We have the esteemed pleasure of announcing that we will be featuring a biweekly guest post from the Naked Homeowner, written by Peter Dolezal. To serve as introduction we have included an article from the Peninsula News Review that will summarize this fantastic resource more eloquently then we could hope to. We look forward to receiving your comments and questions. Without further Ado…

Please Enjoy,
Ian and Marilyn

The nudity isn’t about attracting attention, says Peter Dolezal. Both the title — The Naked Homeowner — and the semi-nude figures on the front cover, obscured only by a “for sale” and “sold” sign, are representative of the vulnerability of the average person when faced with buying and selling a home in today’s market. He wrote the book, he said, to address that vulnerability and give househunters the tools (or clothes) they need to come through the process ahead.

“I had a boutique real estate business in Tsawwassen,” he said. “For five years, we did exceptionally well, in the top 100 in Greater Vancouver.” During hundreds of transactions, the one thing that struck him was how little people knew — about the market, about negotiations, about their legal responsibilities, about how to best present their home to make the sale. “It amazed me how completely unprepared the average person was for the buying and selling process.”

Last year, on January 1, he began writing the first words of the book that would become The Naked Homeowner, having determined that there was little in the bookstores that addressed the questions he hoped to answer. “Should you go with a realtor or sell by yourself? How do you select a realtor?” (The book makes it clear that Dolezal thinks, except in very rare cases, that bringing a realtor on board is the only way to go, something he emphasizes by pointing out that during his last home sale, he himself, an experienced realtor, retained a local realtor to make the sale.) “What’s the cost of a sale? How do you stay in control of the process? The average Canadian moves every 5 years, so in any lifetime, every person will buy or sell five or six times. If they don’t understand the process, they tend to leave money on the table.” Considering that leaving money on the table in a real estate transaction means thousands of dollars, Dolezal says it’s worthwhile to do your research.

“I saw people overpay because they didn’t tune into the marketplace and didn’t do their homework,” he said of his work as a realtor. “The biggest element is to know your responsibility as a customer, to make the house the most presentable, the most saleable.”

Retired after years in the workforce (before breaking in as a realtor, he was CEO at a number of large companies in industries like mining and oil), Dolezal looked at writing the book as a new, fun challenge and finished the first draft in two months. After that there was five months of work editing the manuscript, a task for which he relied on a source close to home. “Luckily, I have an in-house editor,” he said. “My wife is an English whiz.”

He wanted the book to avoid a textbook style, instead aiming for readability and clear explanations that would sum things up for anyone looking to buy or sell. “I wanted it to read like a human being wrote it,” he said.

The experience of writing the book was enjoyable enough that Dolezal now intends to follow it with a series of other books that draw on his wide knowledge base. The next one, already written, will be The Naked Traveller (the nude figures on the front will cover up with suitcases, of course). “I’ve been to over 50 countries and six continents,” he said, explaining that he’s traveled for both business and pleasure and explained in the book not how to visit any specific locale, but how to travel more effectively and economically. “How to upgrade [a flight] for free, how to get deals on hotel rooms,” he said. Fittingly, the accomplished traveler and his wife are heading off for two months in South America this year. After The Naked Traveller comes out this summer, Dolezal has plans for books on investing, the world of business executives, and a how-to for aspiring realtors. “I have to stick to subjects I know something about,” he said. “After that, I run into fiction.”

-Cat George