When Windermere opened its doors in 1972, real estate was a very different business. Sales contracts were written on cocktail napkins and sealed with a handshake. There were no websites, iPhone apps or, in some cases, even yard signs, so you had to rely entirely on your agent to show you what was for sale. Back then, there was a lot of emphasis placed on competition and sales quotas. This created a proprietary culture that valued winning agent-of-the-month over building long-term relationships with clients – and it didn’t do our industry any favors in terms of credibility.
When our dad started Windermere, he set out to change this. His focus was to put relationships before sales quotas. Relationships that last not just for a transaction, but for a lifetime. It was an aggressive undertaking, but he eventually built an office – and an entire company – of like-minded professionals who understood the importance of truly great service.
Fast forward forty years and much has changed in real estate. The cocktail napkins have been replaced by digital contracts and the home search process has moved almost entirely online. We’ve also seen the rise of technology companies that offer real estate services of one kind or another. However, despite all the bells and whistles, most of these companies look at buyers and sellers as leads, not as people who are about to embark upon a major financial and emotional decision. We love what technology has done for real estate, but Windermere’s business lives and dies by the relationships we have with our clients and our community. It’s one of the only things that hasn’t changed over the last four decades.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. We couldn’t agree more. It’s impossible for us to predict what the future holds for real estate, no more than our dad could have predicted where we’d be today back in 1972. But, it’s probably safe to say that technology will continue to change our industry in new and exciting ways – just as relationships will remain central to Windermere’s core values for generations to come.