It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our dear friend and colleague John F. Sullivan who passed away on September 16, 2018. I was deeply honored when Sally, John’s wife of 49 years, asked me to share some memories of John at his Memorial Service today in Baltimore, Maryland. I had the great privilege of working with John for over 20 years. With our long working history together, it was difficult to select just a few memories to share with John’s friends and family. John’s death has been a inexpressible loss to the Buyer’s Edge family both in our hearts and in our professional lives.
A few days after John passed, our company came together to share memories, thoughts and stories of John from over the years. One thing that was strikingly clear was that John was the consummate teacher. He was a true mentor to so many in our company and around the country in the Exclusive Buyer Brokerage business. We all relied on him to stay on top of all the latest real estate legislative changes and challenges both locally and on the national level. John never missed a beat and was always the first to share his knowledge with his fellow buyer’s agents. We are unclear how we will ever fill that enormous void.
Without question we all agreed that John also was the most dedicated advocate for his clients we have ever known. John truly loved his job and was absolutely unrelenting in his pursuit of the right answers. He would never compromise in anyway that wasn’t in the very best interests of his client.
John simply hated a robust Seller’s market. Not because it made his job harder, which it did, but because he couldn’t stand the idea of bidding wars where selling prices were escalated to unreasonable levels. John was "appalled" when people even thought about having to waive off on contingencies in order to purchase their dream home. He would jump through a thousand hoops to make sure that his clients were fully informed, protected and that the home buying process was completely transparent.
John also was a doer extraordinaire. With unwavering focus, he took pride in helping to transform the centuries old model of real estate transactions that favored the seller to the buyer's disadvantage. He did this by putting in a phenomenal amount of time and energy as the President and as a Board Member of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents and as a broker, testifying before committees on the federal, state and local level about the "evils" of legally sanctioned dual agency in all of it’s forms. John was instrumental in creating many of the agency disclosure forms that are currently in use around the country today, but was never satisfied that enough was being done. He championed the cause with appearances before and participation in the Consumer Federation of America and on committees for both the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors® and the Maryland Association of Realtors. He especially loved his time spent with the Federal Hill Main Street and Live Baltimore groups.
John was a noted resource on real estate issues for NPR, The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine and other publications and news sources.
John had this kind of humor made us all smile year in and year out. We loved his signature, fun bow-ties and crazy colored outfits. He even loved his sandals and knew they were the Perfect Foil for doing battle with the Gucci clad clan of agents who believe that dual agency is okay and that pocket listings are even better.
John was so passionate! He was a very talented photographer, he loved the opera and was a serious wine enthusiast. John loved to share his works and wine with friends and most thankfully with his co-workers.
He loved baseball too, but it was obvious to all that Sally and Nora were his biggest passions. He set the bar high for the role of devoted husband and father for all of us at the Edge. At office meetings, John loved talking about Nora and her accomplishments and was so happy she found a good partner in James. He loved spending time with Sally and taking their trips all over the country together. The last time I spoke with John, he was so pleased and happy that they had recently shared their 49th wedding anniversary together. Sally and Nora were the loves of his life. He knew he was a very, lucky man.
His tireless dedication and passion for doing the right thing for America’s homebuyers has left behind a very real legacy, which will affect the way we do things at Buyer’s Edge and in the entire real estate industry for generations to come. On a personal level, everyone of us who knew John and worked alongside him will remember him with great love and affection. When all is said and done, however much you love your work, it’s the people that you meet in it that really matter. Colleagues who then become dear friends, like John, are something very special; you don’t come across many of them and when you do, they leave a lasting impression. John, we’re really going to miss your warmth, kindness, wisdom and friendship.
John called me a week before he died at 7am in the morning and, as always, was discussing all of the deals for his buyer clients.
John’s parting words to me were, "I feel bad that I didn’t take down dual agency, yet, I’ll keep at it from the other side."
By: Stephen Carpenter-Israel - President and Broker of Buyer’s Edge