Yesterday I spent 9am to 4pm with fellow Realtors learning about the latest Tech apps, software and hardware for our Real Estate business. It was stimulating and I learned some good shortcuts and tricks.
It caused me to think how much the Real Estate Business has changed since I started in May, 1988. I looked around and doubted that anyone in the room was there then. Believe it or not we didn’t use computers. We had Up Books that would be delivered to our office once a week. When we were getting ready to show property we had to look around the office and see who had the Up Book. Bruce and I were working as a team then and were among the few who used computers in our office. The problem was we were Apple people and the business world used PCs.
Bruce and I were also teachers and he was heads above most using computers in the classroom. He was chosen to receive a new Apple computer. We went to the Mission Bay Hilton for the presentation. I will never lose the image in my head of a young Steve Jobs hopping up on and across the stage with his jacket flying back to present the Apple to Bruce. How cool! The reason was that Steve Jobs wanted the Education market and so he was flooding schools with free Apples. Smart. We were loyal Apple users for a long time.
Real Estate at the time did not use Apples and I had no choice but to switch. Scott and his family are still loyal Apple users. Gordon and I are not because of Real Estate. Realtors can use Apples now but for a long time there were too many glitches to make it worthwhile. My entire Real Estate career I have continued to attend classes and go to conventions to keep up and learn what is going on. That is fun for me…My Broker knows I am the only one in his office who loves that and he teases me about being his “teacher” Realtor.
The part that I am still fighting for is we did everything face to face. We wrote offers and signed offers after much discussion and explanation. In the early days I presented offers face to face with the other agents and his clients while mine waited outside. Then if we wanted changes I ran out to discuss and came back with the deal. Accepted on the spot. It was actually fun. Now with technology and Docusign no one ever has to meet. But the worst is the contracts are not being explained before signed. I have complained to my Broker that this is a serious issue.
So the other day the client wanted to use Docusign. We agreed to the details of the contract and I said I will call you when your husband is home and I will review the contract. So I started through the explanation when she said “ok”. It’s all signed and I’m sending it back to you. I asked to speak with her husband. That’s when I discovered he wasn’t even there. Seriously… I am still going to push for face to face signing. Some technology is hard for me to accept.
So yesterday, in spite of the fact that I sat at the back of the room and with my eyes I couldn’t read the screen and the internet log in they gave me didn’t work … I learned a lot. The secret was that after years and years of learning about this I had a lot of context to help me fill in the blanks of what I couldn’t see. Listening actually worked with most of it.
At the lunch break the SDAR tech guy came and logged me on with his secret code. Hmmm that probably was a mistake because then I was distracted by access to my own emails etc. I learned a long time ago that after they feed me and I have had to sit too long my attention is gone.
Technology has made big changes in both of my chosen careers and while fabulous and amazing things are possible I will still fight for the person to person interaction that is being lost.