PAULA'S SOUTHAMPTON BLOG: ARE YOU A SKEPTIC???...Do You Question The Motives Of Almost Everyone You Come Across?

ARE YOU A SKEPTIC???...Do You Question The Motives Of Almost Everyone You Come Across?

ARE YOU  A SKEPTIC???ARE YOU A SKEPTIC???...Do You Question The Motives Of Almost Everyone You Come Across?ARE YOU  A SKEPTIC

I AM, AND I DO!!!......and I am proud of it!

Recently, I was challenged by a business acquaintance with the idea that if I was going to question someone about their intentions when it came to volunteering to do an open house for me, then I didn't deserve to get their help!

"We are independent contractors! Just let him do the open house!"....was the statement from this business aquaintance.

I was simply asking the volunteer what he wanted to gain from doing an open house for me on a big listing--hoping to hear something like: "Hey-I want to get a bunch of potential buyers--a list of names that I can farm and cajole into buying this listing." That's what I was hoping for and instead I got a cold shrug of the shoulders--" I guess I might as well do an open house for a big listing than a little one".....

I was put off by that response--it was uninspired and lacked the prospecting attitude that I expected. So, I told him I would do the open house and he could help. I needed to feel that the house would be properly shown and represented and with an attitude like the one he had, I was doubtful I would get good results!

That is just one little example of what my skepticism does for me--It keeps me on my toes! It makes me expect more and therefore demand more from those whom I work with--both co-workers and clients!

I want to keep my reasoned consideration about things; I want to have an attitude of doubt about someone until I am certain they are going to perform at a very high level with regard to buying a house, selling their home or even handling one of my listings.

IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH QUESTIONS???...I think not! I AM a skeptic and I am proud of it! In my opinion, there are not enough of us out there!

Some of the other things I am very skeptical about:

  • I am doubtful that a good result can be achieved when NOT getting a high degree of commitment from those with whom I put my trust.
  • I am very concerned when I have a homeowner who does not want to allow me to put a sign on his property, especially when it is my exclusive! How serious are they???
  • It concerns me when I have a buyer, actively looking for a home, who does not get pre-approved before we begin to look for a house....may not even be intentional--just careless and uninformed!
  • I get really doubtful when a homeowner says: "I will list the house with you for 3 months and THEN we can extend the agreement"..leaving me with no time for serious marketing before the listing ends!
  • As far as the renewal thing--I have learned the hard way that the intention of a homeowner who promises to re-list in this market after 6 months of my heavy marketing campaigns is very dubious indeed!....Get the 8 month or 1 year agreement UP FRONT if you are investing lots of time and money in marketing!

I SEND THEM ON THEIR WAY IF I HAVE ANY DOUBTS AT SLLI am finding myself more and more skeptical in this very difficult profession! ...As a result, I have taken the position that unless my requirements of buyers, sellers and co-workers are not met, I will not put any time into the process.

I pick my "Time and Money Spent" (TMS) on very carefully scrutinized clients and co-workers. I don't need to "settle" when it comes to my high standards and expectations...If they can't be met--I say "Hit the road"! 

AS far as those who call me a "SKEPTIC"...I say: "YOU BET I AM, AND I AM VERY PROUD OF IT!"

HOW ABOUT YOU???...Are You A Skeptic? Please share some of your experiences where being  "SKEPTICAL" has paid off.

This post is a submission to the ActiveRain / Adobe EchoSign Trust Contest. I could possibly win a prize. You can find out about the contest by clicking here



                                     **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate


Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York

Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005


Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:



Comment balloon 89 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • January 11 2012 06:11AM


Ok, I'm the first comment and your post is already featured. . who are you talking too? . . is there a secret button for features? 

I'm one too as well!

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 8 years ago

Excellent post Paula...i'm with you on being a skeptic...once burned, twice more.  All my listings since last year are for 9 months & i clearly explain why to the homeowner in this market...

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I am with you - I do not have the time or money to waste on people who do not respect my time or meet my standards. It is an interesting market that has made me more skeptical. Congrats on the feature,

Posted by K.C. McLaughlin, Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC (RE/MAX United) over 8 years ago

I've been a skeptic and people have called me negative, but I reply that I'm only a realist!

