It wasn’t easy being a realtor in 1950s Chicago. Especially if you were a woman, desperate to keep your own home.
Home Sweet Home is the working title of a book I’ve written about a real estate agent in Chicago. I was a PA in real estate for six years and still work on newsletters and social media on a freelance basis. As far as jobs go, it’s been the love of my life so when I finished this book (about two years ago) I read it and thought “God no! This is more than awful!.” A rewrite was called for but I was too close to the story – I needed some distance.
Two years later I’ve gone back to the book and have started my research again with some help from the Chicago Association of Realtors. The book is set in the 1950s which was an interesting but difficult time for women in real estate. For a start, women who had gone into real estate while the men were away at war were not expected to give up their jobs when the men returned. However, they also were not allowed to become realtors and without being a realtor they didn’t have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so on their own were unable to work with other brokers on listings or know what was available on the market.
Home Sweet Home is the story of a widow who sees real estate as a way of living an independent life after the death of her husband. It’s only a cliche because it’s true! Residential real estate in the US is dominated by women and has been since WWII – when there were many widows and insurance wasn’t what it is today.
I’m enjoying the editing of the book much more than the writing and that’s a surprising thing for a writer to say! It’s always good when you know what you’re doing.