The practice of real estate has come a long way from the days when homes were only listed in books the size of a big-city telephone directory. (You do remember telephone directories, don’t you?)
Back then life was simpler, but that depends on how you define “simpler.” Purchase contracts were one or two pages instead of 20 pages, and they had to be hand delivered, as did subsequent documents such as inspection and appraisal objections. Mortgage applications and information was all faxed, if not delivered in person.
Actually, life is simpler today. All documents are typically emailed back and forth and signed electronically, except for closing (which has to be done in front of a Notary).
As you know, homes for sale can now be searched and viewed online. An in-person showing or two is common before submitting an offer, but not always necessary. Because our narrated video tours are just like an in-person showing, led by the listing agent, I’ve had out-of-state or even foreign buyers ask me to create a purchase contract, knowing that they can always terminate (which they haven’t) when they fly in for the home inspection. Here’s an example of one of our current video tours:
Facetime is also a great tool for showing homes. When one of our own buyers from out of state expresses interest in a home which they learned about from an MLS email alert — another new technology tool — our agent will use Facetime or take our video camera and do a narrated walk through of that listing (because the listing agent did not create such a tour), and post it on YouTube as a private or unlisted video, and send a link for it to the buyer.
Zoom came along just in time for COVID-19, replacing GoToMeeting as the “go to” software for virtual meetings. A classmate from long ago sent me a link for a virtual 6-person band performance of an adaptation of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” cut, with COVID-19 lyrics. What a hoot!
Even this column is made possible by technology that wasn’t available when I was a newspaper publisher. I create it on my laptop using MS Publisher, create a PDF of it, and send it to the newspaper on deadline, which is two days before you see it in print. Then I post it on this blog, which has hundreds of subscribers, and email it to 900 people who have chosen to receive it by email because they no longer subscribe to a printed newspaper.
Of course, this newspaper, like most, is also available in a “digital replica edition” on its website, which reaches even more readers. I love technology and how it has made life simpler!