If These Walls Could Talk: The Real State of mind behind the Real Estates.

Updated: Nov 27, 2021

By Jennifer Nash, BA, MA, IRPM and Urban Land Institute Associate

What lies between these walls are untold human interest yet secret stories that mostly die with its its occupants. This narrative even makes more sense when one unveils the uncommonly known meaning behind the word mortgage...

A French Law term meaning "death contract", meaning that the pledge ends (dies) when either the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.

It is rather ironic that this word has been romanticized with a prestigious connotation to mean 'owning a house' when it actual fact; it's simply a glorified term to mean a noose on your neck until you die.

At the risk of ruffling feathers, they say fortune favours fools because at the heart of property exchange lays morbid untold stories of it's former and new occupant. The idea that when in the unfortunate event that Occupant A dies suddenly, means it's a timely fortune that Occupant B will be blessed with their dream house, equally a house sold off in a divorce settlement between a couple [Occupant X] is a wedding gift to a newly wed couple [Occupant Y]; A loss of job resulting in a foreclosure for Occupant C, means a below market value for first time buyer Occupant D whose parents just showered them with an early inheritance gift to make a deposit on their first home...while Occupant F has to give back an interest only home they've occupied for 20 years because they cannot afford to make the final settlement to offset the principle amount, this means Occupant G is blessed with an affordable home to downgrade giving them dignity in their sunset years by avoiding going into a hospice or care home as they battle ailments of their ailing old age bodies.

You get the paradoxical picture of some of the morbid truths of the cycle of mortgage transactions and the humans that lay entangled between these walls whose silence ensures our confidence in them is not betrayed. Even though one's unfortunate state of mind in the aftermath of such a tragic loss that lies between these walls called Real Estate, is unbearable, there is also a dichotomy on the story narrative of the protagonist [the fool who is favoured by someone else's misfortune].

Yet, we all know that the stories of the occupants on either side of the mortgage transactions are not in a so-straight forward line as it sounds. We do know the line sometimes can be jagged, curved and even meandering between and can be as complex as a human story can get. That is why writing this article proved to be a challenge.

The article that started as a monologue (transcended from a conversation over dinner on one evening with friends), created in the aftermath of it - a juxtaposition in my head as I attempted to make a business narrative of its sense and sensibility. It quickly become apparent to me that this was not a conversation just about misfortune and fortune, neither was it about the romanticised and glorified loans; surreptitiously so- called 'mortgages' - i.e. loans that are leveraged to access ones status in a suburban street of one's desired neighbourhood. If walls could talk - it would be a tale of human beings in pursuit of happiness and perhaps a quality of life that can only be attained by wearing a noose on their necks aka 'death contract", until their pledge ends (dies), or they die, otherwise the obligation is fulfilled [usually 25 - 40 years later depending on age of the borrower] or else the property is taken through foreclosure against their will.

But it could also mean a start of beautiful beginnings for its occupants who otherwise would be squatting in their parents homes over the age of 30, or sharing a 10 x 10 feet square apartment in polluted and over populated cities that has no green belts left for their offsprings to play and run amok in chasing squirrels.

When everything is said and done, thank God these walls cannot talk, right? Imagine if the roofs were to be ripped off and all the occupants were exposed, we would see a child lying in its cot crying itself to sleep, we would see a man tossing and turning because he has no idea where the next mortgage payment will come from, we would see a woman silently crying on her pillow because she's lonely in a house full of people, we would see teenager grappling to understand why their parents won't let them put a lock on their room, we would see a couple whose latest health prognosis is a game changer, a couple who are anticipating the birth of a new addition to their family, another who are sleeping separate rooms and another with wedded bliss excited to make their new house a home. Between some other four walls; lays a woman who has just bought her first house, and another who has just realised she has to let go of their family home. Whatever the story narrative, it is a human story that deserves its dignity to stay behind closed doors, because some stories should remain untold...well at least not in public interest.


Jennifer Nash has a passion for real estate and a background in Property Management, working as a Fractional Public Relations Officer in charge of Community Engagement and Stakeholder Communications. Her on the ground experience spans across the globe; from USA to EMEA - in both commercial and residential landscapes. If you are a developer or Real Estate Agent looking for help in BRAND STRATEGY - from storytelling, to creating brand messaging, customer journey funnels and planning the entire PR and communications campaign strategy and route to market; this includes but not limited to driving brand heuristics i.e. to Be Seen, Be Known, Be Trusted, Be Heard and Be Liked. Bottom line she helps brands enhance their Reputation and Crisis management and planning. Book a Discover Call to discuss your PR needs.

What is the story behind your recent real estate investment?

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