Behind The Hedges Real Estate Roundtable: Sun, Snow, Sand, Surf…Where Do You Off-Season?

Real Estate Roundtable

img January 01, 2017
Real Estate Roundtable: Sun, Snow, Sand, Surf…Where Do You Off-Season?

There’s something special about life on the East End during fall and winter, whether it’s the chance to take in the vineyards and holiday festivals or simply the solitude of the beaches and endless access to shopping, entertainment and dining. Yet it’s also the perfect time of year to explore other environs, whether as a renter or as a second (or third or fourth) homeowner in areas where sand and sun or snow reign supreme. With summer in the rear-view mirror, our panel of experts from the local market and further afield share their insights into key points for buyers and sellers in the Hamptons, on the North Fork and beyond.

“The fall is my favorite time of the year on the North Fork. There is an endless list of things to do and enjoy during the harvest season. The vineyards are abuzz. It’s a tradition in my family to go apple picking and then come home and make applesauce together like I did with my grandmother when I was a kid. We also enjoy pumpkin picking and making jack-o-lanterns. The farms are full of corn mazes and pony rides and all sorts of activities. The farm stands are full of fabulous local produce for farm-to-table meals to be enjoyed with family and friends. As we head into winter the numerous opportunities present themselves to enjoy the rich history of each of the hamlets in their holiday festivals. It’s a wonderful place to escape the chaos of the city to select and cut your own Christmas tree, or do your holiday shopping in all of our unique little shops and boutiques that offer personalized service and that hometown warmth you can’t find anywhere else. At the end of your day exploring the beautiful North Fork, come home, light a fire and enjoy a cup of cocoa snuggled under a cozy blanket with the ones you love.”—Donielle Cardinale, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty

“Like many people, I think fall is one of the most beautiful times of year to enjoy a property. The weather is still great, the colors are beautiful, and the crowds are largely gone. As you head into winter, we recommend that buyers purchasing a home ask for a pool letter and sprinkler letter from the seller that ensures the pool and sprinkler system was in good working order at the time of closing. Sellers should try to keep their pools open as long as possible—as a house shows better with an open pool. They should also stay on top of fall cleanups and remember to engage a snow removal company early in the season. We can’t sell a house if snow blocks gates, driveways and front doors…. I love Aspen for skiing, Miami for sun and fun, and New York City for its energy and excitement. But no place is better than the Hamptons!”—Enzo Morabito, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Enzo Morabito Real Estate Team, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

“Fall on the East End is my favorite time of the year. The ocean waters are still warm, the light is incredible, the crowds are gone, which makes driving a breeze, and getting a reservation at Nick & Toni’s won’t take three weeks. Indian summer is harvest season, so those of us who garden are reaping the fruits of our labor—literally—and those who love to fish will find a bounty of opportunities. Oh, and real estate-wise, it is the height of the busiest selling season! Sellers put the apple pie in the oven and go downtown shopping while your realtor does an open house. Buyers—fall is our busy season, so if you are ready to make a great investment, pull the trigger now. Sales made now will close in winter, which is perfect to give the seller time to move out and the buyer time to personalize their new home and have it ready for springtime. The winter out east reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting—ice skaters on Town Pond, sledding on Quail Hill, hiking the waterfront on North Haven. The holidays are a quiet time for residential but the busiest time for commercial, as shops and restaurants need the winter to get ready for Memorial Day business!

As an avid skier, my passion takes me out west every winter—which is ideal for my business, as that is the slowest time of year for Hamptons real estate. I’ve thought many times about buying but I can’t decide between Colorado, Utah, Wyoming or California, so I guess I will keep kicking those tires until I can grow up and decide. In the meantime I will keep my investment dollars in my East End dire—it’s done me well.”—Judi Desiderio, CEO, Town & Country Real Estate

“Fall in the Hamptons is my favorite season. The leaves are turning, traffic is down and the beaches and bays are still the most beautiful in the world. If you are in the market to buy a home, winter is the best time to look at Hamptons real estate. Many potential buyers have gone south yet there are always homeowners that must sell in a timely manner. Dress warmly, be courageous and you may just land the home of your dreams. If you are considering investing in another vacation locale, I suggest Aspen, Colorado. There is consistent demand from buyers and the rental market is strong. Like the Hamptons, values go up over the long-term. Aspen is not only for skiing. In the summer months it is a cultural Mecca. What can be better than listening to music on top of a mountain?” —Alan Schnurman, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Saunders & Associates

