Phoenix Real Estate Remains a Numbers Game

No one wants to be treated like a number – not you, not me, not even the beagles here in All Phoenix Real worldwide headquarters (though one of them seems to act like No. 2 more often than not.)

Having said that, the real estate profession remains a numbers game … and to be perfectly candid, the public helps to perpetuate that situation.

Over the last couple of days I’ve found myself talking to someone planning a move to the Valley. He is looking in three different areas and has three different agents, one for each area. I’m number three on the list, or maybe number one if he decides he likes Westbrook Village more than the others.

But no matter where I fall on the list, I’m a number … the service I provide above and beyond opening the front door and discussing HOA transfer fees matters not. I’m not totally cool with this, to be honest, but I get it and so I made the decision to invest the time and hope for the best.

(I’ve also had people using three different agents all to look at homes in the same neighborhood … in these situations, past and present, I decline … it’s a waste of the buyers’ time, which they’ll eventually learn, and a waste of mine.)

It’s on such small things that decisions constantly are being made when running a real estate business … how many hours do I invest here or there, who among the folks coming through the websites is serious, who is just browsing, and who is looking a year or more down the line.

For better or worse, the equations soon come into play … x number of people on the website equals y number of true prospects equals z sales equals q number of mortgage payments the agent is able to make. Try as we might to make this business about the individuals, it remains about the numbers.

One of the reasons I moved to “by referral” is I want to escape that grind. I want to have my calendar full but filled by the friends and family of those who know me, who have worked with me, who know what I have to offer rather than trying to process web registrations through the grinder. It’s better for my clients (and my future clients). It’s better for the beagles. It’s better for me.

It’s an idealistic goal to be certain but a goal it remains. I just can’t do it alone.

In a discussion yesterday with some folks from Redfin, we discussed how that company’s model has evolved since the company launched. The reality is the current real estate model is the model because, while not close to 100 percent effective and certainly not 100 percent efficient, it’s the model the public has chosen en masse for decades. Radical changes usually become assimilated because the larger public is used to things the way they are.

Real estate is a numbers game because the public – not everyone but the mob – likes a model where buyers can search and not pay out of pocket for service. Since there’s no direct out-of-pocket cost, there’s no investment and no worry about time, resources, etc. We’re an extension of our lockbox key, little more.

It’s something I would change tomorrow if I could. But you’ve got to change it with me, folks. There are two sides to that particular equation.

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