Monday, December 28, 2020

Book Review: Back on the Market

By Jami Denison

As a realtor who recently divorced and remarried, I was keen to pick up Back on the Market (A Realtor’s Guide to Love and Life) by Holly Parker, an extremely successful New York City broker who had words of wisdom on both subjects. Published by Forefront books, a Simon & Schuster company that marries self and traditional publishing for high-profile businesspeople, Back on the Market notes the similarities between marketing a house for sale and marketing a person for a relationship, based on Parker’s personal and professional life. 

Parker seems like a go-getter right from the start. Reconnecting with and quickly marrying a childhood acquaintance, she moves from Boston to New York City and starts her real estate career all over again. Since success in real estate seems directly correlated with how many people you know, I was really interested to learn how she rebuilt her connections to become as successful as she is. Unfortunately, there’s only a brief allusion to getting early to the office every morning. Whatever else she did to generate her $500 million in sales a year goes undescribed. 

The marriage falls apart about eight years later, and much of the book is spent with Parker rebuilding her own self-image from the blow that delivered. She sees herself as a house no one wants, using real estate terms such as “out of contract” and “as is” to make the comparisons. Clearly, she was absolutely crushed by the death of her marriage, and it took a lot of time and hard work to dig herself out of that emotional hole. At the same time, she was able to stay in her expensive NYC apartment and go on glamourous international vacations. With nearly eighty percent of divorced women experiencing a significant drop in income and lifestyle after divorce, Parker’s rebuilding techniques may be hard for other divorced women to identify with.

The book is at its best when Parker couples general ideas about real estate and emotional rebuilding with anecdotes about her clients. Buying and selling in New York City has unique requirements and language—coop boards, the “classic six”—that make the real estate game there more challenging than anywhere else in the country. When she finally meets the man she eventually marries, she doesn’t offer too many details, leaving her happily ever after mostly to the readers’ imagination. 

Parker is a charming writer, a hard worker and seems like a terrific friend. Reading the book is a bit like watching an HGTV show and wondering about the private lives of the realtor and featured buyers and sellers. The book’s biggest drawback is that Parker chronicles events that happened to her about fifteen years ago. Back on the Market, a guide to love and real estate, never mentions the two biggest dot coms in those games—Match and Zillow. When you can find love and a new condo without ever leaving your computer chair, new rules are created and the old no longer apply. 

Thanks to Elise Silvestri Productions for the book in exchange for an honest review. 

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