Seeing our home through buyers' eyes

The reality of moving really set in when the realtor’s photographer arrived to photograph the house. It wasn’t so much that the listing would be online for the entire world to see that next day that brought home the reality of the move. It was the absence of so many things that let someone know that a family lives in that space.

The boy’s drawings and the girl’s report card were no longer affixed to the refrigerator with magnets. The kitchen counter was completely bare. Even the microwave had been moved out of the sight of the camera. Then, the photographer caught sight of the garbage can.

“Can we move that to another room?” she asked. 

“The garbage can?” I thought. “Who doesn’t expect a garbage can in the kitchen?” I could understand if it had been a plastic garbage can with trash heaped over the top. This was a stainless steel receptacle with a self-closing lid. It is as stylish as a garbage can could possibly be. If I saw a house without a garbage can anywhere, I would wonder if there were magic fairies that take the trash away.   

“Can we unplug that computer?” she asked, moving into the next room, “Cords don’t look right in the photos.” 

“Are we risking that people will think the appliances don’t require a power source in this house?” I thought. I wouldn’t want people to get the impression that this house is magic. I could just imagine someone looking at the listing online and thinking, “Wow! That house must have really low electric bills. It won’t matter anymore if the kids leave the television going all day, or if they stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open for hours on end, complaining that there’s nothing to eat. I wonder if the lights work that way too.”

I understand the process. Showing a house is like getting ready for a date. You want to highlight the best features. No one wants to see your scar from your appendectomy on the first date. No one wants to know the cat threw up on the statue of St. Nicholas a few hours earlier when they are looking for a new home. They want to think that their cat will be the first cat to throw up in that house. It makes sense, but when I see our house like that, it’s a little strange.

Yes, dear readers, we are moving out of state. I will soon be looking at houses with no garbage cans, appliances that need no power source, and where no messes have ever been made. We have enjoyed our time in Westlake, Ohio, but as a member of my parish in Virginia said before we moved here, “Clergy sure are a nomadic bunch.” God calls and we follow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know my family as much as I have enjoyed telling you about them.

RJ Johnson

I have been a priest for 16 years.  I spent the first four years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six years on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, before becoming the pastor at Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake in 2010.  If anyone would find it interesting I have a son and daughter, which I refer to as a matched set, a wife, a dog, and a cat.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:11 AM, 01.10.2017