Foreclosures and the Five Stages of Grief

Foreclosures and the Five Stages of Grief

Back in 1969 just a couple of years after I was born, a woman named Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote a book called On Death and Dying in which she described five stages of grief after studying the terminally ill. These stages of grief have been found to apply to other situations, and I personally have found them to serve me quite well when talking to homeowners, Realtors, and others about foreclosure.The stages are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

It is easy to understand how each of these can apply to the current real estate market and foreclosure situation. This is true both for homeowners as well as for anyone who depends on the real estate market to make a living.For those doing business in this market, I suggest it is important that you learn to have some understanding for which stage your customer or partner may be in at the time. For example a homeowner that is currently in the anger stage may be better left with some comforting words and an offer to follow-up rather than a full-tilt sales pitch. And recognize that you shouldn't write that customer off, as they may soon move to bargaining or acceptance and be ready to get a deal done.Still even with this knowledge don't expect it to be easy. Often you will find yourself dealing with two decision makers within the same family, or same office, who are in completely different stages. Often trying to speak to the needs of one will put you at odds with the other. Best strategy here is to look for common ground. Though perhaps if one is dealing with depression and the other anger, you should just run.Hopefully, as this market continues to unfold, we can all find a bit more understanding for others that may be in different stages than ourselves. And, as importantly, be sure to take a little time to reflect on what stage you are in, and whether it is helping or hindering you from acheiving your goals.

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