Mostly Retired Real Estate Agent & Associate Broker at HomeSmart
(480) 600-0947

• I’ve been a licensed real estate agent with HomeSmart in Arizona for 19 years.

• I’m the 6th of 9 children.

• I have a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics with a specialization in Farming Systems and International Agricultural Economic Development.

• I worked as an International Agricultural Trade Economist at USDA in Washington, DC.

• I correctly called the bottom of the real estate bust in August 2011.

• I worked at the American Embassy in Paris as an Agricultural Attaché. C’est vrai!

• I once hitchhiked from Miami to Phoenix.

I LOVE to find the secrets buried in a pile of numbers.

From Geeky Economist to Geeky 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.”

My website was popular, I had 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 wanting to see homes to buy. 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 were very accurate for several 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,, Redfin and Trulia 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 a great fit 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 in articles published in The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune,, MSNBC and ABC News.

  • 2021 – azfamily powered by 3TV & CBS5AZ


Wake’s Rules

1. “Some things happen so fast they’re hard to see. Real estate market changes happen so slow they’re hard to see.”

2. “It’s the delta, stupid!” The change in value is usually more important than the level of the value itself. Or as many economists would say it, “Flows are usually more important than stocks.”

3. “People who don’t hold the mortgages they originate will always push for lower lending standards so they can sell more mortgages and make more money but they’ll never say it’s so they can make more money.”

4. “The National Association of Realtors will always push for lower lending standards.”

5. “Housing advocates will always push for lower lending standards but they will never admit that lower lending standards hurt lower-income homeowners and lower-income neighborhoods the most during the Great Real Estate Bust.”

6. “No matter how crazy high a price, if the price is increasing fast and you expect it to continue increasing fast, it’s rational to buy.” Or as economists say, self-reinforcing upward price momentum.


  • Arizona Association of Realtors, Business Services and Technology Committee, 2010-2014
  • Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, Volunteer, 2003-2014
  • Scottsdale Healthcare Auxiliary Board of Directors (the volunteers’ board) 2010 to 2014, Treasurer 2012-2014

Websites – Current

Websites – Past