The real estate industry dates all the way back to the Second Century with a stone carving that depicts a real estate transaction. It was quite literally set in stone.*
Late 1800s to Early 1900s
But, the first records of real estate transactions in the United States began in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The National Association of Real Estate Exchanges (known today as the National Association of REALTORS®) was established in 1908 in Chicago as a way to bring brokers together to sell homes. **
The Wild West of Real Estate
The problem was that anyone could call themselves a real estate broker without any professional licensing or certification. This meant that anyone could put up a sign on a property to sell a house. In fact several real estate brokers could install a sign on a property for sale and the seller would have to randomly pick a sign they liked and that broker would be the one to sell the house. This was called curbstoning. This time period is sometimes called the “Wild West” of real estate.*
Since brokers could only represent one listing at a time, in the 1910s they began offering open houses to sell homes. These open houses often spanned days to weeks with the home being open for 12 hours a day. The brokers spent all day inside the home hoping for a buyer.
In 1916, the term “Realtor®” was coined to identify real estate agents who were members of the National Association of Real Estate Boards and who followed its Code of Ethics. States began to enact real estate licensing laws to prohibit random people from curbstoning and ensure that the person selling the house was of high moral character. In 1925 the idea put forth by the National Real Estate Journal to “stage” a home fully furnished for open houses so that buyers could feel like they were already home, marked the start of using psychology in helping to sell a home.*
Industry Growth 1930s-1980s
From the 1930s to the 1980s, the industry burgeoned. Real estate companies began employing multiple agents allowing them to take on multiple listings. Agents began to use open houses as personal marketing tools and use the contacts they made at open houses to market other listings that might be right for the buyer. There was a dip in the market during the Great Depression, but the real estate market boomed in the 1940s and 1950s after World War II. There was a huge demand for housing as soldiers returned home from the war.
During this time agents began using radio and newspaper ads to market properties. Builders began building model homes that allowed agents to present a finished home to buyers. And by the 1960s, local multiple listing services (MLS) began to appear state by state.
1990s to Today
In the 1990s the internet revolutionized the real estate industry. Real estate sites such as Realtor.com and Homestore.com gave the public access to hundreds of listings right in the comfort of their homes. Television shows such as Dream Builders and You’re Home popularized house flipping, remodeling and buying. The 2000s brought even more advanced technology with social media, mobile phones, paperless technology and more.
Today sellers have the advantage of smart sign technology where interested buyers can text the number on the sign and GPS technology takes them directly to the listing. Additionally, technology like drones and virtual tours improve how buyers can view and tour homes. The real estate industry has continued to grow with the times and will likely continue to do so.
Contact the Donnelly Group
The Donnelly Group may not date back to 1916, but we definitely have the experience to help you navigate the 21st Century Phoenix housing market. For the last 16 years we have been helping home buyers and sellers with their real estate transactions.