The start of summer marks for me the beginning of my greatest luxury - double down reading :-) And so I begin the season with a regular visit to my go-to for reading recommendations - Brainpickings, a long time favourite blog.
When reading yesterday about Maria Popova's reflections as a blog writer, I couldn't help but be struck by how closely they apply to my advice for real estate buyers - the ones who dare to dream and do battle in Toronto's real estate bid war trenches, where few mere mortals dare to tread.
Admittedly based on Popova's reflections, here are 5 parallel thoughts I stand by for buyers. This goes out to them, to keep in their back pockets, as they attempt to navigate Toronto's highly competitive and often confusing market.
- Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. Cultivate that capacity. We all begin our property search with some inherent and often long held assumptions. It may be enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know." But say it often to those you trust to help you through this. It is infinitely more rewarding in the end, to understand than to be right — even if that means changing ones mind about location, property type, timeline or above all, oneself.
Build pockets of stillness into your process. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a purpose to daydreaming that will be undeniably helpful come offer night. Our best ideas come to us when we stop forcing a shortcut to a final decision and rather let the fragments of experience float around our mind instead. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the vitality of our thought process is too challenged to depend upon for powerful choices.
- Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. When it comes to finding a property that peaks curiosity to the point of wanting to offer on it, we would all benefit from dropping as much of our productive life as possible. This is not the time to be productive so let's not measure that day or week by efficiency, or earnings, or how many other properties can be visited to compare, or our ability to perform this or that simultaneously. The cult of productivity has its place, but sticking to it at a time of major movement and change robs us of the very capacity for attending to our deep desire for change.
- Seek out what magnifies your spirit - a term used by Patti Smith when discussing her creative influences. What a beautiful phrase. What are the kinds of space, light, shape, rituals, neighbourhoods, neighbours that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and fold them into the mix of a search as the most important ingredients. View them not only as a remedy but as a vaccine to long term well being.
- Don’t be afraid to be an idealist. There is much to be said for our responsibility to our budget, our timeline, our square footage ambitions and to the reality of what the market has to offer. But we shouldn't let the enterprise condition us to believe that the road to success is paved with only realism and timeliness. As difficult as it is to keep lifted when immersed in a challenging market, our future selves demand it of us. This is a role each of us is called to with increasing urgency.