They say you never know what to expect when you’re in a new place. Meeting dogpeople, catpeople, racoonpeople in lab coats and suits were all unexpected things. Finding myself plus one pair of boobs was another. But you know something?
In a way, those are all pretty small. Thanks to my genre savviness, the idea of magic and interworld travel wasn’t too shocking. I mean, I’m not saying I expected it or anything. But if you’re at least familiar with the concept, then it’s not hard to deal with.
But what really shocked me was my first step outside. I touched the panel and watched the segments of the door rise up, then stepped outside. Overhead I heard a wild scream and nigh jumped out of my skin. All of my tails bristled and my head snapped straight up. A wyvern with scales painted in a bright yellow pattern. I have to assume that since I was able to read the word ‘Airferry’ and I hadn’t had an issue with the letters or numbers from before, that the transition process gave me the necessary access to communication in this world.
But it sure didn’t give me the means to cope with the shock! The wyvern was ridden by a little yellow skinned norm wearing leather clothing and a pair of goggles secured to a leather cap on his head and strapped under his chin. From the wyvern’s body hung what might best be described as a long rowboat, but beneath the boat…or maybe barge? Was affixed a set of thick springs. It swayed a little, and the air picked up and carried their scarves and hair to trail behind them. But they too wore goggles on their faces to compensate for the speed of the air.
Far above I saw an airship. Literally. A god damn ship. Right down to the keel and rudder, secured by what I hope were metal cables that were secured to a net which bulged as it was pressed by a massive balloon longer than the ship itself.
The street was fairly ordinary, simple cobblestone, but I did not expect to see a pegasus and an eight legged sleipnir hitched outside of a round domed building. In the street, elves and humans mingled freely with each other, seemingly not even noticing their differences. In the stories I knew, hostility was the norm, but this place seemed rather cosmopolitan about everything.
A dwarf cobbler in what I can only describe as ‘old timey’ heavy boots and overalls made of canvas and wearing goggles with multiple lenses that were raised out of position, was looking up at a wolfman in a suit with a puffy snow white kerchief beneath his jaw bristled and growled, enduring the thunderous dwarven shout, “I don’t care what yew offerah me! Ah cannae finish when yew wawnt! Greatness takes time yah damn furry fool!”
People holding swords and wearing bits and pieces of armor were as common as scales on a fish, their shouting and noise wasn’t the only thing. A woman with long high elven ears was leaning out of the upper floor of a shop and hawking wares, “Fresh batch’a potions! Heal’n or skin peel’n, if you’ve got the gold, our potions will hold!”
‘At least jingles and slogans are the same in every world.’ I thought while my eyes bugged out of my head. The buildings were not the usual blocky boring brick squares I was used to. The buildings were of a spiral shape with rail lines that wove and curved around them left and right, and on the rails were glowing ‘miniature trains’. No. Trains is the wrong word. They were more like roller coaster cars, simple open cars in which people were riding to get from one place to another.
Bridges that crossed from one floor of a building to another were not metal, but rather they were vines that grew down from pointy green roofs, and they did not raise, they unrolled from one another and lowered or rose out of the way of the little chugging cars before binding together again, including little green armrests for safety or comfort. Strangely, there was no smoke from the engine car, and even stranger, it was pushing rather than pulling.
The buildings themselves were arranged in various designs from spiral shapes with winding staircases and doors every dozen paces or so going up, to ‘stacks’ of irregular blocks where each cube had a bridge between itself and its neighbor, with zigzag pattern steps going up from one floor to the next.
All those on the ground jostled together, though they made a clear path for those on horseback, or flowed seamlessly out of the way of landing air ferries, and I never saw any indication that the wyverns landed close to people. With their ferocious looking claws and oversized mouths with sharp teeth, I expected it could eat a child whole and a grown child… a grown up, in two or three bites.
‘Thank you internet, for you have blessed me with weebness that has translated into genre savviness, that I may live and not die of goddamn shock in the face of my long dreamt of transition to a new world full of adventure.’ I uttered a weebs prayer that I recalled from an anime group, and it felt good.
I took a deep breath, inhaling the air. It wasn’t as crisp as I hoped it might be. There was a definite odor of smoke, but it was more like burning wood than foul coal, and it was touched with the scent of pastries and fresh baked goods.
Sweets are a bit of a weakness of mine, so I scrapped my first plan to go join the adventurer’s guild and placed my hand on my slate, then I said, “Show me the way to a bakery.” I watched as a streetmap faded into view like a person stepping out of a thick fog, gradually becoming clear.
I was staring down at the map indicator, which was really nothing more than building shapes and a road, nothing intricate, when I decided to try an experiment. I was represented by a little green dot, but there was no color elsewhere. Just little black lines. “Increase realism by one hundred percent.” I instructed it, and the top down view of the city grew exponentially more complicated. I could see the rooftops and the many people passing by, at least the tops of their heads. I still had a black line pulsing on the screen as my guide, but… “Damn. If things worked this well back home then people could just never look up from their devices.” I mumbled and said, “Remove people.”
For a moment I panicked, ‘What if that killed everybody?!’ My head snapped up to look at the street. Everybody was alive. I gave a heavy sigh of relief and looked down, the realistic street and rooftops were there, but the ‘people’ and their mounts, thankfully, were gone.
You know, if I had to pick the seminal moment of this whole… whatever this is, it wouldn’t be showing up when and where I did. It wouldn’t be getting my slate or leaving the doctor behind. It wouldn’t even be stepping out the door of the building.
It would be this. The world was ‘real’ now, you know? I was about to actually move among the general population, all the dangers and experiences I wanted, were starting with ‘this’ one step more than any other.
It might seem strange to think of my life in genre specific terms, like a video game or an anime, manga, or light novel series. And I admit, it probably wasn’t my best idea. What made me realize it wasn’t the wisest thing was my epic trip to the bakery which, according to the map, was one block away.
What danger did I face?
What plot hook caught my eye?
Was it a mugging by a stranger?
Did I see a pair of pretty girls being mugged in an alley in need of some sexy rescuing?
Did a stranger grab me and whisper in a hushed and raspy voice, “I have been told by the gods that you would come, follow me, they’re looking for you…”
Or perhaps a military or bandit raid on the city that gave me a chance to be a heroine?
Nothing freaking happened.
Nobody stared at me with wonder and awe, I wasn’t totally unique, I saw two other kitsunes in just that short distance. I just tried not to bump into too many people, though I seemed to be the only one in the crowd like that. Pedestrians bumped shoulders a lot, without so much as an apology.
I quickly realized that it was so impossible not to, that there was no reason to apologize for doing it.
So I got over that fairly quickly, but I was mildly annoyed of the unfortunate reminder that I’d actually have to put in the work to have an adventure. There was no call to it for me, not that I really saw. ‘Summoned as a Janitor’ was the worst title I could possibly think of, and if I ever wrote this down, I’d be damned if I’d give my life story that title.
