Everything I know in life I learned from a cow...

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties Licensed in Connecticut

My cow PatsyWell, maybe not everything. But these big beasts have taught me quite a bit that translates into other aspects of my life. And yes, I am totally aware that my mind sees things in ways that mystify many....

(Now quit rolling your eyes and thinking that I am whacked, or groaning because I am writing about cows YET AGAIN. Give me a chance here.)

A very big problem faced by anyone who raises cows is getting them to walk through a door or to walk down a hall for the first time. When I was milking, the biggest challenge we faced was getting them through the doors to go into the milking parlor for the first time. Daytime seemed to be worse then nighttime, which was a bit odd to me. Sometimes no manner of coaxing, pushing, pulling, prodding, whatever would make them go in. The problem is two fold. You have to get them in there to be milked for their own well being, and you have to try and get them in there with as little upset as possible so they are not kicking the crap out of you when you clean them off and put the equipment on them for the first time (to put it bluntly).

During that time in my life I read a fantastic book called "Animals in Translation" by Dr. Temple Grandin. She is an amazing woman with such a keen insight into animal (and human) behavior. Like me, Temple loves cows, she credits them with helping her to understand and overcome her autism. Anyway, in the book Temple talks about how cows actually see things, and how they are wired to react strongly to fear. During the day, the doors into the parlor looked like big black holes, they couldn't see past the big hole, and were petrified to just walk into a hole that appeared to them to go nowhere. It was as if, to the cow, life would end as soon as they stepped into this big, black hole. Knowing that helped me to really understand their behavior and helped us to find better ways to get them through those doors for the first time. And even when it took hours to get them inside, at least I knew what was going on and I could remain calm during the process instead of getting totally frustrated with the poor animal.

Now here is where my brain just might be wired differently than most. I translate this to real estate, to both buyers and sellers.

Big black hole of real estateSellers are definitely afraid of that big black hole. And that hole is... HOW LOW WILL I HAVE TO SELL MY HOUSE FOR? Telling them the truth up front is certainly the way to go, giving them a false hope might get you the listing, but I think that many of them who list with the agent who gave them the higher price are aware, in some distant place in their brain, that it won't happen. They are just too frightened to hear the truth, the low dollar amount is truly that big, black hole.

Buyers can also suffer from fear of the big, black hole. Will the price drop as soon as they buy it? Will they lose their job and be unable to pay the mortgage? Fear of the unknown is overwhelming. Is it a wise decision to go ahead with the purchase? All valid questions, all scary things.

Our job is to give information to them, to know our market, to keep them posted as to values in the area. Educating them on the entire process up front can also take the fear out of things and help them to make a decision based on fact, not fear. Fear produces a "flight or fight" syndrome in many, knowledge can often overcome fear.

So, how do you get your buyers and sellers to overcome their very real fears and walk through that big, black hole?

I think I am going to be reworking my ebooks to both buyers and sellers. After all, knowledge is power!


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Real Estate Sales and Marketing
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Comments 44 New Comment

Sandy Acevedo
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Great analogy with the cows. Glad that you focused on that part of the cow and not the pies and such! :)

November 02, 2011 07:46 PM
Kwee Huset
Venice Florida Homes For Sale
Kwee Huset Realty

Andrea, congratulations on your FEATURED post.  We can learn from animals at different situation.

November 02, 2011 11:13 PM
Sussie Sutton
Rep for buyers, sellers, and new construction.
UTR Texas Realtors

I have heard of her! She is the person who invented the circular walk way for cows to go to the slaughter without being scared.

I hate that I love beef. I can't stand knowing they fear death and cows are the gentlest animals alive. People I know who slaughter cows for a living say the cows are crying by the time they get to them because they know they are going to die.

I hate that I am a meat lover.... I am trying to eat more chicken.

November 03, 2011 12:45 AM
Andrea Swiedler
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties

Sandy, LOL, this was not my cowpie award...

Kwee, why thank you! We can learn from many, many things.

Sussie, I am not a vegetarian. I count on the changes that have come about as a result of Temple Grandin, she has made a huge impact on the process. And she is an enormous cow lover too. But if they are crying, someone is doing something wrong in the process. Sorry I made you so sad...

November 03, 2011 06:51 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California


I haven't read any of Temple Grandin's books, but I did see the movie staring Clare Danes as Temple Grandin.  The movie was so powerful and fascinating.  People who have autism perceive things differently from the way most of us do.  Her autism made it possible for her to see how cows react to their environment and how she could make their journey easier.  Being able to see things the way other do and help ease their way on their journey to buying or selling a home is a priceless commodity.  Cows can teach us.  You learned your lessons well.

November 04, 2011 07:54 PM

Andrea Swiedler

Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT
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Additional Information

Licensed in Connecticut.

Real estate and local area information for Southern Litchfield County CT. I assist buyers and sellers in New Milford, Bridgewater, Roxbury, Washington, Warren, Kent & Sherman (Fairfield County).