My perfectly normal, not at all weird hobby.

Some people have lovely, productive hobbies like knitting, reading or mountain climbing. Friends, I have a shameful secret to share. My hobby is not sporty, or intellectual or creative.

No. My hobby is browsing property websites.

I can’t help it. I might be on a deadline for a newspaper but I can’t help looking at Victorian houses in Harrogate versus new-build properties in the New Forest.

And the news that a neighbour has put their house on the market is a cause for unfettered joy – what did they do with their kitchen? Have they knocked through into the utility room? Does their bedroom look nicer than mine? Ooooh, look at that carpet. Was that sofa really a wise choice? 

Sometimes, I also like to look at the houses I might buy if I was incredibly rich. What would it be like if I had £2.5m to spend on a new house?

I take my search quite seriously (as you do) and look for three-bedroom properties. After all, we need a guest room. Nothing with a lake – I’m safety-conscious even while pretend house-hunting. And as for stables – well, who really wants that sort of imaginary responsibility?

Obviously, I’d want Flea to continue at the same school until she finishes primary school – so something within a mile of where we live now.

Click search, and… OH DEAR GOD, MY EYES!

I feel you can never have too many swags.

why limit yourself to one pattern?

What is it with rich people and interior design? How is this considered a suitable place to kick back and watch a few episodes of Come Dine with Me on a Sunday afternoon? I can’t help wondering if you jettison all taste once you become a millionaire.

millionaire's house

looks comfy, right?


Who wouldn't love a bar in their home?

Yes, I’m being mean to rich people. But they don’t mind. They’re rich, for starters. And presumably LOVE their houses, and couldn’t give a stuff what I might happen to think.

Anyway, after considering the imaginary cost involved in stripping the disco lights out of the kitchen and the medical treatment involved in unseeing some of these patterns, I’ve decided I either need to be not quite so rich (the houses near me below £2m aren’t nearly so offensive) or rich enough that I can move into one of these monstrosities and immediately pretend spend £100,000 redecorating.

Problem solved.



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 19th March 2012 / 12:37 pm

    Haha – I totally do this!
    I have my eye on a beautiful 1860s Victorian detached house near to school with a couple of acres and have already mentally counted the cost of the changes I would make (and maybe also the staff required to keep it up LOL).

    • 19th March 2012 / 7:02 pm

      Ah yes, the dream house. I have one of those, too 🙂

  2. Lindy
    19th March 2012 / 12:56 pm

    I do the same thing and am completely addicted. When a house in my neighbourhood puts a for sale board up I whip out my phone and check rightmove. I also feel a bit put out when the house isn’t listed on line immediately. I secretly want to be an estate agent so I can check out these houses in real life.

    • 19th March 2012 / 7:03 pm

      Ha! I’m addicted to looking at houses on my street.

  3. Nicki Cawood
    19th March 2012 / 12:59 pm

    This is me!!
    I love stalking the estate agent websites looking inside houses, both local or further afield and ones our size or huge. I’ve written about it a couple of times and it seems that we aren’t the only ones that do it. I think that makes us normal and everyone else weird personally. Who doesn’t want to see how the other half lives and pick their curtains to pieces?

    (Looking at people’s house you know IS the best fun).

    • 19th March 2012 / 7:03 pm

      I don’t know about you, but I’m completely normal.

  4. FeeHorne
    19th March 2012 / 1:00 pm

    Yup, with you on this one. Fantasy house-shopping I calls it. ‘Snooping on other people’s lives’ is what my OH calls it. Except when he does it and then it’s ‘just checking out our potential future options’. This *is* what the internet was invented for, right?

    • 19th March 2012 / 7:03 pm

      Snooping makes it sound so shady, though…

  5. 19th March 2012 / 1:17 pm

    I do this all the time! I love looking at other people’s houses and my favourite hobby is looking at houses I can’t afford. I once tweeted about it and it seems there are plenty of us who spend a lot of time doing this! 🙂

    • 19th March 2012 / 7:03 pm

      Oh good, I’m not alone!