“When buyers think of the Hamptons they normally think ‘summer.’ The big surprise is that the fall months may be considered the best of the year. Our weather is gorgeous, and there’s plenty to do for adults and children alike. Enjoy the harvest with pumpkin picking and corn mazes. Relax at your favorite vineyard and enjoy live music and wine tasting. Enjoy holiday parades and festivals with family and friends. The Hamptons—we live on vacation!”—Terry Thompson, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

“Having a property for the fall and winter gives you entirely separate chapters of enjoyment to your coveted ‘Hamptons lifestyle.’ Experiencing the breathtaking autumn foliage, uncluttered roads, ease of getting a great spot at your favorite restaurant and solitude on a gorgeous beach are the rewards, along with spending more quality time indoors in your East End home. It can also be a good time to sell a home during this period, because generally those that are looking to purchase one are statistically more serious to buy and the focus is on the home search and not competing with beach time and all-day outdoor activities. Also for buyers who are looking to purchase, make your offer fair, educated and researched; there may be snow on the roof, but that does not chill the value of a perfect home. It’s also truly a great time to do a site visit at a home being newly constructed. Being able to provide a builder with a punch list this time of year affords the ability for a seamless spring occupancy. But remember, don’t procrastinate to buy because it’s ‘off-season’—spring will arrive before you know it and with that you may be caught in a bidding war for the same property if you wait till then.”—Jim Rooney, Principal, FLEXdevelopment/KP Property Group Inc.

“What’s so special about owning a property on the East End during the fall and winter is that it’s just a great time to enjoy all that the Hamptons offers. Obviously, the crowds have subsided, which means it’s easier to make reservations to enjoy all of the great restaurants that abound out here. Traveling from Montauk to Southampton is a breeze. A brisk walk on the beach is so refreshing and mind-altering, especially since it’s easy to park your car now. As for buyers and sellers during these seasons, it used to be in the past that this was the time to scoop up a deal for the buyer. Granted, there is a slowdown in the market during the holidays, but not like it was years ago. It’s actually a great time for potential buyers to be looking. The laidback feel brings back a time of yesteryear, when the Hamptons were like that all year round.”—John Christopher, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons, LLC

“The East End is remarkable ‘after season.’ The fall color and myriad activities available for families are harder to experience, if at all, in the city. Halloween is especially wonderful for children, since the villages really turn out for daytime costumed parades and events, closing off streets and making trick-or-treating very special. It’s kind of old-fashioned, and kind of marvelous. The same goes for the autumn corn mazes, apple picking, and the ever-popular Pumpkintown. As the weather grows colder, people use their homes to host Thanksgiving dinners, and that merriment lasts straight through the mid-winter celebrations. The fall and winter light across the land are as beautiful, although in different ways. The days are shorter, the villages are quieter, and there is something peaceful and calming about the change of seasons. It offers a real respite from an otherwise hectic life. We have noted in more cases than not, that once folks buy a house in the Hamptons, they may come out as often as 50 weekends per year.

  There are defined advantages to buying ‘off-season.’ Customers looking to buy during time periods when the leaves have fallen off the trees and hedges can see the land parcel boundaries more clearly, or how near or far the neighbors properties run. And on the ocean, customers can see firsthand how the elements can affect homes. These can be important considerations for a customer’s decision to purchase.”—Holly Hodder, Licensed Salesperson, Sotheby’s International Realty

“South Florida is the ‘it’ winter destination for a tremendous number of Long Island natives, who escape the chilly northern winters by indulging in the tropical climate of the Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami markets. With miles and miles of pristine beaches, the warm Atlantic waters, an average winter temperature near 80° and cultural attractions galore, South Florida is more popular than ever. For Long Islanders, South Florida boasts world class country clubs, championship golf, five-star shopping, three international airports and a carefree lifestyle that is second to none.”—Ben G. Schachter, LCAM, GRI, Broker-President & Licensed Real Estate Instructor, The Signature Real Estate Companies

“Long known as ‘The Hamptons of Florida’ for its laid-back, unpretentiously elegant island vibe, Vero Beach is an ideal winter community for several key reasons that distinguish it from other options. Tucked just inside the line of the tropics, Vero rarely sees a hard frost. As a result, Vero is home to both ancient Live Oaks, tropical palms and 28 miles of pristine Atlantic Beaches. A jacket is a Vero fashion accessory, not a necessity! And with direct flights from Vero municipal airport to the New York area starting December 10 for under $200 round trip, getting to Vero is a breeze. Vero property is 40% more affordable than other seaside communities throughout Florida and the Eastern seaboard. From waterfront homes on the barrier island or a mainland pied-a-terre, Vero buyers simply get more bang for their buck.

