back pantry (correct term?) with a utility sink, which was great. Hand washing, art projects, and cat boxes all went out there.

                      2. re: MrsPatmore

                        Out of curiosity, what was the payoff for your family member?

                        1. re: Cachetes

                          Haha that's the other funny part. As it turns out, the only financial compensation offered was paying for a hotel and a small per diem for food + incidentals when they "returned" to NYC for the initial filming (i.e., the sad "we're leaving our family and moving to a foreign country" scene). My family member was expected to pay his own airfare!! And no compensation at all for the time in Mexico (their real home). When my family member asked the show's producers, "why would anyone agree to this?" the answer was (no kidding) "a lot of people just want to be on TV"

                          My family member was not interested in participating in the charade, so he declined. But it sure was interesting hearing all about the "behind the scenes" details!

                          PS I just remembered - the producers also said that the "staging" of their home for the show was considered as compensation from the show to my family member. He didn't really see it that way, but whatever

                          1. re: MrsPatmore

                            When my family member asked the show's producers, "why would anyone agree to this?" the answer was (no kidding) "a lot of people just want to be on TV"

                            And ^ THIS ^ is why "reality TV" has become so popular. And has made pseudo-celebrities out of some of those participating. The whole 15+ minutes of fame.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              I really don't consider House Hunters to be reality tv. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Marriage Boot Camp and Real Housewives of (insert city)..yes.

                              HH not so much so.

                              1. re: miss_belle

                                I'm not sure how it's not the same thing. It's all scripted, which is no different from any of the shows that you listed.

                        2. re: MrsPatmore

                          Wait, what??? Are you telling me the episode with the French dude who bought a derelict farm on a mountain in Nepal in order to start a cheese making business was fabricated?

                            1. re: MrsPatmore

                              It deserves the Emmy for best original script.

                              1. re: EM23

                                If you liked that episode. You will love their new one. HHI Off the Grid. They had one where a couple was looking to move to Bhutan or some such place near there. The budget was around $40\month. I loved the second house, that looked like an upgraded chicken coop. The couple was remarking about all the holes\cracks in the wall they could see through. The "Realtor" showed them how they could take care of it by folding up a piece of paper and stuffing it in the crack.

                              2. re: MrsPatmore

                                I'm less surprised by this than I would be to find that any of those shows are even remotely true.

                                1. re: MrsPatmore

                                  There was an article a year or so ago that the US version is also somewhat staged. I think the gist of it was that the participant already had to have a contract on a house, and then recruit a couple friends to pretend their homes were the alternates.

                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                    Yep. My parents' house was on an episode of HH a few years ago. Their realtor was scheduled to appear on it, and he needed a third house to show the buyer. He ended up using the house that my parents bought a few days later. The buyers are real, but they have to be in escrow or finishing up escrow on a house, and then the realtor arranges for the other 2 houses they see (and veto). There's no compensation for the whole thing, other than getting to be on TV. The realtor said it's good advertising/resume padding for them.

                                2. "...the entitled crowd who expect..."

                                  why I can't stand those shows.

                                  1. I will say this. After reading about the latest revelations I will never watch this show again. Thank you.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: miss_belle

                                      I've always enjoyed HH Intl .. am sad to hear all this but I think I'll still watch it because of the scenes in other countries. (It IS interesting to see the tiny kitchens in Paris, the ultra high prices there, too.)

                                      1. re: walker

                                        Maybe I was a little too hasty there. In spite of all that it is a good show isn't it:-)

                                    2. They had a story about the fudging/faking on HH a couple of years ago on Slate.com. This was the response from HGTV:

                                      "We've learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a period of time –more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television. However, with a series like "House Hunters," HGTV viewers enjoy the vicarious and entertaining experience of choosing a home -- from establishing a budget, to touring properties and weighing the pros and cons of each one. We're making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process. To maximize production time, we seek out families who are pretty far along in the process. Often everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate, so we go back and revisit some of the homes that the family has already seen and we capture their authentic reactions. Because the stakes in real estate are so high, these homeowners always find themselves RIGHT back in the moment, experiencing the same emotions and reactions to these properties. Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to “play along” and guess which one the family will select. It’s part of the joy of the "House Hunters'" viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else's shoes."

