Not too long ago, in a not too distant galaxy (that being Philadelphia, Pa.), we used to sell real estate the old fashioned way. We busted our humps. Now I am not saying we do not work hard, but in looking back to when I began in the business, it does seem that life has gotten a little easier. Or maybe it is just as difficult, handling more deals at one time than I used to be able to do.
For instance, there was a time when lock boxes didn’t exist here in the Center City real estate landscape. If you wanted to show someone else’s listing, you had to go pick up the key. Multiply that by 12 condos you want to show, and it seemed an afternoon was spent picking up keys, the next afternoon showing those Center City Condos, and the next day returning those keys to various offices throughout town. Our MLS system had yet to be computerized, and the “books” would come out once a week. I remember those one dozen weekly 60 page catalogues of Center City condos and homes. With just one photo, and jumbled abbreviations to describe the property, it was a wonder we were ever able to identify properties that would fit our buyer’s needs. Comparables were very difficult to illustrate, as the information just wasn’t there. A lot of hearsay was used to support value. And appraisers….how did they ever do their job? The way we really got our information was via flyers that listing agents would drop off to our office in the hope of promoting their listings to get some showings (from cooperating realtors). But a hot listing was another story, and there were a lot more “in-house” sales. It was pretty much a given that a hot, well priced, nice home was going to sell within that particular office that listed it. How were the other agents to find out about it? Especially if you missed the weekly deadline for the MLS book that week. Then the word wouldn’t get out for almost two full weeks that you had a new hot listing.
Juggling emails, text messages, and being in contact with my buyers and sellers almost 24 hours a day now is equally taxing-much more efficient, but certainly a lot busier. Lockboxes abound, as fax machines, and efaxes. But work is work, and in the broader light of day- things here in the Philadelphia real estate game really haven’t changed that much.
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106