For Sale Signs Are Like Stars, Echoes of a Distant Past

When I added Thursday’s post about the lack of inventory to Facebook, the response was about what I had anticipated. To paraphrase,

There are for sale signs everywhere I turn in my neighborhood. How can there not be inventory?

Much as looking at the night sky is a peek back into history, so to is looking at the for sale signs as you drive around your particular neighborhood. Results may vary but most likely what you are seeing are signs for homes already under contract.

Take the Dobson Ranch in Mesa for instance. There are about a dozen or so homes for sale across the primary four square miles of the Ranch between Alma School and Price, Guadalupe and Baseline. Yet there are almost three times as many for sale signs, most belonging to homes under contract.

What is missing from those signs are the Sale Pending or Sold riders, and for cause. If an agent is trying to pick up more buyers, he or she isn’t going to add a Sale Pending rider and cause someone driving by not to pick up the phone. That’s typical these days especially of bank owned homes and short sales.

By contrast, if you have an agent who is working to make a particular neighborhood their own, you’ll see the Sale Pending go up the first moment possible to advertise to everyone that he has sold a home there.

(In short, the for sale signs are about us and not about you. Sorry.)

It’s for this reason that the absolutely least effective way to look for a home is to drive around an area and call on for sale signs. (Okay, the true least effective way is to look in the newspaper classifieds since there’s nothing in there anymore. But I digress.)

With so few homes on the market, working with an agent is becoming of increasing importance. (And working with one agent so there’s a consistent dialogue makes more sense than working with six agents all accessing the same homes in the MLS. It’s not like we each have something different when we log in.)

It’s disappointing to look at a home and realize what you’re seeing for sale isn’t really there anymore. I can relate. There was a considerable amount of sadness the first time I looked at the sky after learning that what I’m seeing no longer exists, too.

Photo credit: NASA

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