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House Hunters International: All Around the World

Here's the General Discussion thread for House Hunters International!

I have to watch this less frequently then House Hunters. I get way too frustrated with the people moving to a different country for the experience, but they want a US-style house there. My eyes start to hurt from all the rolling and the bulging.

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Yeah, I've pretty well reached the point where if it's about an American looking for a home abroad, I change the channel unless they're house hunting in a city I know moderately well (in which case I like seeing if I recognize any of the neighborhoods ... and in the case of an Edinburgh episode, I actually recognized one of the homes because it was a new, rather out-of-place building when I was there).

Edited by Bastet.
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One of my favorite hate/watches was a young couple that moved to Ireland, because they had decided they wanted to live abroad, and someone told them they would like Ireland. They didn't have any real interest in Ireland that I could tell, and knew next to nothing about it. But of course the apartments were really small and the master bedrooms were really tiny.

I believe I may have had a Guinness or three to deal with that episode.

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I like most of the HHI's, although many of the retirement/vacation properties in the Caribbean or Mexico sort of blur together. 

I'm always fascinated when people move to these really far-out locations and bring their families, like the guy from Australia who moved his wife and young baby to Papua New Guinea, where they needed a gated community with armed guards.  How do you even grocery shop under those conditions?

I also always love the Paris episodes, especially when the real estate agent has to give them a dose of reality that yes, they will be buying a shoebox for $1M...and they'll like it, dammit, because it's Paris!

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I always wonder why everyone wants to live in Paris vs other towns in France. Some of the episodes that are France but not Paris are nice. I also think if I could have my international wish, it would be Spain, just from watching the few episodes from there that are shown. 

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I enjoy the paris episodes in particular because I've always wanted to go there, but I just love Adrian Leeds, the realtor, and her fashionable glasses.  She could have her own show.

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There are a lot of wonderful places to visit in France, and I plan to explore more of the country in future, but there is something almost amazing about Paris.  I'm not surprised they set so many episodes there, and I tend to enjoy them (except when some moron is nattering on about unscreened windows as death traps).  I also like the recurring real estate agent.

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Me too, I love how well she deals in such a matter-of-fact way with the HH and their wish lists. I don't think the buyers worry her too much, cracks me up!

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I fell asleep on the sofa last night and woke up to the people house hunting in Bhutan. Let's see . . . you get to poop in a box with a hole on it and the guy is looking for internet. But wait, house #2 has outdoor plumbing (including a spigot in the yard) AND Internet (via some kind of wire contraption, I was waiting to see the guy with a tin foil hat) but watch out for the tigers that might just eat your kids while they are blowing bubbles. I missed the rest of the episodes but I'm guessing they picked house #3. #amIright?

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I hated her for taking her family there just because she saw a movie about it and always wanted to live there.  I was cringing throughout the episode but I too fell asleep and never did get the see the inside of house #3 or which one they picked.

I've never heard of that country.

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Did anyone else see the "House Hunters Off the Grid" episode in Coober Pedy, Australia?  I can't remember if it was technically HHI...

 

Anyway.  How fascinating--it was an outback mining town that looks to be pretty much in the middle of a barren desert.  Many homes are "dugouts" i.e. underground due to the sun and heat.  The family moving there were pretty likeable (husband was Australian I think, but the wife was from Denmark) but the wife was understandable nervous about moving someplace so severe and remote...

 

What seemed funny to me was the realtor lady who seemed so...normal in her office on the street or what not while there was pretty much no one walking around in the town.  Everyone is either working or living underground! 

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I fell asleep on the sofa last night and woke up to the people house hunting in Bhutan.

I saw this one. I didn't even know they had an Off the Grid series. The couple picked the third more "modern" apartment. No hot water, but they got the landlord to put in a little tank so they had indoor water, as opposed to using an outdoor spigot more than half the time. It was in the colder region of the country & they had a tiny wood stove in the living room, but nothing in the bedrooms. I missed the first of the show & didn't know why they chose to go there other than the urge to travel & let their kids experience a different lifestyle. Definitely wouldn't be my choice with young children, but I'm old & grouchy. I will say this for them, their expectations weren't the same lofty ones as most International HHs are. Edited by ramble.
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I saw the one in Coober Pedy, Australia.  I could have sworn I heard in the voiceover that the temperature can swing 70 degrees in a day?  I felt sorry for the wife and kids living all alone out there in the desert.  She was very understanding.  I hope he's  making good money working in the mines so that makes it all worth it.  Hopefully, they get to go to town on a regular basis.

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I also caught the "House Hunters Off the Grid" episode in Cooper Peddy, Australia last night. It certainly was different. I think it was the second episode of this new show. The first one was the night before but I missed it and don't know where it was located.

