Remember Annette Bening’s portrayal of a real estate agent in American Beauty (1999)? Bening’s over-the-top, Type A character Carolyn Burnham is mesmerized by the Real Estate King – Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher) and goes near berserk cleaning a home she is determined to sell. Seemingly unbreakable in her quest to achieve Kane-level success, Burnham repeatedly chants “I-Will-Sell-This-House-Today.” Later, we see a broken Burnham who is both unable to sell the home, and ashamed of her own loss of composure. As entertaining as she was in this role, it was frighteningly true.
What is it that causes real estate salespeople to get locked in a frenzy of determination and fear?