An Open Letter to the Guy on HGTV’s Property Virgins


Dear 31 year-old Caucasian Aspiring King of His Castle,

Your wife seems nice enough and I genuinely hope that you can buy her a house with an open floor plan, an updated kitchen and plenty of closet space. However, you and I need to get some things straight:

1)You’re not manly enough to call a rumpus room your “man cave”.
Think of the manliest guy you know—the old guy down the street who stormed the beach at Normandy, your crazy redneck cousin who noodles hundred-pound catfish and makes jerky out of them or the guy who works with troubled teens in South Central. Does he have a “man cave”? No, he has a den. He doesn’t need a special secluded room where he can act as he wishes without his wife scolding him.

And let’s be honest about something—there is nothing manly about farting up a barcalounger while swearing at other gamers through your headset or screaming at the football coach through the television (providing the kind of insight one can only gain as the backup punter on a freshman football team) while your buddies who still live with their parents gobble Domino’s pizza. If we’re going to be honest here, that would make the room an “adolescent cave”.

2)You’re not Trump 2.0
No publisher is going to ask you to write the follow-up to The Art of the Deal because you offered $120,000 on that charming late-60’s ranch listed at $173,000, only to pay $168,000. Your lowball offer isn’t some clever stratagem which makes your next slightly-less-unreasonable offer look a dump truck filled with gold bricks. The sellers have a number in mind at which it makes sense to sell the house. If you hit that number, they’ll sell you the house.

And to that end, stop it with the tough guy act. Your realtor (wisely) isn’t going to pass on your huffy declaration that “I’m walking if they don’t include that dartboard” or “I’m drawing a line in the sand at $167,500”. This is a business transaction, not an Old West showdown. Stop thinking that anyone cares about anything other than the price you will pay and your ability to consummate the sale.

3)Stop sweating the small stuff
This is a big decision for you which will impact your life for many years to come. Try to maintain some sense of perspective. I watched an episode recently where a man disqualified a house because it had circular toilets rather than elongated-bowl, comfort-height toilets. You can buy such a toilet for $200 and have it installed for another $100. This fellow walked away from a $350,000 home over $900 worth of plumbing upgrades.

And when you get down to the final stages of the negotiation, don’t hold up a deal over a few thousand bucks. Do you know how much that extra $5000 is going to add to your mortgage payment each month at today’s rates? About $30. Do you want your wife to lose the house of her dreams for $30 per month? The sooner you develop an understanding of the concept of materiality, the happier you and those stuck in the same room as you will be.


The fact that I dislike you so much probably reflects more poorly on me than it does you. After all, you want what you want and you are certainly entitled to pursue it. But I’m the kind of guy who likes to root for people, rather than against them. Please take to heart my advice and enable me to wish good things for you.

I’m glad we had this talk.