Behind The Hedges Matt Breitenbach Joins Compass; Linda Kouzoujian Joins Corcoran

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matt breitenbach
Matt Breitenbach Joins Compass; Linda Kouzoujian Joins Corcoran
February 05, 2018
After just about three years at Elliman, Matthew Breitenbach has joined Compass. Real estate can be said to be in Matt's blood: his father is a luxury homebuilder and he used to work closely with his mother, Susan Breitenbach, a senior vice president at Corcoran. Matt says, "I joined Compass to help fill the void in client service and tailored marketing in the high end luxury and new development markets in the Hamptons. Compass's technology, marketing, and support will allow me to better serve my high net worth and developer clients. I am looking forward to growing with Compass." Meanwhile, former Nest Seekers agent Linda Kouzoujian has moved to Corcoran's Southampton office. Linda told us, "My business is shifting in a direction that I wanted to be with the number one company on the East End. I'm thrilled to be part of the Corcoran Group." Congratulations to Matt and Linda!
hedges market report december
The Hedges Market Report for February 2018
February 05, 2018
Welcome to the Hedges Market Report! Every month we will poll local real estate agents and others in the industry about their sense of the market and how their business is doing. The following is the results of the January survey; at the end of the post is the new survey. In case you're wondering, we do ask new questions each month, as well as the usual state-of-the-market queries. The first question was "How do you feel about your business in the past month compared to the same time last year?" 70% replied "Good. I did well." 20% replied that business was about as busy as usual and 10% thought business was terrible. Next up was "How do you feel about your business in the upcoming month?" 70% were optimistic, 10% pessimistic and 20% neutral. To the question, "Are buyers still obsessed with new builds?" 40% thought that new was more important than anything else, even in a less desirable location; 40% thought that new was important but location was most important; and 20% said no. We then asked, "In the December poll, one agent wrote, 'RE in the Hamptons is generally swinging towards short term rentals.' Do you agree? Is this something that local governments should acknowledge?" 60% agreed but did not think local governments should ease rental restrictions, while 30% did think local governments should ease restrictions. The rest didn't pay attention to rentals. Next up was "What is your sense of the market as a whole?" Numerous responses concerned the new tax laws. "Too early to tell w the new tax reform;" "Worried about tax changes;" and "With new tax law, a secondary home market is going to be more discretionary for buyers. Rentals should pick up." Others are more sanguine. "Fairly matched, slight concern over NY apartment sales spillover." "Under a million are quick to sell, but regardless of price, buyers are always looking for a 'good deal.'" "I see the market as a healthy one! If priced right, I can bring you a buyer rather quickly!" The last survey question asked if there was anything else polltakers would like to add. "Hoping buyers' jitters will ease with new tax reform and sellers will be realistic in pricing their home to sell. Stock market is strong and help keep the home sales strong." "Many sellers demand unrealistic prices, and too many brokers promise those inflated sales prices to get a listing. This results in properties sitting on the market for too long." And: "10K prop tax max=no good." Also: "East Hampton Village, Fringe, NW Woods and Springs will continue to outperform." "At the moment, supply covers at least one year of demand. After Wall Street bonuses are divulged, we will find out whether Wall Street will make a dent in our supply." "A stock market correction could be beneficial for Hamptons real estate. With a 25% rise in the stock market over the past year, prospective buyers have been reluctant to take their money out of that market to put it into Hamptons real estate. A correction could change that somewhat." Thanks to everyone who participated! Here's a link to the February questionnaire--don't worry, it's very short and fast. Remember, it's entirely anonymous, so please be honest. Thanks! [polldaddy type="iframe" survey="4D1CD6C55F7ECDEA" height="auto" domain="dennisrodriguez85719" id="hedges-market-report-january-19"]   Got an opinion? There's room for entering any concerns you have on the poll, or feel free to drop us a line. Thanks for your time.  
