By Dan St. Yves
Hello everybody, and thanks for stopping by today! My name is Bob, and I’ll be your guide as we visit the galleries in The Real Estate Museum!
Now, normally most museums would have protective glass over their displays, with alarms or guards – even closed-circuit cameras – but given that most of the exhibits on display today feature ordinary, everyday items that have just gone out of style, we are operating under an honour system. So please, feel free to pick items up and have a look at them, but kindly leave them behind once you’ve had a chance to view them.
Let’s start over here, in the Early, Early Real Estate wing….
So, you might think this is just a nice, small post-card sized oil painting of a home, and you’d be mostly correct. However, this was also what early feature sheets looked like, when cameras hadn’t yet been invented! Real estate companies hired artists to paint homes, which were then copied by other artists until there were sufficient amounts of paintings for the listing being advertised. In bigger towns, they might paint as many as 12 pictures for a home that was for sale!
Moving along, here we are in the Telegraph Room, where Realtors would gather to send telegrams to other Realtors, if they had a client who wanted to see another agent’s listing. As phones had not yet been invented, and there were no such technological wonders as electronic lockboxes yet, this is how the two salespeople communicated to arrange meetings to open a property for a showing.
This was a vast improvement on the use of crowbars once clients began to complain of damaged doors after showings.
Moving on into the 1970s display, you will note the recreation of a typical kitchen of the era, with a large marbled Formica-top table and Naugahyde chairs. This was where Realtors would cut out newspaper ads of homes listed for sale and then paste those ads onto recipe cards for a top-notch filing system capable of tracking those homes for their clients.
Many newspapers were sold over and over again, whenever cups of coffee were spilled onto those recipe cards and ads by kids, cats or klutzes.
We’re starting to run little behind, so why don’t we head on over to the Technology Department? Please notice these high-tech pager devices, capable back then of sending messages of several words at a time!
Back in the ’80s and early ’90s, just ahead of The Cellular Phone Revolution, agents out on showings, errands or catching an afternoon movie during a dry spell would be instantly accessible by one quick page.
As a matter of fact, this was a fun game for receptionists back then, who would try and guess if an agent was at a movie, and if he or she had shut off their pager or put it on vibrate. Fellow moviegoers LOVED a pager going off during dramatic scenes!
Over here you’ll also see a Pay Phone, which were literally dotted everywhere across the country in almost every nook and cranny. By the time cell phones became popular they had faded quite a bit in usage. But for thrifty Realtors, it was a handy way to return pages in a pinch, to avoid a $1,700 bill for a 10-minute call on those early cell phone plans.
Well, here we are at the exit and gift store. Thanks for coming folks, and I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the past of the pioneers in your profession! Please fill out a feedback form for your chance to win a retro sales contract, sent by fax.