I don't know about you but I am finding that the whole real estate market has changed in the last year or so. Not just the attitude of buyers and sellers but the whole way of doing business has changed.

It is like the Jeanie is out of the bottle and anything goes with buyers and sellers...leads



A lead comes in from a popular website:

BUYER: I want to see the house at such and such Lane on Saturday at 12:00

AGENT: Great,  can I show you other houses in that community? There is another one that may work.

BUYER: No thanks!

AGENT: How about other houses in that price range? We are having a lot of activity on a street nearby.

BUYER: No thanks---I only want to see that one.

The conversation ends as quickly as it began and this is usually in the form of an email--no phone conversation, no text even. In fact, the phone number was never given out even when requested.

Usually these leads come through popular national websites...However, more and more the same dismissive attitude is coming from all buyers no matter from where they come.THE UNINFORMED BUYER



In my opinion, buyers today do not feel the need to develop an agent/broker relationship.

There are so many options for them and it begins with the accessibility to listing information.

Anywhere you look, there is a source of information about properties in any given area. The information may not be updated or even accurate but that does not mean much to the world of buying real estate--

BUYER: "Not available?--no problem. I will keep looking!"

AGENT: "let me send you more accurate listings in your range; I have several that come to mind"

BUYER: (if there is a response) " No, will do my own searching. I like to work with the listing agent on a property." 

This is almost exactly what is said, and this is not on the phone--usually by email message.



Most buyers will engage in a conversation if you open with an informative approach:

"I know you will probably want to look on your own for a property, however, I have access to information that you can't find online. I know about listings that have not been added to other websites."


"Let me tell you what is happening in this market right now--" and then give them the most current tid-bit you can come up with: "houses on this street (or this area) have increased in value by 30% in the last 6 months"


"This street has become the most sought after street in the town--buyers with young families are moving here and they love the "cul de sac" at the end of the road."


"Did you know there are 3 parks in the area--all are nature preserves with nature trails that you will have access to if you are a property owner here."

Information on a local market is not readily available and is the one crucial thing that these national websites cannot supply.

Relying on professional and licensed agents to help a buyer find a home can become the norm again. As local experts we are the only way a buyer can make a real informed decision when buying a home. We can make a difference when we let the buying public know that we hold the key to informed buying.








                                     **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 29 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • November 14 2016 08:09AM


Paula -  I agree with you - something I've been noticing for some time.  Great advice to connect with Buyers!

Posted by Sharon Kolb, Broker - Atlanta Decatur Homes (Atlanta Decatur Homes) over 1 year ago

I just received a call like that yesterday and tried to engage him in local real estate information.  He seemed to appreciate what I was telling him but, ultimately, wouldn't give me any contact info.

I agree that buyers think they have access to everything and thus don't need to contact us.  Sadly, they could be missing out.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Sharon: Thanks for the compliment---havent'been blogging lately so it was not an easy post to write. However, I have gone through so many of these situations that I figured I can't be the only agent facing this right now!  

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Magaret: You are correct---they really don't know!...unless we tell them! I just worked with a couple who were so upset about just missing out on my new listing--and this was the third house that they just missed!  So, I sat them down and told them the following: "I know that buyers don't think they have to bother getting the right agent---buyers have all the informtion they need on line, right? Well, what happens with that, especially in this price range is that all those buyers go, unattached to an agent, and they run into the same type of buyer---all of you are looking for the same thing! You need to find yourself an agent who has the knowledge of what is possibly coming on the market and before it comes on the market they can let you know about it so you can be in the front of the line!"....and you know what? they have signed the NY State disclosure and they are getting emails from me now telling them about the new listings, before all those other buyers!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

I find that the inquiries that come through with that generic send me more information and no phone number are worthless and seldom have any value.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 1 year ago

I have found that too Ed!  It is really too bad because that attitude is all too prevalent and is a way to undermine our good work--another blow to our already maligned profession!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Paula, we're seeing this attitude in many younger condo buyers, but upper brackets purchasers are seeming to be more appreciative of professional service.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 1 year ago

You have a point there---this is happening especially in the $1mil to $1.5mil market. This is also where inventory is very tight. Since it is the most active part of the entire market here it is more obvious. We have a relatively quiet high end right now so those buyers are less visible. I think it is a sign of very saturated public websites giving  information from the Zillows, Streeteasys and other huge sites that could care less about who the agents are that get the  leads as long as they get paid by them...It has become a monster to say the least and I don't see it getting better--may even get worse. My goal is to inform any buyer whom I come into contact with just what is happening with the buyer who goes out on their own. It stings when these buyers lose out on the one house they have had their heart set on; my understanding of their pain  and offering some salve on the wound seems to be a good way to go...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Hi, Paula! I included this post in today's "Last Week's Favorites".  Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Hi Paula -- I have noticed the same kinds of "conversations" as well and you have provided some excellent follow-up suggestions.  More than ever, it's a numbers game with these seemingly random calls that feel they don't need their own they keep calling the listing agent.   

