The Devil’s in the Details? Only if You Don’t Know Them

avatarthumbnail.jpgMuch was made of President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts putting a word out of order during the oath of office administered Tuesday morning. That error was corrected Wednesday night inside the White House’s map room.

To my knowledge, no one has mentioned the more glaring error that was made in the text of President Obama’s inaugural address. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here it is:

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

President Obama is the nation’s 44th president but he’s only the 43rd person to take the presidential oath. What his speech writers neglected to remember is Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th president; he’s the only person to serve two non-consecutive terms in the nation’s highest office.

It’s a small detail and probably one that few people took the time to think about. But it’s an error nevertheless, thus far uncorrected.

Errors happen all the time in real estate. Some are merely semantical and are worked out relatively quickly. Others are more serious and can end up costing either buyer or seller thousands of dollars.

I’ve written in the past about the so-called “mandatory” community addendum used in many active adult communities in the Northwest Valley. Aside from being multiple choice, which in itself doesn’t feel right, there are clauses in this addendum that contradict the Arizona Association of Realtors’ Residential Purchase Contract.

One version of this addendum begins with a sentence that, once signed, means the buyers and sellers have given consent to limited dual agency. AAR has an entire form to deal with this issue, complete with information on what dual agency really means. Is anyone better served to use the one-sentence version instead of the full page form?

Knowing the details often is an uncomfortable thing. When I tell buyers that an offer at 70% of list price doesn’t have much chance of success, their assumption often is that I’m trying to get them to spend more money so I can make an extra $100. The truth of the matter is the details – the data – show that homes are selling at closer to 90 – 95% of list price even in a down market. Usually, it takes until their first offer or two is rejected before they realize the details for themselves.

Some are confounded when I can’t discuss what is a “good” or “bad” area. This morning on Trulia Voices, there’s a question involving what cities are good for young families. Fair Housing Law prevents a real estate agent from answering with specific communities lest we be accused of steering buyers towards or away from a given area. But that hasn’t stopped people from jumping on the hand grenade.

Maybe my choosing not to violate federal law and provide a specific answer will cost me someone’s business. I hope not. Then again, if violation of federal statute is someone’s requirement of a real estate agent, I’m probably not their man.

But, if they’re looking for someone who is aware of the details of real estate (as well as of the number of people who actually have served as president), I’m their guy.

[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