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 8 years ago

Good Morning Paula, great post!  Congratulations on your feature!

Posted by Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School, Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor (REcampus Fully Accredited Florida ONLINE & Classroom Training in Destin, Pensacola Florida) over 8 years ago

"I have an attitude of doubt.... you write.  Thought of the bumper sticker "Just because I'm paranoid does not mean people are not out to get me."  If you feel like you are in shark infested waters...swim. Swim fast and thrash to get to a pool where trust is easy. The energy spent doubting is replace with a circle you can trust, be at ease about. Otherwise you get old, tired, cynical very quickly. 

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 8 years ago

Fernando: I can't believe it--it happened so fast! So, you are a skeptic too? I thin it is wise to be a skeptic in today's market..don't you?

Ginny: Very wise of you to do that! I have a difficult time to get a year signed--but we did at one time--that was the length of time and no questions asked! In the hot market when house sold in 2-3 months time that 's when it changed to 6 months...

K.C. Thanks and glad to hear you are one too! Keep up the good work and let's hear from all of you in the next few weeks--just to stay on top of "Skepticism" is a valuable asset to have, don't you agree!

Gabe: Good for you! "Better a skeptic be...than to wander in the dust of mediocrity"! How's that for a new motto for 2012

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Paula: Is it doubt or is it due diligence? Asking why an agent wants to work your Open House and how they will work it is the best only way to serve your seller. It is also a teachable moment. You set the standards and provide suggestions or training as necessary for the very best result. 

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 8 years ago

Wayne: Thank you and have a great 2012--with all the other skeptics here on AR! :)

Andrew: Very wise words indeed! I especially like the Bumper sticker---where can I get one??? :)


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Anne: you are so right! It is due diligence! I think the idea of skeptic thought is valuable in life in general--just thought it could be a great topic for our business--especially in today's difficult times (never ending it would seem!)

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Bravo Paula!  Bravo!  I love your attitude.  You will no doubt continue to be successful.  Above all else, this is a BUSINESS.  You and I treat it like one.  Well said, well done and deserving of a gold star!

Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) over 8 years ago

I think anyone of us these days that isn't somewhat skeptical of everything has their head in the sand! Keeping perspective of our surroundings is important in order to sift through what is happening around us. Knowing that others are out to take what they can... and even though you would like to think they wont, they still take. Too much at stake not to be skeptical and proactive with our reputation and business.

Competition in this market and  our business is one thing, and greed is another. Too many realtors get lazy and are doom and gloom. Standards do get lowered in order to make a few bucks.That is not what we need or want. Being skeptical is a way to make sure we don't get stepped on in the process of doing business and conducting our everyday lives. Maybe what is best is to be cautiously optomistic about people... maybe a nicer way to say... I am a skeptic and that works for me! 

Posted by Janis Borgueta, LIC RE Salesperson (Key Properties of the Hudson Valley ) over 8 years ago

I'm a skeptic too. 

If I asked an agent who volunteered why they wanted to hold that house open and they replied that he/she wanted to prospet for buyers, I wouldn't want that agent holding an open house.

If an agent said, "To sell the house",



Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I too am pretty skeptical of most things these days.  It seems almost everyone has an ulterior motive.  Some are pretty dubious.


Posted by Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker, Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you! (Janisch & Co.) over 8 years ago


I think a "healthy" skepticism is a good thing. Like all things in life we need to be careful about going to an extreme level. As the saying goes; "All things in moderation....including moderation".

In the open house example you gave, I think the way you handled the situation was great. This volunteer does not sound like he was motivated in a way that would create a great open house experience for potential buyers, and ultimately for your client. And that would reflect poorly on you. Trust your instincts.

Posted by Bill Cullen (REMAX Absolute Realty Inc.) over 8 years ago

I want to work with people who are committed. I like people who are committed to buy or sell a house. I would like an agent to be committed to hold an open house for me or just give me advice. In every case, if they're not committed, then I'm skeptical they will follow through.