Anyway, the bakery… I really didn’t need directions for it after a little while as the sweet and savory scents tickled my nose before I was halfway there. I just leaned forward, following the tantalizing smell and soon found myself staring into the window of a shop. A line of baked goods, breads sprinkled with sugar, little green cakes with what I had to conclude was some kind of dark honey, and some little round crispy things with what was definitely melted chocolate, all caught my eye.
The door to the shop was open and I hastened within, a portly orc was wearing a giant oversized chef’s hat with a bronze clock face on it. One look and I knew it wasn’t decoration.
Whatever it was counting down for, it reached it before I reached the counter. It made a quick, ‘ding!’ noise and he said, “S’cuze me.” And disappeared into the back. He was a pretty standard orc, with thick muscled arms, greenish body and tusks for teeth below a porcine nose. His one distinguishing feature was that he was quite fat.
‘That’s how I know I can trust him. He’s eating his own work.’ I concluded and looked around. While what I saw of the city could be described as at least somewhat ‘dirty’ the shop itself was surprisingly clean. The racks were wood, except for two on the far wall which were of silver with even fancier items than on the wood, and I realized that probably represented a higher cost. The deeper you went inside, the more you paid.
“Fresh baked rumbldumplins!” He all but shouted, holding out the hot tray with his bare hands. Orcs were notoriously thick skinned, it was no surprise that his hands weren’t burning, but it was still weird to see one as a baker. He tilted it so I could see, and a little round pastry with an unfamiliar flower shaped ‘fruit’ I think? Sat in the center dripping with liquid sugar from what passed for leaves, landing on the flakey crust and drizzling down to the pan.
“You buy fresh, I give you discount on buying the old.” He said and his deepset amber eyes gave me a conspiratorial wink. “You my first customer of the day, so what you say eh?” He boomed at me.
I noticed the clock on his hat was ticking down again, and wondered what else was there.
“Yes. I say yes!” The rumbledumplins smelled great and looked even better.
“You make a good deal, I give you half off, eh? On any of the old but the sanziberry pie. We short of sanziberries.” He said and grabbed a newspaper from behind his counter.
“Why is that?” I asked. ‘Is this a plot hook? A quest beginning? Alright it’s a fetch quest, but still, it’d be my first!’ I could feel the excitement building and my heart starting to race.
“Oh, contract dispute. The bastards want triple the creds for the same thing. So I’m getting a new supplier and it takes time to get started. Fool too! Big fool. Sanziberries last a long time. Pie stays fresh. Do something like that with rumbleberries and I might have to pay first. Big fool.” He repeated with a shake of his big round head. “How many you want?”
The transaction was completed in a heartbeat, just like the doctor said. I paid ten creds and walked out with six rumbledumplings and a dozen chocolate crisps all wrapped up in old newspapers. I munched on one when I stood outside the shop.
“So much for a plot hook.” I mumbled while my eyes popped at the rich flavor melting on my tongue. When I realized at that moment, at the completion of my first ‘journey’ that literally not a goddamn thing had happened, or would happen, or could happen in the way it did in games and books and visual media, I snapped back to reality.
“I’m not getting a call to adventure. So… I’m going to have to pay it a visit instead.” I said, then swallowed my first purchase, and stowed the remainder under my arm for a moment. I touched my slate and said, “Show me to the Adventurer’s Guild.”
Welcome to today’s episode of ‘I read Enneagram Literature so you don’t have to’.
So, last time we discussed reactivity
, it was in terms of symptoms and triggers – what causes it, how it looks like for each type.
This time we’re going to try looking at it at a somewhat deeper level, trying to glipmse what’s ‘underneath’ the reaction, and underneath that, down to the very root.
There is this idea that for every type there is a particular way that they parse pain, adversity and disconnection, a particular cascade or complex of emotions that tends to be set off (that, in some individuals, may be buried quite a bit under the surface) – this is called the ‘specific difficulty
’, which then leads to the specific reaction
, how the person characteristically responds
to adversity, the ostensibly visible outward behavior – furthermore, the particular way that the adversity is interpreted, what one feels in response, and how one then reacts (having one interpretation, feeling, response etc. and not others) may be grounded in particular assumptions or perceptions. (Almaas would say, ‘delusions’ deriving from the absence of the holy ideas
It’s repeatedly emphasized that since the ideas are all synonymous, to “lose” one is to lose all and so we would all have these experiences and reactions sometimes so long as we are subject to “egoic existence” -
But there’s one reaction that particularly tends to be your go-to reaction when things don’t go your way.
As some variants of the theory goes, this “specific reaction”, or at least some simpler, pre-verbal, implicit version of this, would also have been your reaction as a baby when your needs weren’t being met, or possibly even what you were feeling the very moment you realized you were a separate person different from your mother and the rest of the world, and that this then formed the basis for your separate self-concept.
Or, if you believe in that sort of thing, it would rather have been the moment you got disconnected from the universal consciousness and subcumbed to the illusion of being a separate being.
It is worth nothing that if it is your concept of you getting distinguished from your concept of the universe, it could well feel
like being cut off from a state of oneness, the same way that the reverse experience of everything becoming one can reportedly happen during meditation or drug trips, with or without any supernatural or metaphysical elements involved.
But even as a purely psychological postulation it is of course highly speculative, perhaps best seen as a metaphor, summary or just-so story, an image describing a subjective feeling.
However, the notion that we tend to whatever adversity and pain you happen to encounter differently and in consistent ways based on our mode of perception and the specific biases of it is something that may highly check out or that I’d find interesting to explore, as I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of how your viewpoint can influence what you see and the way that people’s reactions, responses, feelings and choices can differ under adversity.
At very least, I’ll have to grant this Mr. Almaas that he is clearly an intelligent, well-read person familiar with a great variety of spiritual traditions from around the world and astute insight into people’s reactions and feelings, which is particularly apparent in the way that he skillfully anticipates the reader’s emotional torque and always has a nice little term for it.
(Frankly, I smell INFJ. All this “subtler spiritual world beneath everything” is very Ni.)
It is clear that he got this Wisdom from much introspecting & discussing his meditation experiences with other spiritual seekers.
If I did not by chance happen to have the particular background that I do and this very particular collection of whimsically gathered facts rattling around inside my head, he might have converted me.
Whether we agree with his conclusions & what the lens and what is seen, he seems to have fine perceptions on the human psyche so hypothetics about babies & universal soul aside, his sharpness on anticipating & discerning feelings may lead one to at least entertain his notions with regard to the emotions of adults.
Be that as it may, I will now simply attempt to convey the concept for your consideration.
here is to judge that there must be something wrong. The unsatisfactory something in the environment is simply incorrect, not how it should be.
So the feeling reaction can be angry frustration at the thing not being how it ought, whether that is something external or yourself, including for some a more or less buried sense that you, too are ‘wrong’ and in need of improvement, or at least of civilizing & control so you stay ‘right’. Some unhappier 1s can present with a deep sense of unworthyness & how they’re ‘the worst’.
