The real estate world has seen huge changes in the use of technology in the last 12 years and in the near future, even more dramatic changes will occur.
To reminisce, in our real estate office a decade ago, among the things that did not exist were voice mail, plain paper faxes, call forwarding, color copiers, digital cameras, the Internet or e-mail.
The cell phones we had, if we had one, were big, clunky and service was marginal.
What did exist was a black and white real estate book of properties for sale that was out of date the day we received it and a DOS dial up connection that allowed our one computer to display a monochrome list (no pictures) of properties for sale that could be printed on a dot matrix spool printer.
Seems like ancient history and it was only 12 years ago.
The major evolution in the industry was the advent of the Internet.
Statistics now show that 84 percent of buyers look to the Internet to help make their real estate decisions.
We can now have the whole world look at the properties we have for sale and we have had contact with people as far away as England who were looking for property in our area.
The predominant Web site in the real estate industry is www.realtor.com.
The site has more than 6.5 million unique visitors per month and with a viewing time of more than 180 million minutes per month.
Consumers have more information available to them than ever before.
They can view virtual tours of the homes online and get information on their property value.
In some cases, we have had clients purchase homes sight unseen because of the quality of information on the Internet.
The latest way to market homes is with a QR code.
A QR code is like a bar code, only it looks like black lines arranged haphazardly on a white, square background.
You may see agents placing a QR code on the signs in front of homes listed for sale.
If you have a smartphone, you can download a free application, sometimes called a QRdecoder to the phone.
Once you have installed the application, you can take a picture with your phone and instantly connect to the specific Web site for information on that home.
As smartphones become more prevalent, some are predicting that the QR code will replace flier boxes in front of homes listed for sale.
The QR code will enable the buyer to get more information and save reams of paper that fliers require.
At Coldwell Banker, agents are already using the QR code in listings.
Other firms are also using the technology and with more expected to start soon.
Ray Pugel is a designated broker with Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216 or visit www. bishoprealty.com.