On a recent appointment to show a parcel of land for subdivision, my dad (who has been in the business for like ever) joined me. This used to happen a lot, but it's a lot less frequent now. As usual our discourse was all over the place but then we got talking about the state of things in the real estate industry.
For example, today when a seller has signed on the dotted line they've signed 15-20 pages, whereas when I started in real estate (1988) the purchase and listing contract (which is no longer called a listing contract) were all just one page. I often wonder: "Is the public really more protected today? Are there fewer lawsuits now?" My experience with REIX (Real Estate Insurance Exchange - the mandatory errors and omissions program in Alberta) tells me that the number of lawsuits is more related to market conditions than the number of pages people have to complete.
What "Mr. J" (everyone calls my dad as Mr J because when I started working at the office when I was 15 it was awkward to call him Mr. Johnston and "Dad" was not professional enough so somehow we came up with Mr. J and it stuck) remembered from back in his day, was that it was very common to have $1.00 deposits. The most interesting thing was that according to him, people didn't walk away from these deposits, they honoured their agreements. Maybe this is nostalgia, but back in the day a handshake on a deal meant something to people. I'm not saying people with integrity don't exist today, but there is a lot more "covering your butt" in the business than there used to be. I certainly haven't seen a $1 deposit accepted in an awfully long time.