Posted by Warren Schutt, Helping People with Their Moves for over 36 Years (Warren Schutt Real Estate) over 8 years ago

We all want to work with sellers who are committed. And I am sure that most serious sellers want committed agents--I come across lots of agents who are not committed. Maybe there are more skeptics then you think -- those sellers can be pretty skeptical too.

Posted by Blatt + Cutino, Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today* (Keller Williams Coastal Estates) over 8 years ago

Allison: Good for you! Glad to hear you are one too! ...and thank you.. I was surprised to get a gold star for this because it was something that I wrote because of one off-handed remark from a fellow agent--I guess it just goes to show that the most mundane of situations is worth wrting about, especially if it raises your ire or gets your passion juices running! :)

Janice: I agree, however, I was responding to a personal admonishment for "expecting" too much from another agent!!! I take those things seriously because, as you know in this business, your reputation is your currency, your future and your place in the business---all I am saying is that if you are not being skeptical, maybe it's the time for that kind of attitude.....

Lenn: You got it!!!In my opinion, he was saying just that: "I am goiing to prospect for the buyer who can afford your big, expensive listing"!!! That is a bit on the ungrateful side of things and "no thanks" will always be my response to that kind of attitude!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Paula, today you have to be skeptical. I want people to have the same commitment as I have when dealing with them. Very good post!

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

Jeanne: Good for you ! ...and let's hope you get the respect that that kind of attitude engenders! ...and I agree: almost every single person I am doing business with today!

Bill: You are so right--it DOES reflect on me and my reputation....there is no room in my inventory for a "nin-come-poop" to sit there waiting for the buyer with all the money to show up for him to take advantage of---these buyers are too smart and they catch on to that very quickly--so it saved me some skin on my nose by being there while he was on scene, if for nothing else than saving myself some future repucussions!

Warren: Very well said---I am in full agreement with the commitment thing--and if I don't get that...well you saw the guy at the door above, right?

Angelica: You are so right---skepticism does not favor a profession or a person in my opinion---it is wise to use your own skeptical attitude to a fault!..Especially while we are still in this housing recession!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Michael: Good for you--I am so happy to see all the responses here about being skeptical! I must say, I was nervous as I wrote this out--thinking, with that profunctory statement, "You are such a skeptic!" ringing in my ears, that I would hear how unprofessional that attitude is; and it is and just look at the numbers of professionals who are of the same mind!!...I love it!


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Paula, Prudence may sometimes be called skepticism. Contrary to some people's belief, our time is valuable and our service is expert. Good on you for being a Skeptic, it will pay off in the end.

Posted by Richard and Jean Murphy, (207) 712-4796 (Harborview Properties) over 8 years ago

Paula, there is absolutley nothing wrong with a healthy skepticism.  It seems service and competence is down to the absolute bare minimum.  If my name is attached to something I want it to be right.  Good for you!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 8 years ago

I subscribe to the old motto from City News Bureau in Chicago:

If your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) over 8 years ago

Skepticism, gut instinct, to error on the side of caution, should all be considered forms of cautious optimism, which is a great trait to possess. My mother raised me with the belief "Don't believe until you see for yourself", and if you want to see where my skepticism is founded, just watch TV commercials for an hour.

Does anyone remember the TV commercial about the small frying pan with the lid that you just flip over? Well, I purchased one, and the first time I attempted to fry an egg like shown on TV, the egg wound up splattered against our cabinets when it launched itself through the gap between the two lids. I wasted $19.95 and a good egg. I have good reason to be skeptical.

Posted by Randy Landis, Overseas Retirement Consultant (Retired in Samar) over 8 years ago

I think you are well within your rights to ask questions and make determinations on whether or not to allow that agent to do an open house.  Perhpas they should look at a career change.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) over 8 years ago

Paula I think that in our business, a little skepticism is necessary.  As for the open house, any who offers to hold your open houses should, without question, be of the same mindset as you.  As the point of offering to hold the open house, the become a part of your team.  Team members, in my opinion, must be of "like minds."  Otherwise it could be self defeating.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Richard and Jean: Thanks--and glad you can see what the importance of skepticism really is. I think I learned that from my Mother--she was the most skeptical of all people I ever knew. I didn't like it when I was younger and so I almost think it is a measure of maturity to not only be skeptical but to appreciate it as well!

