Pronatalism and Homebuying

I was at my physical therapy appointment today (in the final stretches of getting my shoulder back to a semblance of normal), and we were talking about the housing market. I'm not sure if this is a global thing, but right now in many parts of the U.S. competition is FIERCE if you are trying to buy a home. Selling a home is amazing, lots of above-asking bidding wars and the like, but if you are trying to buy a home? You are facing up to 30 other offers including cash-only and non-contingent, and so people are devising ways to edge out competition. 

My therapist said that she heard that writing a letter to the seller can be effective, that there are people who have gotten their offers chosen even when not as monetarily attractive because they appeal to the seller's emotions. I could see that -- I started imagining going to open houses and promising a seller I'd take real good care of their garden. 

But, no. 

"In your letter, you can say why you're the best person for the house, like, don't you want to sell to a family?'" 

Wait, having a family makes you a better buyer? Only families deserve houses? What the WHAT? 

I didn't say anything. I don't know her very well and didn't feel like getting into it, but it has burrowed into my subconsciousness because it's 

I'm glad that the house we bought is actually not very family friendly. I'm glad that not having kids is actually what this house seems to want. I'm also glad that the people who bought our last house was a nice family and they seem to be really enjoying the house, yard, and neighborhood. But it wasn't BECAUSE they were a family with kids. And it smarted when we came back for the neighborhood 4th of July celebration the following year and a neighbor said, "yeah, it's great to have kids in the neighborhood again, really breathe some life into the house!" Wow, thanks. Just a zombie ghost over here, sucking the life out of the neighborhood with my barrenness. 

Fun Fact: our neighborhood now with our kickass house was actually originally DESIGNED for people without kids, and then they couldn't execute it because you can't discriminate and say "you can't buy here because blahblahblah," so families moved in anyway and challenged the right to say you couldn't have kids and live here. There are so many neighborhoods that are clearly made with families in mind (borderless backyards in developments with 8 billion playsets), I don't really get how you can't have a small neighborhood (read: 2 dead end streets in the middle of nowhere) meant to attract people without children so you can build a community, kind of like a retirement community of sorts. 

But to say "I'm a more desirable offer and more worthy of your house because I have kids/a family?" It didn't sit right with me today. 

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  1. I'm with you! The housing market here has been insane the last few years too. When we sold FIL's house last year, we got about 7-10 offers, and two wrote letters to put their case (because their offers were conditional). They wrote about the lifestyle they wanted in the home, and how the children had worked out how long it would take them to walk to school, etc. It was sweet, but I could see that it was supposed to appeal to us because they were families. (And they would have known it was the family home where my husband grew up.) But, like you, it didn't sit right with me. Besides, we were very hard-headed. We didn't really want to sell to developers, but we wanted to get it all sorted out. So we took the offer from a first time buyer who had his finance all sorted. We only discovered (after my husband found him on social media) afterwards that he was married with two little kids. And yes, we like the idea that it will be a family home too. But it was also a lovely home for a retired couple, as were a number of the houses on the cul-de-sac street for the last 30 years!

  2. That's awful. So thoughtless of the PT. Pronatalism is so ingrained.

    I just wrote a paper that addressed pronatalism yesterday. Well, it's the beginning of a paper. There's SO MUCH material that I need to uncover, spell out, and serve on a silver platter to the scientific community. Your post just adds fuel to my determination. Thank you!

  3. Omg. I hadn't thought of pronatalism seeping into real estate, but of course it does. It permeates everything, you zombie ghost. I have made a note to include this aspect in a project I'm working on.