How I Got It Sold: Christina Galesi of Sotheby's
February 02, 2018
Welcome to our new feature in which we talk to local agents about what happened between the time they listed a property and when it sold. Want to get in on the fun? Drop us a line! The agent: Christina Galesi, an associate broker at Sotheby's Southampton office. The property: 37 Glover Street, Sag Harbor. A waterfront teardown (1930s bungalow) on Sag Harbor Cove with 0.83 of an acre of land. The asking price: $7,250,000 Christina says, "I placed this property on the market for $7,250,000 even though many brokers thought I priced it too high. After all, it's a teardown on less than an acre. Buyers from the internet thought the asking price was a mistake or typo and that surely it was half that price. I got so many gasps from them when they had me repeat the asking price and then got off the phone with sighs of disbelief and almost anger that a teardown could be this expensive." But you knew it was a fair price. "This was a property that I knew people had been watching and wanting for years. It had been in the same family since the 40s. There are only a few waterfront lots on Glover Street, one of the most sought-after streets in Sag Harbor Village, and these very few spots only rarely ever come up for sale. I knew that people in-the-know would fight for 37 Glover Street." So what happened next? "It went to a bidding war within a few hours of the first open house. It subsequently went to an attorney sealed bid and was in-contract at $10,150,100 within a week. Prior to this, someone else bought 71 Glover Street on 1.3 acres for $13,700,000. They tore the house down and built a beautiful house in its place. Apparently, another Glover Street owner was offered in the high teens recently. The buyer for 37 Glover Street is in great company. This is a strip of highly regarded and valued properties in the Hamptons! The bottom line is, it's a divine spot on the water right in the middle of the village on the best street in Sag Harbor, where you can build a dream home, have a boat, paddle board and watch the sunsets in peace and then walk to dinner. You can't put a price on that lifestyle!"
totally metal
Someone Needs to Just Buy This House: It's Totally Metal
February 01, 2018
It really is totally metal, at least when it comes to sheathing. When this house was built back in the mid 1980s, it was controversial. Some thought it an eyesore, especially since Sagaponack and Fairfield Pond Lane were much less built up than they are now. But 30 years later, we think it's cool and much less horribly dated than some of its contemporaries. The interior has recently been renovated and looks great. There are stone and wood floors, softened with rugs, which contrast beautifully with the metal roofing and copious window glass. The kitchens and baths have also been nicely redone, and there's plenty of space,  with 4650 square feet of space, five bedrooms and three and a half baths. [caption id="attachment_65601" align="alignnone" width="750"] All photos via Corcoran[/caption] Location is quite good, far south in Sagaponack and close enough to borrow a cup of sugar from those nice Rennert neighbors. There's plenty of land, with 1.38 acres, which includes a pool (with a cool bridge over it), tennis, and a basketball/sport court. The property, currently repped by Susan Breitenbach at Corcoran, was offered for sale in 2013 for $10 million, but that was way too much. It came back onto the market in November 2016 asking $8.75 million, and has been gradually inching down in price. Now the ask is $7.5 million. What say you? Good deal? Would you like an interesting, distinctive house or do you prefer something that stands out less? For more, click here. 70 Fairfield Pond Lane, Sagaponack
George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth Relist in Southampton
January 31, 2018
Two years ago, political TV pundit George Stephanopoulos and actress Ali Wentworth put their attractive Southampton home on the market. On a flag lot just north of Hill Street, near the Art Village, the 1.47 acre property boasts a tennis court as well as the requisite pool. But it didn't sell, so the couple yanked the property from the market a few months later. Now it's back at a lower asking price. [caption id="attachment_65588" align="alignnone" width="750"] All photos via Sotheby's[/caption] The house is spacious at 4800 square feet, with five bedrooms and 6.5 baths. The decor is a little too staid and trad for our tastes, but is generally quite attractive anyway, with a nice white marble kitchen, an enticing library off the main bedroom, and a covered veranda out back. The lower level is particularly likeable, with a games room, media room, a very cute kids' bunkroom, wine cellar and gym. Previously, the couple were asking $7 million; now they're getting a bit more serious with an ask of $6 million. The property is represented by Ann Ciardullo and Keith Green at Sotheby's. What do you think of the place? Let us know in the comments. For more, click here. 5 Cameron Way, Southampton
