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Dream of Buying Home Now Seller's Nightmare

May 16, 1993|LAURA HENNING

Three years ago in an article headlined "Home Sick," Dr. Mark Goulston commented on the effect the white-hot sellers market was having on home buyers.

"The American Dream of owning a home was unrealizable then," said the assistant professor of clinical psychology at UCLA. "People were having trouble coping with that."

What a difference a few years make. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Recently we again asked Goulston to talk about how home sellers are coping with the most extraordinary buyers market in decades.

"Before, we were dealing with being left out of the American Dream," Goulston said, "now we're dealing with being trapped" as Southern Californians find it difficult to sell their homes.

He said Americans have a tradition of mobility. "If you didn't like England, you went to New England. If you didn't like New England you moved to California," he said. "So that's part of the American tradition. You could always pick up and leave, but sellers can't do that."

Those homeowners face a situation over which they have no control, Goulston added. Their powerlessness causes anxiety and a feeling of helplessness to guide the course of their life. This can lead to withdrawal from social relationships, he said.

To cope he suggested that wanna-be home sellers:

--"Stay out there and talk with people who feel the way we do. We will find not only comfort but also a kind of gallows humor and there's a release in that."

When people are alone they do not think clearly and may not see other options. Getting out there and mingling they can get both a "reality" and a "realty" check.

--Engage in an activity over which they have some control. Goulston does not care whether it just cleaning our desk or starting an exercise program.

--Go out and do something charitable for their fellow man. It puts their problems in perspective and boosts our self esteem.

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