Patriotism and ... Real Estate

 A big thanks to  Jon Tyson  on  Unsplash  for this photo.

A big thanks to Jon Tyson on Unsplash for this photo.

In these days of terrible political division and incivility, I am struck by the deep patriotism that can be found in … get this … the preamble to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors. 

It says this:

Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of the free institutions and of our civilization. Realtors should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment.

Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which Realtors should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be diligent in preparing themselves. Realtors, therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow Realtors a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.

As with any industry, there are some negative stereotypes about real estate agents. (Okay, maybe we have more than our fair share!) We’re sharky. We’re only in it for the money. Then there’s Glengarry Glen Ross [shudder]

But that preamble, above, is the basis of my industry, and presupposes that land ownership is of paramount importance to “free institutions” and even “our civilization.” 

On Independence Day, as we consider the principles on which the United States of America is built, I think about the pervasive American Dream of home ownership. And I think, it’s pretty cool to know that the above Preamble serves as the foundation for what Realtors are all about. I’m happy to be in this business again.


It's my destiny.

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I am the author of two novels and some short stories, a Middle Eastern expat returned home to Maryland, and a real estate investor.

For several years here on my blog I’ve been talking about expat life and travel in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and slinging my two mystery novels, which are set in the Ocean City. Now, I’ll be writing about two generations of house flipping in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.

My husband and I have done well, buying trashed houses and making them our homes—but we weren’t doing it on purpose to be “house hackers,” not really. We just jumped on bargains in places where we wanted to live, and added a bunch of elbow grease.

Except for a brief stint as a Realtor over 20 years ago, I’ve been a working writer, editor and communications expert for my whole professional life.

But with a name and a pedigree like mine, eventually I must submit to my fate. And now, the time has come.

My father owned a real estate company that specialized in flipping, back before that was really a thing. Kash Realtors: We Buy Homes for Kash.

For more than 25 years, he and his business partner made a living buying distressed properties, renovating them, and reselling them. Mostly he bought in neighborhoods too crappy (and architecturally unappetizing) for even the most stalwart of urban pioneers.

Back then, my mom, my sister and I often cringed at the design choices made at those houses, which were generally based on what materials were cheap and/or easy to install and/or already sitting in in the storage room at the real estate office. When I briefly sold houses back in the 90s, I didn’t even hang my license with the family business. I wanted no part of it.

Now, I have gotten my real estate license again, and I am going to start flipping houses and helping others find good investments--but in my own style. I wish my father were still alive to give me advice. Not on renovation plans or, heaven forbid, selecting the best backsplash tile. No. Instead, I wish he could talk to me about how to make the numbers work. How to make a snap buying decision—as you must—and be confident about it. How to conduct this business in ways that are helpful, and not predatory or uncaring.  

Kash Realtors is long gone, but I'm affiliating this time around with Caprika Realty, owned by Brendan and Chelsea Spear. They're family too, in spirit--and in actuality, too, if you can map out the connection involving cousins and in-laws.

Follow me on this blog as I chronicle my own real estate and home renovation adventures, as I learn the business and share some sweet and some cringeworthy memories of Kash Realtor flips in the 1970s and 80s.

Murder for Hire, at the Globe

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Murder for Hire, the indefatigable dinner theater troupe that has been dropping corpses around the Eastern Shore for more than two decades, will perform my latest script in Berlin at the Globe on Sunday, Oct. 29. But why am I telling you this? Tickets are sold out. I mean, really sold out. So far I haven't even been able to get one. So forget it, I won't even tell you about Murder on the High Seas. You don't need to know about Cap'n Tony's endless sea stories on this ill-fated cruise, or the yoga instructor who teaches hand-to-hand combat on deck at dawn. No use thinking about it.

What you should focus on instead, is getting your tickets to Murder for Hire's NEXT show, on Sunday, Dec. 10, also at The Globe. Go ahead, click through and book your tickets. Tony and Paulette Matrona and the rest of the gang will put on another dead-funny performance. If you want to make a beautiful holiday-themed weekend of it, arrive in Berlin Thursday evening for their Christmas parade. Then support local artists and craftspeople with some inspired gift-shopping during Friday evening's ArtWalk, also on Berlin's main street. Berlin is the loveliest town any time of year, and at Christmas it's truly magical. 

Let me know if you take me up on this! We can meet up and search out the mulled wine or hot cider that will surely be on offer that weekend on Berlin's main street.