Are you suffering from “home envy?” HGTV Woes

The other day I took my car to the dealership for a minor repair. In the waiting room, they had the TV set for the HGTV show “Property Brothers.”

I hadn’t watched this show before, so I was curious to see what they did.

If you are not familiar with the show, these identical twin brothers help people get their home ready to sell and they also help them find their new home, sometimes making improvements to the new home so that it is just right for the family.

High End Homes

During the time it took to repair my car, I got to see a few of their projects. One of them was about a family of four seeking a larger home. The Property Brothers estimated the home would sell for $480K as it was, but if they invested $50K on it, then they could expect to get around $620K. The couple went for it, but then it ended up that the project needed another $15K after the brothers discovered some challenges in the basement. They agreed to that to.

The wife wanted a larger home in the same neighborhood, and the husband had agreed to spend up to $800K. When they could not find what they wanted (there’s a scene where the wife starts crying about how she is tired of compromising, because she feels she’s been compromising her whole life) the husband agreed to go up to $1 million. The Property Brothers came back with the great news that they found them a home for $960K.

Watching this show made me wonder how many people in the USA could afford homes in this range.

Financial Realities in the United States

When I got home, I did a little research. I won’t bore you with the math, but I will just share the results with you:

  • Only 2% of people in the USA could afford to buy a home over $500K
  • Only 1% of people in the USA could afford a $1 million home.

I made these calculations based on the conventional financial premise that a mortgage payment should not be higher than one fourth of the combined household income.

As this show, and other similar shows, present views of the different rooms in these high end homes, I bet just about every person conjures up images of the equivalent rooms in their homes. This makes me think that these shows must produce feelings of inadequacy in folks that are akin to what many women feel when they see photos of super models in magazines: Aspiring to an ideal that is impossible for most people.

Consider this:

  • Over 50% of people in the USA make less than $30K per year.
  • When polled, 47% of Americans said that if they had to cover an unexpected $400 bill, they would have to put it on credit, borrow from friends or family, or simply didn’t know how they would get the money for it.

So basically:

  • 98% of Americans are not able to afford the homes displayed in this show.
  • Half of Americans could not even afford a $120K home.
  • Almost 40% of Americans do not even own a home.

Are You Suffering from “Home Envy?”

It is natural, when you see images of a beautiful home, to want your home to be beautiful too, but it is not healthy to fill your head with ideas that a dream home can only be a high end home, that only 2% of folks could afford.

The Feng Shui canon, or standard, of happiness, is a small home full of people you love, not a home where you need to use your cell phone or an intercom to call your family down to dinner.

Your dream home is the home where you can be happy, healthy and loved, while enjoying all the things and the experiences that are really important to you.

How Much Space Does a Family Really Need?

To figure out the ideal size of a home for your family, multiply the number in your family by 300, 400 or 500. This will give you the approximate square footage of the home you need.

For example, a family of four can be comfortable in a home between 1,200 and 2,000 sq. ft. Anything more than that is luxury, but not a need.

You may need more square footage if you work from home, though, or if you practice a hobby or a craft from the home, or if you are an artist. For example, if you paint, you might need a dedicated room to use as a studio. If you are crazy about working out, you might need a home gym. If you play music, you might need a music room. If you have a home run business you would at least need a home office and maybe more space for storage of inventory.

A recent study by The Center on Everyday Lives of Families at the University of California observed 32 American families to see where they spent most of their time in the home. The study found that families living in large homes, about 3,000 sq. ft., occupied less than 2,000 sq. ft. The other 1,000 sq. ft. + were abandoned areas in the home (the formal living room, the formal dining room, and guest room, for example). Basically, families were unnecessarily paying larger mortgages, for space they did not use. If they had lived in a smaller home, they would have been more comfortable and would have more money left over at the end of the month.

The average three bedroom home in the USA has between 1,200 to 1,500 sq. feet. However, new homes being built are larger, while the family size is shrinking. While families get smaller, folks are made to believe they need more space.

You Don’t Need a Mansion to be Happy

You don’t need a mansion to be happy. If you have put a mansion on your vision board, think again. Is that the home that would make you happy or is it the home that would make you feel less inadequate?

If you are part of the 2% or even the 1% I can help you make your current home a dream home, for much less than the Property Brothers, and when we are done, you’ll love your home so much that you won’t want to move.

If you are part of the 98% I can also help you turn your current home into a dream home, where you can live your dream life.

Let me help you make your current home a dream home by using the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System so that you can live your authentic dream life in there. Check out my services here.

Share with Me

How do you feel when you watch these reality TV shows that dwell on high end homes?

Have you ever pasted pictures of these kinds of homes on your vision board?

What are your reflections after reading this article? Please share below using the “reply” feature.







  1. Moni,
    What a great article! Yes, our home is small compared to many, but I always liked the size, with a bigger size we wouldn’t interact as much, our house is cozy. And how much time does it take to clean those huge homes? Also, with the huge rooms, you literally can get an echo, and people can walk in and immediately see a cluttered kitchen. An “art” area would be nice someday–I use the kitchen table and that can be messy. Watching HGTV I love seeing new design ideas and how to do things, but my husband teases it cost him money! I’m never sure if the people on HGTV are as shallow as portrayed or if it is an attempt to drum up drama and conflict to be magically removed with the beautiful “reveal” at the end of the program.

    I never watch the shows with folks looking for a second “vacation” home–that really makes me envious!

    Also, a recent article I read showed that people eat more in cluttered kitchens!

    Thank you for the article, I enjoyed it!

    • Hi Linda! I am sure that they edit those shows to add drama and produce emotional responses in the audience towards the participants. I would not want to have a vacation home. I have enough with taking care of one home. I’ll happily pay for a nice hotel if I’m vacationing for a few days, or for a condo if it is a longer vacation. Some of our relatives had, at some point, five homes in three different countries. They spent their lives traveling from one to the other to fix things. No fun!

      What kind of art do you do?

  2. Dearest Moni,
    What a fabulous article. You put common sense down in an easy to understand way and it is a delight to read your words. I believe we are being brainwashed into larger homes and that is the cause of a lot of loneliness and unhappiness. After her divorce a friend of mine bought a house she couldn’t afford to pay the taxes on. When she first showed me the house, she said, “I hope you don’t feel jealous.” How could I feel jealous when I thought she was completely oblivious to the obvious which was she was sooner or later going to lose the house and all she had received from her 15 year marriage. I so hope someone is touched by your wisdom and either calls you for advice, not the Property Brothers, and gets a Feng Shui reading. Blessings and love

    • Thanks, Sharilyn. It is hard to charge with chi a house that is too large for the number in the family. Sadly, some people try to fill up their homes with clutter!

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