Milwaukee, Wis. – Realtor James Thompson reported Monday that he believes a potential homebuyer who contacted him about seeing three suburban properties may only be interested in buying a home in order to secure a garage capable of allowing him to kill himself by carbon monoxide poisoning.
“This client’s inquiries regarding the properties were far different than most potential homebuyers I work with – and kind of bizarre, to tell you the truth,” explained Thompson, describing Bradley Talaski’s behavior during his inspections of the properties Monday. “Mister Talaski would silently mope around the actual houses, casually looking into some of the rooms for a minute or two, then he’d insist I show him the garage, where he’d check every nook and cranny, take measurements and ask a million questions about it. At first I didn’t understand why he was so much more interested in the garages than the living spaces. Only later did it sink in that he might actually be looking to a make a rather short-term investment.”
Thompson said that among the barrage of garage-related questions Talaski volleyed, a majority of the queries enjoyed the same theme – a theme which in afterthought Thompson now finds both scary and sad.
“[Talaski] asked a lot of questions regarding how ‘airtight’ the garage was,” said Thompson, recalling that Talaski’s overall demeanor was noticeably downbeat. “He was dressed rather sloppily and he had about five days of stubble on his face – the kind of appearance of someone who has recently been fired or divorced or whatnot. I didn’t ask anything about his personal life, of course – I am a professional, and it’s none of my business – but he looked about one step from going over the edge.”
According to Thompson, among the unusual questions posed by Talaski were: “Does the garage door shut tight – as in, really, really tight?”; “Can this garage door be locked from the inside?”; “If I pulled my car in here, are you absolutely sure there would be enough room for me to put, say, an extension on the exhaust pipe or run a hose out of it or something?”; “Is this garage insulated?”; and “There aren’t any holes or openings in this structure that I’m not seeing, are there? Holes where, say, smoke could come pouring out of, which might in turn cause the neighbors to call the fire department or anything, right?”
Thompson said he left the meetings without a clear impression about whether or not Talaski, 51, would indeed purchase a home through his realty company in the near future.
“I’m a little worried that I wasn’t significantly enough versed in the garage-related matters to sell these properties effectively in this particular situation,” admitted Thompson. “The houses I knew a lot about, having studied up on them in advance. But I’ve never had a homebuyer ask more about a garage than if it’s heated and if it has a functioning garage door opener. That made it a lot harder for me to motivate him to make an offer on the entire property.”
Thompson, who has halfheartedly tried following up with Talaski a number of times by phone and e-mail without success, said he is morally and ethically conflicted regarding how to handle the Talaski lead.
“Assuming Mister Talaksi is still alive – er, I mean, in the market for a property – on one hand, I mean, I could really use the commission after what I spent on the kids for Christmas,” said Thompson, 44, expressing the pros of doing business with an obviously distraught and potentially suicidal customer. “But on the other hand, I’d probably sleep easier at night if some other realtor sells this guy what I believe is certain to become a future crime scene.”
Striking a contemplative pose, Thompson began recanting this statement, saying, “Of course, we all have to look out for number one, and if the jobless rate and housing market continue on the same course long enough, specializing in this type of sale may soon become the best way to make a killing in real estate.”–Cliff Frantz