Thursday, December 16, 2010

our most basic needs

I was first introduced to Abraham Maslow's theory of the Hierarchy of Needs in High School and later studied his 1942 paper titled "A Theory of Human Motivation" at University. I was drawn to his thinking like a moth to light. This was not the norm for me...I slept through Econ I, II and beyond, needed a tutor for all math, and considered science to be the entire contents of my dorm room fridge.

But this pyramid and the underlying theory fascinated me, and still does. As you probably already know, the lowest levels of the pyramid are made up of the most basic needs, while the more complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth (my personal favorites). The second level is the need for safety and security. This includes our need for feeling free from threat, free from pain, free from terror, and our need for steady employment, a safe neighborhood and shelter from the environment.  As each level is met the individual continues up the pyramid.

One very important reason why I love what I do is because I help people with a most basic human need. 

So when a client called me a few weeks ago to let me know they had a squatter in their now vacant/ now listed home, my heart went through the floor. The sadness and fear I heard in my clients voice was the motivation for me to work with diligence and determination to secure their very sweet and lovely home...a home they had put hours of work, as well as heart into. Their memories were precious and this @7%"*x$# guy was not going to get the best of them. 

Located five hours away, my clients couldn't be here. They had to rely on a friend/care taker, myself and their neighbors to first try to catch this trespasser and then secure the house to prevent future damage. The squatter took their washer, dryer, refrigerator, and dishwasher, along with light fixtures, leaving behind a trail of take-out boxes and other debris. The police said he (male clothing was left at the house and the neighbors witnessed a young male coming and going) would most likely keep coming back to strip the copper wiring from the walls and tear out the hard woods floors. He had seen homes stripped down to the studs.  

My clients reacted with speed. They set-up a neighborhood watch, telephone tree and email tree for notifying each other of any unauthorized activity, installed a web cam from a neighbor's home, installed a motion detection light, changed the locks and installed a security system.  

The City of Seattle Police have done what they can but a call on a vacant home is queued the same as a call for a parking infraction. Their advice was solid however and my clients heeded it. 

As I was staking out their home one night last week, craving a donut and cup of coffee, I thought back to Maslow's pyramid and was reminded during this holiday season that Ipods, Wii games, or a new pillow for my sofa are really unimportant if our most basic needs are not met. 

Until next week,

la chasse au bonheur

In all my postings, my goal is to provide inspiration and insight into home ownership, real estate, and to provide valueable resources.

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  1. Very scary story, Darcy. Thanks for the reminder to be alert to what's happening in our neighborhood.

    And I, too, think of Maslow's hierarchy from time to time. Funny how these things stick with us.

    Happy holidays!

  2. Always loved Maslow's theory- thanks for sharing this!