Low density, low profile zoning has been in place in Vero since the 1970s, in which condos may not exceed four stories and homes have strict height limits. This visionary policy has kept sprawl away, resulting in finite housing inventory and a barrier island with fixed bridges that comprised a charming Ocean Drive retail district and largely single family homes whose beaches, restaurants, waterways and roadways remain remarkably un-crowded—even during peak visitor season of January through March. The jewel of Vero Beach may well be its beloved Indian River Estuary. Serving as Vero’s intra-coastal waterway, the Estuary’s brackish, tidal waters are dotted with Mangrove-lined spoil islands, preserved from development. The River is home to a bevy of species from manatees to bottlenose dolphins, egrets, bald eagles and heron—but happily, rarely gators, who dislike its brackish waters. A variety of public, free-of-charge accesses to both the beach and Indian River are accessible to residents and visitors for fishing, tubing, SUP and boating adventures.”—Sally Daley, Broker/Owner, Daley & Company Real Estate, Vero Beach

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img November 24, 2016
Real Estate Roundtable: Thankful for the Hamptons Market
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, our roundtable of real estate experts and insiders share what they are most thankful for about being part of the local market in the Hamptons—living here, working here, the joys of the past and what lies ahead. “With the holidays fast approaching, it is time for all of us to reflect. Professionally speaking, I am always thankful to live and work on the East End. And not just because of the beauty of our community, but because of the incredible people that live here. In the real estate profession, you don’t just work with other real estate people. I work with builders, lawyers, landscapers, town and village employees, surveyors, caterers, plumbers—the list goes on and on. Over my 30-plus years working out here, I am fortunate enough to have developed professional and personal relationships with a lot of our local residents. Great relationships with people who help me get my job done. We all rely on each other to be successful. I guess, professionally, I am most thankful for the quality of people that live here. We have a tight-knit community, and I like it that way!”—Enzo Morabito, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Enzo Morabito Real Estate Team, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “I feel blessed every day for my family and my surroundings. We live in a Norman Rockwell painting. There’s no place I’d rather be!”—Judi Desiderio, CEO, Town & Country Real Estate “My office right now is overflowing with non-perishable foods that Saunders & Associates will donate to the Hampton Bays, Bridgehampton and East Hampton food pantries. Last year, Saunders’ real estate agents and employees, along with their caring family and friends, donated 5,500 bags, boxes and containers of food to the needy. I’m grateful everyday to for my loving family and friends and the fact that I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I’m also grateful that I have a dream job selling real estate in such a beautiful place. I’m one lucky woman!”—Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Saunders & Associates “In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful to live on the East End. The obvious reasons are the beaches, its proximity to New York City without all the hustle and bustle, and for the beautiful change of seasons—especially this time of year, with all the dazzling autumn foliage and fall decor adorning the beautiful homes. It’s a spectacular place to call home and the future feels bright!”—Natalie A. Lewis, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “Being able to continually build, and sell, quality homes that resonate with not only our buyers but within the communities we select for our projects—judging by the thumbs-up, smiles and comments we receive from so many neighbors—and being able to do all this in a location that is one of the most beautiful in the entire world. What better definition of professional thanks-giving and a reason to be excited about the coming year!”—Jim Rooney, Principal, FLEXdevelopment/Broker, KP Property Group Inc. “Thankful that I am in the real estate business and able to see firsthand how real estate affects the economy—housing is what keeps the economy stimulated. Next in line is the healthcare ‘business.’ I have seen the best of times and the worst of times, but always for the better. In the summer we share, and in the winter and for the holidays we have the best of the best all to ourselves! Just glorious.—Georgiana Ketcham, Licensed Real Estate Broker, Owner, Georgiana B. Ketcham Real Estate “We are all very thankful for the privilege provided to us by government and our fighting troops, to live in a stable, safe environment where there is no lack of food, shelter or clean water.  It is never lost on us nor taken for granted that we are super lucky to be living in this wonderful spot in the world, out of harm’s way, distanced from the grid, and in an aesthetically magnificent area full of nature and beautiful light with state of the art amenities and infrastructure all just a two hour drive to a diverse opportunity for cultural immersion and a delicious array of diverse tastes, sounds, and aesthetic stimulation. We choose to live here and are so thankful to be here.”