The Evolution of Real Estate in Brooklyn (or anywhere else)!
Now that we have entered 2011 and given the state of the real estate market here in Brooklyn (which I personally think is great), I took a moment to think about the evolution or real estate here in Brooklyn specifically since I first started my real estate career back in 1993.
You have to keep in mind that back in the old days, the “Windows” operating system did not even exist yet! When I first got my real estate license I was the ONLY agent in the office (amongst a bunch of experienced real estate veterans, some who had been in the business for 30 years!) that would even use the computer. The office computer back then was a DOS based system. For those of you who have never saw what I am talking about, the computer screen was all blue and when you typed the letters came out white (the same as a DOS prompt now when you use your computer is safe mode). There were no web sites, no property photos, virtual tours, blogs or anything of the sort. When you logged onto the MLS database you would simply see the printed out property details with NO PHOTOS at all. We had to wait for the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) books to come out once a month in order to see a picture of the house! The MLS paid a guy to take photos of all the listings (he is out of business now) and digital cameras did not exist back then! Nobody even had an email address!
If you wanted to give a customer/buyer the listing or property information, you would have to take this big giant fat book (the MLS book, some referred to it as the “bible”) to the copy machine and photo copy it. Then you would have to black out the information you didn’t want the buyer to see, such as the homeowner’s name and phone number, listing office, listing expiration date and/or commission amount. It’s funny, here in Brooklyn we had this “James Bond” like system called “Black Horse” where each letter corresponded to a number from 0 to 10, “B” was 1 and “E” was 0. Hence if the commission was listed as “H”, you knew it was 6%! I get goose bumps when I think about that.
I really do not know how we survived. Nobody even had a cell phone let alone a smart phone! I remember when my broker told me “Mitch, you have to go get yourself a pager so people could get in touch with you.” Back then only the rich and famous could afford an actual “car phone.” So I gave in and got myself a pager... remember those? In case you do not know what I am talking about, that little black box would attach to your belt and if your clients, customers or broker needed you they could dial your pager number and input their phone number “after the beep.” Then while you were driving the pager would go off (beep, beep, beep) and you see a phone number pop up. Who is it? Often times you had to call to find out (no caller ID) and if there was a “911” after the number you knew you better do it fast. Then we had to scurry around like madmen looking for the nearest pay-phone (praying that it would not be covered in chewing gum or worse) just to return the call in the rain!
Anyways, a couple of years after that, my broker said “Mitch, you have to get a cell phone.” I was defiant because I didn’t want to pay for it; after all, I had my pager! Finally my broker gave in and said he would pay the bill! Cell phones back then were enormous in size as you may recall and the battery life offered you about 5 minutes talk time on a full charge! You got like a 30 minute plan for a couple of hundred bucks; man did the phone companies bang you over the head back then! Ahh, those were the days when a phone was just a phone. No camera, video, planner, web browser, GPS, etc, etc…just a simple device to make a phone call… if you could find a good spot (can you hear me now)!
After that technology just took over, it was crazy. I remember when we first made our company web site in 1996, we were so excited! In our marketing materials, the headlines read “Surf the Net!” and “See you in Cyberspace!” or “24 hours a day from the comfort of your own home!” And we worried that nobody would even know what we were talking about. We also had a very easy to remember domain name/web site address back then… in the ads is read as follows:
“Visit us on the World Wide Web at http://www.dmatech.com/madison”
We swore we were the most cutting edge real estate in all of Brooklyn!! Eventually that evolved into www.MadisonEstates.com of course.
Now we have wifi, phone apps, QR codes and we even hand out 2 Gigabyte portable memory cards with our company logo and listings already loaded onto them! What will tomorrow bring, who knows? One thing is certain, you have to evolve and change with the times to stay successful in the real estate biz! As an agent you must set goals and put together a business plan. As they say “Fail to plan… plan to fail!” I embrace and look forward to the changes to come!!
If you have a funny anecdote or comment regarding this blog entry, submit them below or contact me direct. Thanks for reading!
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783
Web Sites: www.MitchellFeldman.com and www.MadisonEstates.com
© Copyright by Mitchell Feldman. All Rights Reserved. Republication or redistribution of this material is expressly prohibited without prior written consent by Mitchell Feldman. This information is deemed reliable but not 100% guaranteed. Mitchell Feldman is not at attorney and therefore not able to give legal advice. If you are involved in a real estate transaction and have a question, besides speaking to Mitchell, you should also speak to your attorney.