Welcome to another installment of Real Estate of Mind folks. Tryin’ to keep it as real as possible here. I know…Real Estate is already supposed to be the Real Thing. Real Property. Solid Ground. Stable Brick and Mortar. But sometimes it feels more like a drug-induced altered estate of mind when you are inside it. Anything but the immovable terra firma it’s cracked up to be.
Trying to make sense out of real estate isn’t easy when so many conflicting ideas are competing for chunks of our brain space at the same time. A task made even more difficult by brains that weren’t really designed to distinguish between interesting facts and creative fiction in the first place.
Human beings are elaborate story-telling machines. Serial random-story generators. In the beginning, God hard-wired us with circuits full of neurons and synapses imprinted on a sea of glia. In the end, he downloaded algorithms and told us to go forth and multiply our stories. And after that? He rested and said: “When in doubt…pray.”
That’s our immutable nature and ongoing nurture. Toss any of us a few crumbs of information and we’ll happily, unconsciously construct a plausible narrative in a New York nano-second. Any day. Any way.
Give us lots more data to organize, infintessimalize and wig out on and we may eventually reach a tipping point. Brain lock down on some compelling storyline that becomes completely intractable. Ready to go to war to protect the hallowed turf of our ideas and constellated belief systems.
Real Estate of Mind isn’t here to tell you what to think. Just to encourage you to think. Perhaps offer a few simple perspectives to stick under your thinking caps while quietly cogitating. Meanwhile don’t forget to question authority. Subvert any paradigm anyone tries to sell you. Even if it doesn’t seem like they are selling you. Even me.
Today? We’re beginning our several installment search for the Holy Grail of Home Value. Where does it come from? How do we find it? We’re going to start by taking a quick survey from A to Z. In 500 words or less.
A is for the Appraisal that comes after a buyer and seller decide on price.
B is for last night’s Barbeque where people were talking about how hot the market is.
C is for Chinese investors purported to be plowing all cash-offers into SF luxury properties.
D is for Real Estate for Dummies that still recommends 3 different CMAs from 3 different agents.
E is for Everyone that gives you advice when you buy and sell – whether you want it or not.
F is for the Fear of paying too much or leaving something on the table.
G is for all the Guesses you make – educated and otherwise.
H is for the real estate Headlines you’ll read between now and whenever.
I is for the Interest Rates people get fixed into and fixated on.
J is for all the ways people Justify their decisions.
K is for Knowing what you can’t Know.
L is for the canned Listing Presentation(s) you are going to hear.
M is for Median Price figures that don’t always add up to much.
N is for the evolving New Normal that doesn’t feel very normal.
O is for that One Perfect Buyer that might be out there.
P is for Peak of the Market Prices that become the yardstick.
Q is for Quality of Life considerations that should fit in somewhere.
R is for the Remorse everyone feels both before and after.
S is for Search Engines that make TMI more possible.
T is for the Truth the market eventually reveals.
U is for Urban Myths that still exist – like real estate as a seasonal phenomenon.
V is for all things Virtual that make it seem so real.
W is for the Wiggle room you think you need.
X is for X-factors of fate, blind luck and divine intervention that help decide the outcome.
Y is for You. Your money. Your house. Your decision.
Z is for Zillow the recently anointed oracle of all things real estate.
More Next Week: The rising phenomena of Zillow Zestimates and what it all means.