This year marks my 16th year in the real estate business in California. Looking back, it has been quite the ride with the cycles we’ve gone through and the many changes in the way that real estate is marketed and transactions are handled. Here are some of the changes that come to mind that some of the newer agents might have a hard time believing:
Paperwork- When I started, we were still doing 1 page contracts. Now, residential contracts are 10 pages and vacant land contracts are 11 pages. The seller disclosures have changed too. We used to only have 3 or 4 forms that were filled out. Our disclosure packets are now commonly in the 45 to 50 page range and that is the bare minimum.
Marketing and Multiple Listing Service- The MLS was available, but it was very unreliable and outdated even back then. We couldn’t post multiple pictures and entering listings was a real pain compared to how easy it is now. The print outs and screen views looked like some ancient DOS prompt page. As far as marketing, we did property flyers, newspaper ads and newsletters. Color printing was much more expensive and not readily available as it is now. Zillow and other sites were not around and we really didn’t do any internet marketing. The big thing was to have a sign rider that directed people to tune their radio to a certain AM radio station and it gave a property description. I had one of the new VW Bugs wrapped with advertising as one of my marketing tools. Marketing is so much easier now and within minutes numerous people know about a new listing.
Population- Lincoln was still a pretty small town in 2002 with a population of around 19,000. Communities like 12 Bridges and Lincoln Crossing were still dirt and farm land and Sun City was less than a quarter of the size it is now. Our population now is almost 50,000. Grocery shopping could be done at Rainbow Market or Safeway but a trip to Roseville was necessary for other shopping. For home projects you would take a trip down to Tofft’s Hardware store.
Home Prices- In 2002 newer homes were going in the low $200K range. Now, depending on location and upgrades, a new home under 2000 square feet will range in the high $300Ks to close to $500,000.
A lot has changed in the last 16 years, but one constant is that Lincoln is still a great place to live. Although some of the paperwork and ways of marketing have changed, my way of doing business of putting the customer first and exerting every effort to make sure your real estate transaction is smooth and profitable hasn’t changed. I still love what I do and get great satisfaction out of guiding my clients through a purchase or sale of what is usually their largest asset. Contact me, I’d love to put my many years of experience and understanding of Real Estate to work for you.
Also, who thinks I should bring the Bug back??