Have you ever read the Real Estate Book of Fairy Tales? Most people answer NO, because this is a very rare and hard to find edition. Printed a year after the Civil War, only 100 copies were ever circulated. Originally written for Southerners under attack from unscrupulously Northern Carpetbaggers trying to seize land during the chaotic conditions in the south in the post-war years. The book’s lessons had such an influence, that the Northern scalawags hired agents to confiscate or destroy copies of the publication. What few editions are still around have pages ripped out, damage from burning, and one was found with all the pages glued together so that it could never be read again. No one knows who the actual author of the book was, but many believe they were European. The stories use many of the genre elements that evolved from centuries-old stories in central Europe. Many of the lessons related in the book still have merit today. One such tale is published below.
The Fable of the Seller’s Agent
Once upon a time, there was couple, who after many years decided to sell their humble cottage in the woods. To them their cottage was a wondrous place and they had worked to care for it in every way. Nevertheless, the years were catching up with them, and they dreamed of moving to a newer place within the kingdom. Many dwarfs and elves had commented on just how nice their cottage was and everyone believed that they would have no trouble selling it.
During a local festival, the man had met a Real Estate Agent. He had seemed nice, organized, and extremely capable. Therefore, the couple reached out and invited him to their quaint cottage in the woods.
Upon entering, he began to speak with glowing words that floated around the small house like clouds. The cottage was amazing, fantastic, the cat’s meow, a dream haven that would have a buyer within days. With hearts full of hope, the man and woman each pricked their fingers and signed the documents with blood making this man; their Seller’s Agent.
Puff! With the signing of the papers the Seller’s Agent went to work. He spread magic fairy dust all around the cottage. Then with the help of the wind, he tossed it into the air and it was carried all over the kingdom. It, the couple thought was unbelievable. With his powers, the Seller’s Agent let every gnome, dwarf, elf, and even a few witches know of the little cottage For Sale.
Within a few days, some talking animals, a unicorn, and even a troll visited the cottage for a tour. Things were happening just as the Seller’s Agent had promised. The couple was very happy, and in preparation, they began looking for their new home on the other side of the kingdom.
One day the Seller’s Agent called with the magical news that an offer had been made. It was not great, but it was good, and the couple agreed to the numbers. Once again, fingers were pricked, and lines of blood sealed the deal for Due Diligence. The Seller’s Agent told the couple that in a few days the Buyer’s Agent would send someone to inspect the cottage to make sure everything was sound. The couple had no fear because they knew their cottage was strong and well built.
Two days later, creeping out of the darkest part of the forest a Gremlin appeared. The couple was shocked that this, the most mischievous and troublesome creature in the entire kingdom, had been sent to inspect their home. With grunts and chuckles, the little being began darting around their house. He rattled pipes, pulled wires, banged on beams, and ran his ugly tongue over windows and walls. When he finished he rolled out the door without a word, disappearing into the dark evil part of the woods.
The next evening at dinner there was a knock at the door. It was a messenger from the Seller’s Agent. It appeared that the inspector had found that all the Stained Glass windows in the cottage were made of lead, and the Buyer wanted them all replaced. The man and woman fell down in a faint. Their little cottage had fifteen full size stained glass windows. It would cost a small fortune to remove them all and install new ones. They told the messenger to ask the Seller’s Agent to come to their home right away.
While they waited, a pair of fairies came flying by. They had just purchased a home in another section of the woods and it featured Stained Glass windows. When the couple told the two of their inspection, it brought lots of snickering. The Stained Glass windows were perfectly safe. Many homes in the woods were built with lead in their windows and they were all fine. Gremlins, the fairies reminded the couple, are only hired to create mischief. The Seller’s Agent will see right through this ploy.
Another day pasted, because the Seller’s Agent had other appointments, before he visited with the couple in their cottage. The couple shared what they learned about the safety of the windows from the neighboring fairies. It did not move the Seller’s Agent. This issue with their home was one that needed to be addressed right away. Even if they turned down the current offer the lead in the windows would haunt future efforts to sell. The couple tried to remain firm, asking the Seller’s Agent for advice.
The Seller’s Agent said he was thinking of them. This was the best price they could get for their cottage. This buyer was ready to go, all they needed to do was concede. Times were changing, and these lead windows were outdated the Seller’s Agent commented. Your best course of action is to deal with these now. Still the couple held firm. They had lived in the cottage for many, many years and the lead in the windows had never been an issue. Once or twice, they had even had panels replaced and the repair company had checked them all for issues. Their words fell on deaf ears.
“You know if you pass on this deal, everyone is going to want to know why,“ the Seller’s Agent said. “I don’t know that I can explain this away. There is a good chance your cottage could be flagged as problematic.”
That night the man and woman were tormented in their dreams. They knew there was nothing dangerous about the windows, but their Seller’s Agent implied if they did not do something the home could be marked as foul. They might not ever be able to sell the cottage. The Seller’s Agent must be right. He had their best interest as heart. They would replace all the windows.
When the bank opened the next morning the couple withdrew all their saving and hired a man to replace all the windows. The Seller’s Agent was so happy with the couple and looked forward to seeing them at closing. He could not spend any more time with them since he had other appointments.
On closing day, everyone was there; The Buyers, their agent, the Seller’s Agent, the lawyer, his assistant, and the couple. Fingers were pricked for ink, and names were signed on the documents transferring ownership of the cottage. The coins for the house we dropped on the table in front of the man and woman. They slowly began to count their money. It was not much. The agents had removed their commission, the lawyer his fee, and the kingdom its share. Once the couple subtracted out what they had spent to replace their windows they could not believe how little they reaped from the biggest investment of their lives.
The couple held hands tightly and kissed. They would do what they could with what little they had gotten. As they rose to leave, their attention turned to a large mirror of truth hanging on the wall. In the reflection, they saw their Seller’s Agent and the Buyer’s Agent standing side by side. Within the reflection, the truth was revealed. The Agents were conjoined, working as one, speaking as one, and smiling a satisfied smile of evil enjoyment as one.
Without haste, the couple darted from the room. Vowing that in the future, should they ever do this again it would be: For Sale By Owner.
*Editor’s Note: Just in case you could not figure it out for yourself, many parts of this post are a work of fiction. For example, there was never a Real Estate Book of Fairy Tales published after the Civil War. What is true, is my complete loss of faith in people in Real Estate. This writing was an exercise for venting my frustration with just such a person and the process depicted in this tale. If you have had a similar Seller’s Agent nightmare please share.