My Own Version of March Madness

You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet around here for the past six weeks. Then again, given the traffic numbers since roughly Valentine’s Day, maybe you haven’t. And I can’t say I blame you much.

“Why aren’t you writing,” you might rightfully ask. And the truth is, I’ve been writing nearly every day for the past month. Just not here. And just not about real estate.

This has been my office for the past six weeks, or at least one of my main two:

This is the view from the press box in Surprise Stadium, spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.

When I wasn’t here, I was in the press box of Maryvale Stadium in Phoenix, spring home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

From these two venues, I wrote about the spring adventures of the Rangers and the Brewers … the game results, the injuries, the demotions to the minors, reactions to the earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan from Japanese players, you name it.

Also from these two venues during this past six weeks I wrote five offers for five different buyers. Two fell out, one has closed, two more are moving along. I’ve put together listings for three different sellers and have one home, a short sale, already under contract.

I’ve negotiated, I’ve followed up, I’ve tracked inspections, I’ve run comps … I’ve done just about every aspect of my business, except for my Buffini-style hand-written notes. At times it was hectic, at other times nearly hellish, but as a free-lance sportswriter, something I have done (and quite well) for the past 20 years, this is what March is like.

Are press boxes odd places to use as offices? If you ask me, they are no stranger than this:

This is a empty room in a house for sale. On any given day, you can find many real estate agents in the Valley sitting in such a room with their Starbucks, their property fliers and their laptops as they sit an Open House in a vacant listing.

Of course, they are trying to sell the house in which they are sitting. But, knowing as they do that open houses virtually never work in selling homes, they’re also hoping to meet buyers who then will use their services for other properties.

In other words, what looks like hard work on behalf of the seller really is prospecting for the agent. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Today I went to a summary for a home inspection – I’ve yet to find a home inspector who works more efficiently just because I’m staring at him – and discovered the listing agent had been there the whole time. There was the table, there was some paperwork … he had turned the empty dining area into his own little office for the afternoon.

And so I ask you, is that really any better or worse than my choosing a room that happens to have a view of a baseball game I may or may not be watching? Hard to think so, if you ask me. And since you’re here, my opinion carries weight.

Today was my first day without a game since March 3 and how did I spend it? Driving from Peoria (video tour of a home) to Scottsdale (photographing new listing) to Glendale (video tour of two more homes) to Peoria (meeting another buyer at another home) to Glendale for lunch and to upload to videos to Surprise (home inspecting summary) to Peoria (kid pickup) and back home to Glendale. This covered a 6 1/2-hour span from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Task wise, I accomplished much. But in general, I felt less productive today doing the busy work of real estate than I did working with clients and writing offers from the press box in Surprise.

Speaking of which, it’s 6 p.m. and there still are two more offers to write, a listing to enter and a child to get home to her mom’s. Oh, and another to pick up from soccer.

Hmmmm … maybe I should see if someone needs a writer for extended spring training.

UPDATE: Looking at the photo, it’s actually Scottsdale Stadium where I spent one afternoon watching the Giants and Dodgers and listening to obnoxious people in orange chant “Boo-Ree-Bay” at Juan Uribe, who had the common sense to leave San Francisco to wear Dodgers blue.

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