John Wake


  • I’ve been a real estate agent for 14 years with HomeSmart.
  • I’m the 6th of 9 children.
  • I have a master’s degree in agricultural economics.
  • My forecasts of the Phoenix real estate market in recent years have been surprisingly accurate (except for 2015).
  • I worked at the American Embassy in Paris for 2 years. C’est vrai!
  • I created a wannabe Zillow website in 2001, 4 years before Zillow itself was created.
  • I once hitchhiked from Miami to Phoenix.
  • I LOVE to find the secrets buried in a pile of numbers.

From Geeky Economist to Real Estate Agent

How did “an economist with all the charm of an engineer” become a real estate agent? I stumbled into it.

In 2001, I created a real estate website for Phoenix. It generated internet leads and I wanted to sell the leads to real estate agents. It was sort of a mini-Zillow created 4 years before the real Zillow. But back then agents didn’t want to pay money for the new fangled “internet leads.”

The website was popular (15,000 email subscribers) but it wasn’t making any money and I was getting desperate when I had an Aha! moment, “I’m not making any money selling these internet leads to real estate agents but I have all these online forms submitted by people saying they’re interested in buying homes. John, you moron! Just sell the homes to those people YOURSELF! Duh! What took you so long to figure that out, Einstein!”

And so a geeky, introverted economist became a geeky, introverted real estate agent with a ringside seat into an industry dominated by talky, extroverted salespeople.

A few years later, in 2006, I added a website where I analyzed the Phoenix real estate market. My forecasts of home prices have been very accurate in recent years. Today, has had over 1.6 million visitors.

The Pivot

Times change.

When I started in 2001, I was the only one in Phoenix publishing online the official sale prices of homes sold.

Today, it’s a different world.

You can find information on homes sold and homes listed for sale absolutely everywhere online. And now Zillow, Trulia and completely dominate Google searches for real estate. So, in short, my schtick for meeting home buyers online stopped working for me. Zillow won.

I was a geeky guy who no longer had a geeky solution to meeting new clients.

Fortunately, as the internet evolved, a ton of new opportunities also opened up at the same time.

Real Estate Decoded

In 2015, I launched Real Estate Decoded because it suits my nerdy, analytical, introverted personality a ton better than being a salesman. And for some weird reason I feel a lot more pride in seeing the successes of people I’ve helped, than from seeing my own personal successes.

“I translate real estate into geek.”

Real Estate Decoded is great for me because I get to help people succeed and at the same time I get to have a blast diving into the numbers and decoding the whole chaos that is real estate.

John Wake in the News

I’ve been interviewed live by NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and local public radio as an expert on the Phoenix real estate market. I’ve been quoted several times in local newspapers and in an article published in The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune,, MSNBC and ABC News. That article was also published in The Des Moines Register where one glorious morning over breakfast my mother-in-law stumbled upon my name in print in her local paper.

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