PAULA'S SOUTHAMPTON BLOG: TELL ME A STORY....A Story About Real Estate and Local Information..

TELL ME A STORY....A Story About Real Estate and Local Information..

TO BECOME A LOCAL EXPERT, YOU MUST TELL A STORYTELL ME A STORY....A Story About Real Estate and Local Information..

Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the importance of blogging to real estate agents and brokers--starting it, keeping it going and doing it with continuity. We are in the middle of a major shift in real estate brokerage; I feel we, as professionals have an opportunity to lay claim to what we thought we had but we don't--our local real estate market. Trulia and Zillow and the like have taken the most valuable thing we have: Our listings and our content! Now we can reclaim them by becoming the informed as well as the informer in our niche areas! The public NEEDS our local knowledge in order to make informed decisions!

Seven years ago, I decided to start blogging---Barely knowing what Blogging meant, I jumped into it with both feet and started telling stories about where I live. I found that local history about Southampton was rich and available to those who cared to seek out and study details of this very early English settlement.

I did that at the urging of fellow members here on ActiveRain--"You need to tell people what is going on in your area" was the theme of most blog posts at that time...So I started in.

I used sales data and photos of houses, the Village and surrounding areas and I used the "tales" of the area for local interest stories.

Little did I know that what I was doing was beginning a story line; a story line about where I live and what I love to do here...a story line that I have kept going now for many years. It has made a huge difference in my reputation as a local specialist; many sellers now contact me directly to list their houses and in most cases they found me on the internet. Buyers too appear, because they found me and my posts as they did a web search about this area, or because they were "house hunting" online.


This story line has unfolded now for all these seven years, and now I see that what I was doing has put me in a very different place compared to where my competition is.

I have made the mark of a local expert now. As to the history of Southampton, I was astounded  when I got an email from a descendant of one of the founders of Southampton, New York! He is a Great Grandson of the founder of Southampton Village, eight times removed! He and I connected via email and since he lives in the UK and may never ever get here to see the place his ancestor founded, it was gratifying to communicate with him! He found me when he did a search of Southampton Village and found a post I had written about Post Lane, a little known and historical street here in the Village. Named after his ancestral family, the street is less than 1/4 of mile long and was the original driveway to the Post Family Estate.

His name is Richard Post and he carries the same name as the man who owned most of Southampton Village in the 17th century. The first Richard Post was one of the first settlers here in 1640's and the King of England had bestowed upon him the greater piece of land that now lies in the central part of the Village.

When I got that email and then connected him with the Historical Society here in Southampton Village--I got the thrill of a lifetime! I was able, through my blogging, to connect a whole missing piece to the history of this beautiful Village---TELL ME A STORY...

What a story to tell my family and friends!...and it goes on, because as long as there is another story to tell about this area, I will tell it!


Blogging is a great way to get the publics' attention.

In order to tell a story that will get read, you need to focus on the little known facts about an area. Keep this at the forefront of your mind as you blog about your selection.

I find the following methods work for me:

  • Keep your eyes open for the latest NEW happenings in your area, i.e. museum exhibits etc.
  • Write from the "place" you found in your own mind when you saw it or read about it--what peaked your interest?
  • Look for the unusual or little known event, i.e.: there is an antique building in Southampton Village that was an original silversmith shop--situated on Main Street, it is an obscure, tiny gambrel roofed building separate and very different from all the other Village store fronts. It is now used as a school room for teaching precious metal jewelry making and it is one little known event that happens every 6 months. Limited to 3-4 people per class, it is one of the most interesting classes you could ever take--maybe even begin a business with the knowledge?
  • Make sure you keep a log of all sales that take place in your area. Write about that as often as you can. Each time you write a piece about your area, you build upon the whole story line. Keeping it "Pithy" is crucial and this will work towards building your reputation and your business!
  • Take advantage of local lore; many stories have come about in an area from the earliest families and the early existence of businesses, i.e.: "Flint Michigan is a city founded for the Automobile industry--a place where the founder of GM lived in the Applewood Estate; Charles Stewart Mott lived there from the turn of the 19th century until his death in 19--" (I spent most of my early adult life there) This is the stuff stories are made of and can be discovered simply by talking with the local folks.