                                      This was Slate's response to their response: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/...

                                      1. With the standard HH, the couple has already signed a contract on the house they're going to buy, and the producers find a few houses which are in the same ballpark for the drama. And yes, it's heavily scripted or at least they're told basically what to say. I've read that this can cause ill will when they're fed negative things to say about the houses they just bought (and in some cases, it's *their* furniture already in the house that they're forced to trash).

                                        The granite and stainless line which exists in almost every single episode *has* to be scripted, it's almost identical every single time.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jgg13

                                          As is the need to be "close to shops and restaurants."

                                          1. re: jgg13

                                            It's amazing how they're more concerned about granite & stainless steel than "what are the property taxes?" or "why are there bars on all the windows & doors on this house?"

                                          2. I don't care if it's scripted- it's entertaining. It's funny to me that first time buyers demand perfect kitchens, though. DH and I bought a house a few months ago and the first time I saw it was the morning we closed :)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Hobbert

                                              So you didn't get to check out the crown molding and hardwood floors ahead of time.:-)

                                            2. I think it's interesting that everyone has been brainwashed into thinking the you HAVE to have granite, stainless steel and gas stoves. Then again, most of them don't cook and anyone who does would be more interested in layout than the finish on appliances.

                                              12 Replies
                                              1. re: chowser

                                                My wife and I submitted photos to try to get on Kitchen Cousins while they filmed locally. We didn't get picked because there was no drama involved with having to tear anything out or major access issues.

                                                1. re: roro1831

                                                  I personally have no interest in those fixer upper type shows. I gather they have quite an audience though.

                                                2. re: chowser

                                                  Don't forget the Nerf stairs. I find I can't watch any of the episodes with parents finding a house for their bone china children.

                                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                                    I don't know about that. I've seen HH shows with 1 & 3 year olds and second story railing landings and the parents don't think twice/say anything about it. But that's always my first thought. Safety. And whether the parents realize it or not.

                                                    1. re: miss_belle

                                                      heh miss_b - yeah when I was that age I got my head stuck in one of those, my dad had to disassemble it from around me...

                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                    I love my granite counters in my kitchen, but I'll *never* get stainless steel, except for the sink. I'll stick with black appliances, as I have now, should I need to replace them.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      I don't dislike any of them but it's just funny that everyone thinks it's a necessity, even at the lower price range. I have granite counter tops that I bought off of eBay. They were cheap. The guy closed his shop, moved to the beach to surf and did it out of his truck. As all that goes, though, it's just aesthetic. A functional layout is so much more important to me.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        Agreed on the functional layout. I have a galley kitchen with doorways on either side of the kitchen, and it works for me. I'd love more counter space, but I work with what I have, which is still more than the apt. I used to have.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          a double entry galley is my ideal - maximum efficiency and nobody gets cornered.

                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                            That's a good point. I want to redo my kitchen at some point and thought that I'd gain more counter space if I closed off an entrance but we often have multiple people in the kitchen. There aren't enough kitchen designers who love to cook. Most are into making the house look good.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              As a kitchen designer who does love to cook, I know you are absolutely right. To me, it's about the space planning. To others, it's about the look.

                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                      You know, I thought I'd be in trouble with selling my house because we have laminate (that looks like granite) and black appliances. No problems at all. The kitchen is laid out really well and has a huge walk-in pantry. So don't lose faith in all buyers :)

                                                    3. I just watched an episode of Property Virgins... the couple wound up buying a to-be-built-to-their-specs house that was $100k more than the mortgage they were approved for! The woman said, "If I don't have a huge kitchen with 42" cupboards, an island and granite, I won't cook!"
                                                      Hmmm... wonder how much cooking she'll really do in that kitchen?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: onrushpam

                                                        That PV episode is on its 20 millionth rerun. I agree, it's painful to watch.

