Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 30HA0800896



I became starkly aware of where I was the other night at 8;30 PM in a deluge of rain without an umbrella and standingCAUGHT IN THE RAIN in mud that was slowly encasing my shoes with a thick coating of mud.  As I followed my overzealous buyer into a completely darkened house-- I woke up: "This is not a good sign!...This is like all those other times I have overdone it with my over-time and my over-work output!" 

A buyer pushing me to the ultimate output of energy and physical involvement--has no intention of ever buying---they just like to look, and look, and look!!

I have found that to be the case in every single one of these situations: A last minute call and a push to show houses, a rush to find a property that turned into a quickly accepted offer ---then the big let down as the buyer says: "My wife won't let me do it".

I am a very hard worker---too hard sometimes and I get into these situations a lot...How do you over come that if you are so dedicated?



HEARTS AND FLOWERS FROM A BUYER ARE A CLUE YOU HAVE A LOOKY-LOOI read Kathleen Daniels' post the other day: What Would You Do With One Bean? | We Create With The Choices We Make    and it put me in touch with my "over-work" tendency. I can't help myself; it is part of my personality. I have had it all my life. I am now getting in touch with the fact that most of the time these over-work sessions are totally unproductive!


The "Looky-Loo" is out there big time right now--I have had 3 different buyers who ended up walking away from projects, accepted offers and in general, wasting my time. These are generally wonderful people with personality galore and good-natured attitudes

These buyers (usually) come into an agents life and they literally sweep them off their feet--they have snookered the best of them! hearts and flowers from a buyer are a clue that you have a "Looky-Loo"!!! Too bad we have no way of getting the names or the description of these people out there to the rest of the community--but that would be against all agency guidelines and code of ethics!


Let's take a look at how these people operate:

  • There is a genuine interest in a property or an area
  • This individual does not even realize that they are not a buyer--
  • They have convinced themselves that this is the time and this is the place and everything will fall into place
  • Then they meet "us", the brave souls out there selling real estate for a living
  • Things are going swimmingly: The "buyer" has flipped out over a property
  • The have completely fallen in love; that is exactly what it is--love!
  • They are un-stoppable in the process--they look and look or they find a property right away
  • Either way they have thoroughly convinced us that "this is it" and the process seems to be rushed as never before
  • We barely have time to think! It is moving so fast we have to pinch ourselves to make sure this is actually going to happen!
  • The key word here is "going to" happen because that is exactly where you find yourself after the fever pitch of the process.
  • This individual suddenly is called to Europe or elsewhere--maybe the city! But it will "Only be a bit" before they return
  • Then the call comes: "I have to tell you that I will not be able to buy the property--something came up and my wife/husband will not agree to buy the house"

Just this afternoon I have been tested again! A buyer and her daughter who came here for the summer, rented a house in the MOST expensive Hampton, Sagaponack, and she contacted me  a week ago because I was "the first to come up in a Google search for the best agent in the "Hamptons".

Of course I did not know she was a Looky Loo--not until today that is! After sending her listings from Southampton to Montauk and not getting return calls from her, she told me she had been going by herself and knocking on doors and walking into listings without me and trying to convince the owner that I am her agent and if she buys I get the commission!!! She did that with a local builder as well, and yes, you can imagine the builder's attitude toward me!

THE "BUYER' WENT TO ALL THE LISITNGS I SENT HER ON HER OWN!!!Now, I have discovered that not only am I THE agent that comes up in these searches here, but I am also the first to be picked by the "Looky Loo" who is here to spend the summer months looking at houses! (Notice I said looking!) This one wasted my time but not for long--when she said to me: "Can you come to East Hampton to see the house I want to make an offer on--I met the owner and told her about you but she wants me to buy without an agent!" This was a house on one of the listings that  I had sent  to her. She went to the property without me and expected the owner to honor me as her agent....ARRRRRGGGHH!

Now, I can rant and rave--I can call him/her names, I can even threaten  to sue!....All in vain--all of it, and so I would be wise to take a big deep breath,  pull my rain  hood over my head and stay away from the office for a while....because as I have learned: "It is never wise to share what it is like to be "Snooky-Looed" with fellow workers because somehow it gets miss-interpreted"




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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

It's true that real estate agents need to accomodate buyers and sellers who work 9 to 5 - so where do you draw the line? It's always a hard call. 

