#307 – Murder He Wrote

A chance encounter with a real estate agent this morning helped clear up a mystery that’s been dogging me for months. Up till now, I’ve blamed a deplorable lack of ethics among real estate agents for my in-laws’ purchase of a house down the street from ours. After running into Bill Franks, however, I realize I have only myself to blame for the Gambinos’ proximity.

I saw Bill in the supermarket and recognized him as the broker my in-laws had retained. After confirming his recollection of the septuagenarians, I asked a burning question: “I know Georgia law requires you to answer, if a buyer asks if there’s been a murder in a house you’re showing or if someone with a disease lived there; so why’d you refuse to answer any of my in-laws’ questions?”

Bill said he would’ve gladly responded to any inquiries on murders and such, had my in-laws asked. But he’d refused to dignify the “offensive and irrelevant” queries they’d posed instead. After he cited specific examples for me, I couldn’t say I blamed him.

Before Sophia and I purchased our current home, I prepared a questionnaire for each property we visited. Our broker had to answer whether anyone there: 1) had ever been murdered; 2) had contracted plague, tuberculosis, or any other communicable disease; 3) operated a Meth lab; and the like.

Sophia told her parents about my questionnaire after they decided to move here. Without going into details, she said they should provide their agent with the document and refuse to work with him unless he filled out the form for each property visited. I left the questionnaire in my secretary’s to-do pile for copying, and she sent the copies to Sophia’s folks.

My father-in-law subsequently consulted five real estate agents, commencing with Bill Franks. As Vito related afterwards, he informed each broker that my questionnaire had to be completed in its entirety; if not, Vito wouldn’t hire the person. Every agent indignantly refused. After the final rebuff, the fed-up homebuyer determined to purchase the first suitable new construction he came across, which just happened to be a home in our neighborhood.

Thanks to my conversation with Bill Franks, I finally can assign fault for the situation where it properly belongs: with me! Though I still can’t fathom how the switch occurred, I immediately recognized the source of the examples recited by Bill this morning. They originated in a set of draft interrogatories I’d typed for a nasty divorce case, including the following doozies:

How many times did you commit adultery? For each such occasion, identify the person you cheated with, the date on which you cheated, and the location at which you cheated.

Identify each illicit substance, including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines, which you have ingested at home within the past five years.

State whether you ever downloaded or viewed child pornography. If so, identify each location where you engaged in such practices, the dates of such activities, and the specific nature of the illicit practices in which you engaged.



Best to ask your realtor before you buy a home … and find remnants of this in the master bedroom!

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