—Raphael Avigdor, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Team Raphael Avigdor, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “Having traveled extensively, every time I return I give thanks to being able to work and reside here on the East End.  The sonic seascapes, the vast vistas of farmland, the transcendental light, all give me a sense of wonder and joy. What I'm truly appreciative of is the like-minded individuals who work so hard to maintain and preserve this verdant community. Without the tenacity and fortitude of people like John v.H. Halsey of the Peconic Land Trust and Nancy Kelley of the Nature Conservancy, this bountiful land and the clean, clear waterways might have been lost. There is no doubt that when I partake of the turkey like our forefathers before, I will bow my head in thanks and gratitude.”— John Christopher, Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons “I am thankful for being in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Surrounded by the ocean and bays combined with our open pastoral spaces makes the Hamptons magical. All that is great, but the highlight for me it is a place where my family spends quality time together. We all know that’s what it’s all about.”—Alan J. Schnurman, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Saunders & Associates 
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img October 06, 2016
Real Estate Roundtable: Buy & Sell Like a Hamptons Real Estate Pro
Everyone strives for perfection, but attaining it can be an elusive pursuit, especially when it comes to real estate. Finding the perfect property, creating the perfect staging, setting the perfect asking price, making the perfect offer…no matter the effort, missteps happen along the way, among both buyers and sellers. Our roundtable of experts and insiders share their insights into common mistakes made on both sides of the table and offer their keys to avoiding them, to the benefit of all parties. “The real estate market is all about supply and demand. A listing will be dormant for months, but the moment you have an offer, you seem to have three. Buyers and sellers can get the most out of the market by avoiding a few common mistakes. Most commonly, sellers overprice their homes. They take pride in their properties and believe it is worth more than market value. Secondly, sellers often turn down their first offer and consider it as a starting point; however, these tend to be the highest offers. On the contrary, buyers sometimes underestimate how eager a seller is, based on their asking price. I encourage the customer to make an offer, even if it is a bit out of their comfort zone—the seller might be willing to negotiate in your favor after all.”—Lauren Spiegel, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “Three common missteps buyers make: One, not having the money to buy or the knowledge that they qualify for a loan. It’s so important to have your financial ducks in order. That’s why speaking to a financial adviser who can tell you your budget parameters is an asset. Secondly, finding the home you love. Thirdly, that only comes when you connect with a professional buyer’s agent. Someone who ‘gets you.’ A professional who listens. There’s no need to look at three bedroom homes when you specifically asked for a four-bedroom.—John Christopher, Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons “The biggest mistakes for sellers is overpricing and leaving too much ‘room to negotiate.’ There’s a lot on the market and you need to price to sell, so your listing gets shown. With buyers, once they find something that they like, they continuing to look for something better or for prices to come down. If you find something, especially in this market, make an offer. There’s a lot of inventory and prices are good.”—Susan Breitenbach, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, The Corcoran Group “Buyers and sellers sometimes have the notion that they know as much [as real estate pros] about the local market from what they have been able to glean from the internet. The reality is that there’s no substitute for a good real estate agent. Internet listings show only a small part of the total picture, and do not take into account complex zoning issues, the various qualities of different locations and myriad factors that impact smart buying and selling. The bottom line—a good real estate agent will save a buyer or a seller money and guide them in buying or selling the right property for the right price and terms. I have seen many a buyer lose out on a perfect property because they second-guessed their agent’s advice in bidding. Conversely, I have seen many a seller lose a great buyer placing a bid and end up having to accept a lower price because again, they second-guessed their agent’s advice on how to response to bids.”—Aspasia G. Comnas, Executive Managing Director, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons, LLC After correct price positioning, sellers need to realize the importance of home-staging services when listing their home and selecting an agent, especially in the East End market. Such an extremely important aspect, but often overlooked, staging and high quality professional photos create first impressions. Buyers often discount a home solely based on the online photos. Particularly on the East End, many buyers are coming from out of the area, sometimes unaware of distinct property values or locations. Likewise, many buyers offer full asking price for properties that are professionally staged, over other properties where location is sometimes much more valuable. Sellers need to recognize that creating the best online presentation of the home is a crucial factor to create interest and increase the volume of showings to obtain a premium sales price.