Six Years and Still Rolling

Even if we haven’t agreed on much, I’m sure we can agree on this … that this post from my original real estate blog on RealTown, written six years ago today, really and truly sucked.

Two definitions:

in-vest-or: One who commits (money or capital) in order to gain a financial return: invested their savings in stocks and bonds.

spec-u-la-tor: A person who trades (i.e. derivatives, commodities, bonds, equities or currencies) with a higher-than-average risk, in return for a higher-than-average profit potential. Speculators take large risks, especially with respect to anticipating future price movements, or gambling, in the hopes of making quick, large gains.

Much has been made over the past year about the impact of investors on the Phoenix real estate market. In most instances, they are depicted as being analagous to locusts, descending on a given area and feeding until there’s no profit to be had and moving on.  But in most of these depictions, the stories are describing speculators – the same people who purchased Internet stocks before the NASDAQ bubble burst – people with no interest in holding a property for any length of time. They weren’t investing – they were playing craps with houses instead of dice.

The truth is investors were in the Phoenix market before 2005 and they remain in the market today. And more investors continue to look to the Phoenix area as an area worthy of their money. There are a number of reasons why Phoenix remains a viable investment option:

* Robust economy

* Consistent pleasant weather

* General affordability of homes

Affordability has become an issue of late, primarily because of the sudden increase in prices a year ago. Some believe the rise was too high for a market of Phoenix’s size while others believe the increase was a “catch-up” from slower appreciation in past years. Phoenix is more expensive than many midwestern markets but less expensive than many markets on the West or East Coast.

The key for any investor is to know themselves and to have realistic expctations. The volume of homes on the market has put pricing pressure on sellers; homes aren’t available at their pre-2005 prices, but there has been room to negotiate on price for many months. In addition, rental rates are creeping  up and have been for the last several months.

Much of an investors’ success depends on their financing. Many still look to purchase with little to no out of pocket, and it’s these purchases that are not penciling out in most cases. But with a modest down payment and a solid financing package, it’s still possible to realize slight or neutral cash flow and take advantage of expected future appreciation.

Over the next several days I’m going to be posting some different statistics about the Phoenix market — the trends that have been taking place in pricing, inventory, etc.

On a side note, additions to this journal have been few and far between because – believe it or not – my business has remained robust during this so-called slow period. Your patience with the intermittent posts has been and continues to be greatly appreciated.

We’ll talk again soon.


There were a handful of posts before that one as both I and others tried to figure out what exactly a blog was and what the point of one might be. There were no gurus to tell us what we’re supposed to write, no social media sites where real estate success was guaranteed once you learned how to use them (or so we were told). There were no Real Estate BarCamps, no Agent Reboots, no InmanNext … no pack of lies anywhere about how easy this is once you figure out the basic formula.

What there was, at least shortly after the sucky attempt above, was an effort to bring transparency to real estate and to stop pretending that it’s rocket science. It’s not, not by a long stretch. It’s oft confusing but primarily because we obfuscate as much of it as we can in an effort to seem more crucial than we are.

Don’t get me wrong – a good real estate professional absolutely brings value to the equation, either in a higher/lower sales price, or time saved in the search, or general stress reduction by handling the hiccups as they come up without turning them into Pikes Peak. But there are few mysteries to unravel – if there were, even more than 80 percent of the licensed real estate population would be failing.

Six years, 2,500 posts (and damn near all written by me or Tobey with help from a ghost-writer), at least two months-long cases of writers block and a few score of sales to show for all the work.

Here’s to another six years and more …

Photo credit: Dan Taylor via Flickr Creative Commons

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