Overcoming real estate cynicism

Mood of the Market

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 24, 2010

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Mood of the Market

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
Inman News

I've long been a student of author and therapist Louise Hay. If you're not familiar with her work in particular, just know that she was basically the founding pioneer of the self-help-book genre and industry. Folks like Dr. Wayne Dyer and Tony Robbins and Dr. Phil wouldn't really exist if not for Hay (but please don't hold that against her!).

Anyhow, one of the self-love-building self-therapies for which Louise is the best known is her system of positive affirmations -- positive statements you make to yourself as though they are true, to heal and reverse the negative messages so many of us communicate during our self-talk.

If you don't know Louise, you'll definitely know her satirical doppelganger, Stuart Smalley, a character played for years on "Saturday Night Live" by a pre-senatorial Al Franken. Stuart, like Louise, was known for his trademark affirmations: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" Louise frequently teaches students to say their affirmations in a mirror and to even set them to a tune.

I have never seen anyone take Louise's affirmation prescriptions to heart so well as 3-year-old Jessica, the star of a viral YouTube video that had just over 1.2 million views at the time of this writing. Jessica stands atop her bathroom vanity counter having a really, really good day as she sings and chants her own personal affirmations in the mirror, punctuated by little dancy fist punches, lunges, claps and even a little jig at the end -- this child is delighted with, well, everything.

Here's a snippet of her joyful little affirmations: "My whole house is great. I can do anything good. I like my Mom. I like my Dad. I like my sister. I like my cousins. I like my aunts. I love my hair, I love my haircuts. I love my Allisons. I love my school. I love my pajamas! I like my room! I love my whole house! I can do anything good ..." and so on, and so forth.

On top of all the people and stuff she likes and loves, two of Jessica's affirmations in particular caught my real estate-sensitive ear. One of her opening lines: "My whole HOUSE is great." And the line she delivers with long, drawn-out emphasis, then punctuates with the only clap of the whole soliloquy: "I love my whole house!"

While I'm far from a cynic, I do remember the days when buying a home was nothing short of a delightful experience for buyers. Of course, there's always been the stress of taking on a mortgage, and making such a grown-up commitment, but those items could in no way even begin to offset or diminish the sheer delight and joy of shopping for and finding and buying especially your first home. Now, the specter of fear of making a bad decision, paranoia to avoid being overextended, and the anticipated drama of a short sale or even some bank-owned transactions prevent most of today's homebuyers from feeling that exuberant sentiment young Jessica so succinctly expressed: "I LOVE MY WHOLE HOUSE!"

And sellers? What with short sales, their homes lagging on the market, seeing three houses on the block go up for sale as bargain-basement foreclosures and having to price way below what they thought their homes ere worth, sellers might as well join hands and sing a coast-to-coast R&B medley, "Glee"-style, covering the solid-gold hits: "Where is the love?" "After the Love is Gone" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore."

Makes one wonder what sort of real estate affirmations Louise Hay would prescribe to heal this low esteem in which we've collectively begun to hold real estate, this depression of our real estate of mind, if you will? I can't say for certain. But it would probably start with an expression of gratitude for the roof that is currently over our heads -- whether it's rented, owned or borrowed.

Maybe we can look out the windows and be grateful for what we see, and pronounce our love for whatever joys our family has experienced inside the four walls of our home, or lessons we've learned as a result of even our unsound real estate and mortgage decisions.

If you enjoy your home, but are stressed about the recent declines in its value, maybe declare and affirm that you love the life you are able to experience in the place. That you are grateful to have a job and income that empower you to make the payments on it, even if you think your interest rate is too high and you're mad that you can't refinance.

If you're a buyer, declare and affirm that you made an excellent choice, in terms of timing, and be glad and grateful.

You could affirm any of these things that apply to your situation. Or come up with some of your own. Or you could certainly borrow little Jessica's and just exclaim: I love my whole house!

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.

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