 

The title doesn't include "International" but checking my program guide, tonight's episode is in Svalbard, Norway, Thursday's is in Bellavista, Costa Rica, and Friday's is in Haida Gwaii, B.C. It looks like just a one week run (at 10:30 pm ET) of some HHI episodes that are "off the grid".

Edited by LuckyBitch.
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Yes, per the promos I've seen on HGTV, "Off the Grid" is the theme for this week's HHI episodes.

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Bastet, thanks for that info. I haven't seen any of the promos because I hardly ever watch commercials. I usually watch HGTV shows after pausing the TV so I can skip the commercials. We DVR most things, or just pause and watch it on delay so we don't have to sit through commercials.

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The couple picked the third more "modern" apartment. No hot water, but they got the landlord to put in a little tank so they had indoor water, as opposed to using an outdoor spigot more than half the time. It was in the colder region of the country & they had a tiny wood stove in the living room, but nothing in the bedrooms.

 

The Bhutan place they picked also had the problem of not having any water at all for weeks at a time for some unexplained reason (during summer?  always?), so they often had to use a spigot outside and haul buckets of water up the three flights of stairs to their $80 per month "semi-modern" apartment.  The civil engineer turned house husband said he spent a lot of his time collecting firewood for that tiny stove.  The toilet was also that hole in the floor type.

 

All in all, I didn't understand their motivation at all. 

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I'm liking these Off the Grid epis, pretty interesting.

Enjoyed the Copenhagen to Australian desert one, but I had to wonder why they didn't just stop in North Dakota- it would have been more familiar weather for the Danish wife, and he could make big money fast as a heavy machine operator. Housing is tricky there, too, but at least you'd have the above-ground house she seemed to long for.

The Svalbard sweetheart was, well, a sweetie. Hang on to that one, guy.

The less said about the Bhutan story, the better. Kind of disturbing.

 

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Anyone watching House Hunters Off the Grid?  Pretty interesting stuff.  Had to smile at the woman moving to the Costa Rica rainforest who doesn't like bugs in her house...

 

ETA -- Sorry about this, I originally posted in the regular HH thread, like an idjit.

Edited by jelley.
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I can't believe they chose the under the hill house in Australia.  The above ground house would have been much better for the wife.  She must feel so lonely out there all day. 

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I can't believe they chose the under the hill house in Australia.  The above ground house would have been much better for the wife.  She must feel so lonely out there all day.

Better to be cool and lonely than super-sweaty-hot and lonely, IMO.

 

The couple in Qn Charlotte Islands place last night were such starry-eyed dreamers (as all of these Off the Grid-ers seem to be). I just can't imagine anyone being OK with climbing a narrow rocky path in a wet, slippery environment and then up several STAIRS to get to the doorless outhouse. Imagine as a woman coping with sanitary necessities in that situation!

 

The house was kind of cute and of course the mossy forest/ocean settings were breath taking.

 

I must have missed how they were going to make a living-she seemed to have an agricultural background, but with the rainy climate, not sure how successful commercial farming would be. The guy didn't seem to have any skills beyond surfing.

 

The place seemed to be kind of a resort for wealthy, guilty-liberal eco tourists.

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I just can't imagine anyone being OK with climbing a narrow rocky path in a wet, slippery environment and then up several STAIRS to get to the doorless outhouse. Imagine as a woman coping with sanitary necessities in that situation!

My goodness I agree! I thought it was odd how far away the outhouse was. Was it not a composting toliet & that's why it was such a distance? Besides basic monthly issues what about if you has a bout of stomach flu or simply needed to go in the middle of the night?

I missed the very beginning & didn't understand how they were paying for anything either. It sounded like they wanted to be alone & not have a 9-5 job, which is fine, but where were they getting the $350 a month for rent? The guy mentioned something about less money in the off season so maybe they had a plan.

I did like the treehouse cottage, although at $1,000 plus utilities I can see how that would be a totally different experience. I had a brief moment of thinking how I'd like to go there for a few months of solitude, but then I remembered how much I like having internet & cable & seeing my friends & decided I'd last maybe 2 weeks.

I've been enjoying the difference of the Off the Grid shows. I wonder if it was just the one week special or they're going to start making it a more regular thing?

Edited by ramble.
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My goodness I agree! I thought it was odd how far away the outhouse was. Was it not a composting toliet & that's why it was such a distance? Besides basic monthly issues what about if you has a bout of stomach flu or simply needed to go in the middle of the night?

 

I spent too much time grossing myself out imagining how this would work.  I suspect a chamber pot of some sort for the midnight calls of nature.  I'd think it's too scary to wander around all sleepy in the dark with various deadly things like snakes, leeches, tigers, or polar bears (depending on which toilet nightmare you're buying into) wandering about willy nilly.

