"DIRECT HUMAN INTERACTION"...The Importance of HUMAN Connection In Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 30HA0800896

"DIRECT HUMAN INTERACTION"...The Importance of HUMAN Connection in real estate. 

Real estate today is a complex profession! In today's marketing of real estate there is a huge void in the actual connection between the buyer or seller with the agent. Names appear on ads, but not before the Companies Logo--And on the Internet it appears, usually after the sites name and then the Company Logo!!

Could it be because of the persistence of the big websites to capitalize on an agent's need to get leads?

Could it be because of greed and their craving for a piece of the perceived BIG BUCKS in the real estate pie? Real Estate Pie

Could it be by choice on the part of a society gone mad with it's technology?

I believe it is of ALL of the above!



Because there are vast numbers of people in between the buyer and the seller who are ALL trying to glean revenue from the product, the listing itself, there is a forced major shift in the real estate business.

The greater the number of people involved in a transaction between the buyer, seller and agent the greater the distance between all of these individuals!

Out of this complexity, trust is replaced by suspicion and a general miss-trust of the agent is enhanced!

I know, I know there are always agents faces on the listings and Internet ads for real estate--but more and more they mean less and less to the buyer and seller of real estate. Pretentious ads, giving false impressions and fake listing agents on most listings on the Internet have made the public vary wary. Awareness is now peaked but there are no answers to the dilemma.


I read this morning in a column written by someone who does not give their name..(How ironic is that?) This entity is called MEDIUM, at least in his/her column and I found his/her statements to be profound:

"One cannot and must not neglect the importance of human interaction. Sadly this generation has lost all of its confidence to speak with others on (a) direct basis. Electronic media and social media especially has made it easier for people to get in touch with others."

"Our generation is able to talk to a person far away from them but do not have the ability to talk to anyone face to face. Social media like Facebook and twitter has made it easier for us to constantly follow the person we want to follow and to discuss their private lives without any regard to the feelings of the person involved. Yet we severely lack the ability to talk to each other on a personal basis. We can ‘’Like’’ thousands of posts and comments of a person but don’t have time and courage to actually talk to a person and hear his thoughts and share information." 

Removing the human connection makes it more and more difficult to give the relationship of human to human a place of trust, especially in this business which deals with and handles a persons largest life-time investment.


I don't know about you, but I have to do something to change the perception that dominates the market place:

  • "Real estate agents are just another hindrance to getting the house I really want"
  • "If I don't look on Zillow first, I am sure to miss out on the newest and best priced houses"
  • "My home is worth so much more than what that agent told me--I need to get a better idea of prices on Zillow"
  • "I don't need an agent to do a real estate deal--information that I need is out there just waiting for me to look it up" 

WORKING ON A NEW FORMULATIONAll of the above statements have been made to me and to my fellow agents--I have seen website owners make similar claims. All of this without really knowing the truth--it is dangerous and naive to think that someone who has never worked in real estate can do a deal successfully--without the potential of personal loss and  great harm financially.



Please comment below and give a good guess as to what you  think will work:

Comments (23)

Joyce Marsh
Joyce Marsh Real Estate LLC - Daytona Beach, FL
Joyce Marsh Luxury Homes & Interior Designer

The popularity that Zillow has really is astounding given the inaccuracies, and misrepresentations. 

Jul 18, 2018 05:56 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi James: I agree and that is why I beleive we have an opportunity here to take back the respect and the reliance on our experetise--but only if we get involved directly and with vigor--It will be interesting to see if we get any good suggestions here as to just how we do it...If we can get the attention back on the needed guidance that we can supply better than anyone else, we, as real estate professionals will be in a much better position going forward. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

Jul 18, 2018 06:16 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Joyce: I think it has been a rough ride for brokerage--but we must recognize our part in it: We have not been forthcoming enough with the public on just what it is that we do. It is very hard to tell people how hard we work so we need to demonstrate it in our day to day interactions with them. This is not a simple thing to do but I feel that we are on the leading edge of something new here and we need to take this opportunity to create videos and do other interactive things that show us in the light that we need to be seen in. It may be that we start doing seminars to the public--there is huge interest in real estate--why not use that to our advantage by collectively offering those who are interested a new way to understand what they can do to make the best real estate decisions--this time from the "horses mouth", so to speak. I am open to hearing all the other ideas that are out there--something has to stick!