Note that, in contrast to some of the other complexes, the idea that “some parts are wrong” also implies that some parts are right
& that this is discernible to you.
to this, then, tends to be either improvement or justification.
Improvement is straightforward – you try to fix the thing that’s wrong. It’s almost a reflex to bring it up or even immediately go & fix it. The error will tend to (as a result, 1s or even 1 fixers can be spotted by a tendency to repeatedly bring up nitpicks or complaints that bother them)
This is where some of the compulsive action-like quality or tendency toward action as cope comes from, but likely also action-orientedness in a positive sense, (“if no ones gonna fix it I will”)
This impulse to fix is also applied to oneself, so 1s can be the kinds of people who are always looking to grow & improve themselves.
The other side of the coin is justification, responding to the feeling of ‘wrongness’ by arguieing & proving that you are, in fact, right, arguing that your way is the best & the other person might be wrong, or that you’re not wrong fir wanting something because you’re going about it the ‘right’ way.
The underlying assumption
that needs to be there for this response to make sense is that some things are better than others, that things are comparable, that it’s possible for some parts of something to e right and for others to be wrong, for some to perfect and others imperfect. (and this is where Almaas would wax poetically to you about the intrinsic Holy Perfection of all things that is also the intrinsic intuitive intelligence of the universe & yadda yadda)
Certainly there may be some over-perception of what’s binary, or even just linear unitarian and rankable, meaning, it can be boiled down to a single number, so that there is a clear unambiguous “better or worse” to everything – some things may be incomparable apples and oranges, or there may be different equally good options, or a tradeoff depending on priorities.
However, I think most of us would agree that there is an universal better or worse for some
things at least – starving children, for example.
So for 2, the fundamental response
to things not going your way is a sense of impotent humiliation, feeling personally slighted or humbled, but also dispensable, uneeded and unimportant.
Think of the classic example of the person who is dejected over the 1 person who didn’t like their presentation, or who has a hard time not taking it as personal rejection if their help is declined.
2s tend to implicitly assume that they should
be able to make everyone like them so when that isn’t the case it can be felt as humiliation or shame, but particularly the kind of shame where you feel irrelevant, like the ‘No thank you’ means ‘You’re not needed or important we can do just fine without you’.
then is described as wilfulness, actively making sure that things go your way, in particular, that you get the responses you want from others. You put yourself in a good light, you go out of your way to make a connection, you ingratiate yourself,
In the extreme this can lead to meddlesomeness, like intruding in situations youre not really a part of to make sure they go your way. Like the classic mistake where the step-parent tries too hard to force a blended family & gets pissed off when the stepkids keep mementos of their bio parent or want to do things with just their full siblings. “why are you excluding me/your half-siblings, I just want us all to be a happy family” but then by trying too hard to force it they just antagonize the step kids. But letting it grow organically entails the possibility that you might be disliked or rejected and then feel powerless & shamed again.
The underlying assumption
you need to make for this interpretation of things to make sense is that you have a separate will that can
be frustrated & aren’t part of an great universal motion that is already making everything happen & taking care of everything… sigh.
2s can certainly come off as both overperceiving how much it’s all up to them (“They need me, if I don’t solve all their problems who will? My shitty boyfriend will die without me”) and as overly forcing matters in ways that can seem pushy, ingratiating or even manipulative, & it is true that you wouldn’t feel humiliated or impotent if you didn’t think it was
up to you, because if the other person just chose differently, why should you
be ashamed if they refused your offer? It wouldnt mean youre unimportant, just that they’re not in the mood for, say, your cookies today.
Though, when I think of all the 2s that are charity workers or doing thankless hard work in caretaking professions, I am kind of grateful that they didn’t leave it up to the “benevolence of the universe” but rightly perceived the need for somebody to fucking care - Soup kitchens & nursing departments are alledgedly chock full of ‘em. So I’d say it’s an issue of right perception.
The esoterics would say that the charity workers helping is of course part of the universal will, but that smells like catholicism, “everything bad is you everything good is god”, thats no way to live.
(Funfact: You won’t believe how uneccesarily Freudian this was in the book. Just kept referring to it as “humiliated castration”.)
Here, the response
to something not going your way is to feel that you have failed. You should have been able to do this without a problem, but there’s a problem, so you didn’t do it right.
Please note the difference to 2, that, though it’s kinda similar, the point here is not that you feel personally
humbled, but that you did the thing wrong, and therefore your pain could be remedied by doing the thing better. It’s your doing
that was the problem.
So there is a self-judgement entailed here: You weren’t good enough, but good enough in the sense of “not competent enough”, not morally or method wise, like with 1.
, then, is also different: Striving and activity. You think what happened is you did it wrong, so you must do it better, do more, keep doing.
This is why 3 is one of those types that get antsy when they sit idle for too long.
The striving itself & desire to become-through-doing may actually be more fundamental that even the desire for success, praise or attention (which are external marker by which to measure the striving, that you’re doing it right) – because, as soon as the 3 has cleared one goal, they quickly think of another.
You also sometimes hear 3s or 3 fixers say that when someone says they’re not X they take it as a pointer that they should be more X. Not being X is seen as a failure, & the response is to strive to be more X.
This is underlied by the assumption
that you are a separate doer, you’re an agent appart from the “universal flow”, you are a someone who can do something.
If you didn’t see what happens as potentially under the control & depending on your actions,
I will never understand ppl who find the idea that they have no agency comforting. Proactivity & not waiting for shit to fall in your hands is IMHO one of the best qualities you can have in life.
I honestly admire this quality, as someone who’s shot themselves in the foot so much by assuming it’s all pointless & my actions don’t matter.
That said, the grain of truth here may be that 3s overestimate what is within their ability & then judge themselves by those too-high estimations. Like thinking they must win everything or work so hard it breaks their body, that you always can & should do more & it’s not ok to have limits – or that limits are the same as having failed. Your body having limits is not your failure, did you design it? Did you invent humans? No, evolution fucked that one up (universal benevolence my arse) so you did not fail.
So, when a 4 is met with things not going so peachy or events they do not like, the go-to response
is to feel disconnected, cast-out, stranged – lost in the wild or left out in the rain.
This can be a disconnection from oneself, or from what is divine, sublime, meaningful or spiritual, from whatever it is that matters, whatever you’d find at the end of the rainbow, whatever you’d hope to find inside that castle from Utena.* That which shines. The Power of Miracles. Something Eternal. The blue flower. The unicorn in the garden.
And not only are you separated from it, you feel like it is unreachable, or you are unreachable to it, that you are far from heaven -
As you might expect, if you’re away from that, you’re left in a sad and mournful state, longing for what can never come back, or what you can’t seem to find, what seems distant to you.
You see the world as a sad burnt-out cadaver from which the light has gone, and you don’t get how everyone else seems to walk through this place as if nothing is wrong. Maybe you envy them, or you disdain them, or you think they must just be dumb and simple but whatever the specifics it seems unlikely that you can have a rapport with them.