 

Also, I wondered what these people would do with their garbage, speaking of basic monthly issues.

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Probably bury it or burn it in a burn barrel.

 

Ah, the burn barrel. This is how we got rid of most of our trash growing up. I hated it when it was my turn on the chore chart.

 

By the way, you may notice I'm tweaking the General Discussion titles. They were too similar, and kept confusing me. If you have any better ideas, please PM me, and I can adjust them!

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I saw a couple last night who were moving to Mexico to start a business selling or renting cell phones to tourists. Huh? Is there really a market for such a thing?

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Really, if the phone service is local then who does a tourist want to call?

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Well, I could maybe see if you were staying for a while, and assuming your American (or whatever) phone won't work on their system, that you might need a phone to communicate with people while you're there.  We spent a month in China last summer teaching English, and we needed a way to communicate with the people we were working with and for at the university.  So we bought a cheap temporary phone right away, and it was very helpful.  So I could see that.

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I was wondering about that cell phone business too, but the woman made some mention of wedding parties, so perhaps their service is aimed at that - equipping the wedding party with phones for a set price so people don't have outrageous charges on their own phones?

 

An episode that cracked me up was the one with the artsy single mom who had adoped her son from somewhere like Guatemala or Nicauragua, and then decided to move down there so her young child could experience his ethnic culture.  I thought to myself, "that poor orphan finally made it out of that country to what would have been a much better life in the US (in economic terms, at least) and his adoptive mother brings him back down to the dirt and squalor that he left behind."

 

Another one that made me laugh was the one where an American couple relocated to England; I think the woman was from Georgia or something, and she immediately started affecting this faux English accent, sort of like Madonna.  It had to be a conscious thing, because I don't think that she had lived in the country long enough to lose a Southern accent, much less pick up an English one.  IIRC, she was one of those who wanted to live in an English cottage and who seemed completely oblivious to the fact that the rooms were really too small for a family.

 

One episode that aggravated me was one that took place in Loreto Bay, Mexico, where the husband had some job with a real estate development firm where his job was to entertain prospective clients and he wanted a place close to where he worked and his wife wanted to live closer to town so she would have things to do with their young children.  He would have had to spend a mere 15 minutes in travel time if they went with the house that she wanted, and it was too much for him. 

 

You have to wonder whether or not some of those couples have done any basic research whatsoever about the places they plan to move to.  I mean, they go to a major European city and say to their real estate agent "We'd like three bedrooms, two baths, close to the city center, outdoor space for our dog, and we have $700/mo to spend".  And then they are shocked when they can only afford a place where they won't be able to roll out of the door right into a bar or a cafe.

Edited by DownTheShore.
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I want to go to Paris and have Adrian Leeds find me an apartment.  She seems to find ones that have quirky and interesting aspect to them.  Of course, I'd like to be able to say, "Hey Adrian, I've got two million here - find me a place" - lol.

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I want to know how a single mother of two moves all the way from NY to Cyrpus and doesn't have a job in Cyrpus ?  Her budget was $3000 a month for an apt.

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The NY to Cyprus woman had money.  Did you check out her daughter's place with the rooftop pool? She didn't even blink at the $3500 house.  It was a gorgeous place, if I had the money, i'd do the same.  And her kids seemed cool-appreciative and relatively chill about the move, unspoiled. She's obviously doing something right.

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I watched the American couple moving from Vietnam to China last night. And of course they chose the American-style house in the American neighborhood despite the longer distance from work and school. They said that before the move they steadfastly agreed to get a place near work and school and immerse themselves in the Chinese culture. As soon as they started looking at houses, that all went out the window in favor of an American-style house. 

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The wife commented how westernized the housing was in Viet Nam as opposed to what they found in China - dishwasher, large refrigerator, 4 burner range, etc.  They both seemed surprised at what they encountered.  That was a very generous monthly housing budget they had and I'm assuming the energy company he worked for provided that for them.  I commented elsewhere that I don't think that was fog all over the city, but probably air pollution.  

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It was air pollution in Chengdu. I've been to China a couple of times, and the air was absolutely awful. Like others, I get a kick when I hear couples say that they're going to a foreign country to immerse themselves and their kids to a different culture, but when they get there, the house must look and be totally built like a western house with all the appliances and such.

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.Like others, I get a kick when I hear couples say that they're going to a foreign country to immerse themselves and their kids to a different culture, but when they get there, the house must look and be totally built like a western house with all the appliances and such.

 

I've found my people!  

 

I think it was scripted in a couple of times and the reaction to this complaint became so "popular", they try to work it in every episode.

My favorite was the military (I think?) family in Sicily.  She was complaining about no dishwasher.  I literally yelled at the TV, "You've got a view of Mt. Etna!!  And you're complaining about a dishwasher?"