Jul 18, 2018 06:22 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Brilliant, we are on the same page when it comes to human interraction.  We have a client who is closing in the next few days 8 luxury transactions.  Although her web site has SEO architecture, she could care less.  She is very active in her community and on the charitable front.  Everything she does is from the heart.  One of my friends once said, Googgle, Zillow and FB will not get the drapes the seller took back, but I will.  A

Jul 18, 2018 08:50 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Alexandria: Very good point---glad to hear we are on the same wave-length! I just attended a "Give-Back" seminar that was held here in Southampton Village and it was for our company and a handful of agents who appeared on a panel of agents who are in line with the same thinking--Give-back, or interact with the community: These were agents who volunteer and are on the board of a day-school for the neediest of children in our area (no one seems to understand that there are very needy families here in the Hamptons), an agent who has been a board member and President at one time for the "Fresh Air Fund", a 120 year old place for disabled children in New York City who get a free vacation here in the Hamptons very year;  An agent who is a volunteer coach in a local high school in Bridgehampton; an agent who is a Colonial in the Air Force and he does volunteer helicopter rescues at sea and for accident victims here, who are taken to Stoney Brook Hospital many miles away, and an agent who has been a volunteer in many of the local charitable groups here. It was fascinating to watch as the whole idea of Direct Human Interaction was displayed right there in front to me--making a terrific point! What a great "from the Heart" experience!!

Jul 18, 2018 09:46 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

She puts the "hamp" in the Hamptons

Jul 18, 2018 09:54 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Thank you Ritchie!

Jul 18, 2018 10:05 AM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Paula, thanks for the time to write something cogent...

And I agree with everything you said.

I recently sent out an email blast to all the builders here in Orlando and Tampa to remind them I was still alive.  And to make them an offer they couldn't refuse.

I received absolutely no response.  

I decided to contact a few of the builders I had enriched several years ago and sat down for breakfast the other day with my favorite.

I had sent a couple of emails previous to the meeting, and two from my blog here!
I am going to be working with them shortly on new projects.

The face to face worked better than anything else I could have done.

I related this story to a friend who is just about to get back into your business.

He said that a few years ago he kept calling a particular Real Estate firm he really wished to work for but no one called back.

He finally decided to just go in person to the office and wait to see the head honcho.

Lo and behold: the head broker invited him in, said "Oh, yeah I wanted to get back to you"... and offered him a job.

Phone calls, cold calling, is a real pain but necessary and nothing you can do on the internet can secure a faster connection to a contract than that with a followup possibly in person.  It is bold, now considered 'unconventional' but it yields immediate results.  Thanks.

Jul 18, 2018 10:23 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi John: 

I think the public is ready for the interaction that has been missing for so long! I know that I am suddenly seeing more people coming into the office just to connect with an agent--It's not overwhelming on any level but it is happening and I think we will see more and more of that as we get our sea-legs back where it comes to direct human interaction. Thanks for your input and your informative comment!

Jul 18, 2018 10:39 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Paula- this is just what every agent needs now. I've read so much about the fear of discount agencies and so forth but they can't beat a real human agent who knows what they're doing and will be there for their client. It's important for agents to get out and interact with people so that it is top of mind when choosing an agent. 

Jul 19, 2018 10:05 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Kathy: I can't tell you how many agents do not even come into the office anymore!! There is a sense of defeat in many of them and I think they can't face spending their time in an office when that is exactly what is needed now....I have noticed that more and more people are coming into the office again, much like they used to do. They seem to want to meet agents rather than select them from the internet. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kathy!

Jul 19, 2018 11:11 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Paula,
I get fumed everytime I think of the monster NAR allowed Zillow to become.  It could have been squished long ago but now we have to teach the public that it is not a reliable source of information.  If I tried to sell my house for what Zillow says it is worth, I'd be laughed out of town.   Somehow the industry needs to get that trusted connection back!

Jul 20, 2018 09:07 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Carol: I agree completely! There was nothing standing in the way of a take-over of the entire industry!! Z knew what they were doing and from a technology standpoint, maybe they were right on the money--But real estate is a very personal thing and to go after the whole brokerage business and try to control it all from the Internet is so irrational when you really think about it! 

It has made a life altering change to the way we do business and now we see why the governmental controls were put in place in the first place--licensing and all the training and classes required in order to protect the public from nefarious dealings! Now this!! ...and NAR did let it happen. I hear the State governments are really up set with those who have given the listings over to the Zs, Ts etc....

Jul 20, 2018 09:48 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I love this post and agree with everything you said. People for the most part love to talk and interact with each other but the Internet world has changed that in so many ways.

I had a 5 or 6-minute conversation with my doctor at the end of my appointment just the other day about Zillow, and the real estate market in general. It just came out of the blue, and rather than rushing off to the next patient he wanted to talk. And thanked me for a refreshing conversation when we were done!!


