zBuyerconnect: Unreal Estate Digest

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 More Realtors Choosing to Disconnect from Technology

It’s a copycat world out there, particularly in the world of real estate, where any edge can make a difference between a decent year and a great one.

Perhaps this explains why more agents are throwing out their smartphones for an old standby: pen and paper.

Bryson Douglas, an agent for five years in the cultural hotbed of Portland, Ore., says the decision has had a huge impact on his business.

“I think my clients are delighted when I pull out that 8.5 x 11 spiral-bound notebook,” Douglas says. “It has a real retro appeal. I’m thinking about getting a Trapper Keeper to keep my pens and pencils more organized.”

Douglas added that he didn’t think he clients minded being handed a scrap of paper with his contact information on it rather than exchanging cell numbers.

“They know I’ll call when I can get to a phone. I really think it takes the pressure off. They know I’m focusing on their listing and not texting with other agents.”

Douglas did say one millennial couple he was helping looked at him “a little weird” when he had to go back to his car to put more lead in his refillable pencil.

“I’m thinking about having a manual typewriter installed in my car, if I can find someone who will do it,” he said. Douglas also mentioned the “possibility” of breaking his tech-free vow and using a fax machine, once the secretary in his office is able to find one.

Another West Coast agent, Mindy Freeman-Holtz, works in the East Bay area in Northern California. She says her decision to go “digital-less” has helped her personally as well as professionally.

“Let’s face it,” she said. “All those messages and e-mails were stressing me out. I want to make a living but I mean I don’t want to make THAT good a living.”

Freeman-Holtz says she’s usually home around 3 p.m., as opposed to the 6 and 7 p.m. weeknights she was used to.

“People have stopped bugging me to come to happy hours, and the clients just know they have to wait for me to call them when I get into the office the next morning and check my voice mail at my desk,” she added. “It’s been very freeing.”

Freeman-Holtz says she did receive a “very nice” commission check in March. She didn’t share the total, but said she was able to take her husband and son out for a very nice dinner at the local Chili’s.

“We had a Groupon,” she said.

Employers for both Douglas and Freeman-Holtz declined to comment for this story.