by Chrysa Smith

I love my HGTV. I especially enjoy the wicked little show called ‘Property Brothers.’ If you’re not familiar with it, two cute young brothers work with potential homeowners to buy new properties. One is a realtor, the other a builder. So, as it often happens, it’s very difficult to find a ‘dream home’ on a reality budget. The Property Brothers try to engage buyers in sharing their vision of what could be.

I say it’s a wicked show because the first step is for the Property Brothers to show them a real dream house. Once the couple is ‘hooked in fairyland’ the brothers reveal the list price. Often seven figures, you can see the smiles and dreams quickly deflate, as they wonder why on earth the brothers even took them there. (Sorry, but the evil part of me really enjoy that part of the show–hee, hee).

It’s a reality check. And I say more people need them—and quick.

When we were married in the 80s, looking for homes was a real challenge. Of course, they weren’t necessarily as high-priced as they are now, but it was a hot market—with bidding wars and list prices jumping by 10,000 within a week. We were determined to find a little place that we could call our own, and we settled with a townhouse/condo that we flipped in 1 1/2 years for $50k more than we paid. So, the challenging market turned out well for us on the flip side. But my point is that we were glad, pleased, happy, satisfied with finding a home with a few bedrooms to call our own. Now, it’s not so easy. If my HGTV shows are any barometer of what the market is like–well, realtors have my sympathy. The checklist that many a newlywed couple have for their starter home goes on and on and on.

In all fairness, the price of homes is so high, buyers should be demanding—after all, they’re paying good money for homes that were built for 1/2 the price. But on the other hand, maybe it isn’t so bad to start out with a slightly more realistic starter, and build up to have ‘everything’ you’ve ever dreamed of having in a home. Spoken like the older woman, this younger generation wants everything now—-and it seems that they are willing to take on big debt to make it happen.

1980s wish list: 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, eat-in kitchen.
2012 wish list: Four large bedrooms, granite countertops, open-concept floor plan, en suite master bedroom, hardwood floors, large, sexy bathroom, state-of-the-art stainless appliances, modern fireplace, large yard–maybe with a pool, oversized garage

Having grown up in a NYC apartment, I was just thrilled to have some greenery and a sliding door so I could open it and feel the breeze. Now I better prep myself as my 21 year old moves toward this stage. Can’t wait to see what that generation will want.