Posts Tagged ‘Old Fashioned Real Estate’

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

I believe this is segment 5 in my little series about the realities of Real Estate in the Olden Days – before the advent of all the technological gizmo/gadgets we enjoy today. Back when we had toget OUT there in our market to learn about it… and to stay on top of the MLS for our clients… and to actually know our way around town without the nice voice speaking to us from our dashboards!

Today I’m going to share with you how we did contracts, disclosures and other important paperwork back in the day…

…brace yourself…

We actually met with our clients. In person. Face2face, voice2voice. In a serious pinch, we MIGHT fax, but it was frowned upon and all faxed signatures MUST be followed up upon immediately with real live inked signatures.

Yes, you read that right. We had to DRIVE to our clients’ homes or workplaces (or have them drive to us), sit down in the same room and TALK… voice2voice… about these somewhat significant pieces of paper we were asking them to sign. In ink, preferably blue.

No emailed contracts, disclosures or amendments. No Docusign or her cousins. Real paper, real ink, real people.

In the spirit of this series, I believe the forced face2face interaction served us old fogies very well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a fan as anyone of NOT getting in my car and driving anywhere I don’t have to, especially if the drive involves rain, snow or traffic. Or, as was often the case in Denver, blinding sunglare.

But since we didn’t have a choice, we did it. Why do I feel this was a good thing? Ah, let me count the reasons…

1. Meeting face2face with your clients more often than less often is better for the relationship. And since discussing contractual issues is an important part of a real estate transaction, it seems to me to make sense to have these conversations in the most conducive environment most to facilitate full discussion and understanding.

2. Perhaps I’m overthinking this, but it seems to me that having a face2face conversation about contractual matters (as opposed to shooting off an emailed file with instructions to sign here, here and here) would give the client the distinct impression that you know your stuff. That you ARE an expert in contractual matters, which you will demonstrate as you review the document they are about to sign provision by provision.

3. Related to this, it seems beneficial to be face2face with the client while going over the documents so you can more clearly tell if they are confused or concerned about a particular provision. And, of course, they will be more likely to ask you questions if they feel they have your undivided attention in a face2face setting.

4. And finally, since the main objective of putting a contract together (whether that’s a listing agreement, a purchase offer or a counterproposal) is to come to agreement on the best strategy to move forward with, it seems that being face2face to do said strategizing might result in a BETTER strategy than one discussed over the phone or email. Or, egads, text!

So, that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Thoughts?

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

To continue this FUN discussion of how real estate agents worked back in the age of the dinosaur, let’s talk today about the GPS… or lack thereof.

We didn’t have one. We didn’t even have Mapquest. Nope, the best we had was the handy-dandy Pierson Guide which was a big book of maps for the Denver Metropolitan area, divided into 270-some inter-related pages. If you didn’t know how to get from place to place, you referred to your Pierson Guide, figured out which page was relevent and planned your route.

Which, as you can imagine, is difficult, not to mention dangerous to do while driving (perhaps this was the 1990’s version of texting and driving). Yeah, I did it. But perhaps worse than being difficult and dangerous, it was also kind of embarrassing when you have clients in your car! I mean, you’re a real estate agent! You should know your way around town! Right??

Right.

Well, along comes the GPS which makes the Pierson Guide obsolete. Whew!

Not so fast.

One of the benefits of not having a GPS was that it put pressure on real estate agents to actually be able to navigate their way around town, especially with buyers in the car… or risk looking like an idiot (or worse). Compare the credibility factor of an agent who is constantly pulling over to look back at her map versus one who effortlessly drives from property to property, making intelligent conversation about the various parks, shops and landmarks as they pass by.

Now, sure, taking instruction from the GPS isn’t quite as disruptive as pulling over, but it still gives the clear impression that the agent doesn’t know her market all that well.