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Well, I gotta say, a dishwasher would probably be a deal breaker for me, too, if I'm honest.

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As someone who has lived without a dishwasher for nine years and really looks forward to renovating her kitchen to allow for one, I can understand at least the ability to easily add one (which I can't currently do because of the depth of my cabinets) being a consideration for HHs buying in most parts of the US.  But in one of the many areas of the world were they simply aren't routine, it seems a ridiculous fixation to me if the homes one is seriously considering are among the majority that don't have one; clearly, numerous people around the HH adapt, and they will too.  If this was in Sicily, it wouldn't be as silly as freaking out about the lack of a dryer, but still.

Edited by Bastet.
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I don't know what was more irritating about Canadian Jon in Ulan Batar - his soul patch or those stupid glasses. And if he was going to get a roommate all along (who didn't seem enthused about living with him at the end), why not go for the closer, nicer apartment? I would sacrifice the money for a shorter commute in -40 degree winters. 

 

I confess to always wanting to visit Mongolia, so I enjoyed what little I saw of it. 

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I have some good friends who moved to Mongolia to teach English about a year ago, and they love it.  Of course, they don't mind the cold.  I personally couldn't deal with it.  There's a reason I live in the southwest!

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I also have thoughts on the London episode with the (very) young couple from Houston. First, it appears that not only is this the first time they're moving in together, it seems to be the first time either has lived on their own without parents. (Total supposition, but that's the way it read to me). Second, that peeling and moldy wall in the second basement flat would have been the deal breaker for me. I grew up in a damp, moldy house and it is the WORST. Could they not smell the mustiness? Third, how did the girlfriend just move to London without a job? Maybe British immigration is different from American immigration, but they have no formal relationship, like marriage, so how can she just move there?

 

I would have ponied up for the most expensive flat or looked further out of town. I stayed in Reading last year and it was a 40 minute train ride into London. There are plenty of small bedroom communities surrounding London and the rail system is extensive. 

Edited by Lawgiver.
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Third, how did the girlfriend just move to London without a job?

 

 

Maybe she's on a student visa?  People with US passports can also get an automatic 6 weeks (I think) tourist visa at the border.  But that doesn't solve the long-term problem, of course.  Maybe they're planning to get married?

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Maybe, but they acted like they barely knew each other! Maybe they were just stiff on camera.

 

I'm binge watching right now as many episodes as I can. I just watched the Texans who bought in Puerto Vallarta. I know the house is under contract before they start filming, but I wonder if they ever want to throw it out the window and take one that the real estate agent shows them. The first condo had all the requirements and was 100K under budget! Then they went with the furthest, most expensive house! I just can't figure out their thought processes. 

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For those of you who love the HHI shows set in Paris, check out this article that was on the BBC website about what living in those beautiful aparment houses is really like;  http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27502469

 

Makes you think twice about those beautiful parquet floors - lol.

 

 

 

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Do you remember the episode, I think it was in Norway or one of the Scandinavian countries, where the woman absolutely had to have a food disposal unit in the kitchen sink?  That was the make-or-break item for her.  That was really weird, at least to me, because I've only known one person in my life who's actually had one of those.

 

@Lawgiver - I agree that Jon's roommate didn't look as though he was having a good time there.  I don't think that he was part of that group of friends in the final scene, was he?  I always like the Mongolia shows - mainly because that's the only chance I get to see the place - but there doesn't seem to be a whole heck of a lot to do there, unless you want to ride horses on the steppes, which I would have no interest in doing.

 

What always intrigues me is the people who are moving to a foreign country, where they don't know anyone, at least one of them doesn't speak the language, yet they want to have a place that has plenty of room for entertaining.  I always wonder, "who do they plan to entertain?".

 

That NY-to-Cyprus woman reminded me of that NJ-to-Jerusalem woman with the kids who was buying a place in the German Colony area of the city.  I was wondering where her money was coming from, too, since she didn't seem to be working and those properties were very expensive.

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Someone on TWoP found the blog of the woman who wanted a garbage disposal. Turns out it was the husband who wanted it. The house they "chose" was one they had built from the ground up, so of course it had the disposal.

When we moved into our current house 3 1/2 years ago, there was no disposal. We're on a public septic system and the county frowns on people having them. About a year ago I got sick of cleaning out the filter over the drain that kept small bits of debris going down the drain. I hired an electrician to finish the wiring that had already been started, and a plumber to install it. I don't put large amounts of stuff down the disposal, just the small stuff that goes down the drain. I am now a happy camper.

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I never used my disposal. Haven't in the 10 yrs that we've lived here. I do run water through it every now& then to keep it fresh.

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