Thanks Mike! ..and I am glad you recognize it as well--I can see I hit on a sensitive subject here---most of us have the measure of skepticism that is required to run a successful business, I guess. Your statement: "It seems service and competence are down to the absolute bare minimum" is so on target that if we don't exert some skepticism, we are doomed to mediocrity!

Elizabeth: How funny is that! I guess I did that to some degree too!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Randy: Never saw that one but I have had my share of bad experiences simply because I was so trusting--now I call it gullible and that is not such a good thing is it??

Kathy: Or at least let an agent who does know what is appropriate when you do an open house at someone else's listing guide you as to how to handle the potential buyers. I find that today's buyers are so informed and sophisticated that they pick up on the armatures who populate the business right now.

Charita: I agree--like-mindedness is essential to the success of a team. That's why I never allow another agent to step in and behave as though they are the listing agent, unless I have trained them my way!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Hell, you just scared the agent. He/she doesn't know it is all right to have motives for their own personal gain. Everything is "politically correct" now a days. And, you can search your brain all day and not be able to come up with a reason that won't sound like you want to profit from your hard work by tagging along with someone else's hard work (the listing).

Unless you think the agent will screw it up for the owner and it does not interfer with your marketing plans, just let the agent do it. Of course, you have every right to tell the agent to follow your check list of doing an open house for your clients. But, give me and the poor agent a break.

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) over 8 years ago

I'm a sceptic. I was brought up that way. My parents were both sceptics.  I've also been called a "control freak" and "not a team player" That's why I'm an independent contractor.

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) over 8 years ago

Guilty. In many of my dealings it's as if I am trying to mentally put together a puzzle to see what the actual picture is...

I am also of the mindset that if you want something done right you need to do it yourself. This is however something I would like to someday be rid of.


Posted by Jason Potrzeba, Mortgage Banking Officer (Webster Bank) over 8 years ago

Gregory: Consider it done! And know that the agents who sit in for me at my open houses will get a break too if I suspect they are not on the side of the homeowner--or me for that matter!

Mitchell; Good for you! I feel the same way--independent contractor versus an employee? I choose the independent contractor all day long!

Jason: That's a goal of mine as well! One day I hope to be so independant that I will not have to be at the effect of those who may "fill in" for me...I like to do my own open houses, work with my own clients and buyers too. I don't have an assistant as a matter of fact--I do get my team involved in things with me however and I do keep my finger on the pulse of all that is done by someone other than me.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

It all answers it will depend on the situation.  Always been a "fence sitter" and I guess that helps me to not be so impulsive.  So I guess that makes me a skeptic as well?

Dick Beals

Posted by Dick & Sandy Beals (Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC) over 8 years ago

I guess I am too, although I don't really like the term skeptic for some reason.  I don't buy into all the new tech items or marketing things that everyone wants us to buy. I wait for others to jump in and then I see their results. Like those QR codes for example. I haven't used those and probably won't.

I do give people the benefit of the doubt though. And I have been burned, but I don't care, I will still continue to give people the benefit of the doubt. Not the one who burned me of course. Like Gregory #30 said, maybe you scared that agent with your question and he probably was thinking it was to get buyers looking at higher price listings, but didn't know how you would take that. Chances are that listing isn't getting sold because of that open house.

Posted by Pam Graham, Jacksonville, Clay & St Johns Counties (All Real Estate Options) over 8 years ago
There is nothing with working smart on behalf of your seller. Your seller expects nothing less. If the agent was take aback by your questions, imagine how they would respond to questions from potential buyers. Right move!
Posted by Emily Medvec, Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM (eXp Realty LLC - Santa Fe) over 8 years ago

Paula, if someone offers to hold an Open House, I am definitely going to ask them why - I'm not a total skeptic, but would be in that situation.


Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 8 years ago

I went from skeptic years ago to being an observer and it works for me. I believe and trust anyone until they give me reason not to. What things appear to be and what they really are...are quickly revealed and then everyone can do as they please. I often think about how there are no formulas for living finding what works for you remains a worth while enterprise..this is a good post...thank you Paula

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 8 years ago

Sometimes being a skeptic is the best way to go to get the results you want! Well done and great post.

Posted by Ben Blonder, Buyers, Sellers, Investors! (Broker/Owner, Keller Williams) over 8 years ago

Come on now...really? Of course you need to be skeptical. Its your business your reputation, period.

Posted by Cheryl Thomson REALTOR Army Ret, Associate Broker in Northern Virginia ( United Real Estate (703.216.5635) over 8 years ago

Hi Paula. I'm a proud skeptic as well. Experience is a great teacher! I've learned that it is absolutely necessary to ask questions (aka: be skeptical) to be comfortable that things are happening to my expectations regardless of the level of trust in those involved. After all, when things dont' happen "as they should" others are looking at me for those answers anyway...
Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) over 8 years ago

I agree with you.  If you don't take care of yourself, nobody is going to do it for you.  And, I like how Elizabeth #24 addresses this issue, because it reminds me of the lyrics from a B.B. King song:

"Nobody loves me but my mother -- And she could be jivin' too!" :)

Posted by Carie Shapiro (North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Ha...  yes I'm a 'skeptic' that many of these commenter's really are congratulating you on your feature.

Seems to be a tinge of bitterness and jealosy popping up on you getting a feature.

I'm not a AR regular mainly because I find reading the constant wave of 'wow - great post - couldn't have said it better myself' comments so utterly boring.

Which is why when I saw the comments to your post that were peppered with a little spice hear and there.... I got a kick out of it.

And for the record.... agree 100% with your post.  But thankfully it was something I learned when i was about 18.  Which is to say, in life you must be cautious of all relationships at the beginning.  If you're not, then you'll probably be ripped off, hurt, taken advantage of, etc. your whole life.  A seller not committing to more than 3 months is no different that a person you've just me not committing to a going to the prom with you 6 months down the road.  Some however are so smitten with you that they'd gladly say 'yes' others want you to leave their options open.  Problem is... as you've stated....  that rarely turns out well.


Posted by Jeff Beck (Baird & Warner) over 8 years ago


I guess it is the Virgo in me but I am hard to accept, please and believe in many people I meet today. But once I do, I am your strongest advocate.

Thanks for expressing my feelings in a very insightful way. cheers cvc

Posted by Curtis Van Carter, Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire (Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group) over 8 years ago

I'm skeptical of a lot of folks and their intentions but I always try to give them the benefit of the doubt.  I'm getting good at sniffing out the opportunists versus the folks who will do the right thing.

Posted by Bryan Robertson over 8 years ago

Dick: I guess so! But I find fence sitting terribly uncomfortable so I stay off them--if anything I forge ahead and get things done that could perchance fall into a mess that is going to be harder to deal with if it is left too long!

Pam: But,ahhh! it IS getting sold but not through the agent who gave me the cold shrug about his intentions with doing my open house!

Emily: Thank you for the support! ...and you hit it on the head with the idea that this agent wouldn't know how to handle questions from buyers--my suspicions exactly...



Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Sharon: Exactly! I can't even imagine NOT having a conversation about the open house he had volunteered to hold for my listing!..what am I?? NUTS? Thank you for your support!

Richie: I am glad to see that you understand what my motivation was--I simply do not want just anyone to represent my listings!

Ben: You better believe it!  Here's to skepticism!

Cheryl: Thank you :)

Bruce: Exactly! And if I don't have the answers when my seller asks them--then I look like the dim-wit!


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Carie: I know--and it makes me really wonder why this other guy--the agent who thought I should "just let him" do the open house, had in mind?

Jeff: Very well said! It, in a nutshell is what I was trying to convey---after having been called a "skeptic" and feeling that it was a BAD thing! Now I look at it as perhaps a very wise thing indeed! Thank you Jeff for seeing it en-total!