Hamptons Confidential: Jean-Marc Zarka of Douglas Elliman
January 30, 2018
Welcome to our new feature in which we interview local personalities: agents, architects, interior designers, builders, anyone who plays a part in the world of Hamptons real estate. Want to get in on the fun? Drop us a line! A French native, Jean-Marc Zarka is a real estate agent at Douglas Elliman's Westhampton Beach office. He lives in Remsenburg and enjoys yoga, golf, fishing and riding motorcycles. What did you do before you were a real estate agent? I was the founder and CEO of a global fashion company, Vertigo, based in NYC. I sold the brand after 22 years. Having kept a house in the Hamptons since the '80s, I absolutely loved being out East! I wanted to switch to an activity that would allow me to live out here full time. jean-marcHow does your former occupation help you in your current position? Real estate, just like fashion, is a very competitive business. Both require marketing skills, deep product knowledge and awareness of the competing brands. Aesthetics are another common trait. They say the clothes make the man, but someone's home is also a reflection of its owner. My customer base in real estate also comes from my former profession, as the proximity of the Hamptons to New York City, the fashion capital of the world, attracts the most affluent and discriminating customers on the planet. Lastly, while building a multimillion-dollar global company, I got to travel extensively throughout the world. The high-net-worth people I met also had something in common: no matter where you go in Europe, Asia or the Middle East, everyone has heard of the Hamptons, would like to vacation here, or dreams of someday owning a home here. What makes you stand out from the crowd? Besides my thick French accent, I think that what makes me stand out from the crowd is my international sales and marketing background. I also have learned over the years to become a better listener. When meeting people in a social setting I don't talk at them about real estate. Instead, I engage them by conversing about everything else. I respect the fact that these people are out here enjoying their weekend or vacation. The last thing they want when they go out is to hear someone pitching them about selling or buying a home. People invest in people first, so getting them to know me, I feel, is very important. What is the thing you like most about being in real estate? Real estate is fun! I love meeting new people and visiting new homes. You never know who you are going to meet or what property you are going to discover on an almost daily basis. That's what makes it so exciting! I met people last summer who turned out to become really good friends of mine. I also forged new friendships with fellow agents who have been amazingly helpful and inspiring to me. What's the most surprising thing? The most surprising thing about real estate is how many agents are out there competing for a such a relatively small amount of properties. I was also surprised to see how few take full advantage of all the resources made available to them by their firm: Douglas Elliman has been incredibly supportive of me whenever I ask for help. They have provided me with all the tools I need to grow my brand. If you could teach a real estate class to buyers and sellers, what would be the title of it and why? "Sellers: it's time to move on. Buyers, it's time to move in." Buying or selling a home is a very emotional decision. Sellers, understandably, are attached to their homes. I would like to teach them that the minute they decided to sell their home, it became a house. With the ultimate goal of a sale, it's best to remember that selling is a business transaction. As for buyers, they can be scared to pull the trigger on what could be the largest purchase of their lifetime. If they want to make the house they like their home, buyers need to quash that hesitation. At the end of their successful journey, they'll have a place where they can start building many memories for years to come.
