A strange phenomenon happens sometime between your late 20s and early 30s. You start watching shows on HGTV where home envy runs rampant. Buying homes, selling homes, renovating homes, and on and on. Once you’re a homeowner you find yourself drawn to these shows either for purely voyeuristic purposes (doesn’t everyone want to see what houses on the Island of Tahiti look like?) or you’re looking to cure your home woes.

House Poor

I remember distinctly the moment I knew for certain I was house poor. My husband and I bought our townhouse at 24 and 25 respectively when all the rentals we looked at made our two bedroom apartment with black mold lining the wall look like the Hilton. Six months after we bought and winter settled here in the mountains, I came home from work one day, exhausted, frustrated and positively broke. I stood crying in my living room because I knew my house was making me poor.

The cost of the heating and utilities was a shock since our apartment had included all of that in the rent. Slowly over time we started to earn more money and it wasn’t so bad, but boy did it made me realize just how much we suffer for the biggest purchase of our lives – our homes. Buying a house is like marriage in many ways. It takes a LOT of work to maintain and some people find it difficult to hold onto that loving feeling they once had for their homes.

Love It or List It

Love It or List It

On that note, enter HGTV’s show Love It or List It. Home owners work with both a designer to renovate their existing home so it better suits their needs and a realtor who shows them new houses in the hopes of convincing them that moving is really the answer to their problems. I’m completely drawn to this show and I see the two hosts in my head like the proverbial angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. I don’t know if I’m the only one that watches the show, and wants to punch out the homeowners every time they whine and complain to each of the two hosts trying to help them. It takes the term ungrateful to a whole new level and sometimes I wonder if they are told to act like that to build the show’s drama.

Who Doesn’t Want Their Dream Home?

There are very few episodes in which the home renovations meet every item on the home owners wish list, even though the renos are absolutely breathtaking and often solve some of the biggest issues for them. The homeowners often give the designer a budget of $40,000 – $50,000 and at the same time give the realtor a budget of a good $60,000 – $100,000 over what their current home costs and I sit back and watch transfixed until the last few minutes when the couple must decide to love their home with its renovations and also some flaws or choose a brand new home that checks every item off their wish list.

Home Ownership Is Like Marriage

I find myself cheering when the couple decides to love their home again instead of going into debt to get that bigger, better dream home. I know in my heart how the spin off show to those who choose to list it goes.  Fast forward a few years and that loving feeling they had for their dream home has faded and flaws are found where they once only saw perfection. Yes home ownership is a sort of marriage. Without the commitment to love what you have, imperfections and all, you’ll never be happy.