Then & Now
We have been in business since 1971, which seems like a long time ago. But a great deal has changed in last 45 years – not just in the way the real estate business is being conducted, but in the way people live their lives. From the perspective of today’s youth, the early days of our operation can seem like living in the “dark ages.” There were no computers, no cell phones or electronics, and the concept of the Internet was something you would only see in science fiction movies.
1971 was the year that the first battery-powered, digital calculators went on the market. It was about the size of a small shoe box, and it was very heavy. But we invested several hundred dollars to have this “latest technology.”
Back then, a real estate contract was only one page, and they were mostly fill-in-the-blank. The only contingency was that the buyer had to be approved for financing. There were no office copiers, so contracts had to be written on carbon paper. We would sometimes use a typewriter, but most of it was by hand. In fact, we still have three old IBM typewriters that were top-of-the-line back then, and we still use them to this day.
The Multiple Listing Service was run by Don Helm, and he made copies of them with a mimeograph machine for about 200 agents that we had as members. I would pick them up once a week, and I would sit in front of my black-and-white television while I updated my binder. Our MLS eventually used a copier, and in 1979 we had a printed book. Still, it seems like old-school in a time when you can pull up home listings on your tablet or smart phone. In fact, we use places like Trulia and Zillow to find listings that we can present to prospective buyers.
It may seem hard to imagine in today’s Digital Age, but there were no cell phones when we first opened for business. If you were showing someone a house and needed to make an appointment, you’d have to run to the nearest pay phone; but we did have an agent back then who had a two-way radio in her car so she could call a base station, give a phone number to dial, and make an appointment.
The late 70’s brought the first direct-dial car phones, and we bought three of them (priced at about $4000 each). People were surprised to see us call from the front of their house. We could see them pull back the curtain and peer out the window!
Now, we have electronic lockboxes that keep track of who enters a property, and they log both the date and time of the entry. We also have color copiers that can duplicate documents in a flash, and we have phones that function as miniature computers. Today’s technology allows us to be instantly updated about any homes that have just come on the market, and we can even find the ones that have been sold. We can print contracts that are a minimum of eight pages, and we can scan and e-mail them to our buyers. Back in 1971, a real estate file might have included a half-dozen sheets of paper. In 2016, we can do everything electronically.
In spite of all the advances that have been made in the last few decades, there are some things that don’t change. The buyers want to buy low and sell high, and realtors play a major role in successfully executing a sale. We have been able to meet this challenge for over 40 years, and it is because of the satisfaction we receive from helping families to fulfill their dream of finding the perfect home.
If you want to find out why we are one the leading real estate agencies in Corpus Christi, get in touch with us today!