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How Times Have Changed

Wow! There’s a loaded statement.  And based on that, I am going to restrict my comments to changes in the wonderful world of Real Estate and only as they are considered in our part of the world in WNY.  Here’s one of the biggest differences I have seen.  When I first set up my practice in the Buffalo market in the late 80’s, the officially sanctioned Contract of Sale was Two Pages long, double faced and legal sized. Today the Erie County Contract comes in closer to 20 pages (or more) depending on the number of disclosures required for the specific transaction. What’s that all about?  Here are some other noticeable differences. This list is by no means complete and I easily could have written another book describing many many more of the changes that make up how we go about matching up buyers and sellers in 2023.

  1. The number of agents with the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors is about 3500 members today, The high water mark was over 5200.
  2. Signs today are very confusing. It is difficult to know who the agent works for today. In the past, the company name was the most important thing on that For Sale sign in front of your property.
  3. Very few buyers get driven around by their agents, most of whom prefer to meet the agent at the property.
  4. Interest rates were so much higher years ago. Buyers have become super spoiled. The average mortgage rate over all of the last 100 years is still higher than today’s rate.
  5. First time buyers would buy houses that we would call fixer uppers so they could build equity. Today, most buyers want their first house to be perfect.
  6. Smart phones, texting and using technology is standard. It wasn’t too long ago that most agents owned neither computers nor cell phones. There were a few agents out there that featured CAR Phones (which were installed right in the car.) Imagine that?
  7. Agents went into the office nearly every day. Today, with the ability to work remotely, most agents probably go in no more than once a week.
  8. Agents seem to like being on TEAMS. This was so not the case even as recently as in the last 10 years. Newer agents today have simply come to believe that they MUST be on a TEAM if they are to have any chance of making in this competitive business. It is still not true.
  9. Print Advertising in past years was a HUGE expense. Recent years have proven that PRINT isn’t all that effective. Fewer agents and companies rely on print today and prefer the internet.
  10. ….and with the rise of the internet, Agents are no longer the gatekeepers of the information as they were in the past.  Today, agents have positioned themselves as the experts who can interpret that information. They can sort out what is the truth (because not everything on the internet is accurate) and guide their clients through a transaction that has become seriously complicated and so much more difficult than our peers from yesteryear enjoyed.

My first book came out in 2004, and I would be remiss if I didn’t say how amazed I am at all the changes that have occurred in the way we do business since then.  Most of the changes are pretty good. In general, the age of consumerism we live in now has provided some well appreciated protections for both buyers and sellers. But not all it has been beneficial.  A lot of the misfires we see in the marketplace today can, I think, get chalked up to not being able to navigate through the relentless changes in the times we find ourselves in right now.

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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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