What We Lost Will Never Come Back..Is that Good?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cam Realty and Property Management

What We Lost Will Never Come Back..Is that Good?

We start the first month of the year with a great challenge Things we Have Lost to Internet hosted by Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist and Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, SRES. I obtained my license in 2002 when everything was a lot different from home shopping to contract to close. I get asked by newer agents if it was more difficult to learn the business back then, I can’t say that it was as we didn’t have many of the systems we have today. We did what we had to do with the tools that were available. There was definitely more human interaction.

As a new agent, I printed and practiced on a blank contract, listing agreement and all the documents needed, knew every page, paragraph by heart. Those of us who have been in the business for a minute most likely operate the same way as we know and understand the importance of these legal documents.
Sadly, I have worked with plenty of newer agents who didn’t have the same type of knowledge since everything is at their fingertips and can be filled out in minutes. Sure, it is a lot easier to fill out a contract today but if we didn’t have the legal description available in MLS, would they be able to find it? How about the zoning, the mileage rate and the list will go on. I think we have become too dependent on the internet and stopped learning. I remember physically going to the appraisers’ office, zoning department to obtain information. Now, I just visit the site and boom..it is right there.

Is real estate still a people business? Most would answer this question yes, however, it is not the same as before the internet. We didn’t have all these sites displaying homes for sale or make cash purchases without ever marketing the home. We can talk about this every single day for hours but the facts will remain the same. iBuyers and sellers do exist. I guess some prefer convenience over profit.

How we find our buyer and seller clients has also changed thanks to the internet. Some pay to play to lead generation companies, some pay to get email addresses and phone numbers to call..ohh..wait..some agents hire others to make these phone calls. There are auto dialer softwares that dial the numbers all day long and connect the two parties. This didn’t exist twenty years ago. It is a huge service to many but a curse to those who don’t believe in cold calling(by the way, I am on that list).

What you see is not really what you will get. Virtual staging and photoshop are tools many use so the homes look more appealing to online shoppers. I don’t think these are good tools to utilize even when it is disclosed as we know the consumer doesn't read everything. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. I have literally seen utility poles removed from photos. As a local agent, I can tell but someone who lives in another state would have no idea. Imagine if they purchased a home just based on pictures because they can.

What We Lost Will Never Come Back..Is that Good?

Comments (37)

Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Beth I had to laugh at what the biz was like when I started in 1987.  Pretty much old fashioned all the way. No nada!  But my broker was one of the best marketers around and he taught us all how to capture markets via flyers with color photos (just one) and so much more!  And we were so excited when we got a 'pager'.  All it told us was - get to a phone and call into the office.  And...oh when fax came in it was sliced bread for sure!  Too funny!!

Jan 04, 2022 09:12 AM
Marte Cliff

I started in 1985 - before we even used FAX machines! We did have an answering machine in the office, but hardly anyone left a message. In those days, you had better know how to read a map, and if we wanted the names of property owners, we could darn well drive the 30 miles to the courthouse and look them up.

Jan 04, 2022 10:05 AM
Beth Atalay

Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker, I didn't have a pager as an agent but had to carry not one but of them plus a work phone when I was working at Walt Disney World. Technology has made many things much easier but sometimes, I do miss those more simple times. 

Jan 04, 2022 11:34 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

Beth the pager thing was cool when I lived in Flagstaff.  I could be out skiing, get a page and make a run for the chalet and call the office.  Playing while working we called it!  As for simple times......I keep a lot of my life simple and much like it was back then.....as it's all about relationships to moi.

Jan 04, 2022 02:46 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

GREAT post!  We were licensed in the same year! I so understand how you feel.  While we didn't start business with books of listings, the old ways of doing business before so much technology are dying.  The internet of things seems to have taken some of the personal touches away, IMHO.  

Jan 04, 2022 09:17 AM
Beth Atalay

I agree with you Jan Green, some of us will never lose that human touch though. 

Jan 04, 2022 11:32 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I find it sad that so many new agents don't take the time to learn things - like what every paragraph in a contract means.

Jan 04, 2022 10:06 AM
Beth Atalay

It truly is sad Marte Cliff.

Jan 04, 2022 11:31 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID

Your comment about real estate being a people business reminded me of when I was the Regional Director for a rapidly expanding brokerage.  One of the local agents in a resort town, McCall Idaho, said all the technology in the world wouldn't help us in their market because it is all about the people.  I told her "As long as you are my competitor, I genuinely hope you continue to believe that!"  Our company was second in market share by the second year and we started from scratch.  I credit blending the two strategies.