midcentury time capsule
A Completely Groovy Midcentury Time Capsule in Montauk
January 29, 2018
We absolutely adore midcentury time capsules, homes that have clearly been barely updated in decades. Why? For one thing, those of us who are older than dirt tend to love the kind of styles of furniture and homes that were popular in our carefree days of childhood. We also love the idea that back then, people tended to stay in one house for decades. That's how we want to live personally, but few people do these days. These houses meant a lot to their owners: they were lovingly designed at one point and the people who lived there saw no reason to update. Plus, in many ways, the decorating styles of past years have a lot to teach us today. A corollary of people moving often is that they're afraid to decorate in anything but the most staid, boring, generic, colorless, anonymous style because they don't want to "wreck" resale value. White walls, the same old white kitchens and baths, blah blah blah. You can't go wrong, but the flip side of that is you can't go really right either. Back in the day, people weren't afraid to let it all hang out, decoratively. Mirrored walls? Smoked mirror walls? Wallpaper? Wallpaper on the ceiling? Fun colored bathroom fixtures? Fun colored kitchen appliances? Being afraid wasn't an issue for the original owner/builder of this Montauk house. Two words: conversation pit. midcentury time capsule Oh we love that conversation pit with the brightness of a thousand suns. And dig the light fixture! And the shag carpeting! Two more words: built in planters. (Next to the Montauk stone fireplace, naturally.) Smoked mirrors! A built-in buffet/sideboard! A passthrough to the kitchen, and more of that sexy shag in the dining room. OK, we will admit that the kitchen isn't too exciting, though we like the breakfast area. In case anyone is scoffing at 1970s kitchens, watch The Exorcist some time--now that's a gorgous 1970s kitchen. (Yes, we are nerdy enough to pay more attention to the interior design.) While the bedrooms and bathrooms aren't too exciting in this house, there's a decent number (four and 2.5) as midcentury houses go, and they would be easy to update. The exterior of this property, which is repped by John D'Agostino at Martha Greene and Margaret A. Harvey at Town & Country, is another standout. There's 1.7 acres abutting reserve, which includes attractive gardens, decking, and stone patios. There's even your own private pond for fishing, natural watching, or skating, and while there isn't a pool, there's room, of course. Asking price for all this is $1.7 million. The property has been on the market for a while and the ask was just reduced. C'mon people, have some vision, and think about lovely evenings with California dip and chips in that conversation pit. For more, click here or here. 17 Upland Road, Montauk  
goose creek
The Famous Goose Creek Waddles Back to Market at $16 Million
January 26, 2018
Ah, Goose Creek. Famous--or infamous? Possibly both. It's a property that is huge in every way: 19,000 square feet set on 5.5 acres in desirable Wainscott. It has some great features, such as all that acreage (set off a tiny inlet by Georgica Pond), an indoor wave pool, and a 110-seat screening room. Of course there's also an outdoor pool (kind of weirdly shaped) and a tennis court. It's been rented by many celebrities over the years, including Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna.''''" [caption id="attachment_65530" align="alignnone" width="750"] All photos via Corcoran[/caption] Goose Creek also has some not-so-great features. It's a very strange looking house on the exterior. There's a traditional shingled part (with quoins. For heaven's sake, there is just nothing more ridiculous than fake quoins, which are decorative stone corner blocks, on a shingled house. Get rid of them!), with an odd tacked-on Mediterranean stucco part. Whoever buys the property, get a good architect to fix the exterior, please. We do think, though, that the owners have done a great job renovating and modernizing the interiors. Back when Goose Creek last sold in 2014, the interiors were extremely dated and 90s. Now the interiors look fresh and bright with stylish contemporary furniture. Also, while we guess the 110-seat screening room is pretty nice, your average multiplex has way more comfortable chairs, farther apart, with cupholders, these days. It first went onto the market back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (we think it was 2004) asking a similary huge $26 million. As pages flew off the calendar, the price was eventually lowered, until after a mere ten years on the market, the property sold for $10.55 million. Now, represented by Michael Schultz and Susan Ryan at Corcoran, asking price is $16 million. We don't think that's a bad price at all, given the generous plot size. What do you think? Let us know in the comments. For more, click here. 30 Wainscott Stone Highway, Wainscott
Comparing Hamptons Real Estate Market Reports for 2017 Q4
January 25, 2018
Today, the real estate agencies who monitor and compile sales data have released all their Q4 of 2017 market reports for the Hamptons. We've compiled the major data into a handy-dandy chart.
Avg Sales Price YOY Change Median Price YOY Change No. of Sales YOY Change Volume YOY Change
Elliman $1,839,641 9.7% $995,000 7.6% 552 5.3% NA
BHS $1,965,747 6.4% $1,042,000 -1.7% 397 26.8% NA
Corcoran $1,900,000 -13% $985,000 -1% 581 34% $1,100,000,000 16%
T&C NA $1,058,500 -5.07% 394 36% $778,530,780 42.7%
  Why all the differing results? Each company compiles data differently (um, obviously). Still, we thought this kind of comparison was useful. Mostly, the news seems to be quite good. What do you think of the data? Let us know in the comments.