One might think of Herman Hesse’s descriptions of his youth where he saw his mother & sisters as existing in “the light world” and himself as being aware of a realm of darkness.
So what reaction
can you possibly have to it? The book is deliberately out to humble you by calling it “control” & I see how it means that & how, in the worst cases, that absolutely applies, though it’s gonna make ppl imagine the wrong thing. It’s not control like a control freaks who tells you what to do, in its more benign manifestations you might call it creation. Trying to make your own meaning, if divinity seems far away, in being deliberate about how you exist, putting thought & choice in little choices like what makeup to wear or what option to pick, relating it to something within you, seeking the sublime wherever it may be.
Though you can certainly call it control when it gets into trying to craft how you will be seen & responded to. Correcting ideas and perceptions you don’t want as misunderstandings might be thought of as a kind of control.
That thing when your relationship is stalling out & you cause some drama or suddenly have this fantasy of running away with a casual acquaintance is a kind of control. Inflicting pain onto yourself so at least you know when the stab comes is a kind of control. Chosing which negatives to show so they don’t focus on the really raw spots is a kind of control. Making your pain into something pretty is a way of mastering it.
In extreme cases, stuff like self-harm or anorexia can be control.
“If all else fails, I myself have power to die”, as one famous 4 (Shakespeare) has Juliet say. She destroys herself before they can force her to marry Paris, which seemed to her the only way to take control over her destiny and stay true to what was important and meaningful to her, & in the end its all an accusation to the parents: What a crappy world you made, that the only way to be free was to die.
of course, that you need to make to conclude that you can
be “cut off”, is that you have your own separate identity and nature, that people and things have separate natures at all and aren’t all part of god & the same divine origin.
So the world can’t be a dead abandoned carcass devoid of divinity if it is all divinity & there is no distinction between divine and not divine. Or: You can’t be cut off from yourself because you are the universe / part of the body of god.
Note that the point here is not so much the idea that you are separate at all, (that’s rather associated with 5) but that you have a separate nature
. (for example, divine or not)
He uses the mataphor of air in a baloon, and the lack of Holy Transparency is the idea that there is a baloon, whereas the lack of Holy Origin is the idea that the air in your baloon has some particular smell or color different from the other baloons.
There’s a funny little moment in the book where Almaas writes that if you could have separate natures that mean, in his thinking, that you came from separate origins/gods and “that cannot be, because then there would be ultimate division, and if there was ultimate division, spiritual work would be totally pointless”. It’s a nice, satisfying glipmse at what keeps him up at night, or at least what last remnants of fear even he couldn’t yet train himself out of.
of course spiritual beliefs that include ultimate distinction, such as Zoroastrianism and mainstream Christianity (which, as its factually practiced, is often more dualist than monotheist – there is good & bad, everything good comes from god & everything bad comes from the devil. There isn’t really a devil in Judaism, and the Islamic devil has a very different, much smaller role)
I’d also like him to define ‘ultimate’ for me. Cause he’s like, “yeah things are different but those differences are not ultimate”. Certainly you can turn reality so that it all being off the same stuff can be said in a way that it’s technically correct. It’s all excitations in quantum fields. You can also turn it so that really nothing really touches. What makes one of those ways of looking at it ‘ultimate’?
Cause, the idea of difference doesn’t come cause someone woke up on day & decide they’re more special than u but from a mode of perception where contrasts & differences are emphasized.
Who says that it’s not the difference that it’s real and the unity that’s illusory?
Or maybe both are just hopelessly biased lenses reflecting our inability to see reality other than through the flawed architecture of our wrinkly meat-computers & we don’t know what the effin world looks like.
That said, I have heard some 4s reporting that a turning point in their life was when it occurred to them to try and find traces of, or connections to the sublime & the beautiful in their everyday surroundings.
If you kneejerk assume what’s meaningful is ‘out there’, you might miss it when it’s in front of you. You might not want to define the meaningful & real (or yourself) too narrowly.
Though this is probably possible without immediately throwing all taste and discernment overboard.
It’s not a question of convincing yourself the shitty boring thing is actually great, but of being willing to see what genuinely is connected or relevant to what you personally consider meaningful – which is obviously going to differ by the individual.
For me personally – well, this is obviously not a ‘layer’ that I can always be conscious of all the time, but when you consider all the complicated biological machinery, mental mechanisms & particular experieces that make someone up, how incredibly unlikely it is to be sentient beings clinging to the surface of this little bubble, then that seemingly boring rando suddenly looks very different. I’m still going to prefer what I personally find interesting & resonant cause I gotta pick something and I only have 24 hours in a day so probably not gonna be friends with the boring rando and im still going to complain about everything that sucks because somebody should, but, its a difference if I see the random guy as boring to me subjectively
, though technically a rare sentient creature of stardust, that if I see him as objectively a part of and a symbol for the lesser light-forsaken rot that consumes everything.
It’s probably going to change how I treat him.
I don’t think the rot is an illusion at all
, so even if I believed in spirituality I would a more chaotic world than Almaas’s all-benevolent one, but even the carcass of rot is again just one perspective, even if its my ‘home base’ perspective. Some stuff is probably also good even if it’s not all stuff.
So, you are a type 5 just minding your business, and then something goes really sideways. What’s your most likely response
The text labels the experience as ‘deficient isolation’.
Basically a sense of being small, weak, frail, not enough, empty, impoverished, insubstantial and separated from all else as if by thick impenetrable walls or an insurmountable gulf across which any understanding is dubious at best.
You are stuck in a confusing place that you can’t make any sense of; Existence is understood as a rather flimsy, fragile, barely-there something; life as a laborious torment where one must constantly hold oneself up – and limited and insufficient as you are, you are absolutely not up to the task. You might sit there frozen in dread when you contemplate the insurmountable hurdles that you will be expected to cross.
If you understand your situation like that, there is only one reaction
you can possibly have. You’re hopelessly outmatched, and only a fool would play when they cannot win.
Therefore the kneejerk response when something gets difficult is always to get away, to run, to hide away, to break off contact, to avoid it or avoid having to deal with it, to give it a wide, wide berth, to put some distance between yourself and the adversity in whatever way you can, if not by literally leaving then by finding something to preoccupy yourself with so that you have to experience as little of it as you can get away with.
Sometimes you see the tendency to retreated or the interests portrayed as some kind of preparation with the eventual goal to return, but that’s a misunderstanding; While individuals might research some things in advance before doing them that’s more a question of bracing to endure it.
The pursuits aren’t preparation for anything; They’re just what you have instead of what people would generally consider a life, somewhere to exist, something to fill your consciousness with.
There is not generally any great intention to ‘come back’ or do anything else of realistic practical nature.
I recall reading about an instance where Franz Kafka was asked something like, “So you don’t write to publish?” and his answer was, “No, I just do this to prove to myself that I am not altogether stupid.” Indeed a lot of what he produced only saw the light of day after his death.
So, that pretty much summarizes it.
