Richard Fulks, 36, who ran Herne Bay Estate Agents in Kent, was found dead in his car after sending his wife a text message that read: "Goodnight and goodbye." He had been increasingly concerned at the falling property market.
Mr Fulks' wife, Debbie, said: "He was a private and proud man. Business had slowed. The problems weren't that bad, but I think he did feel he may have let us down."
Mrs Fulks, 40, told the Herne Bay Gazette the market had got much worse since October last year, but her husband's death had been a "total shock".
He sent his farewell message at 12.45am on 26 January, but she did not receive it until 5.30am that day.
Police discovered Mr Fulks' body at nearby East Blean Woods later the same day after being called to investigate reports of an abandoned car. He is thought to have gassed himself with exhaust fumes.
Mr Fulks, who lived in Herne Bay with his wife and sons Steven, 17, Sam, 14, and four year-old Brendan, had run the estate agency since 2000.
Mrs Fulks described him as her "knight in shining armour".
"Richard was totally focused on his family, his home and his business, he was everything to us," she said. "He was a very good father and a wonderful family man."
A spokesman for Kent police said yesterday: "We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the death."
An inquest is due to be held.Reuse content