THE GREAT AWAKENING: “You Have Been Snooky-Looed!”

Written By: Paula Hathaway


I am a real estate agent in the Hamptons. I am one of about 2000 agents east of the Shinnecock Canal. I sell houses in the Hamptons; there I said it!

The Hamptons is a place of fame and fortune, of big houses and huge lawns. It is a place of curiosity and history and torrid tales….well, you know all the descriptions of this beautiful and bucolic place here at the end of Long Island. You know it through the media, through books and through the stories told by those willing to divulge their own participation in the way of life in this American Riviera.

Here is another view—my view of just one of the many things that happens here, to real estate agents as a matter of fact! People just want to see what happens within the walls of the most expensive properties on the face of the earth. We, the professionals that we are, know full well that this happens and we hone our talents to be able to identify a “Looky-Loo” right up front.

Sometimes, we slip up.

I became starkly aware of where I was the other night at 8:30 PM in a deluge of rain without an umbrella and standing 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!”

A buyer, pushing me to the ultimate output of energy and involvement–has no intention of ever buying!—They just like to look, and look, and look!!

A last minute call and a push to show houses, a rush to find a property right now that turns into a quickly accepted offer and then turns into the big letdown 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 overcome that if you are so dedicated? I am still learning how to identify the real Looky-Loo.

Now, with this latest event, 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.

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 wasting my time. These are, in general, wonderful people with personality galore and good-natured attitudes.

These “buyers” come into an agent’s 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 in tow!!! Too bad we have no way of getting the names or the description of these people out there to the rest of the real estate community to warn them–but that would be against state agency guidelines and the real estate code of ethics!


Let’s take a look at how the Looky-Loo operates:

This individual does not even realize that they are not a buyer.

When they meet “us”, the brave souls out there selling real estate for a living, they have found the ticket to view anything they want to see—they have hit the jackpot!

Things are going swimmingly: The “buyer” has flipped out over a property. They are almost giddy with the joy of having found a house they love.

They are un-stoppable in the process—they move so fast to the next step: they make an offer on the house of their dreams.

They have thoroughly convinced me that “this is it” and the process seems to be rushed as never before! I even have the paperwork to prove the buyer is qualified!

I barely have time to think! It is moving so fast I have to pinch myself to make sure this is actually going to happen!

The key word here is “going to” happen because that is exactly where I find myself after the fever pitch of the process. This buyer continues to look in spite of having found “The One”!

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 I can’t 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 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 a return call from her, I called her again. She told me she had been going by herself and knocking on doors and walking into the listings I had sent to her. She said she was trying to convince the owner that I am her agent and if she buys, “My agent will get the commission!”

She did that with a local builder as well, and yes, you can imagine the builder’s attitude about sharing the buyer with me!

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.” 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!

I can rant and rave; I can call him or her names, I can even threaten to sue! But it would be in vain!

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 with fellow workers what it is like to be “Snooky-Looed” because somehow it gets miss-interpreted.

Written by Paula I. Hathaway