Now, according to the perspective espoused in that book none of this makes sense, as it is based on the assumption
that you are a separate being, separate from others, separate from the universe, separate from god, separate from everything – otherwise, it would not make sense to try and get away from the world, since that’s quite impossible if you are one with it.
Nor would it make sense to feel cut off or walled off in the first place; Your sense of experiencing yourself as flimsy is simply a consequence of defining yourself too narrowly and trying to exist on your own apart from god or the universe which you are irrevocably tied to, so you’d feel much more substantial and confident acting in the universe as just another part of it.
(Here we are treated to a ministry of truth esque rant about how real indepence is actually independence from the idea of wanting to be independent. That perfect independence is impossible may well be, same as there is no perfect anything; But you’re not going to get me to buy that total determinism is a good thing. Illusion or not, I still have the subjective experience of having to choose something I can’t just sit and wait for the universe to pick something. )
I get that technically all is made up of atoms & it is only our perception that divides it into discrete objects, and that there isn’t really a way to get away from reality if everything is
I get that very well actually as I understand precisely how quickly my perceived intactness as an emergent system would be ended by the likes of worms, botflies or a bunch of stray shrapnel penetrating my silly little skull. Even a restricted little parcel of reality is full of inescapable awfulness.
That doesn’t change that people are separate from each other in the sense that they cannot read minds.
No one can really know anyone’s elses thoughts & feelings; Lots of ppl just don’t notice because they’re better at guessing
other ppl’s contents than I am, but that doesn’t change that it remains a guess. A guess that often leads to presumptuous and cruel behavior whenever they don’t understand someone.
I think being aware of & respecting the differences between you & others is the beginning of all respect, and realizing that you don’t fucking “just know” and not everything is obvious is the first step to wisdom. What can you find out if you don’t think there is anything to find?
Reserving judgement when there’s not enough info to tell anything should be held up as a virtue.
That said, it certainly is true – and I have alas experienced the proof in this particular pudding for myself – that type 5 individuals tend to rate their abilities to sustain effort, endure stimulus, master unfamiliar situations and make themselves comprehensible to others as somewhat worse than it actually is.
One supposes that this works rather by the same principle as how a little child might come to avoid anything to do with ball games with a rather stronger aversion than is strictly merited after having been whacked in the face with a ball once too many.
Sometimes one can somewhat exposure-therapy onself into tolerating stuff if one can persist past the initial aversion.
Though this is quite different from the sometimes espoused claim that the limitations are completely illusory; Making sure to stay in the stretch zone rather than the panic zone and coming up with some system of concrete steps where even small increments constitute some progress (as something you can hold against the sense that its all a futile pointless waste) is actually a huge part of not quitting, in my experience, though I cannot be said to have it figured out by far.
So the type 6 response
to adversity tends to be a state of fearful insecurity.
You feel exposed, abandoned and scared of whatever might be coming at you from the outside world, but at the same time, you don’t trust yourself to be able to handle what might be coming at you.
You may wish that someone would hold you or comfort you, but at the same time, you doubt that this is really possible to obtain such comfort. Whatever help anybody offers you smells of self-serving reasons. But you don’t trust your own intentions either, your own thoughts, feelings and intuitions are suspect as well. You fear that you might have an ugly, monstrous nature deep down inside.
With nothing certain to rely on either within or without, you feel touchy, on-edge, confrontational, volatile.
You often hear the metaphor of balancing along an edge or lacking solid ground under your feet.
I’s wager that it’s probably the exact emotion described in Papa Roach’s “Gettin away with murder” or Linkin Park’s “One Step closer”.
, then, if you feel threatened, is to be on guard. To respond with heightened alertness & vigilance & stand ready to apply one of the four Fs as required.
The other types all more or less default to one or two of the responses, but 6s runs the whole gamut probably because they are the most in touch with their natural alarm responses.
They often have a level of heightened lartness going on, it doesn’t take much to set off a response, and they may often default to responsding with defensive suspicion and hostility when something goes wrong. A part of this suspicion is a kind of exaggerated scepticism that ends up testing things again & again even after they have been confirmed for the bajillionth time.
They try to guess what others are up to, but they are also suspicious and vigilant with regards to themselves, & may be inclined to beat themselves up or fear making mistakes.
you need to make for this fear to even make sense is that the world is dangerous, that is, that the world, and all the humans that are part of it including yourself, aren’t intrinsically good. If you knew it was intrinsically good, you would just trust it without fear, suspicion or defensive aggression, as you would just trust that whatever happens is for the best.
(I kid you not.)
This is equated with not recognizing that essence or divinity exists or the assumption that ego is all there is, with thinking that, for example, your parents aren’t being nice to you out of pure good but because they have reasons/causes such as obligation.
Here we get the obligatory esoteric riffing on ‘overly rationalistic’ worldviews, though Almaas distinguishes that lacking Holy Faith is not
per se equivalent with not believing in god, as it is possible to be an atheist and still believe in the good in humanity.
He explains, however, that this faith is to come from direct experience of essence & the divine & not from belief, in that usual manner that spiritual types conveniently exempt themselves & their cherished spiritual experiences from the problem of perception.
Now, 6s probably notice more danger than the rest of us because they look for it. I can’t count the times that my sisters (who are 6s) alerted my mom or I that we were about to spill, drop or break something we were totally oblivious about. They did not imagine that, we did spill the darn sauce. The world is not so intrinsically good as to magically avoid food waste.
Unless we’re dealing with a very immature or downright paranoid individual, the dangers are often actually there.
At the same time, this looking for it can create an overemphasis or bias since they don’t look for not dangerous, perfectly fine, rainbow sparkly things.
It has also happened often that my sisters were fretting & nervous about an exam & worried if they would pass at all, and then they got an A or B on it, a discrepancy that can probably be explained by failing to feature in positive information.
Your noggin tracks negatives for free, which is already half the world (yay!), but it might pay & get you a more accurate picture if you make some conscious effort to notice good stuff also.
When confronted with all things pear-shaped, the response
, at least on the most immediate level, is to feel disoriented and lost.
Later on there might be this entire chain reaction involving mounting anxiety, restlessness and a whole lot of copium, but when the blow first connects, the answer is ‘What now? What do I do? Where do I go from here?’
Whatever happened was not what you expected or thought it would be. Maybe a door you had counted on staying open has now closed. Or maybe you’re just hurting and you don’t know what to do about it.
to this, then, is to think
of something to do. To direct your own experience of life, either externally, by making plans and packing your day full of enjoyable experiences and thereby ensuring that you will not only have everything you need but also having plenty of extra options to spare, or internally, by thinking of an idea of what you want to be like and trying to nudge your feelings in a positive direction by thinking of reasons why things aren’t so bad.
Either you think up some solution to your problems, or you explain the problems away wholesale. Maybe all it takes is a little perspective shift.
Naturally this desire to direct your own experience might bring you into conflict with or friction against those who may want to restrict your freedom or limit your opinions, so another way of directing your experience is thinking of ways to charm or outfox them.
