Things we Have Lost to the Internet- Real Estate Edition

Real Estate Agent with Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 DRE #01423125

Things we Have Lost to the Internet

Things have changes a lot since I started in the real estate world back in 2004.  One of the biggest changes over the last 18 years has been the internet.  It was around when I started in the business but not nearly as integrated into everything that we did back then as it is now.
  1. FLOOR TIME.  Back when I started in Real Estate we had what was called floor time in the office.  There was always someone on floor time ready to take Phone Call on Floor Timethe calls that came into the office about our listings.  Most agents back then weren't attached to cell phones 24/7 so the phone number on the yard signs was usually the office number.  If you were the floor agent you answered questions about listings. This was a good way to connect with buyers.  Now every yard sign has the agents cell phone number and rarely does a call come into the office phone for information on a listing.

  2. MAP BOOKS. Back before everyone had GPS in their cars or on their cell phones we had Map Books.  These were a spiral bound book of maps that Thomas Map Bookcovered Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties (for us).  Every listing in the MLS had the Map book page and coordinates listed.  (They don't any more) Then along came GPS units like Garmin and Magellan and other companies.  These worked well but you needed to update them occasionally and that cost extra. Then along came the cell phone GPS apps. And now my car has Apple Carplay and I can just tell it where I want to go.  My old GPS unit has been sitting in a drawer for years.

  3. LOCKBOX KEY.   With the advent of the electronic lockbox everyone needed a lockbox key.  This looked like and was about the size of a pager (remember Supra Lockbox Keythose?)  This first lockboxes I dealt with you had to put in your PIN code and then actually attach the key to the lockbox in order for it to work.   The key had to be attached to the charger/cradle every night to be updated and charged.  If you forgot to do this you could not access the lock boxes.  There were more than a few times I had to make a quick run back to the office and do a quick update because I had forgotten to do it the night before.  You could also call a phone number for an emergency update code but only once before you had to put in on the charger for updating.  So don't forget two days in a row or you were out of luck.  Now I just use an APP on my phone to open lock boxes. One less thing I have to carry around and remember to charge.   So much easier.

  4. HAND WRITTEN PAPER CONTRACTS.  Back in the Real Estate stone age wePaper Contracts actually wrote our contracts out with a pen, in triplicate.  My first office we had three giant file cabinets filled with blank contracts.  There were the purchase contracts, addenda, disclosures, counter offers and on and on.  Every one on paper!  Now contracts are done electronically with zip forms and e-signed.  No more legibility issues, no more horrible scanned and faxed copies. I haven't seen a hand written and signed contract in a long time.

  5. FAX MACHINES.  I know fax machines are not totally gone but they are Fax Machine(hopefully) on their last legs.  Nothing was worse than getting a hand written offer that was faxed to buyer number one for signatures, then faxed to buyer number two for signatures then faxed to me.  Often times by then the contract was almost impossible to read.  Now with zip forms and e-signatures fax machines are no longer needed. 

This are just a few of the things that we have lost because of the internet.  I actually think it's a good thing.  This has made it faster and easier not only for me but for my Central Valley real estate clients too! I don't know what the next few years will bring, but I'll be here to embrace it and move forward!

Posted by


Jim Patton - Realtor
Aspire Home Real Estate
DRE# 01423125

Serving Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin Counties in California's Central Valley.

Are you thinking about buying or selling Central Valley Real Estate?  Let's Talk!

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since 2004!

Jim Patton - Central Valley RealtorCall or Text: 209.404.0816
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Comments (19)

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Hello Jim Patton 

Seems you were licensed a year after me. Needless to say, I can relate to all the things we lost to the Internet. I was not a big fan of being in the office so floor time was not my thing. I know many agents loved it. I do not miss the map books and welcome GPS!  The e-keys, cradling, and updating were a pain but it was all we had … until.  Our phones do so much more for us now. Paperless contracts and e-signing are time savers for sure. Thankfully, since I still do need to fax something every once in a blue moon, we have e-fax so the machine is no longer necessary. 


Thank you for participating in the January 2022 Challenge! 

Jan 28, 2022 03:24 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I enjoyed reading your post and I like the way you organized your thoughts.  The things you lost are good ones!  Wishing you a wonderful weekend. A

Jan 28, 2022 03:26 PM
Jim Patton

Thank you Ron and Alexandra Seigel.  Most of those things we lost have been replaced by one cell phone!


