Real Estate the Old Fashioned Way - Remember The Big Book of Listings?

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

As promised, today I will begin a series of ramblings on what life was like in the olden days for real estate agents - before ZTR, Docusign, GPS and smarty-pantz phones. And contrary to what you might assume, I believe real estate agents were BETTER equipped (in some ways) to be successful when they WEREN'T equipped with all these gizmos, gadgets and techno-toys! 

Let me set the stage. Back in late 1996, I hung my shiny new real estate license on the wall of my first brokerage firm - Coldwell Banker Van Schaack in Denver, Colorado. By the end of the year, I'd had four closings and in the next 12 months, enjoyed 25 visits to the closing table. Maybe not set-the-world-on-fire numbers, but it was good enough to get me Rookie-of-the-Year runner-up and, heck, I was pleased with myself. 

This was back in the day of the Big Book of Listings - remember that? Every Tuesday, the real estate board would distribute the Big Book with grainy pictures of active listings and the bare basic specifications of each. Or, for the more technically-inclined among us, we could log onto the DOS-based MLS and scroll through the listings (no photos included). 

Sounds dreadful, doesn't it? How on EARTH could a real estate agent possibly keep up with the market when the only information available about a listing was a grainy black and white photo and a brief just-the-facts write-up?

How, indeed?


Instead of perusing property profiles online, we had no choice but to go out and preview. And preview. And preview some more. In fact, that's how I spent my very first day as a licensed real estate agent - previewing property with two other agents 'cause that's what you DID to learn your market. It was a habit I got into early that served me well, very well, throughout my career, even after color interior photos, virtual tours, videos and google earth hit the scene. 

I was lucky that in my Denver, Colorado market, previewing was accepted, even encouraged. I was stunned when I started writing for real estate agents and discovered that previewing was not mainstream in all markets; in fact, in many, it Simply Isn't Done. 

The moral of the story - if previewing is allowed in your market, even if it's frowned upon but technically allowed - DO IT. You will be a far better agent for your effort! 


Related Blogs at Searchable Soul: 


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

Turn OFF the GPS 

Face2Face Contracts?

Life Before Facebook






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Comments (4)

James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Jennifer.  I remember those large books.  While I didn't get my license until 2008 I was buying homes back then.  I remember agents with those large cumbersome books driving around, looking for that home we wanted.

May 16, 2016 11:36 PM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning Jennifer,

Thankfully the big book was before I started real estate.

As to previewing properties I do as many in my area as possible so when the call comes in I am prepared.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

May 16, 2016 11:38 PM
Debi McKamie
McKamie Real Estate Services, LLC - Meridian, TX
Realtor®/Property Manager

Good morning Jennifer:

The big book was before me, but our office encourages previewing properties.  Pictures in the MLS do not compare to actually  touring the home and sensing the feel of the home.  

May 16, 2016 11:47 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

We're a resort/vacation area and most of the time 80% of our inventory is vacant at some point during the week so I still do a lot of previewing.  I love being able to speak intelligently about listings that are not my firms. I also require my agents to preview our own listings (with excpetions here and there) so the duty agent (yes we still have a duty agent) can know the answers.

May 17, 2016 03:12 AM