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Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 30HA0800896


Jeff Dowler has challenged all of us to come up with 10 or more changes that we have experienced; life-altering in my case and to this day I am not complaining.

The year was 2010: I began writing about my blogging; I was three years into blogging and I loved it!! That is when I took the long view that I was on my way to writing a book and I wrote "BLOGGING MY WAY TO A BOOK" in April of 2010. It has been my focus all along but I did get waylaid by the issues that I saw with the way real estate was so negatively affected by the internet tech companies that were rearing their ugly heads. At that time Facebook was a questionable character in my opinion and I have only grown in my concern about this social media platform. It was a very providential move to write this post back then. Look at the last year to see what I mean.

The year was 2011: I wrote a post called "THE MONKEY ON YOUR BACK MAY JUST BE SOCIAL MEDIA" and I  intentionally drew a parallel of the use of social media to the addictive behavior of drug addicts... The post was featured here on AR and I have to date over 6000 hits on that post. It seems it hit a nerve. This was the beginning of my venture into trying to call out the "wasted lives" of the technology universe, seemingly trying to destroy human beings natural and normal interconnectedness. It was the start of my examination of a Zillow universe as it began to threaten all of us in the real estate profession. "PUTTING YOUR "LOCAL KNOWLEDGE" TO WORK FOR YOU" was another featured post that I wrote in 2011. It was the beginning of my focus on being a local expert; this was to begin to prepare for the onslaught of technology companies who were beginning to sneak in the back door of the brokerage business. Zillow was the main company whose stated goal was to put all real estate brokerages out of business--that was when they first opened the company after closing down all travel agencies through the use of their company "EXPEDIA". The owners were the same and they had sold EXPEDIA for billions and began the biggest challenge of all: Do the same thing to real estate brokerage!

The year was 2012: "ON BECOMING A LOCAL EXPERT" was written in 2012 and this was the beginning of the end of real estate as we know it here in The Hamptons. Zillow had begun to command a huge commitment of advertising dollars from agents all over the country. Little thought was given to the idea that they were not a brokerage and therefore they did not have to follow the laws of individual states and the advertising requirements that make it a violation to advertise someone else's exclusive listings. More would surface about that law in 2018 when New York State threatened agents that very large fines would be instituted if they were found to be in violation of the advertising restrictions. The states would not be able to fine Zillow-but the agents--YES!

The year was 2013: This was the bottom for me in real estate. I made very little money that year and was forced to sell my home. I listed it and Zillow pounced on it and made certain that the Zestimate was almost one half of the real market value of the house. I ended up selling it at a huge discount just to get it sold. My worst year ever in sales and in the price that I was able to get for my home. My local posts were getting a lot of attention and it ends up that my blog posts on local knowledge were the best way for me to get listings: "TELL ME A STORY...A Story About Local Information"

The year was 2014: Turns out, 2014 was one of my better years. I was teamed up with a developer and he was buying houses through me and then listing them with me for sale after they were built. It was a good match up and this was the year that prices began escalating beyond any reasonable level. It became impossible to buy a house in Southampton Village under $3mil. This is the year, however, that I stopped almost all my blogging on AR. Trulia bought out the database and I could not find my blog posts about Zillow after that. They owned it for a couple of years and I started blogging again in 2017.

The year was 2015: I have been very ill and have missed a lot of work. This was another year of almost no income from real estate. I have started to write my book and it is impossible to spend time in the office with my ill health. I was hopeful that my writing would pay off and gave thanks that I began blogging when I did so that I was prepared to devote lots of time to creating a well-written book.

The year was 2016: My struggles have been so monumental that I find myself in a very bad place indeed! I had sold my home so I rented one in 2013 that I found out was filled with deadly mold and free-floating asbestos in 2017. My budget was such that I was not living in the best conditions. I got very sick and in fact, was told that if I had not found out about the mold, I would be dead by the year 2020. I got out in the nick of time and am healing but it has been hellish and I still have some of the symptoms and may have them for the rest of my life.

The year was 2017: My focus became so Z focused that I rarely wrote about anything else for the last three years. I still did local posts but the common theme for me was the impact that Z was having on my real estate business and how the brokerage business was not paying enough attention to what they (Z)  plan on doing...I became a pariah to most of my fellow agents as I warned and warned again about the threat this technology company was to our profession. "KILLING BROKERAGE...How Long Before Zillow Succeeds??" was written in 2017 and I was watching as my fellow agents began paying record amounts of money to the lead generator; one paid $6000 a month and I heard there were others who were paying even more just to get a handful of leads.

The year was 2018: Suddenly last summer--That is when Zillow bought out all the local databases here in The Hamptons, including our internal platform--they bought out Streeteasy first and then they bought HREO.com and renamed a public site Outeast.com as its replacement. HREO had been The Hamptons "MLS" so to speak but now it was something else entirely. Part of that deal with HREO included Realnet, our internal database. Then Zillow shut it down so we went into 2019, early spring, with NOTHING to work with. They literally were trying to put us out of business, just as I have always warned! I have had hundreds of agents here call me to say "You were right all along!" and "We should have listened to you!" Now, all agents are in a struggle for their professional lives...Between the shut down of all our data, the prices in this market went so high that the public now turns away from The Hamptons, waiting for a major price drop. 

