That's the headline for the featured article on the featured house in this week's Sunday real estate section of my newspaper:
The location is ideal. The home sits on a lovely sloping corner lot, boasting lush landscaping and truly stunning views of the verdant landscape and the idyllic pond for which Broad Run and Broad Run Ridge are known.
The home defines curb appeal. Its architectural style embraces the natural beauty of the lush, wooded lot. Two walkways, one brick and one flagstone, meander to the front door, framed by side windows and topped by a handsome arched transom window.
Once inside, you'll be impressed by the classic design and the expansive living space. Gleaming pine hardwood floors lend a rich decorating statement and true feeling of warmth. …
Yada yada yada. Bottom line: $425,000.
What are the 99 percent of the newspaper's readers who can't afford a $425,000 home supposed to make of articles like this? This is the cover of the real estate section — a place where normal people might turn to buy and sell a home. It doesn't seem either wise or kind to these people to dedicate the cover of this section each week to showcasing homes deliberately chosen to make the actual homes of actual people look shabby by comparison.What's the strategy to this? If people are shopping for a Taurus or a Camry, does it make sense to have them test-drive the Escalade first? Yet every week the cover of the Sunday real estate section showcases another extravagant home, beyond the means and the aspirations of the vast majority of the paper's readership (at $425,000 this is actually one of the cheaper homes recently featured).
It is, of course, in somebody's interest to highlight these luxury homes on the section's cover. But it's not clear to me why that somebody's interests should trump those of nearly everybody else.
(P.S.: Hardwood pine?)