When I first entered the real estate business, cellular phones were merely dreams to electronic engineers. Contracts were either delivered in person or by fax machines. The Internet-based Multiple Listing System did not exist. Listings were published in printed books every two weeks. Real estate agents knew other agents by meeting them face to face. I have completed real estate transactions today without ever meeting parties to the contract, or the agent on the other side of the transaction. Everything was handled by cell phone and email. So, my question is, "Where has all of this technology taken us?"
Some may argue that our business lives are now better managed by the use of technology. Yet, others may argue that the technology has made us too accessible and victims of the very technology that is supposed to make our lives easier and simpler. You cannot go into a grocery store today without being assaulted by the people in the shopping aisles who are on the phone discussing what kind of cereal to buy. And then there are those "blue tooths" sticking out of someone's ear so that their hands are free allowing them to multi-task.
There were no navigation systems then, either. You actually had to read a map if you were unfamiliar with the property's location. The industry has changed to the point that 90 percent of those looking to purchase real estate search the Internet long before they actually make contact with an agent. Ten years ago it took on average six contacts with a prospect before they would do business with you. Now, the average is 32 touches before that person will do business with you. Just think about all of the junk email you receive on a daily basis. If you are like me, I delete everything I do not recognize. And with all of the viruses floating around the Internet, opening up an unsuspecting email can cause you a lot of grief.
Technology has provided some great tools, but at what cost? How impersonal is it to receive a text message? This merely allows the person who sent it the opportunity to not speak with you and avoid any discussions - good or bad. Have we become so insensitive that believing a text message provides the same level of communication as actually speaking with someone face to face?
I try not to imagine what life will be like for my granddaughters 10 years from now. Will ice cream trucks (a treasured childhood memory) succumb to this impersonalization or will they disappear completely? Will neighbors never meet neighbors because they are retreating further into this impersonalized "trend" of more, faster and faster?
Mario D'Artagnan is a broker associate with Realty World Florida Inc. He is a former investigator for the Florida Real Estate Commission. He is also a former real estate instructor. He is a published author and has been a keynote speaker on the subject of agency law. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For questions or comments, contact him at mariodartagnan@ yahoo.com or call 239-565-4445.