Real Estate by Debbie Reynolds: Throwback Thursday- MLS Evolution

Throwback Thursday- MLS Evolution

Throwback Thursdays - Remember the MLS Books

Old MLS BooksBefore computers were used in real estate we had newsprint and MLS books. As I entered the business in late 1980, there were no books. Agents made photocopies of a handwritten description and photo of their listings and delivered to the other real estate companies in town.

The really organized agents put these in a 3 ring binder and used it as a reference. Back in those days we got a bigger share of the commission if we sold in-house. When that wasn't meant to be we used the photocopies to find other properties that might work for the buyers.

Two months after getting into real estate we got published books of the listings. The book was like the Bible and we scoured it looking for properties that we could sell.This was a highly confidential book and not to be shared under the threat of being fined. I remember I let a buyer take my book home overnight and rendered a $100 fine. That was huge in those days and equal to $1000 today. Now the public has access instantly and doesn't have to ask permission.

Listings were published on newsprint and the ink got all over our hands. As compared to the photocopies, we felt very sophisticated. As properties sold, we would X them out and sell from the remaining inventory. There was a glossary of sold properties at the back of the book and we could see what the properties sold for.

We gave up the books around the year 2000 and went purely online. Look how far we have come. Everything is electronic and instance. Our MLS updates the feeds every 4 minutes. We can upload 30 photos, documents, virtual tours and links to relevant websites. The consumer has the information almost immediately. 

We get annoyed when the technology gets a glitch and slows us done. We want it running 24 hours a day and accurate as can be. We have no tolerance for delays and complain when the data is less than accurate. I shared with several MLS Boards this week at the Mid-Year Meetings about how far we have come. Much of this happened, way before the Board members and staff were born.


Throwback Thursdays - MLS Evolution

 Centruy 21 Platinum Properties2130 Wilma Rudolph Blvd.

Clarksville, TN 37040

When you need Real Estate services in Clarksville TN

                  it would be my pleasure to assist you!                             

Debbie Reynolds
"The Real Debbie Reynolds"

Check out all Clarksville TN Real Estate on My Website

931-771-9070 Office | 931-320-6730 Cell

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Comment balloon 13 commentsDebbie Reynolds • May 18 2018 02:27AM


Hi Debbie---How we have changed--but I almost wish it were that way today. We might have better handling of listings as far as the privacy is concerned--but thats all gone anyway, privacy I mean! How did this happen?? I guess we can blame the internet. It has changed our world!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 10 months ago

I got in  just as the computer took over the books

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) 10 months ago

Good evening Debbie - that is so funny.  I recently found out a torn out page from MLS from the 70's for a condo I bought.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 10 months ago

Debbie what memories, I remember before the books I would go from one broker's office to the other trying to write down the inventory... and it was not that long ago... then came the books then came the emails... ah the good old days... I prefer today))Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 10 months ago

Ah yes Debbie those were the good old day we all love to hate....

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) 10 months ago

Good morning Debbie.  I didn't get into real estate when these books were still being used.  Though, I remember buying my first home when this is what the Realtor used.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 10 months ago

Hi Debbie... although I've been a Realtor for 25 years, I personally never experienced MLS books. First, because in NYC we had not MLS, thus no books. It was always confusing to us agents in NYC when out-of-towners would ask to go through the "book." We had no idea what they were talking about. Book? What book? By the time I started my career in Charlotte 20 years ago, our MLS was computerized... books were still available for about another year but at a price, which I never paid.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) 10 months ago

I remember when Larry and I were just married and started looking at homes. The Realtor we were working with had this "book" with small index cards in it.  I remember looking through it and when we found something we wanted to see, she pulled the card out of the book and threw it away as the house was already sold.

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Home and Condo Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) 10 months ago

Thanks, Debbie, for sharing some of your memories.  I opened my first office before there was a MLS in town. 

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) 10 months ago

I was first licensed in 1981.  The MLS was in form of a book published once a week, and left on the office door step, early Saturday mornings.  We had just become computerized too, but I liked the books, because in November 1981, interest rates were 18 1/2%.  I would circle the one in approximately 9 houses on the market, with low equity, and a good assumable low interest rate loan.  Those were the only properties I would show to home buyers.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 10 months ago

Hi Debbie,
Oh yes... I remember those days!

Posted by Carol Williams, "Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services" (U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.) 10 months ago

Wow! We really have it great today. I don't think a lot of Agents would be in the business if things were the same today. Thanks for sharing I hope you enjoy the weekend.

Posted by Pat Champion, Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs (Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty) 10 months ago

I wasn't an agent until 2004, so before my time. But, I do remember going into offices to find an agent help us purchase properties. We totally relied on them to give us the information regarding suitable homes. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 10 months ago