Real Estate....Not a PEOPLE Business?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Suburban

To all the Pre-mid 1990's Agents.....  

I just read a great post by Kate Elam ( Which had been fueled by a post she didn't much agree with. Her post has fueled this one...Oh how I love AR!  

I am curious how many of us out here are like me....someone...ANYONE?  

Remember when....  

You got calls from local sellers, because they knew you were the local real estate 'go-to' expert? They didn't find you online, they knew you and your reputation in the neighborhood.       


Buyers would walk-in the office, or call off the sign to inquire about the home at 123 Main st. This was the ONLY way to find out ANY  information on the home.  

Marketing consisted of your own client list (not a data base-these people you actually had met,or at least spoke to b/4), open houses, a local print ad, and /or a mailing--by USPS. Prospecting was some cold calling, and mostly door knocking!  


When you started working with new buyers, the only way for them to know which homes were for sale (other than driving up and down the streets) were to come in to the office and pick up the weekly published MLS books to look thru, or the list you left for them at the front desk.   


Presenting an offer was gathering at the sellers kitchen table after dinner hour, 7-8pm at night, with the agent that was working with the buyers telling the sellers who they 'really are' making them 'real families' and sometimes not leaving until midnight or after (and sometimes fighting over a 15 year old harvest gold fridge, that became a sticking point even though the sellers really didn't want it anyway)!      

After putting a deal together, delivering by hand, the contract to the attorney's office. In my area, fax machines were not used commonly used until ~ 1990 or after.  


Don't get me wrong....those days have come and gone, I am not a dinosaur (that's the term we used to lovingly refer to the older agents as), I have changed with the times which was necessary to stay AHEAD and ON TOP of the real estate market, it's just nice to reflect back to simpler times once in a while.


Real estate was a 'people business' ....period. You needed people/social skills to be successful. You actually got to know and develop relationships with your clients---and you wanted to (hopefully this is one thing that hasn't changed)! I miss many of these 'hands on tasks'--some I don't, but I can tell you 1 thing for sure...I am so very grateful for experiencing and 'learning the ropes' in real estate at that time. Some things have changed, some things haven't, but MOST IMPORTANTLY Real Estate was and WILL ALWAYS BE (at least to me) a people business.  



Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban
ofc 847-385-3327
cell 847-910-2001
fax 847-749-3708
Listing + Selling NW Suburban IL Homes for over 20 Years!

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Comments (8)

Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I still believe real estate is a relationship business...and relationships means people. It may have transformed a bit but it is still human interaction - mostly, that is!

Apr 24, 2010 01:48 AM
Janet Fetterman
Royal Shell Real Estate Inc - Ocala, FL
Selling Luxury Lifestyles...


And I concur, it is still a people business, it is just that  in this high tech lifestyle existance that we are living, some of us humans forget that the other humans on the other side of the screens need the high touch and I think that the difference between what makes some agents really flourish is their ability to bond despite the technology.

I find that it is hard to get some agents to pick up the phone  and call and speak to the buyer or seller any more, they want to just email....then there are those agents whose writing skills leave a lot to be desired and so much miscommunication can and does take place. The technology presents some challenges that we didn't have to deal with in the old days...that is for sure.

Now we carry lap tops instead of MLS books and we have stopped decimating the Canadian Forrests in the printing process:)

Apr 24, 2010 01:55 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

Gary, :) "but it is still human interaction - mostly, that is!" I think this is the difference between average agents and GREAT ONES--You are right, it would be great to get back to a little more interaction--HIGH TECH w/o losing the human side of this business.

Concord(sorry don't have your 1st name)--The avocado green--Yikes is right... I wonder in 20-30 yrs from now if someone will be writing Stainless--How awful---what were they thinking! You have hit the nail on the head...I see so MUCH miscommunication it makes my head spin--no voice inflection can cause major problems--and does all the time.

Apr 24, 2010 02:07 AM
Cherise Selley
Selley Group Real Estate, LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realtor

Heidi, Things have changed greatly over the past 13 years for me.  But one thing has remained constant, which is the connection I've had with buyers, sellers and investors.  The internet business and other related marketing fills in the gaps of the activity of my referrals.  Thank goodness, and yet, I think these times are going to seem simple to what is lurking ahead, like Cap & Trade.  Yikes.  Cherise

Apr 24, 2010 02:53 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

Cherise: "I think these times are going to seem simple to what is lurking ahead,"

 Good God, I agree w/you and hope we are both wrong:)

Apr 24, 2010 03:29 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Heidi:  While not every aspect of the "dinosaur era" was perfect, there was obviously much to recommend it.  I try to keep what was good from that time ... and transport it into modern usage.  And I believe you can still make technology personal, if you take some time to achieve it.  Even the addition of a more personal note or reminder contained within a text or email can be the modern equivalence of a voice inflection.  Although I understand technology is currently what most people like and rely on for communication ... I try not to overlook the old-fashioned phone call all the time.  Guess I'm still that much of a "dinosaur" ...

Good post ...


Apr 24, 2010 05:41 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

Thanks Gene---I believe the old-fashioned phone call is still a must--at least once in a while. With my more 'mature' listing clients--I do the even more old-fashioned 'drop by' to speak to them re price reductions, negative FB etc.

Apr 24, 2010 10:51 PM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

I enjoyed reading your "time capsule" account, Heidi and the great comments by your contributors.  Keeping open lines of communication and maintaining relationships are more important than ever in these fast changing times in real estate.

Has anything changed with the bank that locked out your single parent from her home?


Apr 25, 2010 01:38 PM