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No Thanks, I’m Just Looking

We’ve all said it.

I may be browsing in a store and a store clerk might come up to me and say May I help you with something? or Is there anything I can help you with today?.

You smile and say:

No Thanks,
I’m Just Looking.

On the web, there are those who participate in a forum, chat room or blog thread and there are those who lurk. Housing has lurkers too, only they are called “lookers.”

As the housing market cools, it doesn’t necessarily mean people have stopped looking at property. They’ve simply been more reluctant to actually buy something. In Dawn Bonker’s Looky-loos ‘fess up [LA Times] [1], she explores the phenomenon. The lookers fall into three categories:

Over the past 5 years, with the housing boom at full throttle, there are many who adapted real estate as a hobby, or to some, an obsession. Developers and sellers these days often wish they had better access to the thoughts of these lookers for insights that might help them sell their properties. Since lookers are emotionally detached from the properties, I would think their opinions would be more objective and therefore more constructive.

I think there is a fourth category as well:

While there are many former buyers who are simply out of the market, many of the lookers today are very interested in being buyers but they can’t make the decision. There is a lot of money on the sidelines right now but with all the worries about the real estate market, they are not ready to decide.