—Susan Orioli, Esq., Licensed Real Estate Broker and Owner, NOFO Real Estate, LLC “Sellers should go into the selling process with the understanding that what they paid, what they put into upgrading their home, and what they want for a selling price may not match what buyers will give them in the current marketplace. If a house has been on the market for a while with no accepted offers, it often means ‘the market is speaking’ and the seller may need to adjust their selling price expectations. Buyers should realize that, unless they have a sky-is-the-limit budget, they may not get every item on their wish list—otherwise they may end up house-hunting for years and still not find their ‘perfect’ house. Every home has pros and cons. They should focus on buying the best house they can afford in the best neighborhood. Buyers should speak to a good mortgage banker before starting their home search to determine their budget and financing options. Taxes play a huge role in monthly payments. Pre-approval letters hold more weight than pre-qualification letters. Buyers also need to factor in closing costs, including the 2% Peconic Transfer Tax and the 1% Mansion tax on homes over the $1 million mark.”—Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Saunders & Associates “One mistake a seller can make is to significantly overprice their home. Buyers will not even attempt to make an offer unless they feel the seller is motivated to sell. If a seller does not accept the advice of their real estate agent on pricing their home, I recommend the seller have an appraisal done. The appraisal can save the seller time and money in the long run. One mistake a buyer can make is not to take the time to get a preapproval prior to making an offer. The buyer falls in love with a home to only delay the signing of contracts to confirm what they can afford. This delay can put a buyer at risk of losing the home to another buyer. A preapproval can also spot a problem with a credit report which may be fixable in helping the buyer to get a lower interest rate.”—Janice Hayden, Associate Broker, Halstead Property “‘Don’t wait to buy East End real estate, buy real estate and wait!’ It’s an oldie but a goodie. Some prospective buyers sit on the sidelines and then jump in making unrealistic offers blaming a soft market or an unpredictable economy. Properties priced right by sellers and logical offers presented by buyers will result in a win/win for all! In the Hamptons, where cash purchases are quite common, if a buyer offers cash and a seller accepts that as a condition of price...stay the course! Buyers then fiip-flopping to attain financing can cause discord in the transaction and open up some unexpected doors resulting in delays and possibly a dead deal! Choose your attorney wisely. East End real estate differs from other areas, hence buyers and sellers should carefully consider using a local attorney to represent them. And accepted terms and conditions between buyers and sellers prior to the attorney’s drafting actual contracts should be translated as agreed. A deal can truly ‘go sideways’ if those contracts present a different picture than previously agreed upon.”—Jim Rooney, Principal-FLEXdevelopment/Broker-KP Property Group Inc. “Allowing oneself to be influenced by one’s emotions is one of the greatest missteps that, not only buyers and sellers experience, but people in general. The comparatives speak volumes and loudly and clearly. Buyers and sellers who don’t want to look at the actual ‘comps’ when coming to a valuation of the property they are either selling or buying, is often the biggest misstep I see here in the Hamptons. Judgments are often clouded by what the person wants to believe is the value and not the actual established value through market analysis and appraisal. Not establishing one’s credit limitations clearly is a misstep that I see many buyers make and it forces the buyer to purchase a property on a bank contingency basis, which puts them at a disadvantage over the cash buyer. This can easily be avoided by approaching the financial institutions prior to home shopping and establishing exact parameters for what the buyer can spend. Knowing the market well enough to have confidence in the valuation of the property will further help to avoid shooting too high to actually get a mortgage approved. In the end, if you are borrowing, establish your credit limit with your bank and shop within that limit. Try to force your lender to give you a commitment contingent on the property, appraising for the value that you have placed on it. Sellers often don’t want to use all the tools in their arsenal to help them sell their homes. I have seen many sellers resist the opportunity to put a sign that says ‘For Sale’ in front of their house, for whatever personal reasons they may have. The kind of exposure and conveyance of availability that a sign brings is of enormous benefit to a home seller, and I find that many people do not wish to understand this concept.”—Raphael Avigdor, Team Raphael Avigdor, Douglas Elliman Real Estate
