Veteran Tri-Valley Realtor Mike Riley, who is celebrating 40 years in the real estate business this month, offers some sage advice to newcomers in the business: "Have a simple business plan and concentrate on the basics."
Riley has been serving home buyers and sellers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties since 1974 and has been a sales associate in the Pleasanton office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage since 2012. Prior to that he managed Coldwell Banker's Livermore office for six years. But his work as a real estate professional goes back four full decades.
In the 40 years since Riley's first sale in Fremont, which was a Stanley Davis home on Fremont Boulevard near the Cloverleaf Bowl for $24,000, the industry has changed dramatically, and not just in terms of prices. Today, that same home today would sell for over $400,000.
"We had a one-page listing agreement and a one-page purchase contract in 1974," he recalled. "Today, the California Association of Realtors purchase contract is 10 pages and the California Association of Realtors listing agreement is four pages all on its own."
Riley said that in 1974, listings were delivered to real estate offices and printed on 8.5 x 11 pages that were perforated with four listings per page.
"We would take the listings and put them in a file which, in some cases, was a shoebox," Riley said.
Fast-forward to today, and the MLS system couldn't be more different. Listings are received almost instantaneously over the Internet.
"Due to changes in technology, transacting real estate has become easier and much faster," he said. "Overall, this is a good thing, but I believe that the development of strong personal relationships between Realtor and client and Realtor-to-Realtor may have been simpler before the advent of Web technologies and mobile applications."
Riley takes great pride in being able to help his clients achieve a higher quality of life for themselves and their families.
"For me, it all comes down to helping my clients make good financial decisions in buying, selling or exchanging a home with the highest level of integrity, professional service, and knowledge," he said.
"I always provide the best service I can, so that I have clients for life," he added. "I have several families for whom I have assisted three generations in meeting their real estate needs. I take great pride in that."
Riley offers sage advice to new agents: "Have a simple business plan that concentrates on the basics and allocate a set amount of time everyday for prospecting."
"Mike is a wonderful real estate professional and a fantastic person," said Lynn Gygax, Branch Manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Pleasanton. "He has contributed greatly by sitting on various committees, including the Women's Council of Realtors and CAR. Mike is well-respected by his peers and clients alike."
Riley has served in leadership positions over the years with several real estate organizations. In 2001, he was recognized by the Bay East Association of Realtors as its "Realtor of the Year."