But your business isn't the only one that can get snookered. I've found myself spending hours discussing marketing with people who will never become copywriting clients. We try to protect ourselves, but sometimes we still get caught. 

Jul 24, 2013 02:08 AM #62
Terry McCarley
REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL

Lookie Loos love Florida and over the years I have gotten better at identifying them pretty quickly.

Jul 24, 2013 02:40 AM #63
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

That is a tough one. As someone else said make darn sure they have a fresh pre-approval letter and do a buyer interview to see what their plans are. If they are in too much of a hurry to do that they may not be serious about buying.

Jul 24, 2013 02:44 AM #64
J. Anthony Bronston
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - New Rochelle, NY
Realtor J. Anthony

I have been looky looed a couple of times and it is extremely frustrating. I spoke with my manager about it and he gave me a way to minimize it. I don't think it can be totally avoided, but definitely minimized. My Manager gave me the following advice: You have to have some basic minimum operating standards that you require every buyer to meet. Most agents get caught up with their clients status, for fear that they will find another agent. We say to ourselves she/he is the vice president of xyz corp, or he/she was referred to me by my best client, etc. etc. SO WHAT! Forget your buyers title, bank account, and Rolodex. You may even want to be a little more firm with the people you esteem to be higher on the totem pole. You don't work for your buyer, you work WITH them, you're a professional and your time and expertise needs to be respected because you add value, PERIOD. Don't be afraid to fire a buyer who is driving you crazy and making you miserable. Since that conversation I don't jump through hoops to please buyers. If you're not pre-approved or don't have a proof of funds letter for a cash deal, I take you out once and show a max of 3 houses all close to each other with tight appointment times so we only spend a couple of hours. Whatever qualifying questions I haven't asked you before meeting I will use the time to get in the rest while we are out on this initial outing. You get to waist my time only once. The one thing you can never get back once spent is time, and if you're wasting time with a looky loo, you're missing the opportunity to be available to show a serious buyer a home and close a sale, so it's not just wasted time there is also a wasted opportunity to be in front of a real buyer and/or seller.     

Jul 24, 2013 03:14 AM #65
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Sometimes they are easier to spot than other times.  I generally meet with them once, then they have to jump through some hoops, prequal letters and such.  That often gets rid of them.  

Jul 24, 2013 03:29 AM #66
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Joe: You are too easy! Do you get a lot of them? I have been seeing more than ever recently and it is really busy so it has become a real pain!

Cheryl: The problem is my market gets all-cash buyers and it is not so easy to qualify them---I do Google them a lot and when I get to sit down with them I tell them they need to get a statement of worth from their accountant--that works more often than not.

Kris: Me too! I find it draining as well, because it does take a lot of effort to set up appointments, organize a showing and all the "stuff" that needs to get done before you ever take them out!

John: Talk to me after you have had a few Looky Loos-- It sounds like you have not run into any of them yet...Just you wait :(

Jul 24, 2013 04:57 AM #67
Jenefer Joseph
Jenefer Joseph & Associates-516-642-4435 - Valley Stream, NY
Valley Stream Real Estate Agent - Valley Stream Homes For Sale

Hi Paula from a fellow Long Islander, Great post. This has to be one of the most challenging parts of our job, weeding out those who don't appreciate our time and expertise. I feel that I have become better at seeing the "Looky Loos" early on in the process but still some sneak through. I love the advice our fellow Realtors have given on their ways to weed out these time killers.

Enjoy the rest of your Summer!


Jul 24, 2013 05:04 AM #68
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Lottie: I have never asked for Bank statements---it is the letter from the accountant that I ask for and if they can not afford to buy a $1mil to $5mil house, say, they run from the request! It does work more times than not.

