Knowing Me, Knowing You

avatarthumbnail.jpgDriving home in Interstate 17 last night after the Phoenix Suns’ last-second win over the Orlando Magic, I changed radio stations and was stopped by the golden tones of Frida and Agnetha, Benny and Bjorn.

Yes, ABBA radio had returned to SIRIUS satellite radio. And with the return came the lightness of heart that only can come from singing lyrics once described by a critic as something “out of a Swedish-to-English travel phrasebook.”

The loser standing small, indeed.

If not for the fact we’ve been together for the past two-plus years as author and reader, I might not be comfortable sharing this little vignette with you. ABBA happens to be one of those guilty pleasures that comes from listening to the same dozen songs on your K-Tel cassette tape circa 1980. Pop Muzik, anyone?

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We all have things that we probably wouldn’t normally admit out loud, and nowhere does that seem to be more apparent than in the real estate world. We all plaster on our smiles and discuss our millions in sales (if we had them) and proclaim ourselves to be the best at this or that.

What’s said usually is true, or at least based on a true story – every day real estate with a happy, Disneyesque twist of poetic license. Personally, I think the stories of the less than glamorous moments tend to personalize the real estate process. It’s neither standardized nor sanitized … every transaction is different, every situation is different.

As a listing agent, I have had listings expire. I even had one cancel this year when I refused to buy into placing intentionally false listing prices on craigslist and couldn’t get any sort of commitment from the owner to stop this practice.

Listings had been a secondary priority for most of the year. For the first nine months of the year, there was only one “normal” listing – I’m contacted by the seller, we put the home on the market. The others were either past clients, friends or referrals, and most (but not all) were distress sales.

The hardest thing you can do with a friend is tell them you can’t really help them. If I’ve had a significant failure this year, that would be it.

In general, though, I’ve never seen an expired listing as an implicit failure. Especially in these times, there are going to be some properties that will not sell either because of the condition, the sellers’ motivation or a deteriorating market.

Sometimes, after the 90-day listing period I request, the seller and I learn that we’re not as compatible as first believed and separating would be the best thing. And neither of us has to pay alimony, though I’m out the marketing dollars I’ve already spent.

My friend Bill Lublin in Philadelphia put it best … if none of your listings expire, you’re not taking enough listings.

I didn’t take nearly enough listings in 2008, something I intend to correct in 2009. Like a fondness for ABBA, that’s the kind of admission very few would be willing to make. I look at it this way … if that kind of blatant transparency bothers you, then you probably weren’t going to Take a Chance on Me anyway.

But if you change your mind, I’m the first in line …

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

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