Zillow dreams

I’ve always been a “real estate kid” of sorts. My parents have been in the industry for longer than I can remember, and some of the first lessons I learned were in land and property. Back in the ’70s, my grandfather owned a trailer park, and when I was young, he would tell me stories of the tenants he dealt with, including a self-proclaimed witch who hurled feces at adjacent trailers and claimed to cast a spell on him.

Real estate can be a turbulent and feculent world. Conversely, browsing for homes on the internet using services like Zillow can be incredibly cathartic.

As owning a home feels increasingly out of reach for many young people in cities, pretending to shop for a new Manhattan condo or classic Victorian in San Francisco is a way to feel in control of one’s future. Whether or not you actually plan on being a homeowner in your future, or even moving to a different city, the inspiration and motivation that comes from planning a “could be” is insurmountable.

People buy lottery tickets because it gives them hope. Most “players” of the lottery don’t expect to win popular games like Mega Millions or PowerBall. Instead, they pay their two dollars in exchange for a momentary dream of stability, luxury and contentment.

That sounds like a decent deal if you ask me. For the same reasons that people play the lottery and pay for cable subscriptions to watch “House Hunters,” you should browse Zillow, for free.

Looking through homes and apartments across the country can bring unparalleled faith in what could happen, along with some worry that it might not. Homes are important in our lives — for most people, they represent the center of all their daily movements. We work hard to find them and keep them, as housing is a scarce resource by nature.

Where we live matters and makes all the difference in how happy we are. If you don’t like the place you come back to after a hectic day and have no ability to change that in the near future, instead place yourself in that $800,000 villa in Oahu, or the $4 million Brooklyn brownstone that you’ve been eyeing, three tabs over. 

Now to address that underlying worry, the little voice insisting that you’ll never actually be able to live in a place like that. Use this sound to work a bit harder on your homework than you normally would, or maybe attend a job fair when you’d rather be having a nap. Your future earning potential, and although not directly correlated, happiness, are unlimited.

Make your Zillow dream come true, whether it’s a house in Cleveland for your whole family or simply signing a lease by yourself next year. In the meantime, it’ll always be on Zillows servers in the form of bits and bytes, waiting for you to tour its virtual hallways.