This might sound rather similar to the 4 reaction (perhaps accounting for some of the similarity between the types) but while the 4s control response is about knowing when & why the blow is coming, the 7s direction has a particular, optimal outcome in mind: You want the plan to ensure that you get what you want.
underlying this, as Almaas would have it, is that you can
direct your life and have an independent plan for yourself.
You can’t, since there is only the one, godly plan – and in this he explictly includes the work of self-developement and how it cant be forced along some plan, goal or timeline and must simply be allowed to happen.
To this you might have a similar reply as the type 7 musician Tori Amos: ‘If the divine plan is perfection, maybe next I’ll give Judas a try’. She wrote that song while she was coping with the grief about a miscarriage.
The universe, if it makes sense to anthropomize it like this at all, frankly doesn’t know what the frick it’s doing.
There is probably some partial truth in that 7s can sometimes feel aimless or appear that way to others, or be over-focussed on maximizing their experience to a point where it may get in the way of taking it in.
I too would, to some extent, explain the reaction in terms of the 7s way of seeing the world – being aware of all the options both for what you can do & what you can be, that you would in theory have the potential to go/do be all those things, so how do you pick?
In a way, having a vivid imagination and being able to appreciate the potential in all the options makes this harder, cause you know many of them might be equally good… but there is only finite time, other limits that make it so you cant have them all, which you would also be well-aware of, and that’s where the fear comes in.
So you might end up flitting from option to option without fully squeezing the juice of any.
And if there’s no particular reason to pick one over the other, it can seem like it doesn’t matter which one you pick, like it’s all basically pointless and arbitrary.
As it was said in that one Doctor Who minisode, “If you turn the universe into your backyard, that’s all you have: A backyard.” The characters of Rick Sanchez or the Joker might be another example 7 brand of nihilism at its most destructive.
If it is all the same and nothing matters, there is really nothing else to do but to see how you can extract the most pleasure from whatever’s available.
In modern works the metaphor of infinite parallel universes is often used; In his own day, Goethe depicted his protagonist Faust as getting a second life by magic after considering his first one unhappily wasted & then trying his hand at many different pursuits, often leaving everything in ruins as a result of his selfishness, and yet it is the very tendency to strive for the ideal that is his saving grace in the end.
That being said, given how your average 7 sets themselves to experience & learn a lot more than the general population, I wouldn’t say the aim to plan & ensure that you have a quality experience here on earth is futile – I could stand to have more of that myself.
Just be mindful of the earthly limitations that apply – you cannot always direct everything to the better, sometimes bad stuff just happens, and sometimes you might be happier if you just yourself enjoy what is there rather than thinking how it could be better.
Great news! Interest rates fell and cash buyer boomers from NOVA have all been ground into soylent you should have no problem snatching up that cute turn key move in ready ranch with a nice yard walking distance to bars and coffee shops for $200k (25k under list full inspection seller covers all repairs) in the Munford school district!
.......Ok lmao yeah April Fools
let’s just get that shit out of the way now.
I’m a real estate agent working all over the entire Richmond area. I’ve been involved in real estate over ten years in one form or another and am in the top 5% of agents in my company nationwide. With my boring whack ass credentials out of the way welcome to my Q2 real estate update where I want to look back on how far we've come in the last three months. We’ll do a quick primer on the current banking crisis that’s been making headlines and what that means for the coming economic collapse (lololol). I also want to walk you through what it’s been like on the ground with some buyers of mine and highlight some events during the course of finding them a home. We’re also going to have some guest commentary by /rva’s resident lender u/gracetw22
with her take on the mortgage side of the business.
I’d like to apologize a head of time because I’m going to be jumping into and out of things as I’m writing all of this so the main thread of the post is going to zig zag a bit. Just think of it more like a journey > destination type thing. I’ll try to make this as guided as I can but will probably spend more time fucking with reddit post formatting than drawing up a proper outline so uhhh let's jump in.
Days of Whine and Roses
For those joining us for the first time here is the post I made at the start of the year. This covers a lot of basics about where we have come from, answers some FAQs about appraisal gaps/cash buyers/home prices skyrocketing, and is generally just a good starting point for everything I’m going to discuss in this post. Much of this is still valid today and I have been told this is an extremely
pro click: RVA Real Estate Outlook 2023 - Behold a Pale Gray House
Housing has been in a recession since June/July of last year. The increase in mortgage rates have really put a damper on the market. In some ways that’s a good thing. Things were getting a little too crazy. It sucks for affordability, but homes were flying on and off the market way too fast. Many people couldn’t afford them even because so many people had cash on hand to bid over asking, which is different from an all-cash sale (see my previous post for a more detailed explainer on this), and the list price of a home doesn’t mean shit if it sells for an entirely different and much higher price.
The price of the home is what the invisible hand of the market doing jerk off motions says the price is. You can list a trash heap with no central air in Highland Springs for a million but that doesn’t mean you will get it. Conversely you can list some gorgeous updated home in the near west end for a ridiculous amount under recent comps in the last 90 days and pretend like you’re the hero when it falls in line with everything else as it goes under contract. Guess what real estate agents absolutely love doing to artificially boost their credibility?
Side note: occasionally in real estate posts someone on here will share a Zillow link to a home pending for like I dunno 350k that looks absolutely magnificent and almost every single time
that happens I inevitably look it up, pull comps, and go “yeah this is underpriced by 50-100k.” Ya’ll please
stop allowing yourself to be catfished. It’s a deliberate ploy and agents have been shamelessly doing it for the past 2 years. If it looks too good to be true, it more than likely is. Here is an example that caught everyone’s eye listed at 349k closed at 405k: 8016 Burrundie Drive
Nobody move there’s blood on the floor
Anywho I mentioned the R word and by that I mean a recession in housing. What you have to remember is that if you’re going to pack your shit up and sell your home you are almost always going to become a buyer unless you’re also being packed up in a coffin or urn on your way out in which case you don’t care where you go. If you’re looking to sell you are looking at what you think you’re going to net for your home as well as what your all-in and monthly payment is going to be on your next home. A lot of sellers are sitting pretty right now flush with equity. The vast majority are holding onto rates of 4.5% or lower. Why give that up unless you absolutely have to? Keep in mind a metric fuck ton of people refinanced in 2020 when rates cratered. Yeah you can bend a buyer over a barrel and get top dollar for your place now, but for many it’s a wash because they’ll have to pay that much more for their next place, go through what they just did to Mr and Mrs Buyer, and end up paying way more for the same thing they just gave up. When rates were low this was easier to stomach, but when they started skimming 7% the value proposition just wasn’t there. This caused a pretty substantial drop in inventory nationally because everyone stayed put. The issue of inventory has been the main driver of why housing sucks the last few years so even though we have less of it there is still upward pressure on pricing just due to the fact that there isn’t enough to go around.
