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One of the strange parts of the home buying process is how impersonal it can be if you let it. Sure, prospective homeowners visit homes in neighborhoods they might like to live and give agents a list of things they want in a house (open floor plan, garage, large yard, X number of bedrooms, etc.). The items on this list of “wants” are all about the house itself. Yet, what determines someone’s eventual satisfaction from the house itself is how one or some of those parts interact with a person’s lifestyle and behavior. From the New York Times:

When Ed Diener, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois and a former president of the International Positive Psychology Association — which promotes the study of what lets people lead fulfilling lives — was house-hunting with his wife, they saw several homes with features they liked.

But unlike couples who choose a house because of its open floor plan, fancy kitchens, great light, or spacious bedrooms, Professor Diener arrived at his decision after considering hedonic-adaptation research.

“One home was close to hiking trails, making going hiking very easy,” he said in an e-mail. “Thinking about the research, I argued that the hiking trails could be a factor contributing to our happiness, and we should worry less about things like how pretty the kitchen floor is or whether the sinks are fancy. We bought the home near the hiking trail and it has been great, and we haven’t tired of this feature because we take a walk four or five days a week.”

How do real estate agents try and help increase the odds of these kind of successful matches?

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Richard Thaler recently asked why so few people have walked away from their mortgage. Today, the New York Times reported that more homeowners are thinking about it. They aren’t the only ones thinking about it. Banks are trying to figure out who is strategically defaulting.

Sometimes lenders go after borrowers walking away from their homes if they have other assets, according to Florida real estate attorney Larry Tolchinsky.

“Banks are pulling credit reports to see if it’s a strategic default,” he said. “If you’re behind on all your other payments, you’re okay. But if you’re not, they’ll come after you.”

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1) A classroom nudge for college professors. Include one lie in each lecture and ask students to point out the error. They’ll pay attention to the material more closely.

Hat tip: David de Souza

2) Enviromedia, friend of the Nudge blog and the creator of greenwashingindex.com, a tool for ferreting out misleading green ads, has unveiled a new web site, greendetectives.net, to help people decode the language of climate change. The United Nation’s climate change conference is this month in Copenhagen.

3) Philadelphia now requires that lenders and homeowners meet in person prior to foreclosure. Will these meetings lessen foreclosure rates?

Hat tip: Christopher Daggett

4) Tips for remembering your reusable grocery bag.

Hat tip: Katie Astofer

5) Because it’s just too good to resist. From a 1952 Life magazine.

Hat tip: Thought Gadgets

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The European Union’s commitment to fighting global warming has meant a growing trend in European countries of incorporating energy audits and ratings as part of the home sales process. Relative to other options, boosting buildings efficiency standards is usually the most attractive economic and political option to policymakers because of the large piece of the energy pie that buildings take up. (In the EU, buildings account for 40 percent of energy consumption.) As part of the European Union’s Directive on The Energy Performance of Buildings, all member countries are expected to have energy performance certificates available as part of a required information packet when a new home is sold or leased.

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