It’s Less About the Real Estate than the Sunshine

8425 W Utopia RoadHere’s the reality of selling real estate in any of Phoenix’s active adult and retirement communities: it’s not the property I’m selling but the sunshine and the lifestyle.

That’s why, when I’m writing the description for any of my listings in these communities, I leave the nitty gritty of the property itself to the bullet points and instead utilize a Harlequin-esque spin to explain why this particular home should be your next home:

This is how winter should be spent … relaxing on your extended patio under 70-degree skies with a golf course as your backyard, feeling the southern sun on your skin while you bask in the warmth. Should the wind start to blow too briskly, go inside and enjoy your morning coffee in your breakfast nook also overlooking the golf course. Or, should the mood strike, close the plantation shutters, open a book and shut out the world for a little while. Whether you want to participate in Westbrook Village’s endless clubs and recreational activities, play a quick 18 or simply get out of the snow, this move-in ready casita has your cue for Jack Frost’s blues.

Now for a confession. There are only so many ways to describe sunshine so after a bit my descriptions tend to repeat key phrases. I prefer to think of this as staying on message, but that’s for the reader to decide:

Walk in the front door and savor the view of the Vista Golf Course’s 16th hole – your guests certainly will. This bright, airy Key Largo in Vista Fairways is meant for escaping the snow and cold of the north and enjoying the relaxing sight of green grass as you sip your cup of morning coffee on the patio or in the breakfast nook. Freshly painted and tastefully accented with plantation shutters, this move-in ready casita beckons.

That was written on one of my quieter days, admittedly. This next description, though, is one of my favorites:

Step outside and enjoy those last weeks of ”winter” and beginning of spring in this wonderfully updated home in Mesa’s Dobson Ranch. Sit on the extended patio overlooking the grass with your coffee or look to the pool and count the days until summer swimming season begins. And if the night gets too cold, light a fire in the wood-burning fireplace as you stretch out in the spacious family and living rooms. Maybe cook a meal for family or guests in the upgraded kitchen including newer counters, glass-panel cabinets and a smooth-top stove. In the mood for private time? The master bedroom has its own exit to the pool area. Community includes clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and fishing in the community lakes. Built to last by Continental and with the updates you would want in a classic home.

When my sellers read that, the first reaction was “you make our home sound like a resort.” And that’s really the point. I could have written about Dobson High School across the street, but that may deter as many buyers as attract depending on their feelings about the proximity to the school. I could have used the characters talking about the house having 3 bedrooms and 1 3/4 baths, but that’s already in the features on the listings so why repeat the “steak” rather than the “sizzle.”

Charm. Convenience. And a real good price to boot. Stretch out in the spacious family room or take your cup of coffee into the Arizona room overlooking the good-sized easy-care backyard of this single-level Central Phoenix townhouse. Located close to the community pool and a mile north of the Light Rail, this tastefully decorated home provides plenty of options for those living full time or just escaping the snows of Alberta or Wisconsin. All appliances remain in this turn-key beauty.

Marketing is about taking the challenges and turning them into opportunities while appealing to the largest possible audience. Note – this is not the same as getting the “maximum exposure” of myth because, frankly, “maximum exposure” doesn’t provide nearly as much exposure as one may think when compared to pushing a listing to other agents’ websites via IDX.

Take an enticing description and back it up with bright, clean professional photographs and a competitive price (not necessarily at market value but either above or below depending on the market and competition – hence, competitive) and any property should sell.

Because when you get someone hooked on the sunshine, the property itself becomes the add-on to the sale.

By the way … this add on now is for sale in Westbrook Village, on the 15th fairway of the Vistas Golf Course just shy of the green, for $207,500.

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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