Then and Now

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

Sacramento Realtor - Myrl Jeffcoat 


There is something distinctly different about selling homes today, which is unlike thirty years ago, when I first received my real estate license.


For example, the MLS listings in 1981 were published in books, which were found at our office doorstep, early on Saturday mornings. 

When a Realtor opened the cover, and glanced at homes for sale, they would find approximately 9 property listings, on 3 rows, and 3 columns on hundreds of pages.  Usually each listing was accompanied with one black and white photo of poor quality.


Because the current interest rate in November 1981 was 18%, it wasn’t pretty pictures that sold homes back then.  It was whether they were the one in every several, which had a good ASSUMABLE low interest rate mortgage on it.

Flash forward three decades.  Things have really changed.  There are mornings I suspect many real estate agents consider themselves more of a photographer, than they do a Realtor.  If they aren’t capable of taking great photos themselves, they nearly always know someone who can.

Because most homes today are listed in the MLS via computer, and are often marketed on a litany of Internet websites available to the public.  The ability to take quality photos has become a vital tool for providing information to buyers and sellers in the real estate arena.  Pretty pictures are often believed to be worth a thousand words. 


BUT, it is important to remember that pretty pictures don’t replace real estate agents.  Many buyers (and sellers too), begin their house hunting, before contacting an agent.  And they often launch searches on their own, even while working with a real estate professional.


Internet consumer searches are done in much the same way, as real estate agents.  Search parameters (towns, price range, number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, lot size), can be entered into the criteria.  From the input populated in the search fields, listings are produced to match the criteria.


Here is where having a Real Estate Professional working with you can make a tremendous difference.  Usually in the marketing of properties, listings are presented in "their best light."  In other words, great pictures, marketing descriptions and comments can many times exaggerate the positive, while underplaying the negative - if not totally ignoring it.

Real Estate Professionals use their market knowledge and expertise to allow filtering out properties, which will not work for their clients.

One agent remembered a personal friend, who lived in another state, who was ready to relocate to yet another state.  The friend was using one of the more popular Internet websites geared for real estate buyers and sellers.  The friend flew half way across the country to put in an offer on the house in the picture.  She had fallen in love with the huge oak tree in front of the quaint looking house in the "exceptional" picture.  

However, when she arrived at the property, she found the huge Oak tree, was mere inches from the front of the house, and it's roots were actually busting out the slab in the dining room.  The branches were threatening the roof.  It was then, that the friend realized that a referral to a good real estate agent in the area was a great idea after all.

Working with a real estate professional provides interaction with someone who is knowledgeable about the marketplace, and listing inventory.  And working with a real estate professional saves you valuable time that can come from viewing properties that will truly work for you and your family. 

Internet searches are a Great tool for buyers and sellers, but they simply don't replace a professional and knowledgeable agent.



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Emily Medvec Qualifying Broker
Hello Realty Partners - Santa Fe, NM
Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM

Myrl, your "then and now" perspective is right on target about the need for representation in a real estate transaction. Your example about the the oak tree creates a perfect picture about what is often missing in the pictures: facts, title documents, property condition, location, comps to name a few. Great post!

Feb 01, 2012 12:00 PM #1
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Change is always happening and you story depicts it well. I remember micro fis, MLS books, people actually coming to open houses THOSE WERE THE DAYS

Feb 01, 2012 12:06 PM #2
Ralph Post
Post Real Estate Group - Suntree, FL


Ahh yes FHA Mortgages were what we looked for ...  I think the ability to have 10-12  photos of a listing is awesome  but find it sad that some only have one photo

Feb 01, 2012 12:19 PM #3
Gloria Todor
Century 21 Absolute Realty - Media, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Myrl, I hear a few agents in our office talk of the days of 18% interest and marvel at how hard that must have been.  I also hear people say agents will be replaced by the Internet.  But as you point out and I agree wholeheartedly, knowledgeable live guides are still very much needed in the world of real estate.


Feb 01, 2012 12:34 PM #4
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Emily - There are certain things, like the Oak tree, that a real estate professional, will have the knowledge and skill to point out.  In a personal twist, I remember a wonderful old home that I showed to a buyer once.  They looked up at the vintage elm and thought it gorgeous.  They were so busy looking up, that they weren't looking down to see what it was doing to the foundation under the master bedroom floor.

Charles - Ah yes, the ole microfische days.  I can remember sitting hours in front of one of those, while looking up records and maps.

Feb 01, 2012 12:49 PM #5
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Post - Yep, we looked for homes with assumable FHA or VA loans, which had little equity, and a reasonable interest rates.  I think it must have been at least 2 years after I received my license, before I actually sold a house, which originated a new loan.  I was Rookie of the Year in my first year.  It was an experienced agent sitting behind me in that office, which taught me what would work, and what wouldn't.