                                                        1. re: onrushpam

                                                          Well, if they spent 100K over their budget, they are probably going to have to cook...

                                                          Ramen noodles look so much better on a granite countertop, you know.

                                                        2. I'm dreaming about a kitchen and bath renovation which will probably happen in 10 years or so, so I do enjoy seeing the different floor plans and all that stuff, just for the ideas.

                                                          And it's one of the few things on TV my kid ignores completely and doesn't request to watch "trains!"

                                                          1. The whole thing is pretty fake. Here's my story...

                                                            I worked for the top real estate broker in the city in Chicago. We had some unrepresented buyers (meaning, they had no agent) go under contract on a listing of ours. Shortly before the closing, they asked my boss if he would be willing to be "their agent" because they were selected to be on an episode of House Hunters. Basically, they get people who have already closed on their home, and then they find 2 other properties that are sort of similar to also show them... notice how many of the properties are vacant and are often new builds? That's because live-in owners usually have no interest in their home being shown on television.

                                                            In the end, my boss said no, so did one of our salespeople. They found some other random agent to act as their real estate agent and continued on.

                                                            On a side note, I hate how they act like because a home is 30k under their approved mortgage amount, that means they can afford to put in a whole new kitchen. It's like uhh no, unless they have 30k in cash, they can't put in a new kitchen. $30,000 in a mortgage at rates these days is about $150/mo... not really enough to put towards a new kitchen.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                              That always confused me. I've bought a couple houses and my budget had no bearing on the cash I had on hand to fix anything up. Glad I'm not the only one who thought it was silly!

                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                A couple years ago, when we were house hunting, our Realtor let us know that there are a few mortgage options for "very well qualified buyers" where if you could come up with the 20% down, including the 20% of your remodel project, they would bundle it into your loan. Purchase price 250K with 50K down (20%) with a 50k remodel move it to 300K price with 60K down.

                                                                We considered it with one house, as the kitchen counters were about 6 inches lower than I've ever seen elsewhere. I'm 5'7", and these were maybe to the top of my inseam. It was 50K less than our budget, so it would have worked financially, but we moved on for other reasons (2 blocks from the high school and a crummy commute)

                                                                1. re: autumm

                                                                  That's a far better idea than when people try to update their houses and spend as little as possible. I don't care if you add granite countertops to old painted cabinets and cheap new appliances. Just give me the money and let me do it myself.

                                                                  I've thought about having a lower countertop added to one section of my kitchen since I'm only 5'1" but I wonder about re-sale.

                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    if you want to blow your budget there ARE cabinets/work surfaces mounted on hydraulic jacks to accommodate the statures of one and all (and really not terribly expensive if you cut corners on the Sub-Zero and Viking stuff).

                                                                    if your lower work area is only a portion, the agent can sell it as a 'home office corner'

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      That is an idea I'm considering. I'd put in a "baking center" with lower counter tops and space below for a roll out baking cart. It could be used as a desk if we resell.

                                                                  2. re: autumm

                                                                    That's a pretty cool idea. It would be great in the house we just bought- it needs some cosmetic stuff done but it's more than we can do at one time. I'll keep that in mind for the next house. Thanks!

                                                              2. I scream every time I hear granite counter tops and SS appliances. I't's just a finish for gawds sake. Half the time the SS appliances they are raving about are junk. Granite, it's no better or worse than a lot of the other solid surfaces out there.

                                                                1. I too get annoyed at the first timers, esp, that think their $$ should buy a mansion. Get real. Some of the realtors have the patience of saints with them.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Nanzi

                                                                    I'm a broker (I only deal w/ listings... no buyers unless they're friends or family) and when I have multiple offers on a property, and one is from a first time buyer and the other is from an experienced buyer, I advise the seller to go with the experienced one.... first time buyers are a pain a lot of the time.

