From Curbstone to Professional

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the December 1972 issue of the Real Estate News Observer.

When a real estate practitioner “sees the light” and decides he wants to be a specialist in the exchanging and counseling field, he has many changes to make.

One change, perhaps the most important, is to make up his mind that he truly wants to change. Other changes are work habits and the appearance of the physical plant in which he “offices.”

The usual real estate office building has very few private offices. Those offices constructed in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s for the most part had a large room in the front — a “bull pen” — filled with desks occupied by salesmen and/or associates.

In the average office, each salesman or associate had certain hours on certain days he devoted to “floor time.” He had to be available or on call to handle anything that came in, providing he was not already busy.

In other words, “floor time” meant giving preference to drop-in customers or telephone calls on a religiously assigned basis.

When a practitioner gets to the point of wanting to work by appointment and professionally handle people’s real estate problems, rather than just handling the physical vehicle, office appearance must change, too – especially if the office should be one of the usual types as noted above.

This means division of the large room into smaller rooms or into booths if fug-partitioning is not
advisable. The objective is to provide a room, or rooms, where clients are comfortable and can be privately counseled.

Another appearance change would be the signs and lettering denoting the practitioner’s office building. This means eliminating the great big letters and flashing signs and replacing them with moderate lettering and more conservative painting.

The writer has been in the same San Diego location for 27 years. However, so as not to get into a rut, we have modernized our office three times since its construction. On the front door in gold leaf is very conservative lettering of just the name, followed by the initials, S.E.C. Below the name appears “By Appointment.” On one corner of the office building, again in very conservative lettering, is our name, the initials, S.E.C. – Realtor, and underneath that, “Real Estate Counselor.”

If you own your own building, two of the best modernization changes seem to be putting in a new metal front and carpeting the office. These changes, coupled with redecoration, will make a world of difference to people coming into the office as well as to those working in it.

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