Lynn: I didn't pay attention to the gender of the examples when I wrote the post and so I went back to re-read what I had used and it was a man who's wife would not let him buy and the other one is a woman with her daughter who took the listings I emailed to her and went looking on her own! (Which really takes a lot of gall, IMHO)

Jul 24, 2013 05:05 AM #69
Stella Lane
Realty Xperts - Des Moines, IA

I was showing a man with cash but suddenly I received a pre-approval from the client that was from a loan originator with whom I used to work.  The pre-approval was sent to another Realtor!  I phoned the loan originator who told me the other Realtor had requested he go there for pre-approval and he had been calling multiple times a day with questions to the loan originator.  I then sent an e-mail to my buyer, copying the other Realtor, letting my buyer know that I would no longer be working with him and that my only request be that he treat the other Realtor with respect and loyalty as she deserved nothing less.  When she found out he had been working with both of us, she also dropped him!  He has found another unlucky Realtor and the poor loan originator continues to receive multiple phone calls every day!  All we did was provide his cheap entertainment!!


Jul 24, 2013 05:11 AM #70
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Marte: I guess the point I am making here is that the amount of Looky Loos has increased substantially in the last month or so and I wanted to find out if there were any magical ways to get rid of the Looky Loo's without shredding my reputation. I have  seen a lot of good feedback here so that will help out a lot---I hope it helps other members too!

Terry: I have too but I am seeing a new breed---they are full of self-confidence now and they are well informed too. Sometimes I think they are really agents incognito, trying to crash the party here in the Hamptons!

Dana: Yes, yes and yes! All of the typical things that you can think of have been used and they still manage to wrangle their way in! I am not the only one getting these challenges today---I heard from a fellow agent and a friend of mine that she had 6 deals ready to go to contract and slowly but surely, each one fell off the fence, shot down by the reality that these were not really serious buyers....that is the other thing I am finding: These Looky Loos of this generation are all taking the act all the way to the contract signing and then they disappear!

Jul 24, 2013 05:17 AM #71
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

My biggest CLUE that they are NOT BUYERS: It's raining outside!

This is a resort town. If it's raining, they can't go to the beach!  So they decide to call and "let's go look at property"!

I now set up the appointments for the next day.  If they're serious Buyers, they'll go then.  If not, they"don't want to miss their beach time"!  And I haven't WASTED any time!

Jul 24, 2013 05:28 AM #72
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

J. Anthony: Brilliant! Absolutely what I needed to read--there is so much pithy information in that comment you wrote that, may I suggest you write it as a post? I think it is feature worthy too because most of us have all tried the typical things and they may work and they may not--however, in your comment you give reasoning behind the stance of "Don't waste my time!" and it sounds perfect for this market---so many of the buyers here are high on that totem pole and they really try to use that position to their ends. It matters not who they are, where they work or how much money (notoriety they have, if they are wasting your time you need to separate yourself from them! Thank you for sharing that!

Gene: Glad that is working for you--- I have been using the most intense questionnaire for my new buyers---they take it with them and they know I need it back before we set up any appointments! If they are not here in my office I scan the documents, send them via email and tell them I need them back before we talk about properties. I just started that and it seems to  work. It is asking something of them and if they are not serious about looking they really don't want to bother with filling out forms!

Jul 24, 2013 05:31 AM #73
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Jenefer: You are lucky if you can see them early on! It takes real insight into human nature to be able to detect that something is amiss. I am a little too gullible I think because having had three in the last short while is way too many! I also always like to give people the benefit of a doubt but, really! This is too much! Now I am being much more objective and I hand those babies (the questionnaires) out without blinking and I do that before they have had a chance to smooth talk me into a "let's take a quick look" scam!

Stella: Now, that takes the cake! What nerve! ...and I will bet you he will never, nor has he ever planned to buy!

Kathy: Hahaha! I love that---the "rainy day" trick! I am in an area that attracts the sun lovers personified! When it rains they shop--they shop for shoes, they shop for clothes, they shop for toys and  they shop for houses! Hahahaha

Jul 24, 2013 05:42 AM #74
Alyse "Aly" Sands
Village Real Estate Services - Nashville, TN

It JUST happened to me.  Alright for over a year.  I stuck that long because I sold them their last house and I was going to list it.  They were preapproved to purchase without selling the house first.  They wanted something rare and found it a few times.  These would come up infrequently so I'd have to show one at a time.  They stayed at the properties for an hour every time.  They were inspecting.