Curtis: Could it be because I am a Virgo too?? :)

Bryan: Spoken like a true Skeptic! Welcome to the world of skepticism!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I think it goes to show, Paula, that many of us prefer to be skeptics! I like to always point out that it is not about doubt or being negative, but about doing everything you can to be the best Realtor. Sometimes those decisions involve asking more questions or digging for answers from those who are being vague. 

Posted by Tara Skinner at Keller Williams Advantage Realty, - Connect with us! (Keller Williams Advantage Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Paula,  You're so preaching to the choir here !!!  I'm also a founding member of the " Skeptics Club ".  I also tend to " over think " just about everything.  More often than not it serves me well !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 8 years ago

I am absolutely a skeptic...I am someone who works extremely hard at everything I do...if you aren't going to work with the same level of dedication and passion that I do I don't want to work with you.  My biggest pet peeve is having to do someone elses work because they are not doing it themselves or having to micromanage them to get them to accomplish the task.  

Being a skeptic has saved me much stress.

Posted by Kim Frasier, Showcase Your Listing with its Best View (Best View Imaging) over 8 years ago

Paula, WOW..what a great blog, congratulations on featured, well deserved and 51 comments so far!! I've been a skeptic all my life whether be in my personal life or professional and most people might say I don't trust people or I always expect the worst and I do!! Better be skeptic than get hurt or waste time and money.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) over 8 years ago

AMEN!  I too am skeptical and proud of it.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions and gathering all the information that you need to benefit your business and clients.  Nope, I am not ashamed!  Congrats on your feature.

Posted by Tracy McPeek over 8 years ago

There are so many tire kickers in this business that one must be skeptical.  Just want to be sure it stays positive.

And questions are always good!  A nice barometer I use is have them put money down up front.  You learn very quickly how serious they are!

Great read!

Posted by Frank Iglesias, Atlanta, GA Real Estate Investor (Working With Houses, LLC - Atlanta Real Estate Investments) over 8 years ago


Skeptically intelligent is great with me.  Too many times you find out by folks behavior, words and actions they are only out for themselves!  I appreciate there has to be something in it for them, but if they get something WITHOUT looking out for others in the process, it doesn't work for me. 

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 8 years ago

Rick: Bravo! You  hit it right on the head--so when a fellow agent says"why are you so negative"--or "Boy, oh boy-- are you a Skeptic!" I can rest easy, right?

Bill: I do the same! I have always been a skeptic and I can see that it has served me well---I  can genuinely say that I owen my successes to my skepticism!

Kim: That's another good point---stress is a by-product of skepticism...only if you have handeled the idea that skepticism is acceptable can we allow the stress to melt away!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Beth: I like the way you say that: "Most people might say I don't trust people or I always expect the worst and I do!" You , my dear girl are a true skeptic! congrats on that!

Tracy: Thank you! I try to keep it honest here and this post was a reslult of an insult from another agent: "You are such a skeptic!!" At the time I thought "uh oh! I am in trouble here--I am apt to punch her out!" but I got over it the minute I put it down in writing---this dang website is a total head trip and therapy for the tortured souls among us!! (thank God!)

Frank: That's a great thing if can get it, but you are sure to get into trouble if you start collecting $$, NO?

Erica: I agree! This guy will never be allowed to do an open house on his own in one of my listings!


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Michelle: Very good point--that is a driving factor for me too--I can spot an opportunist a mile away--in fact I can smell them coming! This guy was an opportunist of the first order--he didn't even have the CONVICTION of an opportunist--no he was just a lump looking for an easy paycheck!


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Skeptic, cynic and mysogynist are all words that could be shared here.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 8 years ago

Hello Paula,

Great post. I am skeptic myself as well... I like to think through everything I don.


Posted by Tatyana Makarov, Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

I don't  put skepticism in my cookies.  I will defend your right to do so. 

