By Crystal Tost

During the last 20 years the real estate landscape has changed dramatically as technology stepped into our lives and in some cases took over. Technology has sped up communication, has allowed us to be more productive with paperwork and has allowed us a different level of exposure in our business.

What was real estate like 20 years ago?



Most of our clients did not have an email address – many did but most did not. We would spend our days in the office close to a DOS-run MLS system, anxiously waiting for new listings to come onto the market. When a new listing appeared, you could get out the city map book to map the property’s location if your client had specific criteria. You might call your client to tell them about the new listing, and maybe you would book a showing.

But since we were relying on one black-and-white low-quality front image of the home, you would often go for a preview.

Our afternoons were often filled with caravans, listing previews and agent-only open houses so we could get out and view more listings. We communicated by pager and presented offers in person to sellers or sellers’ agents, often with our buyers sitting outside the home waiting for counters to speed up the process. Soon the fax machine would be allowed, and we could fax over offers, but the thermal paper faded and had its disadvantages.  But we were face-to-face with agents and clients alike, building relationships.

Fast forward to present day real estate.

Today we are lucky to meet our fellow agents. Most of our communications, including offer negotiations, are completed on emails, texts and phone calls. This makes us much more productive. We are able to communicate with a lot more people at once and for extended periods of time into early mornings and late evenings.

Today we set searches for our clients because almost everyone has an email address. We wait for the perfect home to come on. We can easily map the home and view countless images to ensure our client’s interest. Often our days are spent marketing, trying to stand out from the large crowd in the business.

Seldom do I attend an agent open or preview a property anymore – with all the information available with the listings, it just doesn’t make much sense.

One of the biggest technology advancements is digital signing software. I can send several documents and have them all back in minutes, something that would take me all day in the past driving all over the city.

Technology has made things easier in so many ways during the past 20 years, but the more things change the more they stay the same. Real estate sales is still and always will be very much a people business, based on creating relationships with clients and other agents alike.  Relationships are still the backbone of this business and can be created in person or digitally.

1 COMMENT

  1. As a Real Estate Appraiser for over 40 years I can remember when we waited for the Green Sheets that would come to our office from M.L.S. with new listings and sales information and our other source of data was a system called TEELA which was comprised of sale information in the form of little white cards slightly smaller than the cards in a deck of playing cards . In the office I started out in about 6 or 8 appraisers would be seated around a large boardroom table and we would pass around a Polaroid Photo of a home we were appraising, provide a description of the property and answer a few questions about the property to the other appraisers who, after digesting this information , would then proceed to give you their opinion of the value of the property under discussion . The results were at least somewhat predictable in most cases with some much higher or lower than the likely Market Value and several at or close to the likely Market Value . Sometimes one Appraiser would be so High that everyone would laugh and he would be proclaimed as the buyer or New Owner . At that time there were no computers and we had a large typing pool as all appraisals had to be typewritten . Approximately 10 years later we entered into the computer age and with the speed of word processing came a new age of small Appraisal companies as one good typist could service 3 or 4 Appraisers . At this time I predicted that the computer would further revolutionize the Real Estate Industry in that I believed it would soon be possible to purchase Real Estate through your Computer and to purchase shares in Real Estate based products . We have come a long way and the journey isn’t over .

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