Somewhere between the early years of the real estate business and today, the once well respected and even admired real estate agent has fallen from grace.

Somehow our profession has hit the bottom of the scale measuring the most trusted and the least respected of most professions. We end up ranking somewhere between a used car salesman and a lawyer when it comes to "trust" according to a 2015 report by our own NAR: "A Blunt Assessment of Problems Facing RE Agents"


After reading Barbara Todaro's featured post today: Do Not Act As A Licensed Agent And Expect To CoBroke | You're A Buyer , I find myself in a very different place with what I have suspected all along...

We are actually dealing with an educated buyer and seller in this real estate market today; but these buyers and sellers have been mislead into thinking that they know better than all the professional real estate agents out there.

Somehow the masses have picked up on the idea that if they read all the stuff out there about real estate, as homeowners and buyers of real estate, that they can do it all on their own! (DIY real estate, in other  words)

This is not good! It's not good for the profession certainly, for those of us who are out there breaking our backs to become the best at what we do--to become the most informed, the most polished agents in the history of real estate sales with nothing but the best of intentions for our clientele. 
But it's even worse for the buyer and seller who actually believe that they can step in where the agents have been since the very beginning. They now believe they can sell their own home or buy the house they found on Zillow and come out ahead without the professional help of a licensed real estate agent. 


I would guess that it was about a year ago when I had a customer look me in the face and say "What are you doing here?" when I met her at the house that she called me about. The listing agent was there to open the house for us and this buyer apparently thought she was calling the listing agent when she got me by default--on Zillow!!

Now, I have been in real estate for about 20 years and I have enjoyed years of respectful treatment and a healthy regard from the public. I have made sure to build my reputation through diligent service and care of the people for whom I work. Never have I heard anyone say such a thing to me before.

Add to Barbara and my assessment a post today by Lisa Hernandez: " Real Estate Agent Etiquette: Professionalism at All Times" and we can see a trend happening with agents across the nation! We all have concerns now!....and the stories keep coming in:


Then, about 6-7 months ago I had a buyer who contacted me through Zillow to see a house and I showed it to him, asking if he wanted to see two others that were in the same vicinity. He told me no, that he was only interested in looking at houses through the listing agent on the properties.

Since he was so up front with me I decided I would be up front with him and I told him that I was NOT the listing agent on the house that I just showed him!

I explained that he had contacted me through Zillow and they put all kinds of different agents on the listings they have because that is how they operate...they charge the agents for that exposure

He was really startled because he did not want to work with anyone but the listing agent--He explained that he knew he would get a better deal if he bought a house through the owner or the listing agent on a property.

THIS IS THE STATE OF OUR PROFESSION TODAY...and the stories keep coming in! Please share yours here in your comment below.




                                     **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 6 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • December 27 2016 08:06PM


I feel it is a combination of things.

Slob agents and the slew of NON-Professional sites claiming to be True Real Estate sites.   Also, agents using these non-professional lead gen sites as professional

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 2 years ago

William: I put the blame squarely on Zillow and Trulia for the following reasons:

  • They make it their strength to get agents to pay for leads from the Zillow site---where the agents show up on properties that they have no knowledge of in locations that they don't know---
  • They make sure to get the public on board by "shh, don't tell the agents that you don't need them...they will try to tell you other wise but you really can do it on your own!!"
  • Over the years since that site came into being the rate of "losing face" by agents who have been in the busiess for a long time has steadily increased. I don't have a chart but it would be fascinating to see the stats as of 2016!!
Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I hear these stories often.  buyers thinking this way usually cannot be persuaded in any other direction.  

Posted by Rose Mary Justice, Synergy Realty Pros (Synergy Realty Pros) over 2 years ago

Rose Mary: That's what motivated me to write this post--add to that the posts that appeared today by others here on AR and I can't help bu tthink we have reached a tipping point here in real can't go on like this! We are the ones who get blmed if things go haywire for a buyer or a seller, even if we are not involved--who else are they going to blame???

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, You know what is said about a little knowledge, "It's dangerous!" These websites empower the public into believing they know more than the pros who study the market and know the business full time.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc.) over 2 years ago

Sandy and Norm: It is dangerous--most of the time the buyers just become more resentful of the real estate professionals with each "loss" they suffer from their own inadequacies!! I personally believe this has affected the real estate profession as much as any of the other problems caused by the inept agents out there...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 2 years ago