Posted by Marge Piwowarski, Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC (Phoenix AZ Horse Property) over 8 years ago

Anthony: ...and just who here is a misogynist??? All kidding aside, there are lots of words shared here---this one was used in this case because I was called a skeptic and at first I didn't like it --but now I see the positive side and wanted to share that with all of dis-empowered the negativity of the word! That may work with misogyny if a misogynist were to open up about it too!

Tatyana: Well, I believe that thinking things through is one thing--being a skeptic is something that requires an intense scrutiny of people places and things with the expectation that they will somehow fail you...not such a bad thing in this business!

Marge: Very good--and I bet they will be delicious..

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Paula good point, being a skeptic can help us in our profession both with co-workers and agents. I have always had the feeling of firing a client when they r just wasting my time. when i meet with clients to show houses i tell them to bring a notebook and pen for notes on houses i also stress that they need to bring their checkbook. half the time i get the deer in the headlights look and the "we are not ready to buy a house today" response, then why are you looking and wasting my time and money plus gas?

Posted by ERIC TRAUTMANN, I Know NJ, I Sell it Everyday! (Weichert Realtors HQ) over 8 years ago

Thank you Paula. I have become more so lately. I just recently fired a lender because I did not trust him. I have let a couple of clients go recently because I am tired of being used. Thank you for letting me not think I am crazy in this economy to take care of myself and listen to the little voice, that feeling that tells you something is not right. 2012 is going to be a great year!!

Posted by Brian Hayes (Horizon Investment and Management) over 8 years ago

Eric: Well, that's one technique! I personally don't mnd showing houses if the buyer is not ready to buy yet---but I always do that if I have nothing else on my calendar...Good luck with your skepticism!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

The skeptic says there are two reasons we do everything

One is the right reason.

and the other is

The real reason!

Posted by Kim Carnes, Carnes Home Inspections - Indianapolis Metro Area and beyond - (Licensed - Certified Home Inspectors (317) 753-7098) over 8 years ago

Brian: Good for you --if it isn't working for you, you need to take those steps! This economy is still treacherous and we all need to be more careful about our businesses! Good luck...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Kim: Very good--never thought of it quite like that but when you stop to think  about it....


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

naturally I am NOT a skeptic. Never have been and I haven't gotten burned that often either. I think it's because I think I am a good judge. I can tell when someone has bad intentions and I can tell when someone has good intentions...for the most part. I am skeptical when I have to be. But to be a skeptic off the bat.....I am not that. 

But I am skeptical of people who are are skeptical about everything. I think we view the world as we are. So when someone tells me they are skeptical the red flags go up for me and I keep this in mind. But that's just me. 

Posted by Tania Seabock, Tania Seabock (Bay Property Group) over 8 years ago

WIIFM, if you always deliver or receive more value or benefit, why would you be skeptical?

Tania, #72 has a better perspective about skepticism than most commentators and although I can't say I was never skeptical, I agree with her, especially about people who are skeptical about everything. Based upon her comments, I would describe her as being fearless, wouldn't you?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 8 years ago

Tania: Then by using your best judgment you probably saw a red flag here--because Im skeptical and I am proud of it!! :)

Kimo: Fearless and the biggest skeptic of all!! Skepticism reigns!!! Yeahhhhh :)

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I'm always skeptical of the professionals I work with and find my clients more honest. Go figure...

Posted by The Derrick Team - Indy Metro Realtors, Your Pet Friendly Realtors (Carpenter Realtors) over 8 years ago

Paula - Are you also a cynic?  I'm skeptical and cynical by nature.  I don't always like that about myself, but so far, I haven't been burned by it either.

Posted by Brad Baylor (ERA Coup Agency) over 8 years ago

Derrick Team: I find the same thing usually; however, just recently I had an issue with one and it set me back a bit!

Brad: You have to be careful with cynicism---cynicism can be room for a positive with cynicism--it is all downhill after the person becomes a least that's what I have seen. By the way--no I am very careful NOT be a cynic and you aren't one either because if you are a cynic you are the last to know it!! :)

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Ronald Reagan's famous advice when asked about dealing with the Russians was, "Trust, but verify."  The devil is often in the details.  Being skeptical is prudent until the new relationship or experience becomes proven.  We really appreciate it when we find something or someone we can rely upon.

