About the author, MS, and Why FSBO (in his own words):
I retired from real estate in SW Washington, but only when I could no longer walk. Over three years previous, the doctors had said I needed to “Get rid of stress and stop working.” In denial, I was slow to accept Multiple Sclerosis. Who, after all, would embrace a diagnosis of the dread disease of no known cause, and for which there was no cure? I continued to operate my own real estate company, increasing the number of experienced agents who required less hands-on supervision.
Putting renters in my house, I moved closer to my office, using a handicapped scooter to get back and forth on those days when I didn’t have appointments set up to ‘List’ or ‘Show’ homes. I refused to give up driving because one leg still worked, most of the time.
In hidden panic, I began to make more hasty decisions. On a week that required my personal intervention on behalf of two of my agent’s real estate transactions, I decided to sell my company. For a coffee cup, I traded my principle share of the real estate corporation to my new partner (another hasty decision), just to get out. I had no problem obtaining an Associate Broker position with one of the major corporations.
When it became apparent, even to me, that I could no longer provide the level of service I expected my clients to have, I took the Social Security Disability option. Gritting my teeth, while the mandatory waiting period ticked away, I tried to decide what to do with the remaining years of my life. Although I had once owned art stores, even taught oil painting, always the optimist, even I could not paint a portrait of future prosperity. I think they had a special on despair at the time, and I considered trading in my depression on it. At 53 years of age, with a pre-teen daughter yet to raise, and an ex-wife who couldn’t work, life looked pretty bleak.
A good friend suggested that I write a book. As I had published two poetry books twenty-five years before, I considered the possibility. In an attempt to overcome personal depression, I decided to write about making better choices. I chose a novel format because it allowed the freedom to develop hypothetical scenarios, involving fictional characters, while forcing awareness of real dangers. I wanted to make a compelling case for right choices, not just in marketing ones home, but in all aspects of life.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Most of us do. We live in troubled, unpredictable times. People must contend with changing economic issues, employment disruptions, family problems, health upsets, crime, and consequences. Through awareness, we can perhaps gain clarity when, standing flat-footed over home plate, the curve ball comes while we were expecting a fast pitch.
For Sale By Owners: FSBO www.FSBONovel.com is a novel about people. Not perfect people. It begs the question, “What would For Sale By Owners do if they knew they were really buying trouble?” As former real estate broker, I am qualified to shed some light on this often un-addressed area of concern. Most agents are reluctant to tell people just how dangerous it is to open their doors to strangers.
Understandably, people who must sell homes do not want to pay brokerage fees, if they can avoid it. It is, absolutely their right to sell their homes themselves. But all too often, the man says, “We can sell it ourselves, Honey,” pops a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign in the yard, and goes off to his work. His wife then places an ad in the local newspaper, answers the phone, and sets appointments for the supposedly interested buyers to come see their home for sale. The danger is minimized.
I’ve had client wives tell me they had prayed that no one would call. Then, peeking out the curtains, they had decided not to answer the door. My father once told me, “Son, all crooks have honest faces.” What dad meant is that you can’t tell, by looking at someone, what their real intentions are.
If an effort to be professional, most agents do not wish to alarm or alienate home sellers who might list with them, later. I have no such vested interest.
Even real estate agents recognize they are placing themselves at risk when showing houses. Every year, many are abducted, robbed, murdered, and raped in this country. The National Association Of Realtors constantly warns agents to vigilant, careful whom they work with. Many Realtors© will no longer do “Open Houses” because it is simply too dangerous. The commission reward of marketing a home this manner, to them, is not in proportion to the risk. Yes, I am passionate about the problem. My book doesn’t mince words. The serial rapist adds an eerie element, gives a fractured face to one possible perpetrator.
The diverse cast of characters, each with their own perspective, is largely unaware that they even have problems. Each is imperfect. All are preoccupied with their own survival. Maybe, through increased awareness, there is hope for us all?