There were a few offers made (low) and they never won the bids.  Mainly foreclosures came up in their price range/size.  They hunted online every day so my search criteria didn't make any difference.  Even with a buyer agreement explained they'd call listing agents.  

The last straw (and I kept telling myself it was the last straw every time I thought they were going to buy a house) was after they had narrowed the search to a subdivision.  They put in an offer on a foreclosure and then the seller called for highest and best.  They wanted to inspect before they raised their offer.  In the meantime, a beautiful resale came on the market on Tues with no showings until Sat. They HAD to get in right away so I sweet-talked my way in the next morning, spent an hour there (and they ignored my request to keep it to 30 min.  If they were interested I'd only have to show it again) and then an hour at the foreclosure while they had a mold expert take a look.  

Before the multiple offer deadline that day they decided against the foreclosure and they would let me know the terms of the offer on the resale.  They sent the terms, I wrote it up and whadya know...they changed their mind.  He liked it and she didn't (turned out to be the theme). That's when I finally advised them to stay in the house they're in.  I put in well over 100 hours.  Not a thank you so very much or we're so sorry...nothing but, "Do we owe you because of the buyer agreement?" My answer was, "If you buy a house you do".  I would have bought me an apology gift (but I would never do that to anyone).  The End.

Jul 24, 2013 08:07 AM #75
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330 - Enterprise, AL
email: / cell: 334-494-7846

Not so bad with the lookers here. I've had a few and when I was a new Agent, it was fine because I go to see the Market and Learn. Now, they need to get a pre-approval quickly before I show more than a couple!

Jul 24, 2013 10:26 AM #76
Christi Farrington
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT

Hi Paula!  Thank you for the informative post.  I try not to take it personally when I get snoooky-looed; but it still happens!  That Pre-Qualification letter is high on my list of requests before the 2nd appointment. 

Jul 24, 2013 10:48 AM #77
Andrea HoffDomin
Florida Dream Homes Realty - Fort Lauderdale, FL
- in Real Estate always on your side!

I have some experience with foreign buyers who behave the same way.

"I am so interested to buy and I would like to participate in the real estate opportunities. I have the money and I will come in 3 months for a visit and will buy right away".

Of course you will. At the beginning of my career I believed all these nice, sweet words and today? I do not believe anything when they do not show me that they have the money to buy. Because if you don't asked for their financial potential to buy you start working for them, sent them listing after listing, never get a word if they like it or not, if you and your potential customer are on the same property page and when time comes for their announced visit.

"O, I am so sorry. I cannot come. I need to do 'whatever'." 

I am over with that. You want to buy here in the US. - Great! Let's have a little chat what your need to know dear foreign buyer so that you get your dream home. - that is my today's response.  

Jul 25, 2013 04:02 AM #78
Jean French-Turner
Southport Realty, Inc. - Southport, NC

 I had the ultimate lesson that was bitter at the time-long story short- a young couple were the clients-she drove a new Mercedes and he had the pre-approval letter and a very good job with an international company. I found the perfect house for them and we signed the offer. Since his lease was up-I worked it out for them to rent during the loan process before closing. Mistake under any circumstance. Turned out that almost all of his documentation turned out to be fraudulent-he was fired from his job during loan process and did not tell me-his tax returns for past two years had never been took an underwriter to ascertain all of this.  Of course, he was denied... and had to be removed from the house.   

It was a real wake-up call for me and has made me a better agent. After a few weeks of self-examination and kicking myself- I have learned that I have to be in charge, not the buyer.  If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  Ask the right questions before you commit your precious time and resources to any one you are working for.

The hardest lessons usually are the most valuable.


Jul 25, 2013 05:40 AM #79
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Alyse: Sounds to me like they had ulterior motives all along...These are the type of Looky Loo who have their act down to a science..

Andrea: It can happen that way here to since we have such a huge foreign buying public...not fun!


Jul 25, 2013 08:20 AM #80
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Jean: These are the things that are shown when a Looky Loo comes along--if we don't pay attention we lose. The clues are always there and it is the best to keep that in mind.

Jul 25, 2013 08:51 AM #81
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Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA

...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!
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