Posted by Retired from ActiveRain over 8 years ago

LOL!  There is an agent at my office who says I'm paranoid....but I'm not!  I'm skeptical and it's done me OK in this business!  So - GOOD FOR YOU!

P.S. I refuse to take 3 month listings and have recently begun requesting 9 - 12 month listings - and it's working great!

Posted by Carole L. MacCollum, Broker/Realtor 207-337-4792 (HOME AT LAST REAL ESTATE) over 8 years ago

Rick: Fabulous! I am so glad you remembered that phrase: "Trust but verify"...I know he used it in particular with the Soviet Union as we tried to work toward a lasting peace with them. It was an unforgettable time and that statement has become a proclamation for the ages....Thank you Rick!

Carole: Me too! I think it is only fair to the owner too to take a listing for the length of time it really needs to sell it---to give a shorter length of time insinuates that you will be selling it faster!---a misleading message tot he homeowner!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Paula I would love to work with you because we share the same expectations. I'm skeptic when agents don't return phone calls or do it so haphazardly. I'm skeptic when they do answer the phone in a manner such as wet Melba Toast. I can talk to ten people that I have never met, and in 30 seconds will determine their work ethic by the sound of their voice.   

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

I don't think your question was wrong.  The answer you got was not great, but perhaps they were caught off guard as it is probably not a question that is asked a lot.  You might have asked some follow up questions to get sense of this person and how they handle things.  

Good list of issues.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Dear Paula,

Skepticism has come to me slowly, as I learn that not everyone is as nice and purehearted as I thought & hoped. In this business, you sure see some odd behavior from time to time. For example, I firmly believe that some of the weird addenda we have are due to some smarty pants trying to pull one over on someone else. Gosh, if we could just stick to Kindergarten rules.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) over 8 years ago

I am too but I was thinking that was a bad thing as most think it is negative or condescending. I may have to rethink this.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) over 8 years ago

Good post.  We all need to be looking for the reason behind the reason. 

Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) over 8 years ago

Hi Paula, I guess I am more trusting and believe that people are good unless proven otherwise.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 8 years ago
It's good to have high expectations and to demand excellent service, and I think I naturally trust people more now. I used to only want to do things my way, but then started my need for an assistant, and had to start trusting that it will be done as good as I would have done it, and sometimes it's not, but it's nothing I can't fix at that point.
Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) over 8 years ago

Winston: Good for you! I do have high expectations of those with whom I work! I wouldn't have it any other way!

Gene: Believe me, I had a lengthy discussion with this individual and it was confirmed that he was not on the same wavelength as me when he shrugged his shoulders as if it was no big iS a big deal!

Dorte: I agree--it is childish to behave the way many do, especially in this business!

Charles: yes, please do re-think it because collectively we have all lowered the bar and tha is a big reason we have such poor represntaion in many areas!

Karen: Very well said--"the reason behind the reason!"

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Bob: Me too--that is what puts me in the skeptics corner!

Sylvie: I agree, however, I leave the impression that I expect top notch activity and results and that is what I get it. Why? Because I am skeptical, that left alone, I will get the best--I have to be sure to get the message out that "I will not settle so don't even try if that is your intention"...sort of skeptcism!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Expect the best but be prepared for the worst!

Posted by Tony Lewis, Summit Real Estate Santa Clarita & OC Laguna Nigel (RE/MAX of Valencia (Hall of Fame) 30 year Valencia Resident) over 8 years ago

Tony: Well said and I am sure that it works!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I am a skeptic as well, and I think it's an important part of effective decision making.  If someone has something to gain by giving you a certain piece of advice, it would certainly have less weight than someone who doesn't have anything to gain....which all goes back to motives.  That doesn't necessarily mean that because someone has something to gain that they are not being honest or forthright, but it certainly casts a slightly different shadow on the advice, and I would perhaps do a little more research to confirm or deny their assertions.

Posted by Matt Robinson, (Professional Investors Guild) almost 8 years ago