Jan 04, 2022 10:08 AM
Beth Atalay

Jim Paulson, without a doubt, both are needed to be successful. Buying and selling a home is emotional, apps can not be there to talk to our customers/clients.

Jan 04, 2022 11:30 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Beth and you just never know if you loose something is good or bad, it depends on what it was.


Jan 04, 2022 04:36 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Beth,

Nothing is as consistent as change. Luckily, human agents are adaptable. iBuyers & sellers get the service they pay for. If you are ok with 16% in fees, because you want to save 6% commission, go right ahead. Agents depend on their reputation and want to help you buy low and sell high. They depend on your referrals, which the aggregators do not. A bleary-eyed late night internet search is good enough for them.

Jan 04, 2022 09:27 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent post. People who haven't experienced life without current technology won't ever know what they are missing. Those who have experienced that life have the option to embrace technology and/or to set boundaries on how and when they do. That's why there are still people who refuse to use Internet!

Enjoy your day!

Jan 05, 2022 04:51 AM
Matt Brady
Watermark Capital - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Lenders

As in most things, there are pros and cons to advances in technology. Getting rid of MLS books was huge, deleting a power pole in photo borders on fraud. But one thing remains constant, those who adapt are more successful than those who don't.


Jan 05, 2022 03:38 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Beth Atalay ,

Well said. I agree with Matt Brady ..the only constant you must learn to adapt to be successful! Fraud..like removing telephone poles in a photo of a home for sale is never acceptable!

Jan 05, 2022 04:13 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Beth- I was an agent for one year back in 1986. Only CEO's had cell phones so we relied on pagers. 

Jan 05, 2022 08:00 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Beth Atalay 
Such a thoughtful post -- thanks.  
Happy, Healthy New Year!

Jan 05, 2022 08:48 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Like you Beth I prefer the personal touch..there are some agents I've worked with who don't even want to have a phone conversation--that's discouraging!

Jan 06, 2022 01:42 PM
Greg Mona
Hague Partners/72SOLDHUB - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Great thought provoking post, Beth! SO many things have changed with the internet and it’s continuous changes and advancements. And while I’ve done my best to keep up with the ever changing technology, at least in my experience, I find regardless of the preferred communication method of my clients, the majority still want and appreciate the human interaction, for which I am grateful. Having things become so automated that we end up losing that would be a tragedy. 

Jan 06, 2022 08:05 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Beth Atalay I remember when I first discovered photo editing software and yes at first I did abuse it but it didn't sit right with my soul so I that brought a quick end to removing telephone poles 😃.

Jan 13, 2022 06:52 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Beth Atalay 
Very comprehensive review...

Jan 19, 2022 10:19 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I think a lot has changed in the real estate marketplace over the years.  Some of it has been beneficial, some of it has not!  I can't imagine buying sight unseen. Especially, when based on viewing on-line photos.  An example: I remember a buyer who fell in love with a picture kitchen of a home. She wanted to immediately write an offer without visiting the property.  I insisted we visit and view.  Turns out the agent had used a wide angle lens when photographing.  That "huge" kitchen, in reality was miniscule in comparison.

Jan 21, 2022 07:07 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Beth - your take on this is certainly not that different than mine.  In my post I said no I don't want to go back but now much we train new people differently.  I love your example about the new agent that just clicks.  I have another.  When I go to the store and the clerk says that is 1.27, then I give two dollars and say I have the 2 cents, they look at me puzzled.  They don't know how to make change any more.

Jan 21, 2022 07:21 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Friday morning, Beth.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

Jan 28, 2022 07:03 AM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Fantastic post Beth Atalay.  I became licensed in 2006 and yes things have changed tremendously.  Admittedly I miss the interaction that came along with team meetings, office competitions, face to face (not Zoom) meetings  with buyers and sellers to go over the listing and buyer agency docs paragraph by paragraph.  Even with electronic signatures and Zoom, I never ever bypass the buyer and seller thorough consultation and I still go over docs paragraph by paragraph because there will always be questions and the dialogue builds trust.


As for some practices being gone for good, well yes and no.  Yes because some systems are no longer valid or practical and no because some practices will live on for as long as we continue to practice them.

Thanks for this post.

Mar 30, 2022 06:47 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Beth Atalay  what an awesome post I am so glad I stumbled on it now, clearly missed it the first time around. Bought back memories, I had to go from Office to Office and take notes to get the inventory in Boston, MA the year was 1996 or so... then we got the MLS books loved it what an improvement.... yes it is a people business, now days I have listed and sold properties to buyers/sellers that I have never met thanks to the internet and all the technology.... so with that said it is all perspective, Endre

May 25, 2022 09:15 PM