Zen and the Art of Real Estate

I don’t know how your summer is going, but things are crazy over here! It’s times like these when I feel like I barely have time to glance at a long-form article, much less crack open a whole book. But who’s too busy to take in seventeen pithy syllables about real estate?

Not me! When Matt Bless, ABR, broker and founder of Vanguard Realty in Brookline, Mass. asked me what I thought about his idea to host a contest to see which of his associates could craft the best haiku about real estate, I couldn’t help but smile. “Our business could use a little poetic/literary injection, don’t you think?” he wrote to me in an e-mail this last month. Yes.

canibek, Morguefile

canibek, Morguefile

Now, to some of you who are more accustomed to the traditional sales contest, Bless’ idea might seem silly. But there’s no shortage of folks who believe the effort to write these three-lined poems can have other benefits outside of healthy competition and teaching kids what a syllable is. “Composing haiku is excellent practice in close observation, clear thinking, and tight writing—all essential skills for a writer in any genre,” writes Alistair Scott, editor-in-chief at online book publisher StoryPlus (his article also sports a comprehensive guide to get started writing haikus). Blogger Margaret Boyles says you don’t have to even be an aspiring writer to benefit from haiku composition. In addition to having better attention to detail and concentration, she says that trying to write one haiku a day has helped “boost my emotional resiliency, help me navigate life’s rough patches, and expand my self-awareness.” OK, I’ll have what she’s having. Simplicity blogger and author Leo Babauta even used the form to create a “Haiku Productivity” system that he says helps him be better able to follow Pareto’s 80/20 Rule (a popular tool in many business coaching circles, real estate included).

Bless had still another take on why brokers might consider holding a haiku contest, one that specifically spoke to the pressures of real estate: “The contest was a fun way to get agents thinking creatively, and a chance to let off some steam. It can be an intense business with emotional ups and downs, so I think anything we can do to lighten the mood and get into a different mode of thought is positive.”

Hear hear! Bless asked me to share my favorite submission from his office with Book Scan readers. I loved reading them all, but this one from real estate sales associate Nate Driscoll was too awesome not to post:

In search of condo
Must accept my furry friend
What! No grizzly bears?

Under the surface, you can feel Driscoll’s frustration with unrealistic buyers, but it’s coated in just the right amount of light-hearted humor so as to strike a perfect balance. I should also mention that Bless himself is no literary slouch. Here are two of his own haiku creations that I really liked (though he recused himself from winning the contest, he did compose a few just for fun):

FSBO wrestling match
Talked a buyer off a ledge
Day at the office

Darkened rooms, scuffed floors
Footsteps down a barren hall
Tomorrow, new life!

I think he really captured the sweet-and-sour roller coaster that often represents life as a real estate pro, don’t you? And if you have any poetry of your own that’d you’d like to share, e-mail me. Heck, maybe we’ll make a habit out of it.

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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  1. This is a cute idea. Real estate can be so… left brained… how fun it is to take that to the other side of the spectrum to the more creative brain:

    Let us imagine
    An artistic real estate
    Movement coming now

  2. Kelly, I love it!

    Creative comments
    From clever real estate pros
    Really make my day!

  3. Real Estate Art is

    Finding a House, and

    Turning it into a Home! – Natalie Grimley

    Another Example:

    Document in triplicate

    Notary of public

    A Client, Referral won – Natalie Grimley