Jul 21, 2018 09:33 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

If we examine our own feelings, it's easy to see we're all pretty fed up with the perceptions generated by social media and on-line advertising. IF we are craving human interaction and getting to know someone in person, I'm sure there are others wanting the same.  Love this post.  

Jul 21, 2018 12:35 PM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Jeff: Thank you so much! ..And it is refreshing when someone takes the time too listen and talk when we have something as important as this stuff!! I am finding that the interest in real estate in general has always been over the top when it comes to the public---they always seem fascinated with real estate!! So that is factored in when we bring up Zillow---It is on my mind most of the time and when I mention the topic to almost anyone they respond! Their ears perk up and before you know it they are in a full and open discussion about the problems that are being caused with these websites invading the real estate world--and they are not in the business! But they have homes and so it is of major importance to most people...Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Jeff! 

Jul 21, 2018 01:22 PM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Debb and Bernie: ...So glad you liked it--it was one of those things that just popped into my mind the other day and I wrote it as I see it--the Internet is a devastating thing to most industries right now---why should real estate (especially real estate!) be exempt from it? Watch and see--we had better do something about the influence soon or we will all be selling apples on the street corner! I can't believe that we are on the threshold of brokerage being pase'!! Thanks for reading and commenting--good input!

Jul 21, 2018 01:27 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

The more we turn to technology it seems the more inclined we become insensitive to the human side of life.

This is an unpleasant thought for me.

There are many things that tech can do, but not all that we can add to the interaction.

Well done post. Thanks

Jul 23, 2018 07:53 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

HI John: I completely agree! Insensitivity is a BIG problem wherever you look in our culture today and it is making me very nervous for all of humanity. Technology has taken it's toll on so many people--and even me!__I was on the phone with Verizon yesterday handling a problem with my phone--It was not something that could be handled easily, but it was something that somehow my phone wanted me to get involved with and I don't have time for all the apps and other things that my phone has so I try to uninstall--Well you would have thought I had done something to a strangers phone "Oh no, you can't get rid of that or your phone won't work!" was what I was hearing and it drove me to the point that I just want to throw my phone away! I was not a pleasant customer to be dealing with--and I am normally very callm...So I see that was just a minor thing; imagine a major disruption in ones life! Technology can take over very easily and it is a real problem to those of who don't use it all the time--Just another disruption in our lives that takes us further away from what really matters. I wasted 2 hours on the phone dealing with this issue--when I could have been working with people!! Thanks for your input, John. I appreciate it!

Jul 23, 2018 11:27 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons
Comment from one of my fellow agents, Adam Hofer. He gives some really good advice and observations here:
Hi Paula 
This is great article, and so true. I was raised in a very traditional manner, I’ve been in sales for nearly 18 years now and was classically trained. However, my peers, who will inevitably be my clients for many decades to come, are glued to technology. It is definitely frustrating at times because people lose sight of the “value” of having and agent because they “think” they can find out all the info themselves. However, the reality is, they can’t, and after try and fail, they won’t, and then, they will start to realize the value of using an agent. Here’s my point; 
We (realtors) need to ride this out. Currently we need to spend less time getting angry about the Zillow’s and the VRBO of the world and learn how to adapt and use them to our advantage until our customers get frustrated with it and start to realize what we already know-you maintain the human element. Once a customer realizes that Zillow doesn’t tell you if there’s a garbage dump 100 yards behind that beautiful home you found online, or an Indian burial ground underneath the historic home they fell in love with, or that even though it’s an acre there’s no way you’ll get approval for a pool, people will start to revert back to relying on the experts. We all know what little attention span these younger, technology driven people have , do you really think they can coordinate themselves seeing six houses in an afternoon with 6 different brokers?? 
I don’t, and those are just some of the reasons we just need to stay confident in what we do and the value we add, continue to promote that and just let things take its course. Furthermore, I feel we are even more protected at the level of which we operate. The lower priced home market definitely has a lot to worry about, but with the high net worth individuals, they do need someone to talk to.
As you already know I spent many many years in the car business in which I already experienced the same cycle. Yes, you can get a LOT of info online about buying a car, which is good, but many of the dealerships that were trying to figure out ways to replace salespeople all together a few years ago have either failed or realized that it was probably a better idea to utilize technology as best they can but still make having well trained salespeople paramount, and at the highest level, like Land Rover, the client has not embraced technology nearly as much as that of a Honda buyer might, they still want to talk to and be able to work directly with “their guy”.
In conclusion, take advantage of any of the technology you can, embrace the things that work in your favor, don’t panic, and this too shall pass. In the meantime we look for the perfect balance between technology and human element to sell as many homes as we possibly can!!! 
Sep 16, 2018 09:42 AM