Fewer homes being listed means fewer buying opportunities for everyone. The whole system kind of seized up. That being said there are still a lot of renters and first time home buyers trying to break into the market because the rental market fuckin’ suuuuuuucks
regardless of what rates are doing. I got a text from someone who I didn’t really expect to hear from until later this year tell me his rent is being jacked up 17% because “reasons” according to his landlord. When people are faced with that kind of increase suddenly purchasing becomes a lot more enticing. You aren’t at the whims of the rental market, you can bank some equity, and you can (mostly) do what you want where you live.
If you go back to 2018-2019 which were the last time the world looked ::finger quotes:: “normal” you would see inventory was pretty flat until late Feb and then rose to a peak in the summer. This year has followed the same pattern we’ve had in 2021 and 2022 except we still aren’t seeing the flatline into growth we should be seeing right now. Inventory continues to fall and if that tracks we may not see “peak” inventory until August. There is no hard and fast rule on what the new normal is so this is something I’m going to continue to keep a close eye on city wide and will try to update everyone that’s interested accordingly. For now (In an Extremely Kai Rysdall
Voice) let’s do the numbers.
Active listings around this time last year hovered around 351k total available units nationwide. It was 438k in March of 2021 and 934k units in 2020. Currently it is at 562k-ish. If your memory is hazy I’ll just point out that March of 2020 was really before COVID hit the US and went gangbusters which is when inventory dropped like a rock and everyone thought housing was going to crash. This week last year we had 93k new listings but substantially higher numbers of immediate sales. Those are homes that go on the market and go under contract within a day or two. We have 68k new listings now with around half as many immediate sales. Again all of this is nationwide so take it with a grain of salt when trying to draw a conclusion using those numbers and comparing them to Richmond. We’re a different market than San Francisco or Denver and what is happening locally here vs there isn’t reflected in this data. Some parts of the country are seeing big increases in inventory and considerably higher vacancy rates on rentals that we don’t have here. I’m just sharing this because it’s interesting from a birds eye perspective.
I think this is a pretty good time to point out the obvious that there is a lot going on in the world feeding into this that isn’t housing specific. It’s as good a time as any to segue into how dumb and bad Silicon Valley bank was at being a bank so let’s fuckin go.
Do Re Mi, ABC, SVB baby u and me
Silicon Valley Bank mostly served VCs and the tech sector. That’s been their bread and butter for a while now. Banks typically like to keep portions of their investments tied to relatively safe assets or securities like bonds. If you are watching JP at the fed turn the dial on rates up those bonds you now hold are not worth as much. A good bank will diversify the types of bonds (ie a bond ladder) they hold so that they can let some of them grow to maturity while cash out others but not at SVB. So as the rates went up their bonds became worthless right around the time a lot of VCs and tech companies were feeling the pinch and in need of more cash. SVB said they were going to sell some assets at a loss, people got spooked and there was a run on the bank. Within a short time SVB was toast. Luckily there was a bailout that lots of people are claiming was not a bail out because SVB executives weren’t being saved (there was a bailout) so most depositors will be made whole. Since then Janet Yellen has been going “Wow there certainly a lot of questions about my ‘the banking system is sound and secure’ t shirt I’ve been wearing all week”.
There were other banks and institutions that have bit the dust or been on shaky ground like Silvergate with their disproportionate exposure to dogecoine or whatever the fuck crypto nonsense they were up to. Credit Suisse had some shitty fund management issues going back years and some absolutely insane storylines involving the Belgian gang cocaine money laundering, the Saudi’s refusing to back it on reports of mismanagement, etc. The point is this is a crisis in the ability of some banks to do very basic bank things. It’s not the same thing as Lehman Brothers, CDS, AIG, credit availability to the average consumer with a pulse being approved for “sky is the limit” loans without asset verification. This is a case of some banks screwed up how they hold bonds which is one of the most boring things to fuck up in that world. They didn’t get struck by a moving vehicle out of nowhere. They put their car in neutral on a .05 degree decline, laid down 20 feet away, and let it roll over them at a snails pace.
Fun fact: the CEO of SVB was actually the CFO of Lehman Brothers in the 2008 GFC so lol man oh man talk about falling up.
“But gowhatyourself, what does this have to do with housing in Richmond?” You know I’m glad you asked that question Rhetorical Device thank you. It doesn’t directly, but it has introduced a degree of volatility to the bond market and in turn interest rates that, again, has given sellers pause and some lucky buyers a great opportunity to get in at lower rates as they time the fluctuations. I have more to say on that later on.
Markets do not like volatility. Line must go up and in the absence of “up” it must stay flat or decline in a predictable way so that there is enough breathing room to make money on the way down. The house always comes out ahead but when conditions are uncertain things get dicey. That’s part of why SVB went under. The house (Peter Thiel) coordinated a bank run. The economy, just like real estate, is often governed by “vibes”.
You get a good job with more pay and you're okay
“So what are the vibes
in Richmond gowhatyourself? Home prices are declining! I saw they dropped precipitously in Sacramento!” Yes no kind of not really. Much like politics real estate is both national and hyper local. Trends in inventory and home prices can be looked at broadly as a measure of what the economy is going through as a whole, but it lacks context. Prices have fallen in areas with a lot of tech exposure which have seen layoffs and slow downs so people aren’t paying the same premiums they once were. Again though, it’s context dependent. We didn’t experience the same price shock as some other metro areas. We didn’t see the absolutely bonkers price increases you saw in Austin or Des Moines for example. We also aren’t seeing the same type of correction either. Our home prices have actually stayed relatively flat or have even gone up in some areas of town since last summer. I’m still regularly seeing homes go for some pretty eye watering prices in the fan and near west end, but not so much in say Moseley. Short Pump still has some wild shit happen from time to time too. I, much like many others, cannot for the life of me figure out why 12 Westham Parkway went for 400k over asking.
For reference here is a great article on where the current housing correction is most pronounced broken down by different geographical areas. You can go in and select the Richmond region (unfortunately not down to a really granular level to just RVA). The link below bypasses the paywall. The article with the paywall is linked below that just to show it’s something I didn’t mock up out of the blue. Fortune Housing Market Update https://fortune.com/2023/03/13/housing-market-update-home-price-correction-told-by-six-charts-and-maps-data-real-estate/
Again, context matters. Scarcity matters. Buyer appetite and their motivations matter.
The motivation matters because some buyers aren’t entirely on board with getting the process started, but have their hand forced because landlords think they can squeeze more out of their tenants. I cannot count the number of people I’ve spoken to in the last month that have told me their rent is being raised by some obscene amount with landlords giving the excuse of “Oh yeah my costs are rising”. Buddy your costs to do what refuse to replace air filters or something because you aren’t doing shit in the best of times? Buyers just take a deep breath hold their nose and start making the necessary moves to purchase a home. Landlords don’t care because they can and will raise rent even more if those people bail so it’s a win for them regardless. At least for now until vacancy rates start to rise like they are in other parts of the country where people decided that building more housing was a thoughtful prudent thing to do.
