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The World and Real Estate are Better Than You Think

Today I want to talk about two things: Hyperbole in Real Estate and The Happiness Advantage.

Most people seem to think pretty much everything is so much harder than it used to be. Steven Pinker’s Book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress argues that life has actually been getting progressively better for most people. He sets out 15 different measures of human well being to support his argument, with the most obvious being the uncontroversial fact that, statistically, people live longer and healthier lives on average than ever before.

I am getting the impression that a lot of our culture has devolved into complaining about how much harder everything is, how bad crime is, how expensive gas is and a Bay Area favorite, how hard it is to buy a house.

News media focuses on how awful things are, how impossible it is, because articles about how you can still buy a home with 3.5% down aren’t that fun to read, news stories about where to find the cheapest gas or how to get the best mileage is less exciting than showing a picture of $7.75 gas, and statisticas about reduced crime is less exciting than splashy headlines about murder. Nobody wants to buy a newspaper with headlines like “Mostly Nothing Interesting or Bad Happened Today.”

Yes, inflation is a thing right now. Yes, the homelessness epidemic is out of control. (Highly recommend Lead Me Home, the Oscar nominated short documentary on homelessness). Yes, buying a house comes with serious challenges in the tight market of 2022 and no it isn’t for everyone.

Ok, let’s put all that aside for a minute and talk instead about The Happiness Advantage. Author and psychologist Shawn Achor says “Constantly scanning the world for negative comes with great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals.” He makes the case that mindset can alter your ability to achieve goals. Positive thinking broadens our scope of cognition and behavior, makes us more creative and helps us build more intellectual, social and physical resources we can rely upon.

I cannot recommend this book enough. The First 2 people to text me at 510-545-6390 get a copy mailed to you.

As Henry Ford said Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.

I am not saying anyone can just go buy a house tomorrow, and I’m not suggesting homeownership is possible for everyone or anything so simple. What I am saying is it is not as hard as people think, not as hard as the media portrays and not as hard as that guy you met at the dinner party who said he wrote 30 offers and didn’t get anything made it out to be.

Let's break it down:

At any given time there are 250 listings in a given market & price range (within realistic terms). 125 of those have been on the market for more than 16 days. Probably 30 of them have been on for more than 21 days but fewer than 45. That is 30 homes for you to choose from.

Let's say you don’t like any of them. Wait 2 weeks and the inventory will be all new in that category. Can you afford a 3/2 midcentury modern in Orinda? Maybe not. But can you buy a decent fixer starter townhouse in Moraga? Probably. Compromise may be your friend. But nobody wants to read news articles about practical compromises.

Looking at the chart (courtesy of Mercury News), it seems that the median listing period for a home in Alameda County has declined to 8 days. But that is the median, not the average, and there are always outliers. Go for the outliers.

Thinking seriously about buying a home or investing in real estate but don’t know where to start? Give me a call, I can help.

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