PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — She's tried night clubs and online dating sites, but now a 42-year-old single mother is looking for love where everyone else's heart is breaking — the real estate market.
After a year of trying to sell her four-bedroom home and eight years of singledom, Deven Trabosh is offering her South Florida home and a shot at marrying her on the Internet.
"I figured let's combine the ad because I'm looking for love and I'm looking to sell the house," said Trabosh, who teeters around the nearly 2,000 square-foot house in patent leather heels.
"Marry a Princess Lost in America," Trabosh wrote in the ads she posted on eBay and Craigslist last week. She describes a life of romance and travel and a home decorated with vaulted ceilings, upgraded tile and a soaking tub in a gated community with a pool and tennis courts.
Trabosh, a licensed real estate agent who hasn't practiced in years, knew she would struggle to sell the home in the troubled real estate market, but insists her fairytale ad isn't just a sales gimmick.
"I'm struggling...I don't want to lose my house and I want to find somebody," said Trabosh, who changed her name in the ad to Traboscia to keep people from finding her in the phone book. "So I came up with this dream plan because I've always dreamt about being a fairytale princess."
She listed the home for $340,000 on a sell-it-yourself Web site, but upped the price, adding a $500,000 shipping fee to include her companionship on eBay.
Trabosh says eBay removed her ad, though she planned to change the wording and repost it. Under the site's prohibited services policy, eBay does not allow the sale of human beings, body parts or relationships, spokeswoman Catherine England said Friday.
Trabosh hasn't received any serious offers, but says she's had nearly 500 responses, mostly positive, including one from Ottie of Surrey, England, who e-mailed to say, "You are offering the perfect life with the perfect American princess."
She whips out her laptop to show off a picture of Claudio, a handsome Italian wine and cheese taster, who she's been corresponding with since he responded to the ad. Seated on a white leather love seat in her living room, she giggles almost girlishly about him. They're hoping to meet in Miami in a few weeks.
She's gotten criticism, too. Her 21-year-old daughter Haley says she just wants her mom to find love, but her 14-year-old daughter says her mother is embarrassing her. Other have e-mailed to say she's selling herself short.
"I'm not selling myself. I'm selling love...to meet that true love," Trabosh says. "Of course, it's gonna take more chemistry and connection. It's not going to be instantaneous that I'm just going to be automatically for sale...it's a package deal for true love."
Trabosh isn't the first to use the Internet to hawk the unconventional. A heartbroken Australian man recently tried to sell his life online, including his house, job and friends. Others have sold body space, promising to display advertisements for the highest bidder.
"There is a plethora of quirky ads on craigslist that pop up on craigslist every day, and this appears to be one of them," spokeswoman Susan MacTavish Best said in an e-mail. "Scads of couples have met and, thus, married through craigslist over the last twelve years sometimes marrying the person who bought their tired couch."
Ideally, Trabosh hopes a European man will close the deal and says she's willing to move overseas.
"I know I'm putting myself out there. I'm sincere. I believe in true love," she says. "I want to get married again."
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