I know landlords read these real estate threads and I’m not trying to paint you all with the same brush I’m kind of sure that not all of you are blood sucking sociopaths. AirBnB owners can get fucked
'Till the tears run down from my eyes, Lord
At this point I’d like to walk you through the process for one of my buyers (With their permission!) that started their journey back in December. I think it took a rather interesting arc that illustrates a lot of trends going on in real estate right now. When we first spoke they gave me their list of wants and needs so I did the usual thing of sending them things to look over and then put them on an automated search that went out daily. I was still checking on the portal every day and tweaking things here and there (“Hmm what if we go back a few years on the build date or look a little more east…” that kind of thing). We were casting an extremely wide net. South of the river from 288 all the way down to around Courthouse Road at 288 out west to about the Richmond Zoo. 500k or less built in the last 25 years. That is an absolutely massive area. They had certain preferences for what they wanted in the home of course. Some natural light, a halfway decent kitchen, and some square footage to spread out in but there was nothing they told me that was so hyper specific that it should have been difficult to find anything. Boy I was wrong.
We would go weeks without seeing anything come on the market. I think we only went out maybe once in January because there was just nothing and even then what we toured wasn’t worth the drive for either of us. When something did go live we’d go take a look at it and jointly agree that it just wasn’t even worth offering on. Usually it was because the home had not been kept up with which is something you find more often than you’d think. People buy/build new homes then assume they don’t need to do anything to it so they never change their air filters, clean the gutters, etc. There was one home we saw that was built in 2017 and I swear to god I don’t think they had ever changed the air filters anywhere. The HVAC system sounded it like it had been chain smoking Marlboro reds for the last 5 years and when I popped open the air return dust and dirt had completely caked over causing a near total blockage of air flow. Sometimes we’d go and find out a home had solar panels that had not or would not be paid off at closing. What buyer is going to cover $40k worth of solar panels at closing? The point is they weren’t being picky or anything there just wasn’t anything that really worked.
Weeks and months went by with nothing to really put an offer on, but at the same time we also weren’t losing out on anything either. Homes were still going under contract quickly we just didn’t see a reason to bite on any of them. The week SVB went under I started watching the 10 year bond dip and poking around just outside the MLS area they had been looking at because I felt if there was ever a time to stretch the parameters it’s now if rates drop abruptly over the weekend. Bingo. I found something that checked almost all of their boxes. We toured the home. They loved it. I hit up their lender to see where rates were and if he was seeing movement trending down. Between the beginning of the week and when we went under contract their rate had gone down almost a full percentage point. After months of wandering the stars aligned and we were set. No escalation clauses, no waiving inspections or waiving the appraisal. Just a fair purchase price on a cleanly written offer and a 30 day close.
The listing agent tried to do the whole “My sellers are out of town and need to review in two days” and I just went “nah lady you used Authentisign for the DPOR form you can present this now thanks.” So she caved and she did. For the record it was almost impossible to bully sellers like this last year. They’d just tell you to pound sand and get in line.
Some of what I mentioned above wasn’t really the case a few years ago. There was a lot more competition and even though right now the data was clearly showing there were more homes being listed nationally than there had been in previous years we just weren’t seeing it where we were looking. That whole part of town either locked in their purchase around 3% or they re-financed and planned on staying put. That’s just how the burbs be sometimes.
The point of all of this isn’t to say “WoooOOOwww I’m SUCH a good agent” it’s that the market is doing really funky things and ultimately it’s possible to get into something you want if you are patient and strategic. Plan accordingly! If you are thinking of doing something this year get your ducks in a row now so that when opportunities like that present themselves you know what you want and you can act decisively. Talk to Grace and sort out what your financing is going to be. Figure out if you want to break a lease early and if there are any penalties or if you’re free and clear with 60 days notice. Confirm with your soulless middle manager at cap one that you are locked into WFH so you can shop south of 288 without fear of reprisals via shit traffic engineering.
One last thing I want to cover before I turn things over to Grace is what happened with new construction following my last post in January. At the time what we were seeing in the industry were home builders struggling to make their numbers because longer lead times vs resale were hampering their ability to keep fidgety buyers watching rates rise under contract. Homes were being cancelled and people were backing out at alarming rates. So here I have to hand it to the builders. They saw where they had leverage and pounced in some pretty creative ways. Many builders have in house financing (NVR Mortgage and Ryan Homes for example) so some of them started doing things like aggressively offering free rate buy downs, or holding steady on pricing and offering deep incentives like hey sign now and you get 15k in free kitchen upgrades (at 2k cost to us). I saw home builders offering free trips to resorts to agents who brought them a buyer who signed on the dotted line. Commission offerings from builders went up. They pulled all the right levers and captured a lot of people who had been sitting on the sidelines through the winter. Some builders found that fairly mild price cuts were all you needed to do to get people through the door again. The builders just have leverage in ways traditional sellers either are unwilling to take advantage of or simply cannot compete with.
As promised here are some Deep Thoughts with our lord and savior of rva lending u/gracetw22
Just some quick thoughts for where I see mortgages moving:
- After the most recent federal reserve meeting, Jerome Powell’s comments seemed to indicate that they were slowing down the rate of federal funds increases, and believes that the current amount of credit tightening is more than the current inflation data shows, so the fed intends to wait to see what the current changes cause before continuing on. The fed indicates to expect one additional rate increase this year and expects slightly lower rates next year. This does NOT directly impact your mortgage rate, but it does tend to follow similar patterns to what DOES impact your mortgage rate. Love to hear it.
- Getting MUCH less press but what will be MUCH more impactful to your mortgage rate is the strong stance the federal government is taking in policy as it pertains to mortgages. Remember, the only reason that a 30 year fixed rate mortgage exists is BECAUSE of the secondary market for them and the government entities that manage that. Private loans that are not sold on these markets are historically 2-3% higher. The federal housing finance agency and house finance committees have made a number of decisions lately that signal the government is moving their policy on mortgages away from a risk based model: the riskier the loan, the more expensive, and more toward a social service type model: the less help you need from us, the more expensive. As of right now, someone making less than 80% of the area median income is getting the same rate that someone with an 800 score and 50% down would receive REGARDLESS of credit score, down payment, property type, etc. Someone with a 740 score who makes over that 80% limit is paying a higher rate comparatively than they were 2 months ago. More detail here: https://www.reddit.com/RealEstate/comments/10kc155/new_loan_level_pricing_adjustments_fo Where do I see that going? Higher earners are going to increasingly have the best available rates from banks that are lending their own money or brokers that run with very minimal overhead.
So that’s a wrap. If you made it this far thank you very much for your time an attention. I hope this was an entertaining and informative read. I’ll answer questions where I can and you all can advocate about how we should line 95 with the crucified bodies of would-be carpetbaggers from NOVA pricing everyone out of the market. You can howl into the nothing about how we need zoning changes and higher density residential construction. Housing bears feel free to doom-say away and everyone who hates real estate agents get in line behind me because you don't hate them more than I do.