Tis the Season to Write Some Checks, Fa La La La La La NAR AAR PAR

Let’s start with a brief aside, just so everyone knows they’re in the right place.

Early this morning I awoke from a recurring dream. I was driving to the university to take my final exams, which would have been fine except I couldn’t remember having attended any of the classes. In fact, I couldn’t remember what some of the classes were or if I’d ever seen the instructor yet somehow I was going to have to fake my way through lest I not pass the course.

I’m not alone on this one, right?

That it came last night was coincidental (and not ironic, for those who know my annoyance with misuse of the word) because it has been twenty years since I last step foot in a college classroom. Twenty years ago today, on a day with a daytime high in the mid-30s and snow flurries falling outside the then-University Activity Center (and now Wells Fargo Arena), I graduated from Arizona State with my journalism degree.

Now, this normally would be the part of the post containing the segue. But I don’t have one. So you’ll have to deal with it as best you can. I mean, I could say that once upon a time I’d never imagine I’d be paying $380 at the start of every year to do business … but wow, that’s lame. Even for me.

Nevertheless, this afternoon I paid my Realtor dues for 2011. If my memory serves, it’s the first time I’ve ever done so more than two hours before the deadline. With the one closing on the horizon and other things in the works, what’s in the bank account now still will be what’s in the bank account the second week of January, so why wait. Tis the season to spend, after all.

So out went $115 to the National Association of Realtors, $110 to the Arizona Association of Realtors and $155 to the Phoenix Association of Realtors. It was interesting to see we’re apparently not sponsoring a float in the Rose Bowl Parade and, if we are, the cost of the gardenias has been wrapped into the dues.

Now, if you’re expecting me to begin a rant about the inherent evil of NAR, you’re barking up the wrong tree. To claim ignorance of the purpose of any trade organization – to work on behalf of its members, not necessarily the public – in an effort to pander to the masses and trumpet’s one perceived superiority is pathetic. For more information on what lobbyists do, just in case you’re utterly clueless, edumacation will cost you about $10.

I’m not thrilled whatsoever with having to pay the fees if only because there’s no choice in the matter here in Phoenix. The Realtor boards own the Phoenix area MLS, not the brokers; if you want access to ARMLS, you need to be a Realtor. Just the way it is. Would I still be a Realtor if I didn’t have to be? Well …. more likely than not. It’s a well recognized brand after all, right up there with Kleenex.

These fees, minimal as they may be, tend to turn into a sorting table as those hanging in the business by a thread or less usually fall by the wayside rather than continue paying to not sell anything. And that’s fine. There are many other professions needing folks more than real estate.

And from the respect, I suppose I’m glad that through all the highs and lows of the past six years, I’m still paying my dues.

I’m still here.

Fa la la la la la la la la …

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 allphoenixrealestate.com.