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Jonathan Dalton
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They Call Me the Fireman

What is it that a real estate agent does, exactly? The simple answer is we show homes to buyers, market homes for sellers and otherwise try our best to make sure that even though east is east and west is west at some point the twain shall meet, so to speak. Realistically, though, showing homes and negotiating the deal is the least part of the job. As much effort, if not more, is expended on simply putting out fires to keep a transaction together.

The Once Great Alaskan Shootout and Real Estate Amateur Hour

As an alumnus of Arizona State University, the past three nights have been spent watching the Sun Devils basketball team playing in the once-upon-a-time Great Alaskan Shootout (hard to say it's great given the thin field attracted this year, ASU included.) It was a maddening experience, both in watching the Sun Devils team plan and also the cable-access television quality of the broadcast. If you don't really know any of the details of Arizona State basketball then the lack of any substantial knowledge probably wasn't as noticeable - it's amazing how far only superficial knowledge will get you. But if you've spent even five minutes researching - or, say, had watched the team play the past two nights - then the lack of knowledge quickly becomes alarming. And for those who haven't spotted it walking down the block yet, the real estate hook is coming ...

Black Friday 2010

I think this explains why I won’t be found anywhere near a store this weekend … Or next weekend … Or any weekend between now and 2011 … Let me know when the coast is clear …

Of the Real First Thanksgiving

As endearing as the images of pilgrims and Charlie Brown and popcorn may be ... Until October 3, 1863, when Abraham Lincoln decreed it to be so, there was no national Thanksgiving holiday. Many states celebrated a Thanksgiving Day on a date of their own choosing; Lincoln himself had called for other days of national thanksgiving (along with days of fasting) during the Civil War. His writings always have struck me as more spiritual than religious, recognizing the presence of "Providence" without necessarily specifying to Whom he was referring ... well, with the below proclamation as a notable exception ...

Viewing Phoenix in Pictures

Just a quick note today to let y'all know about the rebirth of an old project, the Phoenix in Pictures photo blog. Now armed with my Blackberry Curve, which sends the photos I want to Flickr instead of whatever random shot it happens to choose like my old Samsung Instinct was wont to do, I'm clicking pictures during my travels around the Valley and posting them online.

Caught Between Technology and a Soft Spot

For the second consecutive holiday season, I have the same item on my gift list - an Amazon Kindle. It's written in pencil. Very faintly. With an asterisk and a question mark next to it. And it's been erased and re-written several times. As a one-time newspaper journalist, I've been able to deal remarkably well with the slow death of print newspapers in favor of online editions. (I'm a little less okay with the newspapers that have perished entirely, but there are dozens of examples spanning decades I also can point to including the first paper I ever read, the long lost Herald Examiner in Los Angeles.) It's much, much easier to click on a bookmark and get the day's local news at a glance. ESPN takes care of all I need in the sports arena, though I have to admit I stopped reading baseball box scores a) when they're online and not in print and b) when they started to include everything short of the pitcher's blood pressure when he threw a pitch.

A Little Night Music

I was driving home from Fletcher Heights earlier this evening when I ran across this song on the Sirius XM. Given some of my own recent experiences, along with the proliferation of b.s. appearing in some corners of the real estate wired world, it seemed appropriate. Enjoy.

Why Don’t I Write Many Contracts? It’s All About the Cornelia Marie

It’s most likely safe to assume the irony in Sunday’s confessional post has become apparent to all four people who read this website on a regular basis. And so we move on to the more important part of the story – how is it that I’m not spending my time writing offer after offer for the same buyer before successfully having an offer accepted? It’s really not much more complicated than what you see on Deadliest Catch after the crab pot has come over the rail and the haul of eight-legged tastiness is being unceremoniously dumped onto the sorting table. […]

Finding the Technological Comfort Zone

I moved back to my office this morning. In my case, this is a matter of unplugging the laptop computer and walking the 50 or so feet around the corner from the dining area where the kids' long-forsaken homework desk resides and down the hallway to the back bedroom of our home. This remarkably cluttered room - not Hoarders-level cluttered but approaching "unhappy fire marshal" stage - had been the home base for my real estate business since I started in July 2004. "Clearly he's not professional," you may say, eyeing the Jimmy Buffett flag and the bottle of nail polish belonging to one of the trio of females who wander into this room at their own risk to play Pogo (the wife), download music to their iPod (the eldest) or goof around on YouTube (the princess). I would argue the opposite as working here is absolutely a business decision. Does it make more sense to pay three figures a month to have a desk in an admittedly really nice office or to funnel that same money back into marketing properties and advertising the business while working from here?

Confession: I’m Not Writing that Many Real Estate Contracts

... at least, I don't seem to be writing nearly as many contracts as many of my peers here in the Phoenix real estate market. It's an embarrassing problem - maybe not men's erectile disfunction advertisement during football embarrassing - but still, it's hard not to feel a bit ... I don't know, inadequate. This isn't the kind of thing that's easy to admit. Go to happy hour and all you'll hear are agents talking about how many contracts they're writing. This is a short sale market, they say and I nod knowingly, or at least try my best to nod without giving away my hidden truth. Hell, even the most influential voice in the wired real estate world is writing multiple contracts all in an effort to secure a single property for his clients.

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