How to use your imagination to sell a house … or create what you want …


There is this kind of creative problem-solving, a creative inventing of solutions, that I like to play with.

I’ll tell you a story to show you what I mean. It’s the story of selling our house.

Our former home was built in the early 1900’s. It was one of a kind, full of idiosyncracies, and really beautiful. It was special to us because it had been built with a gracious attention to scale and light. It was honest and well-apportioned. And because we were the 10th owner and it had even been considered “a haunted house” at one point, it offered us an opportunity to update and upgrade it, and make our creative mark in staying true to the design yet modernizing it.

How our home looked when we sold it
How our home looked when we sold it

On the downside, it sat on a two level lot with a hill in the backyard. People often want a flat lot. And it had no garage.

When the time came to sell the house, my mentor asked me “Do you want to create the buyer?”

Of course, I answered, “Yes …whatever that means …”

She asked me who I envisioned as the buyer for the house.

I was able to answer this question easily. I knew the special quirks of the house and I knew they needed to be fully disclosed. My instincts were we needed a buyer who would appreciate all of the quirks. We needed the buyer to relish this being an old house, appreciate the many upgrades we had made, not mind the lot being two-level, accept our price which acknowledged areas that would need additional work, and so on.

I also did not want an extended bidding war between multiple buyers. I wanted to pass our home on to a family who really understood the house. I imagined our house as a being with a soul – as a grand dame who had supported our every action as a family, sheltered us at night, and wrapped her big loving arms around us.

Together, my mentor and I easily and quickly created this statement:

“This house is joyfully sold to a loving family at full price.”

Once this sentence was in place, we finalized the price on the house and I relaxed and trusted the process.

The following day, our neighbor approached us, asking if we had established our price. I told him, and he said “I think I have your buyer.”

Two days later, that prospective buyer had flown in from out of state. We were asked by his realtor, “if my buyer were to make you a full-priced offer on your house, would you accept?” To which we had a ready response. “Yes.”

The whole process from beginning to end, in a market which had been asleep and a situation where there were not many comparative homes and sales, was pure pleasure. And I had the sense of authoring, of creating the sale. The process would have gone very differently without that conscious process of tuning in and being aware of what felt right and connecting with it.

I’ve used this approach now in many situations for myself and others. It works. It’s a matter of tuning in to what you know to be true, what you feel inside, about a situation, and clearing out any points of view that aren’t in alignment. It’s as though there is a true outcome that is called for, and we can tune in to it, align with it, and create it.

If we can’t find the alignment, the thing is hard to create.

This story about selling our home is my favorite story to tell about creating something. There’s a different feeling about it. It’s not wishful thinking, it’s tuning in and connecting to a clean idea about exactly what we want to create and then staying present to it, which directs our actions accordingly. Saying “I want to write a book” or “I want to make more money” or “I need a better job” is a great start, yet it doesn’t take us across the finish line of having what we want.

If there is something we want, we can use this “get in alignment with what you know and feel is true” and then sense the confidence in that position, and allow it to come about.

Even something like creating a better working scenario or meeting a mate or getting a book project going.

Sometimes it’s not time yet or easy to make this kind of a move, though. Sometimes we are hazy about what we want, or what we need. In the case where we can’t easily get that clarity, we might have some additional inner exploration or probing to do. I know this territory, for me it’s been about honing in on what exactly do I want to really focus on in my work. I like to do a lot of things and I have some reservations about doing some of them for various reasons, and these varied interests plus internal reservations can make it hard to create the clarity.

In such cases, one of the ways I have found effective is to stop trying to take on such a big thing, and practice taking small (even ridiculously tiny) steps toward an outcome that seems a bit average or ordinary. This approach is explained very well in Robert Maurer’s book “One Small Step Can Change Your Life.”

I’ll spend more time talking about that in another post.

But for now, maybe you do have a thing you want to accomplish that you are really clear about. Can you use this approach of creating a statement for yourself to help crystallize it and bring it to pass? Can you use it in a situation in your life right now?

I’d love to hear about it.

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