These pointers may help you as you gather your thoughts about telling your story; build it and make it rich and full of life and full of data, people will read it.

People will read your blog posts and they will think of you anytime the possibility of buying a house in your area arises---or anytime a friend or friend of a friend needs a real estate service.

Keep it going and the public will find you. If they feel that you know the area so well, they will want to use your real estate services and their friends will too!...






                                     **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 37 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • March 23 2013 07:42AM


Paula I've written in the past about how blogging is the new storytelling.  Those who are active bloggers are leaving a legacy of information about our communities today that may still be found long after we are gone.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 5 years ago

Cindy: You are so right! We leave a mark no matter what--it could be a good mark or a bad one--why not be the "director" of the mark we leave behind by sharing the knowledge w have about our areas of business? I have bolg posts (some I am not so proud of I might add) that still bring me business and readership...years after they were written!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

This is a very well designed post!  Excellent use of bolding and headlines, great graphics, and nice touch of red.  Great job!

Posted by J. A. Michail, Real Property Management of Sarasota & M (Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee) over 5 years ago

J.A: Thank you ---and how about the content?....:)

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Paula - lots of great info. A wonderful read ~ very inspiring. I admire your tenacity and your success.

Posted by Larry O'Sullivan over 5 years ago

Larry: Thank you---do you have an opinion on what blogging means to all of us in this profession? I really think it is the way of the future...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Paula - blogging has become a means of expressing myself, participating, if you will. This has allowed me to be involved, where being a wheel chaired person, I might have faced limitations.

My move to UT USA is a later life great adventure, with me eager for explanation and information.Blogging is relatively new to me. I have dived in and offered my piece.This has been from the tentative to the surprisingly opinionated.

On the receiving end, blogging by AR members has provided me with an instant education as well as a geographical undertanding of this country that I might have taken ages to acquire anyway.

Posted by Larry O'Sullivan over 5 years ago

Paula, by blogging on our local communities, events, market data, new businesses/construction etc we are showing our consumer we are the local experts and our content is more than -homes for sale- Mixing up our blogs with personal stories also shows our consumer our human side which is something zillow and trulia can't do! They've been allowed to post our listings but they can't use our blogs!

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) over 5 years ago

Beth: You said it! That is the purpose of my last three posts and I think it is key to our survival what with all the GIANT websites, who are not liscensed real estate brokers, who are taking over every listing there is in humanity!!! They are too big to fight so many agents sell their "souls" to the giants and let them confiscate their content to build a giant website!!! They (the giants) miss-lead the public about pricing and they commit fraud as they try to convince agents that if they buy sapce from one of these behemoths, they will have the "corner on that market place"!!! We need to act now and become the experts in the field!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

You always do such a nice job Paula!  I've just not been into blogging lately, though I love to write....kind of struggling with a sense of purpose to it all.  I think your post just might have helped....Thanks!

Posted by Marti Steele Kilby, CRS, Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA (Steele Group Realty) over 5 years ago

Marti: I hope so!! When you think about it, if we can't inspire our fellow members than the whole idea of AR is shot! Good luck in getting back into it!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Hi Paula, I have heard this from others two. I know it is going to happen to all of us on the path to be the local expert. I can't say I have gotten a call like yours yet but know it will happen and most likely this year.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) over 5 years ago

Debbie: I hope so--your hard work is GOING to pay off and I wish you luck with your efforts. I like how you say: "on the path to be the local expert"! I like it because it says exactly what is happening..we are on a path that will eventually lead to the place we want to be; local information is the key that is quietly making the difference in how our business is being done today! How else can we compete?

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Paula:  It's nice to see someone who has reaped the rewards of blogging encourage others to do so as well.  Thanks!

Posted by Scott Nowling, Prudential Starck (Prudential Starck) over 5 years ago

Paula is at the top of her game...a posting princess sharing her expertise, savvy and professionalism...She leaves a pleasant signature behind on all she touches...

