(Real Estate) Nostalgia

Adriaan Grové
The Real Deal ZA
Published in
6 min readSep 9, 2022


The art of repurposing: This old railway track in Knysna is now used by mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners. Do you remember your first train ride?

Things disappear when they go out of fashion or are replaced with more efficient technology. People move on to what works best and is affordable, but the nostalgia remains, and with that a longing for simpler times.

Now and again we are reminded of this: we see a picture of our first mobile phone or car we owned, or hear an old song on the radio that takes us back to our teenage years. In my case, a train track reminded me of a ride I took to the army camp (for national service) just after finishing school and the accompanied feelings of uncertainty: being stripped down of all material possessions and social connections and thrown into a completely different world.

Experts say that nostalgia is good for us since the bittersweet emotion increases feelings of vitality. It gives us a framework for life.

Real estate nostalgia

I remember my journey into real estate. Dad started a real estate agency and in school, I was drawn into the fascinating pre-internet real estate world of typewriters, property cards and listing folders, catalogued with available homes for sale. Those property folders were worth gold.

Agents were the gatekeepers of listing data and buyers had to wait a week for the latest listings to appear in the classified papers. No alerts, those who could get their hand on the latest print edition 1st had a better chance to find a home in a hot neighbourhood. Looking back now, one can see how the listing side has changed:

Slide from a presentation I’ve done in 2018

I remember my dad bringing home a Spectravideo 328 which one could plug into a (black and white) analogue TV. It had a tape drive and as I discovered in primary school, you could write your code in BASIC and develop some cool stuff including games! The caveat was that code had to be super-optimised to take up as little space possible on the tape drive. I learned code optimisation from an early age. A lot of time was spent at book shops scanning the latest imported coding magazines (they were too expensive to buy).

Press play to load your code, or record, to save your BASIC code to tape

This lead me on a path in high school where I helped my dad develop software for his new real estate agency at a time the personal computer was introduced (I also helped him and mom flip homes on weekends, but that’s a story for another day). I used programmable database software called Q&A to build a nifty real estate listing management system, while dad provided the user requirements.

The good old days of boxed software and manuals

It worked well, and dad loved tweaking the reports which could be printed out on a state-of-the-art dot-matrix printer. I felt proud of building practical software that helped them make the shift from a paper to a digital business. It did listing management to replace the handwritten property cards and did cool stock reports. Back then I learned how important core principles like Days-On-Market and listing vs selling price were for building CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis).

In my high school years, Dad also started a multi-listing network (where agents could share listings “teamwork sells!”) and brought in software from the US that I helped tweak and install at real estate offices to work in local conditions. Back then dial-up was still king, so I had to test that the software synchronised and fetched the latest data (This was pre-internet days, the local software connected directly with the database main server!).

You can imagine my curiosity being sparked when the internet finally arrived (in very raw form) years later when I started my engineering and applied maths studies at Potchefstroom university (No “IT degrees” were available at that time). It was inevitable that many years later, I would start Entegral and continue to build on these foundations to try and help solve real estate’s toughest problems with my team.


The evolution of real estate

Today, technology plays such a fundamental part in real estate and we forget how drastic things have evolved over the years. Now the line between tech and real estate companies is becoming blurred.

It’s a frightening world for those who try to hold on to what they know and want to control, as the custodians of the real estate transaction is slowly slipping away from being pure agent-focused, and becoming more decentralised. I saw this happening in the print industry and it replicated itself in the portal industry. Now the next evolution of real estate digitises and fuses all aspects of the transaction into a seamless workflow that continues to try and remove friction. We are for instance seeing institutional investors helping consumers to sell their homes at the click of a button or make instant offers in high demand areas by supplying the funds upfront.

Traditional real estate business models are reimagined with easy access to money. It is a new world where profit is a distraction on the way to disruption.

For the record, I believe the days of traditional property portals having so much control over buyer leads will soon be over too. While property portals helped with the shift from paper to digital advertising, the next evolution in real estate is well underway: fusing all aspects of the real estate transaction into a seamless & distributed workflow not powered by one tool, but by a combination of specialised industry services that connects all the dots. We live in a society that demands specialization where no single entity would be able to control the whole real estate value chain.

Real estate commissions will be distributed along this value chain and this will pose a challenge for traditional real estate models, especially franchise brands that are unwilling to change with the times. I am already seeing a shift.

Real estate is being reimagined, fuelled by transparency and easier access to data.

2032 time capsule

I wonder if we will have the same nostalgic feelings 10 years from now if we look back at the typical real estate transaction.

  • How consumers faced an uncertain sales process (price and time to sell) with surprises along the way;
  • How the property sale was done without a distributed ledger and how long it took to transfer a title deed;
  • The high commissions charged along the way for signing a mandate with an unpredictable sales experience;
  • How homes were overpriced by unprofessional agents to win a listing mandate instead of relying on the best agents or AI for accurate pricing;

But it’s 2022. Luckily for us, real estate today is full of quirks, which presents plenty of opportunities for everyone to solve these pieces of the real estate puzzle. One day we will look back and think: “Wow, we’ve come a long way!”.

Let’s continue building.

A bit of 80’s nostalgia from ‘The Boss’

By the way, if you are a real estate entrepreneur looking to build custom solutions, have a look at our open API real estate framework. Companies have integrated our platforms with Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Wordpress and their own bespoke systems. We can even help you launch your property portal by supplying a data feed, or if you are a developer building real estate websites, a complete listing backend for your clients so you only have to focus on the front-end development. Our platforms work worldwide and run on the AWS Cloud.



Adriaan Grové
The Real Deal ZA

I’m the CEO of www.entegral.net, I love working with my remote team to solve real estate problems. Questions everything.