But there’s more! When you don’t rely on your GPS, you are forced to develop a mental picture of your town – how it lays out, how the parks, shopping centers, major highways and byways relate to each other. To this day, I can draw a fairly accurate picture of the City and County of Denver, placing all neighborhoods, major cross streets, parks and shopping districts. I understand how the neighborhoods, highways, attractions and commercial districts relate to each other geographically which gave me tremendous credibility and confidence when talking with buyers about their location preferences and needs.

So, the moral of the story… if you do rely on your GPS when showing buyers, try to, well, not do that. For a month. TURN IT OFF and force yourself to get around town the Old Fashioned Way!

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

To continue the discussion of real estate TODAY versus real estate 20 years ago, I want to chat a bit more about the benefits of NOT having information about homes for sale readily available at the touch of a button or click of a mouse.

Back in the olden days, buyers (and sellers to a degree) were far more dependent on their real estate agent for information. Only WE had access to the precious MLS and while we could certainly fax our clients the spec sheets on listings (or even surreptitiously loan them our Big Book of Listings), the only way for our clients to get the full story was to hire a competent, hard-working real estate agent who was regularly out in her market previewing!

And I believe this was a very good thing. NOT just for the reason you might be thinking – not that holding the golden key to the MLS, buyers (and sellers) were forced to come to us, but rather…

…because I WAS the keeper of the MLS information; my clients relied on me for it – which forced me to stay intimately involved with the inventory! I got on the MLS several times a day; I previewed several times a week – and having that up-to-the-minute market knowledge served me well… very well throughout my career, but especially in the early days.

But this doesn’t mean that even though consumers now have access to maps and pretty pictures that there is no need for you to be out there IN the inventory. I have personally been a buyer many times in my life and while I like looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions, I probably don’t know enough about the area to make a wise decision about what house I want to buy  – or even what houses to look at. Just last spring, my husband and I wanted to rent a beach house in the Tampa area and we were overwhelmed just looking at all the listings on the VRBO site!

So, the moral of the story today is that while we won’t ever go back to the days of being the Keepers of the MLS, we can still provide a LOT of value to our clients (and therefore to ourselves) by being conversationally familiar with the local real estate market and the only way to do that is to be out in it!

 

Real Estate the Old Fashioned Way – the Series
A Series with Soul
Remember the Big Book of Listings?
The Keeper of the MLS

 

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

A little while ago I hosted a teleseminar called “Real Estate the Old Fashioned Way” where I described the life and times of a real estate agent in the good ol’ days before the advent of all this whiz-bang, fancy-schmantzy technology. I was listening to a recording of the show recently and thought (in my never-to-be-humble opinion) that there was some good stuff in there I should share!

Here was the promo for the show:

“With all of today’s fancy-schmantzy technology, tools and systems, you’d think real estate agents in 2016 would be selling circles around those of us who practiced back in the olden days when a fax machine was the latest and greatest time-saving device! But that doesn’t appear to be the case; in fact, even in strong markets, most agents struggle to close even a dozen properties a year – and that’s only one per month! Why is that? Heck, I dunno, but as an agent who sold 25 houses her first full year (back in those olden days), I thought it might be fun to explore what’s different about the business of real estate now… and then!”

Sound fun? I will officially get started tomorrow, but as a teaser, can you imagine life as a real estate agent before…

  • … your MLS included 25 interior photos?
  • … your clients had access to those 25 interior photos + google maps + property videos +++?
  • … you could rely on your GPS to get you from home to home?
  • … you could fax/email/docusign contracts and disclosures to your client?
  • … you could text/email/Facebook your clients instead of calling them on the phone?
  • … potential buyers and sellers could find out about you on the Internet?
  • … Facebook???

Contrary to how dreary you may think life was for us old-timers (OhMyGoodness, you actually had to drive across town to get a contract signed??), let me assure you that it was NOT! In fact, I attribute a lot of my early and ongoing success to the fact that I started my real estate career before the advent of most of the technology that agents rely on today – and it instilled habits in me that endured throughout my career.

So, stay tuned. This will be FUN!