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 5 years ago

Scott: I can only say that if we don't take the opportunity to bring the business back to the"local" real estate folks, we won't be around too much longer! I see these giant websites "slurp" up the gravy of good listings and I go mad with fear that it is all coming to an end for those of us who have created our businesses  around what we know and how we do things within our own marketplaces! I refuse to wish them ill---that would only come back on me like a boomerang!

Richie: Thank you Richie--I really want us all to succeed as we head into the wilderness of this new real estate world! You know we are lost if we don't do something to bring the focus back to where it belongs, don't you? I see the effects of these real estate behemoths who have not one legal obligation to be fair and accurate in the way they present listings!...(they are not even liscensed!). "All real estate is LOCAL!", don't you agree?

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Hello Cindy.  Great post and congrats on the feature. I like the feel of your post with respect to quality of content and value that the public are not going get somewhere else (unless we blow it). All the various 3rd parties that we as Realtors have allowed to become the first point of contact is short sited on our part. If agents refused to pay for leads and spent that time and money doing their own lead gen - there wouldn't be so many companies using our listings to generate leads and sell the leads back to us. You mentioned Zillow and Trulia. How about those agents that choose to Blog on those two sites - giving incredible content - the quality you refer to - to those sites again helping them get inbetween us (Realtors) and the public. It's idiotic and short sighted. I understand that the public frequent such sites and agents want to go where the public are at and want and need leads - just have the courage to bring the public to whatever platform you're using rather than strengthen a 3rd party platform and assist them in strengthening their first point of contact position.

Posted by Dan Pittsenbarger, Improving Conditions (Keller Williams) over 5 years ago

Dan: Thank you! We all need encouragement--I just got mine from Lenn Harley's featured post about ActiveRain and how it increases our businesses with the Google Juice it generates! believe me, we are all benefiting from this fabulous site! In regard to the giant websites that seem to attract bloggers now, they have simply copied a success (as in AR) and will continue to copy because that is what they are good at--they certainly are NOT innovative except in the ways they can remove money from the pockets of new and gullible agents who believe them!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Paula, what a great story.  I truly believe that people (buyers) are on the internet looking for that area expert, and there is no better way than being the town's historian and news reporter for their area.  Keep it up- it all pays off in the end.

Posted by Gary Frimann, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 5 years ago

Yes to your observations and the sharing of them

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 5 years ago
Thank you for sharing a great post Paula! I decided to start blogging recently. Even though I don't always have the time to write, I dedicate a minimum of 30 mins a day for Active Rain--to read or write blogs.
Posted by Wika Hutchinson, Broker, CRIS, SFR, CDPE over 5 years ago

Gary: I do too and it is proven to me all the time by the numbers of people I get responding to my blog posts--I have posts that are 3 years old that still get hits and I get many listings from them too.

Richie: Thanks for reading the post...

Wika: I do the same thing and I get more good information about real estate and the related services from here too!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Paula: I, too, have gotten responses from people who contacted me about localism posts. Not your average ones, either. Certain subjects get written about quite about a place; it helps to write about those lesser known nuggets that people might search for.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 5 years ago

Paula, I write about a variety of things in Franklin TN but I have found what gets the phone to ring are my market reports. That is discouraging to me as a writer but because of this I have ramped up the number of market reports I prepare each month.

I also write about local neighborhoods and most recently about our extremely low inventory in an attempt to garner listings. I have written about the wonderful things that I love in my community like the local farmers market, the very cool historic Franklin Theatre and about our very vibrant historic downtown. Those are the posts that I had hoped would draw people to my city but that has not been the case.

I won't stop writing about these things but I recognize that may be for my benefit rather than consumers. That's just what my experience has been.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 5 years ago

Hella: That's exactly what has happened with me--the obscure street named Post Lane that some Southamptonites don't even know about--or the wilderness trail that is marked simply by a huge boulder and nothing else to let you know that you will have an adventure of a life-time when you walk it--Thimble berries as big as your thumb and wildflowers that you wouldn't even know exist here! ...and the views across Wikapogue Pond at the end of the trail will not be seen anywhere else here. I get great response to those posts---and to market reports. I try to make the market reports less academic and more story like too.