                                                                    Just heard a story from another realtor today who had a first time buyer ask for all new kitchen appliances after the inspection on a much lower than average priced house. The appliances worked just fine, she just thought they were "too old".

                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                      ::::Shaking my head:::: As a first time home buyer 3 years ago, I was glad to get the washer/dryer, fridge, and stove and the vertical blinds in the living room! I'd never expect the sellers to pony up for new appliances!

                                                                    2. re: Nanzi

                                                                      I was watching Property Virgins & the agent on that show said all these young homebuyers want caviar, but only want to pay for grilled cheese. She said it perfectly.

                                                                    3. As a full time Realtor since 1989, I work with first time buyers as lawyers do pro bono work. A lot of work with normally little reward. I get these clients from local lenders. I only show them property after educating them in the home buying process and identifying their needs and ability to purchase.

                                                                      School is the head of the needs. Proximity to work. Clean kitchen and closet space. Yard and garage size. Landscaping and curb appeal. Types of appliances and countertops are normally way down the list for first timers in my area.

                                                                      We are a blue color area of Florida. New construction with a quarter acre lot averages $100 per square foot. A little more with horsey acreage.

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                        "School is the head of the needs"

                                                                        Not necessarily. I don't care one iota about school considering I don't have kids.

                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                          I don't have kids, either, but I always look at schools when buying because it will affect your house's value on resale.

                                                                          1. re: lsmutko

                                                                            Sure, but you're paying the same premium on the front end. Unless the school district improves while you're there, it's already priced in.

                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                              True. If you're talking strictly price. But desirability, time on market and other factors apply. Districts that are better rated tend to have other desirable amenities.

                                                                              It all depends on what one person is looking for in a house. But generally, a house in a good school district is more desirable and will move faster on market than one that isn't, even if the house in the worse district is cheaper for the same basic construction. If it works for you, great! We've had to relocate several times for work, and value the easier selling in a good district.

                                                                        2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                          California coastal with a small lot is $ 250.00 per square foot minimum.

                                                                          1. re: emglow101

                                                                            And that doesn't get you have a view.

                                                                            1. re: mike0989

                                                                              A quick look at one of the popular real estate web sites shows that the average price per square foot in my zip code is $512.

                                                                              And not necessarily with a view. Houses with views are close to $1 million now, so I guess that raises the average.

                                                                        3. What gets to me is when the buyers get so excited over a stainless steel range that is an electric flat top piece of uselessness. Give me a beat up old gas stove in any color, instead of that.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. Having been through a kitchen remodel myself. The things they miss have me shaking my head. The obvious one often overlooked is proper ventilation. Sorry folks, but if you really like to cook, the microwave over the cooktop doesn't cut it. More to the point, changing that kind of setup can be an arm and a leg. Properly venting to the outside if it doesn't already exist can get prohibitive in a hurry. Additionaly, a space for 24" microwave over 36" - 48" cooktop doesn't work either. You can find yourself needing to replace that entire upper bank of cabinets.

                                                                            1. I am so happy to see this thread, I thought I was weird by having a Maytag stove, GE Refrigerator and no dishwasher. I

                                                                              1. Yes, I get a good laugh out of the kitchen pickiness--especially the size "dilemmas!"

                                                                                I have a kitchen that is about 8 feet long and 5 or 6 feet wide and includes a washing machine, oven, fridge, counters (not granite), cupboards, and a maximal use of space, to say the least. I'm used to it, but cooking in it takes certain "spatial and planning techniques". Of course, I have to store my pots and pans in the oven, and move them around when using the oven. All kinds of adaptations must be made to function there, not to mention that it's a "One Cook at A Time" kind of place. I'd like something a bit bigger, but it's what I got.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                  Yeah - my galley kitchen is about the same size. No washing machine though. Personally I love having a kitchen "just right for one." It forces me to be very picky about buying new things. Something new means I have to get rid of something I probably use. Except... I've decided to buy a wine fridge that will go under my dining room table :) So handy!

