Beware of Walkers

We’re becoming surrounded by walkers, folks.

If you don’t watch The Walking Dead, walkers are mindless zombies whose only purpose on the planet is to feed on the living. In this week’s People (or was it Us … hard to keep track of what the wife leaves in the bathroom on top of my Sports Illustrated) Sarah Wayne Callies says it’s not a question of whether her character will die and become undead but only a question of when.

I’d like to think the same can’t be said of your humble host and his beagles.

Imagine that … the real estate industry is changing under our feet and your best defense, the people most looking out for the best interest of the consumers, are those miserable, commission-driven real estate agents.

Yes, we work on commission. But we’re also out in the real world with you, cognizant of your concerns and your hopes, your fears and your needs _ not lurking behind a computer screen behind some remote desk thinking of ways to turn your home search into advertising dollars.

Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.Com, HotPads for you renters … all you are to any of these companies is a faceless search impression, nothing more.

They don’t give a damn if their data is terrible, as long you look.

They don’t give a damn if they’re spawning more scammers than an abandoned pool breeds mosquitos, as long as you look.

They don’t give a damn if you ever purchase, if you ever sell … if you ever recover from your short sale, if you’re able to find a rental where your pets will be welcome, if you’ll be ever to send your children to the schools of your choosing. None of this matters because, to turn a phrase, you’re not a man but a mouse.

The Walking are creeping up on us. The wicked cool search portal I have here is provided by Diverse Solutions, which was acquired by Zillow. Likewise, I learned earlier my designated broker similarly has been acquired by Zillow.

I can tell you the impact of the former, to date, has been zero. And I can tell you the impact of the latter, in the future, will be zero.

Jay of Thompson’s Realty is going to step down as designated broker and our Queen of Brokerage Operations, Francy, will become the DB. And unless you’re really mad at me and feel the need to call my broker – no one has yet, by the way – you as one of my clients never will know the difference.

More importantly, I promise you that you will still get the same honest (if not always welcome) view of the real estate market and the realities of searching for a home online. Put another way, just because Zillow hired a couple of people I respect, it doesn’t mean the data’s any less terrible than it was a month ago.

In closing … I’ve almost deleted this post a half-dozen times since I started. I’m too old for knee-jerk reactions – a large zipper scar running down your sternum tends to help a person find a little bit of perspective.

But I just couldn’t do it. Yes, my three readers, I’m a little shaken at this point, wondering if there’s a reason to continue the fight on your behalf rather than turn you over to the mindless masses. For Walking Dead fans, it’s sort of like watching Sophia walk out of the barn after a season spent looking daily for her, hoping against the realities of the situation.

I may not be perfect, friends. But I’m still here, even with the taint of working on commission. And I’m fighting for you, your need for quality online data, for your need for knowledge, for your need to have someone help you from Point A to B without simply flashing up a map and saying, “Vaya con Dios.”

I’ll be damned if I’m going to become a zombie.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at