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 1 year ago


We have all run into to this situation.  In commercial real estate, we found that at times, they were testing your knowledge and your professionalism as an agent.  We often found that a soft approach (conversation about their usage of the space or goals) would always work and they would become lifelong clients. This was especially true with the Hollywood set and Sports figures who loved our sense of discretion and willingness to sign NDA's.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 1 year ago

Michael: ...Or who they perceive to be the listing agent! That agent who is appearing next to my fabulous new listing on Blank Lane not only is NOT the listing agent but could very well be the barrier to the buyer being able to make a deal on said property!! I have seen buyers walk away from a property, unhappy when they discover that they have been given the name of an agent who is NOT the listing agent! Crazy as that is there are so  many incidents like that one that I can't help but think it is time to inform the buying public as to what is going on with the Zillows and Streeteasy's--It is a ruse and the buyer is the unknowing victim and thus this post (as a start!)

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Hi Alexandra! That's it! The answer comes in many different ways--it's not not just one idea or one format...we are the experts in our field and the buying public needs to be reminded that we are. The internet is great for many things but it cannot give, nor has it ever been able to give good, sound advise and information on the finer points of a property or a location...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Hi Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA,  - very solid information to thwart a buyers response.  

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 1 year ago

Hi Sherri,Good---glad you like it. Maybe this is what will help to turn the ship around for all  of us! However, I am not looking to thwart a buyers response--more like encourage a buyers response!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

We have such a short window of time to impress upon these buyers who seem unwilling to attach to a buyer's agent that we have value.  Showing them you know your local stuff can do it.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 1 year ago

Great points, Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, and you're spot-on too!  I get those same types of calls and explain to them that whether they hire me or someone else, to be SURE that they have representation.  That typically gets that conversation started nicely!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 1 year ago

Hi Debe,

Maybe you can share your ideas as to why and how we got here? I wonder if making the issue of "Buyer Brokers" has had any influence. In my opinion, when a issue is made of buyer broker representation when there is not a lot of support in the real estate community, it undermines the whole idea of brokerage itself. Here in New York State we have to get buyers to sign a disclosure that we work for the seller and we in form them that we work for them as well but it is as a "Dual Agent".  They refuse to sign that form more often than not, that is if we even see them face to face.  To me that seems to alienate buyers more than anything else. In the past, when there was never an issue made of whether we represent the buyer or not, it did not seem to be as much of a problem. I am not suggesting that we not inform them but it appears to offend rather than encourage the buyer.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

I've seen lots of changes in the past 37 years since I got into the business and I often wonder what the future holds for real estate agents... 

Posted by Richard and Beth Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) over 1 year ago

Hi Chris Ann,

You seem to see the same thing that I see and it makes an already difficult business even more so. The fact that as local experts, we can control the situation better than a far reaching national website in terms of local information needs to be cutivated at the highest levels in our brokerages. In my opinion, if the focus was more on that than on whether or not the buyers are being properly represented, we would be worlds ahead of the game. Right now the buyers are feeling alienated by the brokerage community and that NEEDS to change!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Richard and Beth: I have actually been told by management that agents could become the next victim of the expansion of the internet real estate websites!!

Luckily, that has not happened and that was a point made several years back as Zillow came to the fore and tried to convince the brokerage communities across the nation that they would be making agents obsolete--that was their stated goal just a few years ago.... 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

"In my opinion, buyers today do not feel the need to develop an agent/broker relationship."  You're absolutely correct in your assessment of the mindset of younger buyers. I've heard this prefaced by, "no disrespect intended."

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 1 year ago

Hi Jill,

What do you suppose is the reason for this position? Do you think it is an organic reaction to the world they live in or is it something that we need to take responsibility for?

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Hi Paula

I think you are right on target here. The way in which many buyers go about looking for homes and getting help has definitely changed, The Internet has given many a sense of plentiful knowledge (often false or contradictory) and empowerment so they don't feel any need to make a commitment to an agent. Our goal should be to establish a relationship of trust and caring, with a foundation of information and value they can't otherwise get, so a qualified and serious buyer will want our help. If they really don't then there is no sense trying to force something.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 1 year ago

Hi Jeff,

Interesting isn't it, that the buyer who thinks they will save money by working without an agent and will find a better deal through a listing agent is more likely to lose out in the long run--especially in a hot market! Inventory that is well priced, clean and brand new moves very fast. A serious buyer needs to have access to a new listing quickly in order to be able to act on it...if they rely on the websites for a random agent, thinking they are getting the listing agent they will lose out every time, IMHO.


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

OUr MLS has recently created a portal which allows a consumer to search for accurate listings whilst maintaining your name and contact details in front of the buyer. It has actually been a winner with clients like these when you get the chance to explain it to them.

Posted by Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) over 1 year ago

So interesting that you are finding buyers your way like ours...they just do not understand the dynamics that what they see is not necessarily what they get, Paula...why not have a buyers' agent that can dig like no tomorrow for them!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Nick and Trudy: Sounds great to fact we are in the middle of setting up a new system here--our own Hamptons MLS and that may be the way it works with this new system...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Hi Ginny! We have an option on our NY State disclosure form to accept the Dual agent option, which is a protection for the buyer but the buyers are not apt to sign these forms as soon as they see we all work for the seller. It is clarified in the fine print on the form but they don't always want to read the form so they don't sign it. 

Agents here do not go for the "Buyers Broker" licenses as you would think they would.We went through a faze where agents were doing that but it has never been seen as a success since this new phenomenon with buyers working on their own, they just don't call those agents.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago