Old Time Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

Having been raised in a real estate family, I remember what it was like in Olden Times.  Things were really very different.  For example:

1.  MLS.  When I was a child, my Mom sold real estate.  MLS information was distributed by the local board once a week on memeographed sheets that had been hole-punched for a 3 ring binder.  My Mom had me putting the sheets in the ring binder.  Then the board began publishing a book, much like the phone book, with 4 properties to the page.  I still have one of those books.  I use it for a craft glue pad.  Selling Real Estate

MLS got computerized, perhaps in the late 1980s or early 1990s.  I wasn't directly involved in the business at that point, I was just aware that it was happening.  The database software used was state of the art for the time it was developed, which is to say that it was very primative completely unintuitive.  No pictures were possible.   In our area, there was a really awkward blip with MLS software in which the board switched software.  They went live with the new software and killed off the old one.  The new one didn't work and the old one was gone.  There was no MLS for about 5 weeks.  That was November/December of 1998.  It was memorable.

2. Franchise Companies.  There weren't any national companies.  None.  It was all local, all Mom-and-Pop operations.  It was common for real estate and insurance to be sold by the same person out of the same small office.  I don't remember exactly when that changed but I am going to guess that it happened at some point in the 1970s.  I remember my Dad talking about how it was GOING to happen and it was going to change everything about how the business was done.  It has.

3.  Lock Boxes.  Next time you get a key out of a lock box, think about how tedious it would be to have to go pick up the key to every property you showed and then have to drive back and return the key after the showing.  That is how it used to be.  In some areas that still is the way things are done.  Imagine how impractical that would be in most metropolitian areas.  Bless the people who invented the lock boxes!

4.  Scheduling Services.  Another dramatic shift happened when the Scheduling Services first appeared in the industry.  Scheduling Services are another HUGE time saver.  One call and it is done.  No having to track down the listing agent.  And before car phones and then cell phones finding the listing agent wasn't always easy.  Boy Howdy, what an improvement.

5.  Document Delivery, Part 1. First Post Office, Then FedEx and UPS.  Used to be that only the post office delivered documents.  Closing documents were sent Airmail Special Delivery.   If you had to have same-day delivery, you had to arrange for one of the airlines to carry the papers.  You drove out ot the airport and handed the documents to an airline employee.   Then someone in the destination town had to drive out to the airport and pick up the documents.  Lots of drama, but if you could get the flight schedules to work out right, the documents arrived that day.

6.  Document Delivery, Part 2.  Fax and Email.  Santa brought me my first fax machine.  It was clear that the elves had made it because it really was magic.  I could feed a document into the machine on my end of town and it popped out at another location, across town, across the state, where ever I wanted it to go. It made me giddy.  But, then, remember that I had driven documents to the airport, in the rain or the heat, and now all I had to do was dial someone's number and just pay the long-distance phone charges and they had the documents.  See why I thought it was magic?  The other reason that Santa delivered my first fax machine was because they were so expensive that it made sense to ask Santa for it.

Then email showed up.  I remember being at some kind of seminar, perhaps in the early 1990s, hearing a title company speaker talk about how in the future we were going to see documents being delivered email.  I scoffed at the idea.  I couldn't imagine email being that universally used to be able to rely on it for broad-based communication


The tools change, but the services our clients need haven't changedf at all. They need us to know the market, to be familiar with the procedures, the way things are done by lenders and title companies.  They expect us to be able to be there for them, every step of the way, as we walk through the process of buying or selling a house.  That part doesn't change.

If you want to buy or sell a house in Dallas or the Metroplex, just call me.  My phone number is 214-228-9828.  Click here to check out my website!

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Bob Usey
Bob Usey Properties - Gulfport, MS

Thanks for the well-written article. you reminded me of just how old I am...been doing for 35 years. I am one of those who jumped into the computer age...early 90's , email, smartphone. We don't want to let the young bunch get too far ahead of us.

By the way texting is a good way to keep in touch with grandchildren, since most of them can't read, spell, or communicate verbally.....just push buttons & test. Amen !

Bob Usey Properties

Mississippi Gulf Coast



Sep 11, 2012 07:02 AM #1
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