Marking Milestones Big and Small


Let’s start with the somewhat less earth-shattering milestones …

1) Next week will mark a decade since I passed the state real estate exam and became a real, by-God practicing real estate agent. For the first nine-plus years I was selling full-time; the last nine months have been spent as a so-called rainmaker. You contact me and I’ll get you set up with one of my excellent buyers’ agents. Listings, I still do.

Does that make me a part-time agent? I guess so, assuming you also believe one of the nation’s top sellers, who rarely works with clients himself, also is a part-timer.

2) This month marks the eighth birthday of this thing I call

Now, it’s been quieter the last few months than it has been, which has led to an ironic discovery.

The less I wrote, the more people come to the site searching for homes. I’m going to chalk this up to seasonal differences versus a critical assessment of my writing ability, but nevertheless, the fact remains.

(This should be confounding to the last members of that class known as real estate online gurus who insist regular posting is the only way to get traffic. And, for that matter, it ought be equally confounding to those who believe IDX – the online home search here on this site – also is on its last legs.

Having gotten those two out of the way, what I really want to talk about is this and what it could foretell for real estate in the future:

neil-armstrong_0Last month, we were on vacation in Galveston and I dragged the two teenagers along to take a tour of NASA.

First question? What is the point when we’re not flying the Space Shuttle anymore.

Second question? Why did the United States spend so much money on  the space program when there are problems here on Earth.

Both were relatively easy to answer.

First, NASA’s not done with its work, though there remains the eternal debate between showmanship and science, in as much as it’s much more cost-effective to use robotics and probes and machines than human beings to explore space.

Second, it’s a false assumption that money not spent on the space program would have found its way into any sort of meaningful social programs (as well as debatable whether there is such thing as a meaningful social program. But that’s neither here nor there right now.)

What I couldn’t quite figure out was the general disinterest in the either concept of space exploration.

I was born two weeks before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step foot on the moon; I was one of thousands of infants in their mother or father’s lap watching on television when it took place.

The concept of being on the moon, even though the flights ended before I was old enough to remember them (Skylab, now that I remember), was fascinating. To look in the sky at that bright white face and realize a fellow human being stepped on that barren landscape …

Yet, my children seem to lack that same fascination. Maybe it’s because they grew up in this generation, where the Internet is not a wonder onto itself and Snapchat is of more interest than the utterly awe-inspiring concept of Earthrise.

How do you explain how awesome it is in the true sense of the word awesome – leaving those witnesses in a state of awe.

Should this really be like 3-D art, where you either see it or you don’t?

A couple of years back, Discovery showed then-live video coverage of the moon landing as viewed from Disneyland 45 years ago. It took place in Tomorrowland with the screen essentially where Star Tours stands today, around the corner from the Flight to the Moon ride. (Incidentally, it only cost a couple of bucks to get into Disneyland – you paid for the rides by purchasing books of tickets. But this may be too much of a history lesson for some.)

It was fascinating just to watch the people congregating to watch; outside of a tragedy like 9/11, nothing of that sort has happened in years.

As for the real estate tie-in …

I have a friend who recently told me that she and her boyfriend “got a house.” The thing is, they didn’t get a house in the sense of getting a house that I’m familiar with – purchasing one. They rented a house. Which, roughly speaking, is like me saying that I got a Mustang because I rented one on vacation once.

They have a place to live. But they have no ownership of it. Everything they may want to do – add landscaping, paint, hang stuff on the walls, change out a ceiling fan (as I spent my afternoon doing) only can be done with the blessing of the owner. They live there, but only because someone else is allowing them to do in exchange for cash.)

Yet … it’s not an unusual attitude.

How do I explain to a generation that doesn’t have any sense of the importance of the space program that there’s still something to be said for owning one’s home, owning the land upon which the house was built, a yearning that contrary to belief didn’t start with the National Association of REALTORS but goes back hundreds of years to when only a precious, privileged few owned actual land.

Just as my children shrug their shoulders at the wonder of men on the moon, am I also destined to watch them shrug their shoulders at one of mankind’s basic desires that has stretched through the last couple of centuries?

Truth be told, I don’t have an answer.

But I do have a hope.


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

1 Comment

  • Justin McHood 4 years ago

    Best thing you can do for your SEO?

    Go on vacation for a while and forget about it.

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