Here's Where the Mooch is Buying in Water Mill
January 25, 2018
Look out, Water Mill! This summer, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and wife Deirdre Ball will be spending a lot of time in their new Hamptons home. Scaramucci, a very successful Wall Streeter, was part of the Trump Administration for ten days before being fired last summer. At the time, Ms. Ball had filed for divorce, despite being eight months pregnant. Ever the gentleman, Scaramucci demanded a paternity test for the newborn boy. But that's all water under the bridge, folks! Mr. and Mrs. Mooch have reconciled. As for the property, it's this one. 30 Lawrence Court overlooks reserve, not to mention Alan Alda's house. (Wave, Mr. Alda! We're sure you will be besties with your new neighbor.) On 0.92 of an acre, the spacious house by Farrell Building Company boasts 5700 square feet, with an additional 2600 on the finished lower level. There are eight bedrooms and 7.5 baths, which is handy as Scaramucci has five children. Of course there will be a gunite pool and spa out back. What the actual house looks like, we don't know, as this is obviously a rendering, and no doubt the Scaramuccis will customize the place. We'll see what happens. The asking price was $7.5 million--again, no transfer has occurred yet so we don't know how much they paid. Welcome to the Hamptons, Scaramuccis! For more, click here30 Lawrence Court, Water Mill
peace and quiet
Peace and Quiet in North Water Mill for $4.7 Million
January 24, 2018
Aaaaaaaaah. Everyone could use more peace and quiet. It sure seems like everyone has a super stressful, hectic life these days: there's a 24 hour news cycle screaming at you from your phone, social media is one-upping you, and whoops, you have a meeting in ten minutes. Add to that the stress of living in a giant, frenetic city, and you're on edge. [caption id="attachment_65495" align="alignnone" width="660"] All photos via Corcoran[/caption] If this is you and you happen to have a spare $4.7 million in the bank, consider this property (repped by James Peyton of Corcoran) for weekends and getaways. There is nothing here to jangle your nerves, especially if you tell your kids to stay in their rooms. The property, with almost an acre of rolling green lawns, overlooks more rolling green lawns. (Horse paddocks.) And that's about it for the exterior of this new build, besides the pool, of course. Nothing much to keep up, just relaxation. And the interiors are similar. Everything is soothing and calm white. Just simple, clean, and serene. And since it's a new home, by Barsalin Design+Build, nothing is going to go wrong or break or require maintenance. You just show up and your blood pressure will drop. There's room for everyone with 5200 square feet (7500 with the finished lower level--say, tell the kids to stay down there!), seven bedrooms and 6.5 baths. Plus, the property is close to both Southampton and Bridgehampton shopping and restaurants. For more, click here. 474 Edge of Woods Road, Water Mill
4q 2017
BOOM! Hamptons Real Estate Jumps in Q4 2017
January 23, 2018
The last quarter of the year is often the most important for real estate in the Hamptons, as people rush to close deals before the end of the year. Good news, then: after several lackluster quarters, the first of the real estate market reports for the last quarter of 2017 has arrived, from Town & Country, and the results are excellent. Compared to the same quarter in 2016, in the third quarter of 2017, there were 105 more home sales, a 36% jump, and nearly 43% more total home sales volume. As far as individual areas, no surprise that the usual winner, Southampton Village, is on top again in the fourth quarter. Southampton Village closed over $145 million in sales in the fourth quarter, with a median home sales price of $4,292,500. East Hampton Village was no slouch either. This scrappy little underdog managed a $4,000,000 median home price, with the greatest increase of any area for number of home sales (100% increase year over year!) and total home sales volume (up 181%). Other standout areas: Sag Harbor area (includes Noyac and North Haven) achieved a 74% increase in home sales and 61% increase in sales volume; Hampton Bays managed a 32% increase in home sales and 67% increase in sales volume; and Montauk scored a 62% increase in home sales and 52% increase in sales volume. Well done, all.