Tammie: I find that too but I have designed a format that includes the juicy tidbits of the area I am reporting on as I go into the data. As I told Hella above, I try to keep the market reports as much like a story as I possibly can while keeping the raw data as the major part of it---people do like the notations about the area in those reports and it breaks up the data so it is more interesting. I feel another post coming on because that would be something to share here on AR too!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Paula  I've only been on AR since October 2012.  Seven years, huh?  I respect your positions concerning the 'big boys' and agree that we need to be the local experts.  Tammie's comment about readers not being attracted to her favorite blogs may not be true.  If I can't see the personal side of someone the facts they spit out don't carry the same weight as knowing the person behind the facts!  Thanks you for all you do.

Posted by John G. Johnston, An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO (John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC) over 5 years ago
Thanks for sharing, Paula. I haven't been blogging for that long, but you inspire me!
Posted by Randy Bocook, Selling Coastal Georgia (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) over 5 years ago

John: Thanks to you too! It is members like you who are still relatively new here where the huge responsibility lies. This website may be in a bit of trouble from what I understand and it now falls to those who want to keep it alive to make sure there is a consistant flow of good content and a conscientious attention to the other newbies that come along. We do not want to lose this valuable platform for many reasons but the biggest is that we find stuff here that you can't find anywhere else! Thanks for reading and leaving your messege!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Randy: Good! I hope so because that is my intent....please take the time to read the other two blog posts on this same matter:THE GOOD THAT WILL COME FROM BLOGGING.....   & IF YOU CAN TALK, YOU CAN BLOG!!!  I hope you  find them as inspiring!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago
Paula - I've done some of this though I'm not sure that it is as directed as it should be.
Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 5 years ago

No matter what people love to be lured in with "Once upon a time..." 

Posted by Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Top 1%!, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) over 5 years ago

Christine: In my opinion, we can blog about an area in such a way that not only does it come up on the front page of any search engine, but you CAN have the rapt attention of the public too--as long as you are consistant! This is true of market reports as well--those can be deadly if we don't sculpt them into readable and engaging material--I have a post that I am workingon about that sort of blogging: Market Reports NEED to sing!

Michelle: You are on to something there! I found that my most successful local posts alway have:

  • A little known area or event
  • A colorful past--even a historical aspect
  • A story within
  • A subject of real interest
  • And a resolution or, a "happy" ending

Then add just the right amount of illustrations or photographs that are meaningful--and you have yourself a blog post that you will want to save in your document file for for future endeavors--like maybe a book on the area??? :)

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago


Great idea for blogging. Thanks

Posted by Maya Garg, Moving you Forward.... Buyers, Sellers, Investors (Royal Lepage Signature Realty,Mississauga, Ontario) over 5 years ago

Maya: You must be exhausted now after reading all that stuff! This is about 3 weeks worth of blogging right in one place!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago

I admire your posts, your attitude and your writing style. I'll be studying and imitating your style to the best of my abilities!

Posted by Brad MacKenzie, Turning Houses into Homes on the South Shore (Brad MacKenzie) over 5 years ago

Paula, nearly every week, I receive a call or two related to a Localism post on Active Rain. Some of the calls are related to a story about a specific business.  Others are related to specific Dallas neighborhoods.  I treat each call as a lead.  Two calls this year have been converted to clients. It has been about two years since I began blogging in earnest. In my opinion, many people who search through secondary sites like Trulia are less likely to become serious clients than those who follow us on Active Rain. Active Rain provides us with knowledge about our business and it provides buyers and seller with knowledge about who we are as professionals. 

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 5 years ago

Brad: I consider that a very high compliment! Please feel free to copy any  of my formats etc. and as you can see I love to teach people the things that have been successful for me!

Sharon: I think you are right on the money here: "Many people who search ...on Trulia [et al]are less likely to become serious clients". I have found that the people who come to me via the internet and my blog posts ARE the people who trust me to take their listing or to sell them a's all about trust. Who do you trust?....a person who randomly pops up on Truila or Zillow to take some leads about places they really don't know?... Or someone who carefully evaluates their own street, their own town and the things there are to do there? To me it is elementary!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 5 years ago