                                                                                  I also love my laminate faux granite countertops, my black appliances and my pine shaker cabinets. So outre I guess, but I love my kitchen just the way it is.

                                                                                2. As far as I'm concerned, television is all about entertainment. Whether it's a murder mystery, a cooking show or a house hunting show, it's entertainment wrapped around advertising and product placement. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you understand the difference between real life and television drama.

                                                                                  1. Im a home designer and we get the same entitled prospective customers who want 3000 sq ft and a $500K budget. Many of the first timers have no idea about construction or design but they saw a home plan magazine on the shelves at Barnes and Noble that they love. They have no lot in mind, but they know that they want Italian marble, stainless and imported tile. They could care less about how the house is built or the long term costs.

                                                                                    Many of them are automatically weeded out when we run their financials. We call it champagne taste on a Kool-Aid budget.

                                                                                    I assumed that the house-hunters shows were faked, and I wonder how many of the flipping shows are similarly fake.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                      We are working on a kitchen remodel and our architect turned me onto a website that shows pics of new construction and Reno projects. I can tell which kitchens were designed for show and which were designed for real home cooks.

                                                                                    2. I've always thought it was funny how so many of these people said they needed big, elaborate kitchens because they "love to entertain." Not that I have anything against big kitchens or entertaining, but it's the way it's mentioned on practically every show.

                                                                                      1. I don't care how phoney it is, I love HH International. Mostly for the scenery and to see international kitchens. But the "visiting friends and family" thing drives me bat$hit nutty. Hotel, anyone?
                                                                                        And the outrageous demand for kitchens that belong in palaces are way over the top.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: alliegator

                                                                                          I love it when the 'Realtor' goes out of their way to find a house that has an oven in lands that usually don't have them, only to be met with "It's so outdated!" or, "Why is there a door to the kitchen?" It's usually stinkin' hot in those places, so no oven, and if there is one, a door to keep the heat confined to the kitchen.

                                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                                            I think these hotshots that go to some of the world's poorest countries & are disappointed because the bedroom only fits a queen or full bed are full of crap

                                                                                          2. Fake or not, what I don't understand is the WAY they look at houses.

                                                                                            Growing up, my parents would frequently take us through Open House events and there were 2 things we always did --
                                                                                            1) Open every door, every cabinet and every drawer.
                                                                                            2) Decide where the Christmas Tree would be placed the first year, and an alternative location for other years.

                                                                                            These women who walk into kitchen and don't DO anything but pet the countertop-- don't you want to know if the corner cabinet has a lazy susan? How many shelves inside that tall upper cabinet? What size is the Pantry behind that door?!

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                              I'm with you on no. 1. How else are you going to see how the cabinets are constructed.

                                                                                              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                That's very normal. Last time I bought a house it was a new construction townhouse, and I brought my own level for the counters, etc...
                                                                                                Realtor thought I was nuts.

                                                                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                  We just used a tube of lipstick out of my wife's purse. Lay it on the counter or floor and see if it rolls.

                                                                                                2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                  Christmas tree location is serious business. You've GOT to have a place to put it that doesn't involve moving all of your other furniture out of the way.

                                                                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                    I DO sort of like being reminded just how miniscule most kitchens are in other countries. my mom's in Spain was dinky, but tricked out with the most amazing cabinets and by general standards quite large (I've had larger in US studio apartments).

                                                                                                    or when they show the buyers the kitchen and it's an empty room with crumbling plaster and rudimentary plumbing hook-ups (and one of those was in Paris).

                                                                                                    1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                      How else do you tell if a home is "staged" or currently lived in and freakishly tidy? Open the fridge and cabinets. . .

                                                                                                      Also helps determine seller's motivation. . . those staged homes with empty cabinets tend to have more "motivated sellers" which equaled score for us!