The Agent Toolbox, Then and Now

J Philip Faranda September 29, 2010

I was first licensed in Rochester, New York in 1996. I remember receiving a paper memo from my mentor about what tools I'd need to start my career. Just the fact that it was a paper memo speaks volumes. Among the things needed:

  • Beeper
  • Voicemail account
  • 3-ring binder
  • Plastic sleeves for the listing presentation
  • Day planner
  • Copy of "List More, Sell More" by Jerry Bresser
  • Cassette player for training tapes
  • A photo of myself saved on a floppy disc for cards and brochures
  • Atlas map

The office would provide all MLS forms, a dedicated fax number, and post it notes for phone messages. I had my own section in the message carousel at the front desk. 

AOL arrived in the office in 1997, when a PC replaced the MLS idiot terminal- listings now had a photo!! I chose the screen name JPHILIP as a lark- I hated my first initial/middle name setup inflicted by my parents. It was my first email address and I still have it today. The conventional wisdom at that time was to not devote too many resources to web pages or Internet marketing because it was an unknown commodity. I was approached by someone selling websites to get one, but all I did was pay $50 and register My girlfriend at the time asked why, and I said jokingly that I thought I better get it before someone else did. If I only knew the headache getting would be a few years later. 

By 1998 I had my own PC and could work from my apartment, to the consternation of my manager. I had an analog cellular phone and a voicemail hotline tree with 15+ extensions for property descriptions of my listings. I added Microsoft Word (not Office- Word.) to my tool box. I retired my beeper and voicemail accounts. CDs replaced cassettes.  

Today, a new agent would have a far different list of tools needed to begin their business. These are the things a new licensee should have to begin their career:

  • A smart phone with blue tooth
  • A laptop with a wi-fi card
  • A dedicated website with an IDX home search
  • An Active Rain account, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile, and a Facebook business page
  • A Gmail account with Google Docs and other Google business solutions, such as online photo and graphic storage.
  • Full online organization so what used to be on Outlook is now in the Cloud- calender, planner, events, contact database, and a robust RSS reader for news, blogs, and Google alerts. 
  • GPS
  • Copy of "List More, Sell More" by Jerry Bresser
That's probably the tip of the iceberg. The industry has evolved incredibly. And oh, how the toolbox has changed. 


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