Sunday, April 3, 2011

reality distortion field: real estate

We stopped by a really cute house on the way home today, which I saw a couple weeks ago and wanted to share with her. It's pretty enchanting. Expensive, but 5 years ago it would have been $700,000 instead of $500,000.

Real estate agents drive me nuts. As I tell people, it's not that they're lying, exactly: their skill is that they believe whatever falsehood they're presenting to you at any given moment. Because they believe it, and moreover because acting like that fluid belief is solid and permanent is core to their self-presentation, there's no point in presenting them with facts that represent reality. In fact, I find confronting them to be a little mean, because they'll
  1. fracture their sense of reality and have a nervous breakdown in front of you (this seems nearly impossible), or
  2. engage some kind of defense mechanism to preserve their internal narrative, and you have created needless tension in the conversation.
We walked through the house, and Anna was similarly enchanted, and the agent was sort of baffled and hurt to discover we were just looking--"Oh! So you two aren't actually in market to buy?!"--which Anna paraphrased as "I was treating you like people! But you're not actually going to buy this house from me. Why did I treat you like people? What a waste of effort."
Then I said, "Prices seem to be dropping."
Reality intrudes! Internally, she seemed to convert her terror to disbelief, and thence into counter-narrative (she really needs to work on her poker face).
"Well! I don't know where you're looking, but around here, prices are going up. Now, some things aren't priced appropiately, so some things don't sell, but as soon as the owner prices it appropriately, it sells."
Confused? Let me translate:
Chris: "Prices seem to be dropping."
Realtor: "No, prices are going up! See, they're precisely following the process by which the price of goods in an open market goes down!"
Yeah. I think I'll wait a few months, thanks.

House $/Sq.Ft.

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