Phones, internet, Facebook and fax machines


Not that very long ago — yes, this is yet another back in the day story. When you left the house for the day, no one, and I mean no one, heard a word from you until you got back home that night. There were no midday check-ins, cool pictures of what you were doing, or a GPS tracker to display your location. There were many times we were alone and unaccountable to all parties. But, somehow, it worked.

Most of us remember our first of about any phase of technology we encountered. When I was in the manufactured home business around 1990 or so, my first fax machine made me about the coolest cat around. It didn’t even matter much that the 25-mile role of paper turned yellow in just a short time and whatever you had on it was unreadable. Primitive, yes, but once again, it worked.

One of my first cell phones was in a bag. Where did that idea come from? The only computer I ever knew of was in the bat cave. If you don’t know what I am talking about here, asked any guy around 50 or older. When the big day came for me and a computer, I had to add an extra phone line and use a code to get on the internet. Then, you would hear an array of noises that sounded like an Apollo spaceship of some kind. But yes, that worked as well.

My first recollection of real estate was from when I was around junior high age. There were several big-name players at the time that pop into my head that sold real estate. I had two uncles that entered the profession about that time — Truman Butler and Ed Fenner. My perception was all realtors wore large hats. I.m not sure, but I think it was law you had to drive a Suburban or at least a Blazer to haul clients from house to house to help them make a purchase. No one had cell phones. All buyers saw the new listings in the weekend paper, then called and made the appointment to go shopping for a home.

Flipping forward to current time, it has changed just a little. So much of the one on one time with anyone has ended. Most buyers may never even meet the banker that makes the loan. The application process and all documents needed are emailed. Any signatures are done electronically. Properties are found on any one of the hundreds of websites that are now available. We text and email most anything needed to complete the transaction. It seems like we never have our phones farther than arm’s reach at any given time.

Like most companies today we use a lead generation service. As most any agent will agree, once we get an interested party, we have less than five minutes to respond. If we don’t, someone else will. We have all grown very accustomed to not have patience to wait on anything. We want it right now. Now, complaining won’t change a thing since its close to 100 percent of us that feel this way if we are honest.

At about any age we all get caught up on how things used to be. Life was so much harder for us than for those younger. I have done it many times myself. But you know what, I really like my iPhone, my dish TV, and my online banking just to name a few. It would not be fun for me at all to give those items up.

I have no documentation for this, but I am pretty sure I was about the last holdout realtor to join Facebook. It just never made any sense to me to be a part of it. In January of this year I gave it a try. Admittingly, I was clueless on how to even start my page. I decided to go to one of the younger folks that have it much easier than I ever did. I went to my daughter Lindsey. To say she walked me though would not be entirely true — she did it for me. After it was up and running, I took over. It has been such a great tool that I now use every day. I post listings and have done several interviews with local business leaders and county offices.

When we all start complaining about how technology has ruined our society, we need to ask what do we want to give up first?

Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.

Randy Butler Contributing columnist Butler Contributing columnist

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