By Russ Miles
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?
“The mission of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society® is to end the devastating effects of MS. Approximately 400,000 Americans acknowledge having MS, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals.”
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 making hasty decisions. On a week requiring 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 such decision), just to get out. Having no problem, I obtained 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, as 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–ever I could not paint a portrait of future prosperity.
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. With enhanced awareness, we can perhaps gain clarity when, standing flat-footed over home plate, the curve ball comes. Okay, so we were expecting a fast–pitch.
For Sale By Owners: FSBO is my 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.
Many 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 saying, “We can sell it ourselves, Honey,” pops a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign in the yard, and goes off to his work. His compliant companion 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. Danger comes cloaked by delusion.
I’ve had women clients tell me they had prayed that no one would call. Peeking out the curtains, some deciding astutely, did not answer the door.
As my father once told me, “Son, all crooks have honest faces. Malice masquerades well in a mask of deceit.”
In their efforts to be professional, often agents do not wish to alarm or alienate 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. NAR®, 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 in this manner, disproportionate to the risk.
Yes, I am passionate about the problem. My book doesn’t mince words. The serial rapist adds an eerie element, providing a fractured face to one possible perpetrator.
Multiple Sclerosis lost by forcing a mid-life course correction. Rather, this dread disease has dragged out my best.
The MS Society® and its network of chapters nationwide promote research, educate, advocate on critical issues, and organize a wide range of programs including support for the newly diagnosed and those living with MS over time.
Russ Miles is the author of the novel, For Sale By Owners:FSBO. Seasoned Real Estate NAR® Broker Disabled by Multiple Sclerosis, FOR SALE BY OWNERS:FSBO ISBN 0-595-28703-4,in trade paperback, is available by phone or Internet:1-800-Authors to order direct! Very HOT–LINK Adobe e-book & hard cover editions also available FSBO at Amazon.com at Barnes and Noble and other fine booksellers.
Personal referrals to his publisher
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