But nothing prepared the public for the onslaught of the national websites who have appeared here now--destroying the rental market. This is a summer resort and most people who own homes here have planned on a summer rental business that in many cases helped them pay the mortgage and property taxes--NOT ANYMORE! Now, these homeowners have to become weekend, 2-3 day rental landlords. No long term rentals anymore! Air B&B and VRBO, Zillow and Outeast have no understanding of this rare market...and they have begun to destroy the infrastructure with the masses of the weekend, overnight and other transient renters.  Our waterways are in trouble; shellfish have been killed off and there is a green scum forming on the fresh waterways from the nitrogen gathering downstream--raw sewage is contaminating like never before.

The year is 2019: The real estate market is dead in the Hamptons. High-end houses are sitting for years before a price is accepted and that is usually a fraction of the asking price when it sells! The average homeowner is either going to foreclosure or trying to sell their houses at a fraction of what they may have gotten 3 years ago. Nothing is selling so it is a lost cause and a very frightening one at that! The earliest families have pretty much left the area and all the potato farms have been sold off to developers. It is a very sad state of affairs. I wanted to write about them so that they will not be forgotten. 

So, I am back at square one. I am ready to publish my book about local life here in the Hamptons. It is called: 

"THE HAMPTONS...Secret Lives" and it is fiction but it will enlighten those who think The Hamptons is only for the wealthy and the celebrity. I have included two chapters from the book in this post and I look to be published sometime this year, 2019. 


Comments (14)

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Well that was very interesting!   I had no idea that this was happening in your market!  So what will Z do now with their "real estate" business if nothing is selling?

Jul 01, 2019 08:57 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

What a decade for you. I'm glad to hear you are on the road to health and I wish you the best with your upcoming Hamptons book.

Jul 02, 2019 03:19 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Georgia: That's the irony! Z has literally put agents out of business--they have cut off the hands that feed them. No doubt, Z is NOT getting the big $$ that they became accustomed to so they have begun to "grovel". They have made efforts to improve the public site Outeast but it is too late and we, as agents have only a back door to the website without the valuable data that we once had on Realnet. We now have to use three databases and more actually to get what we once had at our fingertips. Now, can you just imagine the frustration of the public as they try to gain access to what they once had through an agent? The public is simmering in anger with the brokerage community. They think the agents have screwed them up--no rental income; houses are not selling. Meanwhile, I  continue to inform...I will do that till the day I die!! Thanks for reading and making your valuable comment here!

Jul 02, 2019 04:21 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Good morning Kat: Thank you so much for the best wishes...if wishes were $$, I would be a very wealthy person right now! This was a decade I will not forget; it has been the beginning of what may be my next career and I am grateful for the AR platform since it was where I cut my writing teeth! Good luck to you too; I hope the real estate business in your neck of the woods is still strong!  

Jul 02, 2019 04:25 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Paula:

Wow this has been an incredible 10 years for you. I knew there were issues in the Hamptons but had no clue things had gotten so bad. I like how you wove your blog posts into your reflections - they are certainly a big part of who you are personally and professionally. Best wishes for an on-time book publishing! I hope you will keep us posted.

I love that photo - it certainly relates well to the theme of your post!


Jul 02, 2019 07:44 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Jeff: I sure will! I am waiting for the final editing and it may take a while for it to come through. But I am patient and optimistic. I did want to have it available for summer reading but it may be too late to take full advantage of the timing. Thanks for your good vibes and your encouragement. You have always been such an important part of AR for me and I am sure, many, many others as well!

Jul 02, 2019 07:48 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Paula - I like how you organized your posts by years. A fictional account of "life" may be the most accurate portrayal of Hampton living. Good luck.

Jul 02, 2019 11:25 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Michael: Thanks--I thought it would help others to understand the decade from my vantage point. It was a tough 10 years now that I look back!

Actually, the life of the locals and the year-round residents in the Hamptons is not so different from that of other people in the middle of the country. That is the reason I am writing the book--to inform those who think there are only wealthy, celebrity types here. We have a relatively small year-round community and it gets smaller every year through attrition and the loss of the local youth who can not afford to live in the place where their families lived for over 300 years. It is a very sad tale, indeed! Thanks for reading and commenting, Michael!

Jul 02, 2019 12:55 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA - I hope you will continue your quest to help educate the consumers and other agents. You are an incredible woman. What happened to the Hamptons can happen to anyone but when others aren't even aware that it's happening or they keep their head in the sand by commenting that it isn't happening in their area but would rather consistently boast about how successful they are and how great their business is going, when in fact, it isn't well...  it's just a matter of time because I think another shift is coming our way to all agents everywhere. It's sad, so sad for our market areas and the people we served previously because they aren't being told the truth and erroneous information continues to be out there by those who stole our lively hood.

I wish you good health and a published book that will be on the bestseller list.  

Jul 04, 2019 02:15 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Patricia: You have made a great point here: "It's sad, so sad for our market areas and the people we served previously because they aren't being told the truth and erroneous information continues to be out there by those who stole our lively hood." We need to be diligent on our marketing efforts now...How else can we find our way? The problem is, how do we get the message out there, now that the giant tech firms have disempowered us with their vast ability to bamboozle the public with their deception? They do not have a clue about my area or yours and yet they pretend to know. The public is so angry right now that they have decided NOT to play along anymore and they do not see that the perpetrator is alive and well--and still pretending. Thanks for your valuable input, Patricia.

Jul 04, 2019 03:20 AM


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