Some Wheels Go Round and Round
But, not all. Unlike markets, technology isn’t cyclical. Prices rise and fall, inventories grow and shrink, building starts increase and then recede, monetary policy is alternately tightened and then loosened depending on the fed’s perception of inflationary pressures versus the risk of an unhealthy slowing of economic expansion. But, thankfully, technology–for the most part–only moves forward.
Back in the Day
I remember when I first got my real estate license–way back in 1982. Interest rates were 18% and we had no computers. It is difficult to describe the process to relatively young (new) agents of today. Difficult is it for them to even imagine that the MLS was accessed through opening a huge 3-ring binder that was kept in the office; that MLS additions (updates) were hand delivered on a daily basis by courier and were physically hole punched and placed in that binder; that in order to produce “comps and roles” (comparable properties and tax information) the agent would manually search for the information by thumbing through the MLS binder for comps and, for tax role information, an agent would literally use a microfiche reader! I always grin to myself when a new agent complains that the “MLS is running too slow” on the internet. If they only knew…
Times May Change
Today, San Diego real estate agents have nearly instant access to all of the houses for sale in San Diego, out-of-area listings in many markets, accurate tax information, extensive comparable property analysis, floor plans, listing history, including price reductions, mortgage information, pre-foreclosure information (Notice of Default), as well as trustee’s sales, and much more. If the information sought is out there, it is more than likely on the internet and at the agent’s fingertips. Moreover, the ability for an agent to advertise a property to an ever-widening market of buyers has never been more attainable.
But, People Don’t
Seller’s know that a picture speaks a thousand words and that nothing is more frustrating to a buyer than they’re not being able to get a visual of a property without driving all the way out there to see it. The ability to upload images of the property to the MLS eliminates a buyer’s having to “imagine” what the property looks like, at least in general terms. While there is no substitute for in-person showings, the visual images on today’s MLS can save a buyer a considerable amount of time and afford the seller the ability to offer buyers a glimpse of what potentially makes their property a good fit.
Just Around the Bend
While this latest real estate cycle has been un-typically protracted, it appears to have finally turned the corner. Technology in the real estate industry has definitely turned a big corner and, thankfully, there’s no turning back.