Pushing Emotional Buttons

ImageI don’t want anyone out there to miss the plot.  Go to tombrezsny.wordpress.com to read last week’s column. We were musing about contradictions that often accompany life in an all-consuming, consumer culture.

Added bonus? Real Estate of Mind online may also be a site for sore eyes for those regular readers who’ve been straining for years to grab hold of bigger concepts I often try to wrap in such tiny newsprint.

Moving on… When you think about it, Real Estate offers a great vantage point to view human nature from. We Realtors don’t just sit in our offices all day like therapists.  Waiting for clients to come into our carefully-crafted work environments for ritual talks about all the changes they hope to see in the future.

Rather, we are in the business of making house calls. We go out to meet people on their own turf.  Surrounded by their own stuff.  We get to know them in the context of their own lives.  And the whole goal, tacitly understood upfront is, we are there because they want to make a change.  Not just talk about change.

That’s not to say some clients wouldn’t secretly be content to keep talking about houses without actually ever having to buy one. There are more than a few serial search engine types,  open house rubber-neckers,   glossy magazine dream home-addicts masquerading as wanna-be-buyers who aren’t really prepared to do the hard work of manifesting change in their lives.

But the real estate process usually outs-them sooner rather than later. Specially since Realtors aren’t paid by the hour like therapists or attorneys and they don’t have much of a stake in the active discouragement of anyone’s procrastination.

Here’s what I know:  Strip away all the window-dressing, the weirdness around buying and sellingand all the mind-numbing layers of paper-chasing process and in its deepest, truest heart, Real Estate is about home.

And for most people, home is two huge things combined under one roof:  It’s the biggest asset most of us will ever own in our lives.  And it’s that ineffable place of refuge, shelter and sanctuary that holds and nourishes our lives.  (Something that’s impossible to describe in words. But also something so intimately universal, we don’t really have to.)

Which brings us back to last week’s quote from F Scott Fitzgerald:  “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

Fitzgerald wasn’t referring to Real Estate when he said this, but he could have been. It’s wisdom is at the crux of almost every real estate conversation I have.  Almost every situation I work in on a daily basis.

Buying and selling a home is ground-zero for people trying to come to terms with all the contradictions and that accompany life in a consumer culture.

There aren’t too many things that push people’s emotional buttons more than money does.  And there aren’t too many things that exert the kind of pull that the notion of home does for most people.

In real estate, money and home often feel like two opposing ideas.  Push-pulls that exist in a heightened state of tension.  Swirling around in the mind.  Battling for supremacy. With the power to turn a simple case of cognitive dissonance into an excruciating internal steel cage wrestling match, .

What’s buying a home about?  Creating, protecting and building your largest asset? Or enhancing all those things that constitute that fuzzier measurement known as quality of life?

The answer of course is door number three – both. Next week we’ll look at some of the different choices that people are making these days to balance the out the contradictions.


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