Remember When…a look back and forward

I truly believe I am one of the lucky ones – a REALTOR who has been in the business for over 38 years.  Sometimes…just sometimes I look back and remember the so-called “Good Old Days”.

Remember When: We were the keeper of the MLS information.  We had listing sheets and then MLS books and customers had to come to us for everything.  We previewed homes for our clients (and yes, they were our clients).  We could call the day before and schedule a showing and the agent actually answered the phone at the office.   We put clients in our cars and actually “showed” properties…lots of them.  A real estate closing was just a few sheets of paper.  We didn’t have to remember so many rules, regulations and laws.  Was it really better in those days?

Today: Real Estate is changing every single day and I find that both challenging and exciting at the same time.  We use the Internet for our listings and now a customer around the corner or around the world can view our listings.  We can preview properties for our customers by viewing virtual tours or watching videos.  We can schedule showing appointments electronically through the MLS or websites.  Title searches are now completed electronically and closing documents can be sent electronically…did I mention electronic contracts and signatures too?  If we drive past a property our customer likes, we no longer have to go “back to the office” to look up the information, we pull it up immediately on our Smartphones or iPads.  If we need tax information right away, we can access not only that information on our Smartphones, we can pull up floor plans and plat maps.  Add to all this Social Media and how it has forever changed relationships and the “instantfication” of information, all kinds, including real estate.

Today: With the consumers having access to all the property information data (listings and sales), most still seek out a REALTOR to complete their home purchase.  With all the FSBO websites out there and all the knowledgeable and Internet savvy consumers, there were less than 9% FSBO completed transactions this past year.  The typical FSBO home sold for $140,000 compared to $199,300 for agent-assisted home sales*.

Today and the Future: We are experiencing one of the best times for an agent to be in the real estate business. The best professionals rise to the top in a down economy. Professionals with the best services, marketing tools and knowledge of their market and inventory can leverage a down economy and be busier and more productive than ever.  Today – Now, is the best time to  learn the basics and get educated…and did I forget to mention that training can now be delivered in so many ways? Podcasts, webinars, streaming video and who knows what tomorrow will offer.

To paraphrase an NAR campaign from several years ago: Seller’s market, buyer’s market…it’s always a good market for someone.  I’m proud to have been a REALTOR for more than 38 years and to be able to look back at those “Good Old Days”, but I am thrilled to be a REALTOR today and I look forward to being a REALTOR in the future.

Until Next Monday…

* 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

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