The Once Great Alaskan Shootout and Real Estate Amateur Hour

As an alumnus of Arizona State University, the past three nights have been spent watching the Sun Devils basketball team playing in the once-upon-a-time Great Alaskan Shootout (hard to say it’s great given the thin field attracted this year, ASU included.) It was a maddening experience, both in watching the Sun Devils team plan and also the cable-access television quality of the broadcast.

If you don’t really know any of the details of Arizona State basketball then the lack of any substantial knowledge probably wasn’t as noticeable – it’s amazing how far only superficial knowledge will get you. But if you’ve spent even five minutes researching – or, say, had watched the team play the past two nights – then the lack of knowledge quickly becomes alarming.

And for those who haven’t spotted it walking down the block yet, the real estate hook is coming …

  • “Arizona State made a good choice by playing zone (defense)” – maybe so, but the Sun Devils have played the same matchup zone nearly exclusively for the past four seasons. As a viewer, you don’t need to know this and don’t even need to care. But if you’re being paid to be an analyst, maybe you want to ask a coach what style they play?
  • “It’s been a LONG time since he made a shot, like since the first shot of the game.” – um, no. That actually was a different player who started the game with consecutive 3-point shots. One’s Caucasian, the other’s African-American. They wear different numbers. Granted, I’m a bit of a loon which is why I remembered but again … these guys are getting paid to know this. Don’t talk off the top of your head if you don’t know what you’re saying.
  • “The Sun Devils prefer an up-tempo game …” – no, actually not. Like any team they’ll run on a fast break but if you watch them work the ball and work the ball and work the ball on the offensive end, you figure out really quickly they prefer a game in the 60s. Which is where most end up. It’s not an accident that happens.

Last night I had multiple other examples as the anger began to rise but I’ve since mercifully forgotten nearly all of them. But the above are enough to make my general point – it’s possible for the announcers to go through the motions on a basic level and seem like they know what they’re talking about when in reality, they don’t have much of a clue.

And so it goes in real estate as well.

Most agents can fill in the blanks in the AAR Residential Resale Purchase Contract without too much trouble. Ask them what the other words in the contract mean – the boilerplate – and you may find you’ve drifted dangerously away from their game notes.

In the retirement communities, it’s pretty easy to look at an MLS sheet and figure out what transfer fees are listed. But if an agent’s unfamiliar with the area and the way some fees are listed – say the subassociation fees which often are listed as Planned Area Development or PAD fees because there’s no place in the MLS for subassociation fees, and confusion reigns.

It doesn’t take a ton of knowledge to understand the time frames listed in the contract for inspections, repairs, signing of loan docs and the like. Just read and repeat. But it does take a little more knowledge to know what happens if those time frames aren’t met, or what slightly creative methods can be used to extend a couple of those timeframes when the need arises.

If nothing goes wrong then it may seem from the outside that all is well. And it would be. (Far be it from me to make the moronic argument that there’s some of artistic impression element to a real estate transaction, as others have.)

But if something does go slightly sideways would you rather be depending on someone who’s relying solely on game notes without the slightest hint of any independent research, someone who may not necessarily be able to determine the best solution because the problem wasn’t outlined in the pre-game primer? Or would you rather have an agent who isn’t just parroting the basics and actually knows what’s going on?

I mean, come on guys … four years in the same defense. Even Tobey knows that one by now.

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

  • Dean Ouellette 7 years ago

    OMG the broadcasters were so bad last night i turned off the sound at times. One of my favorite lines of the night was “St Johns basketball is back, let the Big East beware” Really? Did they watch the same game I did?

    You had me until you started talking about this real estate stuff.

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