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Evolution of Real Estate: Navigating Changes from Both Ends

From the principal’s perspective this leading headline might seem true, in that it still only takes a willing buyer and seller to agree to terms and Voila, you have a Real Estate transaction.  From the practitioners viewpoint there have been too many huge changes in how we arrive at that hallowed place. It would be impossible to list them all so I’ll just give a preview. So let’s review 10 of the more  serious monkey wrenches that have been thrown into the mix.

  1. Contract of Sale revisions: Forget the fact that NY State has 62 counties and nearly all of them use a separate contract. In Erie county alone I have watched the contract grow from 2 pages (legal sized front and back) to 13 with additional required riders that can bring you closer to 25pages
  2. Urea formaldehyde and or Asbestos: These seem to be less of a big deal today but in the 90’s the presence of any of this stuffs would have everyone running for the hills.
  3. Board of Choice: Realtors have the opportunity to select which association of Realtors they want to be aligned. It might serve them well to be associated with this Board but that might not serve their clients as well as another one, so agent’s have to be extra mindful as they make their selection.
  4.  Wetlands:  similar to number 2. There was a time when the Army Corps of Engineers seemed to think that every place in WNY was on a wetland.  Thank Goodness we have gotten over this one.
  5. Lead Based Paint: This issue has not only not gone away but it seems to have become an ongoing disclosure issue and increasingly common KNOWN health hazard.
  6. Property Condition Disclosure: in this age of consumerism this one has taken on a life of its own too. Agents and principals of residential properties always had to disclose any known latent defects. In the last 20 years or so, they have become obligated to do it in writing as well. Most downstate practitioners ignore this and just have the sellers pay an automatic $500. to the buyer at closing. In 716 land most of the parties comply.
  7. Mergers and Acquisitions: I can recall talking to an agent who told me she had been with 7 different Real Estate Companies in 20 years and she laughed when she told me she never moved her desk once. That’s a lot of merging and acquiring.
  8. The internet: This is the single most significant change to our industry and it continues to evolve to this day. We are no longer the gatekeepers of the info. anyone can get it online. Our value has doubled since now, we are more than ever required to interpret the information and make sense out of it. Why? Becauses so much of what you see in cyberspace just isn’t so. “I saw it on the internet, so you know it’s true.”
  9. Electronic communication: As in Email, texting, videos, social media and electronic contracts. Anyone of these has made for a total game changer on how we get things done.
  10. Buyer Brokerage: First introduced as a serious and desirable option for buyers back in the mid 90’s. In recent months it has taken on a new perspective nationally and the NAR (National Association of Realtors) and its 1.7 million members have voiced significant concerns with the present model. Will we see the option fade away and will we see it mandated that all practitioners use fully written and executed exclusive buyer agent agreements? Stay tuned on this one.

These are just a few of the scenarios that industry experts have had to deal with to make the American Dream happen for you over the years. If you, as a consumer, are looking to buy or sell, all you have had to contend with was a lack of inventory, rising prices, and interest rates. So the bottom line on this: there are a lot of issues and challenges out there for all of us to deal with but with a little patience and a lot of expertise, we can figure it out together.  We always have. 

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Hey, I wrote the book on Real Estate, literally.”

Author Brendan J. Cunningham is a New York Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, lead of the Platinum Team at HusVar Real Estate, as well as an accomplished writer, Shakespearean trained professional actor, and podcaster.
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