The Inner Bottom Line ® ..where Choices & Values meet

“Trusting the Process and The Outcome”

May 21st, 2015   •   no comments   

The Inner Bottom Line ®

A Column on Personal Choices & Ethical Dilemmas by Olive Gallagher

Dear Olive,

My wife & I have been trying to buy a home for a year. It took us five months to agree on an agent we liked and then, it became a daily grind of looking online, checking out listings our agent sent us, and spending every weekend driving around with her visiting houses that ended up looking nothing like the pictures posted.

olive gallagher

Life Coach & Ethicist Olive Gallagher

Finally, last month, we found our dream home. Within 24 hours, we made an offer. Our agent had prepared us to accept the market was tight and we might be up against other offers. But we went ahead. After five stressful days of waiting, we learned we didn’t get it. Since then, my wife hasn’t stopped crying. I’ve never seen her so angry and disappointed. I’ve run out of things to say. I don’t blame our agent. I think she did a good job. But my wife is furious and convinced the agent could have done better. She’s also convinced we’ll never find another house we love as much. I’d heard about your blog on Active Rain and found you here that way. I’m hoping you can help me figure out what to tell my wife to get her to see we’ll find something else. We just have to keep looking. Am I wrong? Did we miss our chance? Please help. Paul

Dear Paul,

Thanks for reaching out, Paul, and no, you’re not wrong. There will be another home for you. And I know from first-hand experience how crushing it can be to pin your hopes on something as significant as the “perfect” house, find it, commit to it, begin to dream about it, and then lose it.

It can feel as if there will never find another house like it. And that’s true, there won’t. Whatever home you eventually find and purchase will be different. However, what I’ve also learned over the years first-hand, is that sometimes, after losing the thing I thought was irreplaceable, I then went on to fall in love with another house and realize, only then, how lucky I was that the first one didn’t materialize. Much like a lot of other valued things in life: a lover you almost didn’t meet, a new job or promotion, a scheduled vacation destination that had to be changed, a rescued pet found on the street that ends up being the love of your life instead of the pet you planned to find another way.

Sometimes what seems like the randomness of life is quite fascinating and not so random after all.

For right now though, while the loss is fresh and nothing new has yet appeared on the horizon, it doesn’t feel that way and obviously your wife can’t imagine it differently. She’s obviously hurting from the loss. And it’s a real loss; loss of the dream, loss of not reaching a sought-after goal that’s left you exhausted and frustrated, and loss of a certain level of trust.

And when we feel that worn out and aggrieved, it’s normal and understandable to lash out and blame the loss on the nearest person standing. As a licensed Oregon realtor, I well understand the potential hazards of my job. It’s often easier to blame the broker than accept for unexplained reasons that the house went to someone else and wasn’t meant to be yours.

In your case, it sounds like your agent did her job well, preparing you for the possibility that there might be competition, and managing your expectations of possible outcomes with competence. In reality, it can be a frustrating and sometimes illogical marketplace when inventory is exceptionally low and buyers are fervent in their determination to pay list or over for a property they think they can’t live without.

In fact, in some cases, it’s the competition rather than the desired home that becomes the driver, compelling those with a gambler’s mentality or appetite to stay in the bidding, even if it means ruin. Harry Gordon Selfridge, whose remarkable life is currently being brilliantly portrayed on the PBS series, Mr. Selfridge, became so consumed with risking his money and over bidding on things he was determined to have in order to achieve his goals that he eventually lost his fortune in later years.

Consumer markets work that way, too, with demand determining price. How often have you seen a run on Target for the latest designer label clothes sold at a perceived discount price? The volume sold makes up for the drop in price per piece. If you’ve ever visited Nordstrom on a triple points day, you know that just the mere idea of getting something for seemingly nothing will bring out many buyers willing to pay whatever price is being asked just to get those free points.

In a tight market where there aren’t enough properties to go around, buyers will sometimes decide to throw logic to the wind and pay far more than what the market analysis and its history indicates a home is worth in order to capture it and be the winner. King of the hill. It sounds like you probably got caught in a similar situation where there were multiple offers and the seller chose the one they liked best. That is their choice to make.

And so, moving forward, it’s going to come back down to trust. And one can’t have trust without respect, one of the four core ethical values. Trust in the market itself, trust in the process, trust in your broker, trust in all of the unknown factors, and trust in you own journey that somehow, in the end, you’ll find a home you love and will be able to look back on this seeming impasse you’re in right now with gratitude rather that regret. Good luck!


The Inner Bottom Line syndicated column is found nationally here on  and here where you can submit your questions and ethical dilemmas or book consulting appointments and private or group coaching sessions with Olive.

Olive Gallagher is a life coach, ethicist, national speaker and columnist, and a licensed Oregon realtor and can be reached at You can also find her real estate blog at on

Hard cover, Kindle and audio versions of Olive’s book, The Nude Ethicist: A Simple Path to The Good Life™, are available at on

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