From Writing To Real Estate

Time to switch from writing to real estate – and back, just like changing hats. I have a very busy hat rack. That’s the nature of modern entrepreneurial business.

Last week’s post was about a presentation Don Scoby and I gave at Langley Library about Modern Self-Publishing. (Go to one of my other blogs,, for an anecdote about what happened after the library – and the rest of Langley – closed. Closing Time) Next week I’ll be back at the library for something that takes more of my time and energy (and possibly produces a sustainable income) – real estate, a reprise and update to last years “Is Whidbey Changing?” presentation. (And then will do the same in Freeland and Coupeville.) One of the consequences of the modern work world is the necessity of multiple jobs instead of one occupation, and the ability to quickly change from one to another to whatever without losing emphasis or enthusiasm. Multi-tasking on a much larger scale.

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Real estate can be completely fill calendars and schedules. That’s not a surprise, especially when seen from the inside. I thought transactions were complicated enough when I was a buyer over ten years ago. Now, they’re more complicated, there’s more of a need for a professional, and the money involved is more likely to be measured in fractions of a million. After some retrospection I sent a thank you and an apology to the real estate broker I used for several transactions. Oh, the silliness of the demands I made back then. Shudder. Thanks, Kathryn Hawkes.

While the two vocations seem unrelated, and that both hats may not fit on the same head, there’s actually a link; and one of the attendees at the previous talk inspired me to chronicle the path from one to the other. Welcome to the world of laughing along at plans, and accepting opportunities that arise.

Too many writers/authors focus on book sales. That’s understandable. Publishing seems to be about printing books, selling books, making money from the sales, and writing the next book. That works for some, but not for many. That’s no reason to stop writing or publishing. From my Author Page on Amazon;

“I fell into writing by trying to lose weight. That’s not an obvious career path. I decided to lose weight by bicycling, and figured it would take so much bicycling that I’d be able to cross the continent. So I did. By the time I was done, I’d sent out 15,000 words of emails, which a friend pointed out was more notes than most writers have when they start a book. So I wrote Just Keep Pedaling. The emails tell one story. The rest of the book gets into what really happened each day.

After the first book I realized that I could do a better job and decided to chronicle the life of the natural world in Washington’s Cascade mountains. I’d hiked there for a couple of decades and was surprised to find that, despite the excellent writer and adventurers in the area, no one had taken on the simple task of describing a year’s worth of visits to the mountains. And so the Twelve Month series swept into my life.

But people asked where I found the time to delve into these adventures. When they find out that I retired at 38 they want to know about how I did that. So I wrote one book on personal finance (Dream. Invest. Live.) and helped on another (Your Money or Your Life – revised and updated edition).

That’s what happens when I relax and follow the path the universe lays out for me.”

Becoming an author created gateways that led to avenues I didn’t expect.

Many adventures ensued, but the thread that matters here is how writing lead to real estate.

Ironically, my book on personal finance came out as the stock and real estate markets crashed. As my rainy day portfolio funds tried to create an umbrella, they soon drained to the point that I couldn’t pay my mortgage. Managing to refinance my mortgage and keep my house out of foreclosure was a story I told in this blog. Evidently, I did that well enough to get a part-time gig writing for a real estate news site (the Seattle branch of that wanted someone who understood the anguish and process of maneuvering a tortuous trial. I wrote for them long enough to attract the attention of another real estate site, (actually a brokerage). At the same time, many of my friends who were real estate brokers encouraged me to become one too because I evidently understood the industry, the market, and the advancing technology. After about a year of cajoling, I took the classes, passed the test, and got the license, and have been busy in real estate since then. Ironically, it led me back to the library to make presentations about houses instead of words.

Two seemingly disparate activities are actually connected. Take a look at the world. That’s usually the way it really works. Who knows what follows what?

Now, I spend most of my days checking listings, conducting analyses of the market (watch my Facebook business page, LinkedIn, or Twitter for updates) and of individual homes, and generally having months-long conversations with fascinating people who are trying to make important decisions – while also taking lots of classes to keep up to date.


My passions haven’t changed. I am passionate about people and ideas, a passion that permeates engineering, writing, speaking, teaching, consulting – and real estate. People have ideas of how they want to live. It’s an honor and can be a great joy to help.

I don’t know what, if anything, will come next. In the meantime, I follow the flow, enjoy the ride, and look forward to helping others along the way. I’m also glad I have a big hat rack at home.

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: and at my amazon author page:
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