The sellers have two children. My buyers have two children.
The sellers enjoyed living near the shops and restaurants in Cleveland Park. My buyers want to enjoy the shops and restaurants in Cleveland Park.
The sellers want to move. My buyers want to move.
OK, what's wrong here?
Yesterday I showed a house in Cleveland Park that should have been pretty near perfect for some buyers who definitely pass the fun test. You know they type - smart, funny, not overly picky, able to articulate exactly what works and does not for each place we see. The house was a preferred location, and it had all of the necessary bedrooms and baths. The price was smack dab in the middle of their price range. Oh, and it's a pretty house, too.
And their feedback on this one?
"I'm not feeling it!" That would be the husband.
"I feel like I'm caught up in a Pottery Barn catalog!" The wife.
The house was, in fact, furnished in early 21st Century Pottery Barn - the same furniture that a lot of local stagers prefer to use. The entire house was spotless, impeccable - oh, and it was hard to believe that real people actually lived there, especially with two little ones.
My buyers couldn't imagine themselves in this house - a house deliberately neutralized to the extent that it seems like anyone could imagine themselves living there!
For other reasons, mostly the small yard, this house won't work. If it did have the necessary outdoor space, I'm sure they would be able to look beyond the spotless property condition, just as they could look beyond a house that was cluttered with toys and smelled like a combination of Labradoodle and diaper pail.
But this has me re-thinking my approach to staging. If this had been my listing, I would consider myself blessed to have such neatniks as clients. But maybe what this house needs is a little bit of funk. Not a lot. Just ashes in the fireplace, or a chewed up dog toy under the coffee table. Perhaps pet hair on the upholstery.
In the meantime, I am way too chicken to be the first agent on the block to advise clients to live normally in one of my listings!