Five minutes from the Plaza

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Several years ago I posted about some of the advertising text habits of some Realtors in the Santa Fe NM market area. I was mildly critical of the minutes from the Plaza portion of some ads. A recent favorite of mine said how a piece of land in San Miguel County, near the village of Rowe, was 20 minutes from the Plaza.

Of course I had to take exception to that and contact the brokerage and ask for a correction. You see, the Rowe exit off of I-25 is 22 miles to the Old Pecos Trail exit. Then you would navigate using Old Pecos Trail which becomes Old Santa Fe Trail and eventually you could drive right to the Plaza, passing La Fonda on your right.

So working the math, this parcel was about seven miles from the Rowe exit, on roads with speed limits ranging from 35 to 55. Once on the interstate, the posted limit is 75 mph – and you have 22 miles of that. Then once into Santa Fe, the speed limits range from 45 down to 15 mph, and that distance, from I-25 to the Plaza, is about 2.794 miles.

What does that come out to? Maybe 36.5 minutes minimum? With any traffic or weather, it can take you 40 minutes. Maybe just a small fib on the length of time it would take you to travel to our Plaza from that lot. Oh, you say its just a figure of speech?

How about that home at $850,000 – or was it $995,000 – on a dirt road off of a minor arterial merging into a major arterial, then onto the narrow winding streets downtown to get to the Plaza? Would it be FIVE minutes from the Plaza? One would think not unless one were to drive it recklessly, bumping everyone else off the road so as to make the promised arrival time.

So I got to thinking that there is a common mistake in those advertising words. That might be that one mile equals one minute, in a manner of thinking. That might work out fine for travel at 55 to 65 mph. Over the course of several miles you would average about a mile a minute. But if you are off Rodeo Rd, or Cloudstone Dr, or Contenta Ridge, or Leaping Powder Rd, or Koshari, it isn’t really accurate to use miles to the Plaza to get minutes to the Plaza.

So is it helpful information? Do you look for that number when you read ad text for a property for sale? I love the reply I get when I ask a listing agent how they came up with the number of minutes. Oh, everybody knows that just gives you an idea of how far out the property is. Really? It’s that innocent?

Some say nobody goes to the Plaza these days. Yet it seems full of life every time I am there. Others say it’s just an indication of how far the property is from the heart of Santa Fe (the Plaza).  I don’t recall hearing of any lawsuits over this careless use of the English language. Maybe everyone is already in on the joke and they don’t really pay attention to the text that says five minutes from the Plaza.

This summer will be a wonderful time to be on the Plaza. Almost every weeknight at 6 Pm you will be able to hear live music and dance or just mix in with all those folks who also traveled five minutes to get there.  Check the schedule for the type of music you might most enjoy. And if you are home shopping and want to live just minutes from said Plaza, ring me at 505-470-7153.


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The writer is a 68 year-old young man engaged as an active REALTOR (associate broker) with Keller Williams, in real estate sales and management in the Santa Fe NM market area. My career has been in and around the real estate industry for more than 35 years, ranging from mortgage lending (interim, commercial, residential); residential property management and leasing; shopping center development and leasing; real estate sales; sales training; title insurance as an executive and an escrow officer; various management positions; consulting and other related activities. That plus a bunch of banking experience including our family-owned Bank of Santa Fe in the 1980s. Where has the time gone?
My background means you have my working knowledge of the entire transaction process at your disposal. That comes with honesty and no bullshit.