Jan 28, 2022 03:31 PM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist carrying those map books, e-keys, GPS and my dumb cell phone back in the day I almost wished I had a purse for it all.  Not enough pockets.

Jan 28, 2022 03:30 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Jim- isn't it amazing how almost all we need these days is our smart phone!!! Makes life easier. 

Jan 28, 2022 05:40 PM
Jim Patton

Hi Kathy Streib that one little piece of technology has come a long way.  I wonder where it will lead us.


Jan 28, 2022 10:07 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Jim, it's all been for the good - I totally agree!  I remember all of what you pointed out and so much more that preceded your start date. We are so lucky to have things made so much easier and smoother to deal with every day business.

Jan 28, 2022 08:40 PM
Jim Patton

Hi Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker technology has been good for our industry ... Mostly

Jan 28, 2022 10:08 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

So true, Jim!  I was first licensed in 1981.  That's all we had.  In fact, we didn't even have a fax machine back then.  I remember a few agents in our office, talking our broker into parting with $400. to get one!

Jan 29, 2022 04:21 AM
Jim Patton

Remember those first fax machines with the thermal paper Myrl Jeffcoat?  That was just horrible to use.

Jan 29, 2022 12:11 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Jim, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Jan 29, 2022 04:21 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent points! I got rid of my fax machine a while back and haven't missed it at all!

Jan 29, 2022 04:57 AM
Jim Patton

Hi Kat Palmiotti I remember doing short sales in the not too distant past where the banks wanted everything faxed to them.  That was a pain. 

Jan 29, 2022 12:16 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Jim - I remember each of those things as I started my life in real estate.  And I was there too as those things disappeared/transformed in other ways.  It was also apparent that there were some who were quite familiar with how the business was practiced in the past were not happy with the changes.  

Jan 29, 2022 05:36 AM
Jim Patton

Hi Michael Jacobs the only thing constant in this business is change.

Jan 29, 2022 12:15 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Jim, it is a fun post in that all you mention are positive moves forward with the intervention of 'tech'.  Thank you for the positive input.  Mark

Jan 29, 2022 05:52 AM
Jim Patton

You're welcome Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho and thank you for stopping by.

Jan 29, 2022 12:14 PM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Loved your reminder of "the old days".   It seems like 2019 is already the very distant past.    Speedy changes continue.....

Jan 29, 2022 09:56 AM
Jim Patton

HI Li Read remember how paranoid everyone was about Y2K?  Seems like yesterday.

Jan 29, 2022 12:13 PM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Conclusion upon reading your post -Very little lost. I do think floor time was a great way for new agents to get leads. 

Jan 29, 2022 10:09 AM
Jim Patton

That's the point I was trying to make Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD.  I did pretty well on floor time way back in the day.

Jan 29, 2022 12:12 PM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Myrl Jeffcoat thank you for the feature!

Jan 29, 2022 12:11 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Jim, you definitely took me back to the beginning of my career too!    I picked up a client off of floor time that turned out to be a gold mine! 

Jan 29, 2022 01:47 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Sunday morning, Jim.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

Jan 30, 2022 05:47 AM
Jim Patton

Thank you Roy Kelley and the same to you!

Jan 30, 2022 11:45 AM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Hi Joan Cox I picked up quite a few clients from doing floor time way back when.  Thanks for stopping by.

Jan 30, 2022 11:47 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I did too, one family I have done 24 transactions, and most were all over $500K.   Sold to not only their family, extended family and a few co-workers.

Jan 30, 2022 12:00 PM
Jim Patton

Well that is a very loyal family Joan Cox !

Jan 30, 2022 12:36 PM
Jim Smith
The Property Management Company - Round Rock, TX

"Lost"?  Not at all!  We have, and continue to, evolve to a much 'easier' way to do business.  While it still requires a great deal of effort and professionalism to be successful, it has made the methods and systems far better to implement and utilize.  With today's technology (and the continual improvement), I can run my business from anywhere in the world; whether it be under a palm tree, sitting on a mountain, or in the cockpit of my sailboat.

Jan 31, 2022 07:29 AM
Jim Patton

Hi Jim Smith that was my point.  Easier and more eficient for both us and our clients.

Feb 01, 2022 08:30 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Jim,

That brings back memories. I actually drive quite a bit less due to technology improvements. If every agent does, that probably saves us a bunch of greenhouse gas emissions. Every little bit helps, right?

Feb 01, 2022 07:53 PM
Jim Patton

That could be a side effect Dorte Engel 

Feb 01, 2022 08:35 PM