bio: peter comitini »

market knowledge
Manhattan market report »
townhouse report »

follow peter comitini

peter's newsletter
sign-up here »

the topics
blogs & sites
for sale or rent
green city
market reports
property geek
questions & answers
tips for buyers
tips for sellers
newsreal bookmarks
peter's photos

real estate services
home page
selling your property
buying a home
browse listings
recent press
contact peter

design & ideas
green design
nyc resources
real estate
real estate: overseas

the archives
April 2014
November 2013
April 2013
February 2013
January 2013
June 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
July 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
October 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
October 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
all archives

« previous: Can developers weather downturns in New York City and the global real estate economy?   |  next: Rebuilding downtown manhattan, a bird's eye view »

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Today's tip for home buyers: blink

headroomI've been reading Malcom GladwelI's book "Blink; The Power of Thinking without Thinking" recently. In it, he talks about "The theory of thin slices: how a little bit of knowledge goes a long way". It's what you and I might also call intuition although Mr. Gladwell does not like that word, feeling it describes a less rational, emotional reaction. He prefers to say that the book is about rapid cognition, blink a very fast thinking process in which we "thin slice" sensory input and rapidly reach a conclusion. Thin slices of observed knowledge, gained in the blink of an eye, can reveal the truth about people and situations, which can be every bit as accurate as the most studied analysis. That Blink moment describes well the decision point in buying a home, where some people decide to spend millions of dollars, after stepping inside for just a few moments and examining an apartment in less time than they might spend having lunch.

"We thin-slice whenever we meet a new person or have to make sense of something quickly"
The book dives into many examples of how a few seconds of exposure to a situation can reveal as accurate an assessment of it, as a exhaustively researched process would. He talks too about when our instincts may lead us astray. The book draws on neuroscience and psychology to paint an interesting theory about how accurate decisions are made in an instant, by filtering the essential information from distracting and sometimes overwhelming sensory input.

As an agent, I'm thin slicing constantly too, evaluating what people say by absorbing their expressions, postures, the tone of their voice— as much as by their words, which may be more measured. I also get to see a lot more real estate than the average person. That experience is a knowledge base which feeds rapid cognition, and helps me offer the right advice for my clients. It is one of the reasons why people turn to brokers and recommend them to their friends— turning data and information into usable knowledge; and into better informed decisions. Finding the right person to work with can be a blink decision too.

People buy homes that they love. Making practical financial sense alone is not enough (though it must do that too). Like most decisions concerning love, it can be hard to articulate the reasons why. Work with your broker to identify the boundaries of your purchase from the standpoint of money, location, size and what you think your basic wish list may be. Chances are some of those things will change as you start looking anyway; but you do need a starting point. Trust your instincts. If you've picked the right agent, trust them too when they say "you should see this one". Even though it may not fit the mold you expected. In my own experience, the first house we purchased was in Woodstock, NY where we went to find a charming country farmhouse, and wound up buying a mid-century modern box. It just felt right and we knew it in the blink of an eye.

post a comment:

to help fight spam, your comment may need to be approved by the moderator before it appears

we don't collect or share email addresses

email this to a friend:

recipient's email address:

your email address (required):

we don't collect or share email addresses

your personal message (optional):

a link to this page will be included with your message.