Friday, July 20, 2018

How Times Have Changed

Real Estate: Then and Now

CPS, a poorly chosen name for a real estate company
I became a licensed California Sales Associate in 2003.  I worked for a major franchise in Northern California but I did not really like it.  I felt it was set up to operate as if we were all stupid.  It seemed that the company rules/regulations were designed to protect the franchise from the dumbest of the dumb.  I left and became a broker as early as I could, about 3 years into it (2006).  I started Saint Francis Properties and focused on serving the Rincon Valley community 
Saint Francis Properties, serving Rincon Valley since 2006

Back in the early days, print media was king!  I spent tons of money running my listings in the classified section of the Press Democrat and taking out half and full-page ads in Homes and Land Magazine.  Print media got the best results, but it came at a high cost.  When people said "It takes money to make money in real estate", they meant it!  I'd easily spend $1000 a month advertising my listings, and my services.  

It's easy for anyone to see homes for sale with online tools
Buyer's would meet me at the brokerage, and I'd drive them around for half a day looking at homes that I thought might interest them.  I'd try to limit the number of homes to 5 or 6 because people would get bored, or confused about all the homes they'd seen.  Now, buyers find their own homes on the internet using sights like, or  They call me and say "I'd like to see 5193 Firestone", and I meet them there.  It's rare that I drive clients around anymore.  

I have a hard time saying that anybody inspired or prepared me very well within our office.  It was "sink or swim", and you better learn to swim fast!  I think the turning point for me was in 2005 when I took a Technology in Real Estate seminar by Dick Betts at our local association office when I made a concerted effort to have an online presence.  

Dick talked about the power of the mobile devices comparing Palm, Motorola, and Blackberry.  Remember when the iPhone wasn't even discussed?  He spent about half our time together talking about the power of blogging.  I'd never heard of it!   He talked about ActiveRain, RealTown, and some other platforms.  I'd say that was the best advice I have ever gotten from anybody regarding my business.  Some of my original posts still come up in Google searches and have resulted in many closed real estate deals.  

Fast forward 15 years.  I rarely use print media except to advertise my open houses.  I have noticed that most of the visitors to my open houses learn of them through apps like Trulia, Zillow, and  Perhaps the open house guide in the paper will be coming to an end soon too.  I blog weekly and still get calls from clients who found me while searching the internet for a Rincon Valley Realtor. 

If you are a new agent,  hang in there and be proactive with marketing.  If you have been in the business for a while, embrace technology and stay in the game.  Don't sit idle.  Technology is a fast game changer.  Agents and brokers need to predict what the next big change is going to be.  It is no longer important to have a brick and mortar store on Main Street.  Now you need to be accessible on the internet.  Be prepared for business models like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin to try to take your market share away with automated services.  Ask yourself, what will real estate look like 5 years from now? 

I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633

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