Home & Garden Columns

How to Tell Whether You Are An Old House Junkie

By Jane Powell
Friday September 14, 2007

I have always enjoyed looking at houses. I think it started in my childhood, when we used to visit open houses on Sundays after church. As an adult, I have chosen a profession in which I can get access to many, many homes.  

But it has come to my attention that there are others like me, and I think maybe it’s time to start a 12-step program for house junkies. Do you qualify? Answer these simple questions and find out.  

1. When you go on vacation you pick up the real estate magazines at the supermarket and check them to see what houses cost in that area. 

2. You sit on your front porch staring at the house across the street and consider various new color schemes for it. 

3. Your idea of a good time is a trip to the hardware store. 

4. Cabinet hardware excites you. 

5. You joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation just so you could look at the real estate ads in the back of the magazine, and imagine yourself buying a log house from 1790 or an abandoned insane asylum. 

6. While other people are out having brunch on Sundays, you’re on the computer perusing the Daily Planet’s fabulous interactive Open Homes and planning your strategy for touring them. 

7. You would be willing to buy a totally falling down house in the middle of nowhere if it was architecturally fabulous. 

8. If you know a house is vacant, you sneak up and peer through the windows. 

9. You are ecstatic if you find a house with an original kitchen. 

10.Your vacation photos consist entirely of pictures of window muntins. 

11. This line in a real estate ad would get your attention: “ First time on market in 80 years.” 

The good news is that it’s a fairly benign addiction, unless, of course, you act on it by buying the house even though you already have a house.  

Otherwise, 12-step meetings would consist entirely of discussion of houses seen, maybe with photos, and trading notes on which agents will let civilians in during the broker’s tour. Oh, and snacks. 


Photograph by Jane Powell  

The finest house in Ferdinand, Idaho, population 125. The author would have bought this had cooler heads not prevailed. 



Jane Powell is the author of Bungalow Details: Interior and an unreformed house junkie, though she swears she hasn’t bought anything in two years. She can be reached at janepowell@sbcglobal.net.