    • 19th March 2012 / 7:04 pm

      We need to get out more, don’t we?

  6. 19th March 2012 / 7:41 pm

    You know, I’ve never done this. Not sure I want to start, I might not get anything else done. 🙂

    • 19th March 2012 / 9:28 pm

      Really? Never? You don’t know what you’re missing.

  7. 19th March 2012 / 7:48 pm

    I have been known to *ahem* view the show houses on new estates or show flats in new buildings with no intention of buying. I am obsessed with interior design.

    • 19th March 2012 / 9:28 pm

      hahaha! That is completely brilliant.

  8. TheBoyandMe
    19th March 2012 / 8:00 pm

    I would love to have a house built, I sometimes doodle the design and layout of it. If only I had a spare million or two…

    • 19th March 2012 / 9:29 pm

      Oh, I have lots of books on house-building. Sigh…

  9. 19th March 2012 / 9:10 pm

    Do you not call it ‘house porn’?? Husband and I like nothing more in bed, snuggling up to the Ipod and Rightmove! 🙂

    • 19th March 2012 / 9:29 pm

      That is a really, really unexpected mental image.

      • 20th March 2012 / 8:13 am

        I didn’t mean it in any sexual way 🙂 We just call it that as it is voyeuristic. We’re old and married so it’s dreaming of housees or crosswords these days.

  10. 19th March 2012 / 9:12 pm

    Ah Sally, you’re just not recognising their design flair. I too regularly peruse the homes of the glitterati of nearby Edgbaston. It take true vision to see a lovingly restored 1920s town house and know in your heart that what it really needs are some Grecian pillars. Who else but a style guru would think to set off a wood panelled drawing room with a life-sized plaster horse’s head on a plinth? It’s a good job we don’t have that kind of cash, it would be wasted on us.

    • 19th March 2012 / 9:30 pm

      Arf. My favourite one last night was the beautiful Victorian villa on the seafront in our home town, with a bedroom entirely lime green – except for the black chaise longue and the black slipper bathtub in the corner of the room. Mmmm.

      I’d have used the picture but on the basis it’s quite close to where I live I got a bit scared they’d track me down!

  11. Nikki
    19th March 2012 / 10:25 pm

    Sally – what have you started!!! Been snooping/stalking the houses nearby all eve. Shame on you for sharing your naughty secrets. Tsk

    • 19th March 2012 / 10:34 pm

      haha! Hope you’re having fun!

  12. 19th March 2012 / 10:55 pm

    Well this is the best way to choose a house, of course. This way when you get bored with the decor you can remodel without spending a lot of money. Apart from the £50 you could have earned whilst virtual house-hunting.

  13. Kelly Wiffin
    20th March 2012 / 8:59 am

    I used to look at property websites and dream of owning a lovely home with many rooms. I often used to check whether there are any houses near mine that were for sale wishing that I could buy one and make my parents move here! They wouldn’t like that though.

  14. 20th March 2012 / 9:15 am

    My husband is just the same, we have literally just moved and yet he’s still browsing Rightmove checking out the competition! A house two doors down has just come on the market and we’ve been having a good nose through the pictures, now I can walk past it and I know what the inside looks like, fascinating!

  15. 20th March 2012 / 8:51 pm

    This is appalling! Do you feel better now? You have now been told. You clearly have way too much time on your hands. If you need a psychotherapist give me a call. I suggest you create a mood board and make this happen or spend your time more wisely!!

    Is this the sort of shocking comment you were looking for?

    If I’m totally honest I don’t have any strong feelings about your post but I had a desire to be a wee bit naughty and your tweet asking for a comment expressing a measure of distain was truly irresistible!

    • 20th March 2012 / 10:02 pm

      and next time someone asks me why I love Twitter, I’ll be able to show them this 🙂