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!