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!

Posted by

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


 Search homes for sale in Litchfield County, CT.


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776


© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain


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Irene Durocher
Coldwell Banker BUYERS AGENT - Boca Raton, FL

Andrea , I grew up in Conn. and your story reminds me as a child , my uncle had a dairy farm.

When it was time for the cows to come in from the pasture we would " ride " the cows to the barn 

as you would a horse. I always looked forward to it.

Thanks for the memories !!

Irene Durocher Boca Raton, Fla.

Nov 01, 2011 03:56 PM #25
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

I think I heard Temple Grandin interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR, All Things Considered.  She was mind altering.


Nov 01, 2011 05:49 PM #26
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

Ugh I still have flashback from working with cows! Big dumb creatures they are anyway! I hope our clients and customers are not offened being compared to farm animals! On the upside cows do taste good! HAHA

Nov 01, 2011 06:18 PM #27
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Andrea - Cows? YET AGAIN? (LOL)

For a moment i even thought this is in India (LOL)

But so interesting. And the thing about a black hole makes a lot of sense. Nice transition from cows to real estate. Very clever.

Nov 01, 2011 07:11 PM #28
Steve Warrene
Your Town Realty - Lower Burrell, PA
Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists

Andrea, You said it perfectly at the end of your post. Knowledge is power.  If the buyer or seller and still seeing that black hole after we are done talking that means I did not provide them with enough information to give them enough knowledge to make the right decision.

Nov 01, 2011 10:20 PM #29
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

I am a newbie to Active Rain, and I am amazed at the variety of subject matter out here... Very interesting article.. and I am certainly a fan of the cows! My kitchen reflects my affection..... I will definitely read up on your Dr. Gradin... sounds like somebody I would be interested in.

Nov 01, 2011 11:15 PM #30
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

One thing I have learned about you Andrea is your affinity for cows !  Very interesting to lean this about the author, Gradin, too...black holes for sellers bring them down all sorts of paths but making it down the lower price path is the black hole some will avoid and never sell!

Nov 01, 2011 11:28 PM #31
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Cynthia, I don't know, I think cows are amazing creatures. But then again, I guess not everyone does. I bet you have a million very cool memories, LOL.

Mike, LOL, what can I say, thank you!

Joan, glad you enjoyed it, thank you.

Tammy, these things just run right through my mind, probably something wrong with me though.

Jim, LOL, I am so glad to hear that, I knew I could count on you.

Lisa, why thank you! Are you a closeted cow lover too?

Denise, you are very welcome! Animals often give us life lessons, if we let them. We say that pets make children understand responsibility, right? So they can teach.

Ed, you are right, some just can't see past the hole. Then the only choice we have it to wait until or if they ever are really ready.

Michelle, I know your big black hole in Atlanta is frightening indeed. But at least you learned a bit about cows?

Pat, I am warm now, as warm as I ever am because of this old house, but hey, at least I have power! I knew that if only one person liked this post it would be YOU!

Marge, if you grew up on a dairy farm, I am sure much of your worth ethic and understanding of life came from those big beasts!

George, I am thinking you are just being kind.... I was afraid NO ONE would comment except for Pat Kennedy because she LOVES cows... LOL. Let alone being featured. Unless the AR gods were snickering at me...

Gretchen, why thank you! Best of luck to you also.

Irene, now that sounds like fun! I have to admit I never rode a cow. The ones on the ranch were not pets, I wouldn't dare to do that. And the dairy cows.. well.. I was just too old and not brave enough.

Lloyd, wasn't she? I did watch the movie about her, I have heard her in snippits of interviews. She is mind altering, and an inspiration to me.

Rosalie, what? Big dumb creatures? Oh my.... I find them to be curious, fun and able to restore a sense of peace in my soul when I spend time with them. I guess to each his own!

Jon, yeah, again, LOL. NO, we are not in India, but I have heard stories from a friend who was there for work, she got chased into a train station by a cow. The statement that "cows rule" is really true there! Thank you, I am glad you rode the cow train with me instead of telling me I was a jackass, LOL.

Steve, knowledge is power. The big problem is that sometimes they absorb the information from a source that is not honest. Or they don't feel we are there to help them through the black hole.

Janis, welcome! AR is a great place, and yes, the variety of subjects here is almost mind boggling! Do read up on Temple Grandin, she is amazing indeed.

Ginny, well, I think I heard you like shoes? Am I right? And yes, some will avoid that big black hole. But if they aren't given the right information up front, I think they get even more scared when faced with reality.

Nov 01, 2011 11:51 PM #32
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Congratulations on the featured post. I love the title to the post.

Nov 01, 2011 11:56 PM #33
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Gita, thank you very much!

Nov 02, 2011 01:22 AM #34
Valerie Duncan Stewart
(Metro First Realty) - Oklahoma City, OK
Real Estate Agent-Broker, OKC, OK


Your title grabbed me! Poor cows, don't blame them for not willingly go into a black hole. Great analogy which led me to my own experience with a black hole.

I was getting my advanced scuba diving certification in the murky waters of Oklahoma and freaked out when I couldn't see my hand in front of me. It was a gut reaction and I surfaced in a panic. Guess I can apply that experience to my buyers and sellers who are fearful of the unknown.

Sometimes education is not enough, you need a slow, gently hand to lead your client into the unknown.

Nov 02, 2011 02:06 AM #35
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

Andrea - WOW, WOW, WOW!  Sorry to repeat myself but this is indeed a WOW post.  I enjoyed reading it and it packed a powerful message.  Thanks for sharing these thoughts.  I am sending to the agents in my office as I know they also struggle with how to handle the deep dark hole with buyers and sellers.

Nov 02, 2011 02:22 AM #36
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA


Obviously there wasn't much eye rolling, but there was plenty of "suggest" button pushing.

You are so right; if fear of the unknown is the problem then providing information will help clients overcome their fears.



Nov 02, 2011 05:05 AM #37
Jennifer Chiongbian
Specializing in all types of Manhattan apts & townhouses - Manhattan, NY
Real Estate Broker - NYC

I like your analogy of the cows and the black hole, and buyers and sellers.  These are real fears for both ends of the parties but don't quite know how to digest them or deal with those fears.

Nov 02, 2011 06:01 AM #38
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Valerie, that would have made me panic too. I have always wanted to scuba dive, I love being in the water. And yes, a slow, gentle hand to guide them. They look to us for answers, and to turn on the lights!

Barbara, why thank you! I think that I am going to rework, write all new ebooks for buyers and sellers. Perhaps that can help a bit.

Steve, I bet there was a bit of eye rolling, LOL. Thanks... fear of the unknown is very difficult to deal with.

Jennifer, I am not sure we can do anything more than giving them all the information we can and be there for them to hold the flashlights!

Nov 02, 2011 10:53 AM #39
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
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! :)

Nov 02, 2011 12:46 PM #40
Kwee Huset
Kwee Huset Realty - Venice, FL
Venice Florida Homes For Sale

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

Nov 02, 2011 04:13 PM #41
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

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.

Nov 02, 2011 05:45 PM #42
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

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...

Nov 02, 2011 11:51 PM #43
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


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.

Nov 04, 2011 12:54 PM #44
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