Doug and Gloria - Actually, in a bazaar way, it was easier back then.  Not for sellers who had an unassumable loan however.  But I sold a lot of homes in the early 1980s.  I sometimes wonder if loans had remained more assumable, or capable of being taken "Subject To," we wouldn't be in as much of a mess as we are today! 

Feb 01, 2012 12:55 PM #6
Juli Vosmik
Dominion Fine Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739

Myrl, I just had to hit that gold suggest button.  Do you actually remember those HUGE books of pages upon pages of listings with no relevant facts about the market?  How did we all do business?  And, yes, I bought my first home when the rates were 19%, but you could get a "good deal" on a one year adjustable rate mortgage (new to the market) at 12% - boy was I lucky to get that LOW interest rate.  Oh, and I had to take title as a spinster when I was only 21 years old, LOL.  

Feb 01, 2012 01:38 PM #7
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Myrl, One of the nice things about our Mls and perhaps yours as well, when you click on the address, it open a map and one of the views is the satellite view which puts the property and it's surroundings in perspective. One day I should write a post about how to use all the tools embedded our MLS  when people use our IDX search tools and don't just rely on third party aggregator sites. 

Feb 01, 2012 02:29 PM #8
The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Hi Myrl,

This is great!  I had to hit the suggest button also.  Thank God that thing have changed (at least in these aspects of real estate).  Consumers have such a better shot at really finding what they want - back then, it sounds like the "hunt and peck" method.


Feb 01, 2012 11:58 PM #9
. 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC
What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779



ABSOLUTELY...pretty pictures do NOT replace REALTORS who are local experts and  not only know the ins and outs of the neighborhood, but can interpret data so that it has value for our clients...

Feb 02, 2012 02:11 AM #10
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Owner financing sold those homes back in the late 70s, early 80s. Plus, remember those prices, Myrl? I sold in Orange County then, and you could buy a pretty decent house for $50,000 to $80,000. But you still need a real estate agent -- times may change but the need for an agent isn't one of them.

Feb 02, 2012 02:31 AM #11
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Juli - Thanks for the suggest, it is greatly appreciated!  I was exceptionally lucky when I first became a Realtor.  My office was a few blocks away from the very busy Mather Air Force Base.  Our area of town was saturated with many homes that had FHA or VA financing on them.  And they were assumable.  Had it not been for that one fact, I would have never lasted.

William - Those of us who have been in real estate a few years, can only marvel had the wonderful tools and capabilities our MLS has these days.   It's a totally different experience from a couple of decades ago.

Feb 02, 2012 01:26 PM #12
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

LIsa - In many ways, it was a kind of hunt and peck method.  I remember really relying on my time to preview properties before showing. 

JaneAnne - A real estate professional, who is saavy in their locality, is worth their weight in gold!

Elizabeth - Yep, I remember in my first couple of years of real estate, the average home price on my sales, was $60,000.  Even with the signicant home value drops of the last several years, values are currently more than that.  It's why as a longterm investment, real estate still prevails.

Feb 02, 2012 01:30 PM #13
Kwee Huset
Kwee Huset Realty - Venice, FL
Venice Florida Homes For Sale

Myrl, congratulations on your achievement of over 700K points. your quality contents match your blog title.

Feb 02, 2012 02:36 PM #14
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Myrl  Having been licensed I remember the "good old days".  However, buyers still need a professional with experience to provide them with expert data as compared to much of the misinformation they receive online

Feb 02, 2012 10:43 PM #15
Steve Merson
Keller Williams Realty - Austin, TX

Hi Myrl,

Another excellent article as always. I use a professional photographer on all of my listings. Of course, there are occassions when it can backfire. I remember receiving a call from a very irate agent who showed my listing and was so mad at me as the home, in her opinion, didn't show nearly as well in real life as it did in the photos!! Oh well.............


Feb 03, 2012 08:59 AM #16
Lisa Wetzel
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Carson City, NV

Myrl ... I'm right there with yiu!  I still have a couple of those books and ... believe it or not .... my old black and white polaroid camera!   Those were the days!

Feb 03, 2012 01:16 PM #17
Bob Souza (925) 513-3400 & Leilani Souza (916) 408-5500 Souza Realty - Real Estate Broker in Placer County, California
Souza Realty - Roseville, Rocklin, Granite Bay, Loomis, Penryn, Newcastle, Lincoln, Auburn, Meadow Vista (Placer Coun... - Roseville, CA
Homes & Land, Real Estate Investments and Rentals

Myrl, thanks for sharing your real estate flashback with us! I got my license only 13 short years ago and things haven't changed as much since then as they have if you go back 30 years. I heard about those listing books from the old-timers, though! :)


Feb 05, 2012 04:02 PM #18
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Myrl Jeffcoat

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