Learning from the passage of time (Part 1)

There is an insurance ad on TV where the man says, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.”

After 40-plus years as a Realtor, I’ve seen a thing or two also and would like to spend these next weeks talking about them. You might find them very interesting and how they have made your home buying experience so much better today.

THEN: There were only two places you could find out about a house: You either saw the sign and called the real estate agent, or you went to his / her office to get a look at the MLS book. The MLS book was the “Bible” and you would never find a Realtor without their copy of it. Every two weeks another book was printed, and the old ones were thrown out. Copies of pages were mailed to buyers, left at the front desk to pick up or routinely buyers could be found in Realtors’ offices in the evening poring over the grainy black-and-white pages with their agent. This was happening until the 1990s.

TODAY: Every buyer can have access to the MLS data via their smartphone. Through Realtor.com, you can see a house within minutes of it going on the market, along with disclosures, dozens of photos, maps and more. Information that would take Realtors a few days to gather together for a buyer are now in the buyers’ smartphones in nanoseconds. The MLS of today can let your agent create a profile of homes you might be interested in, and it will automatically email or text you as soon as that home goes on the market.

THEN: One-page contracts. Once again, in the 1980s to 1990s, a one-page contract was normal. It had important things like the address, the price, the potential loan amount, and when it was going to close. There was nothing about inspections, mold, sexual predators or surveys. It was truly “Buyer beware.”

TODAY: You might feel like your real estate contract is a copy of “War and Peace.” There are disclosures about the house, the agents and the loan. There are sections about home inspections, surveys, the conditions of closing and possession, and much more. Realtors learned that more thorough disclosures and more precise language about prices, terms and conditions were in the best interest of buyers and sellers. It may seem you are being overwhelmed by paperwork in today’s transaction; but all of it is there as a result of hundreds of agents and attorneys working together all across Ohio to make sure that all items in a real estate transaction are expressed in the contract.

Next week, we will look at all the people involved in your real estate transaction, and how that has changed over the last 40 years. And don’t forget, when you’re ready to buy or sell a home, contact a Realtor. His / her value and expertise will ensure a professional home buying / selling experience.

Cunningham is the 2020 president of the Warren Area Board of Realtors.


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