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Keeping Up With The Joneses

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Heather Soldonia

Heather Soldonia

By Heather Soldonia

It’s the secret that’s driving every client — social comparison.

The Social Comparison Theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and desires by comparing themselves to others in either an upward or downward direction.

An upward comparison example: “Our friends, the Joneses, purchased a brand new 3,000-square-foot home. We don’t want to consider anything smaller than 3,000 square feet.”

A downward comparison example: “Our poor friends have beautiful homes, but can you believe their commute is over an hour?! We’ll be much better off finding something smaller, but closer to the Bay Area.”

We’ve all heard clients irrationally comparing themselves to the Joneses — ignoring ALL the other factors that play a role in determining what home would be best for them financially, geographically, etc.  It can be so frustrating!

But here’s the interesting part… We do it to as agents, too!

An upward comparison example: “Last week at the conference REALTOR(R) Jones was telling me that he closed 46 transactions this year… I’m as good as he is, so I better close at least that many this year!”

A downward comparison example: “Well, the newbie didn’t close a single transaction last year, so I could be doing much worse.”

Here is a reminder…

REALTOR(R) Jones may (or may not) have closed 46 transactions last year but what type of transactions were they? Perhaps you’re working on the selling-side of short sales, but he’s been working on the buyer-side of foreclosures all year. That’s a big difference!

Just like we want our clients to consider the plethora of factors influencing their purchase, it’s also good for us to individually analyze the factors influencing our day-to-day success. What is realistic for you? What is best focus for you?

The dynamics of our industry are vast and little is accomplished when we start looking around and comparing ourselves with our colleagues and peers without considering their geographical locations of operation, their years of experience, etc.

Whether you’re on the East Coast, West Coast or in between, we are all affected by national unemployment and legislation as well as the more localized condition of our markets.

So despite what you may have heard during the most recent gathering of your peers, remember that you (most likely)  are a Young Professional and that despite any struggles you are currently experiencing, you are gaining exposure to the industry and learning how to navigate a down market.

Take this moment to step back and acknowledge that there are factors beyond your control and that you are doing the best you can… Even if it doesn’t always feel like you’re able to keep up with REALTOR(R) Jones.

Heather Soldonia is a broker/practitioner in the San Francisco Bay area. Visit her blog, Real Estate Addict, at www.HeatherSoldonia.blogspot.com.

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