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img September 15, 2016
Real Estate Roundtable: Hamptons Dream Listings Defined
Beachfront estates and private sanctuaries, unparalleled water views and pristine gardens. Owning a property in the Hamptons is the stuff of dreams, and so is being part of the unique process that brings home and homeowner together in a dream listing. “Once in a while, a dream listing comes along! What makes is a dream listing? First, it’s priced realistically for current market conditions. Second, it doesn’t have major C of O or other issues that can kill or hold up a deal. Third, the house checks all the boxes for the amenities that today’s buyers are looking for—good location, FEMA compliant, newer construction with an architecturally-interesting and user-friendly floor plan, and outdoor spaces that create a true Hamptons lifestyle. And finally, there is mutual, professional respect between my team and the client. They trust that I have the experience to sell their home and don’t second guess strategy and pricing.”—Enzo Morabito, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Enzo Marabito Real Estate Team, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “I currently share a listing on five and a half acres overlooking Gardiner’s Bay on Shelter Island that offers the most spectacular views that I have ever seen. The property has double bulk-headed water frontage and gently rises almost to 100 feet above sea level. From that high vantage point, you can see Connecticut, Montauk and, on a really clear day, even Block Island. It is truly breathtaking.”—Christine M. Saar, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons “I have listed and sold a lot of new construction, but anything in the estate section of Southampton is where I would want to be. I listed and sold in there and it’s the best. ”—Aaron Curti, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “Salt Sea 5 at Gurney’s. It’s insane. Literally the perfect house, on the beach, with everything at your fingertips.”—Ryan Serhant, Licensed Real Estate Broker, Nest Seekers International “Being both a developer and principal real estate broker, my dream listing continues to be each exquisite quality-built new—or remodeled—home that we’ve completed that sells within the first couple of weeks of listing it!”—Jim Rooney, Prinicpal FLEXdevelopment/Broker-KP Property Group Inc. “One of my current listings would definitely fall into the category of a dream listing. It’s a 5-bedroom, cedar shake 1898 farmhouse fully restored with modern amenities. Tucked on a peaceful and uniquely private acre, surrounded by 15 acres of green meadows. Its wrap-around porch and vast meadow views transport you to simpler times. Located in a very small and coastal community in East Moriches, it’s truly a rare experience.”—Natalie A. Lewis, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “Of course my most memorable listing was the Artemus Ward Estate. I actually was involved in the sale twice! Very few properties offer sunrise and sunset from the front veranda, and a water view from every room. The current owner has restored and renovated both the buildings and the property, including a new manor house with pre-existing ‘lookout tower.’ It’s one of the most magnificent properties on the East End.”—Georgiana Ketcham, Owner, Georgiana B. Ketcham Licensed Real Estate BrokerGardiner’s Island—I look at it from my backyard every day. It is the last pristine private holding.”—Judi Desiderio, CEO, Town & Country Real Estate “My dream listing is the one where the owner and I have priced a house correctly. I still think of the listing on the water I had in Sag Harbor Village that came on the market Friday, was shown Saturday, and had an offer and acceptance Sunday. That was a dream listing.”—John Christopher, Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons “My ‘Dream Listing’ is that gorgeous well-located luxury home that is well-priced and in move-in condition. Being a broker, I love walking through the most beautiful homes wondering which of my buyers would appreciate the residence as I do. For me, it is truly a labor of love.”—Alan J. Schnurman, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Saunders Read more Real Estate Roundtable
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img February 07, 2016
East End Brokers Share Memorable Real Estate Moments
If there is one great constant in the East End real estate market, it’s change and the surprises that mutability delivers. Whether it’s a major market shift or mass mentality in action, a private moment made public or a potential deal that goes up in flames, experts and insiders from the Hamptons and the North Fork have entertaining and insightful stories to share about the most surprising aspects of their real estate careers. “I’ve been a real estate broker for over a decade, real estate is an interesting and fun profession, where each day can be drastically different from the next depending on the personalities and wants of my customers/clients. However, I can recall one couple that I worked with for months, who had a vision ‘wish list’ of what they wanted their home to look like—but what they were really looking for was the property with the best ‘energy.’ There is no house-listing search for energy! I showed everything from teardowns to oceanfront McMansions. Then one day they found their oceanfront dream home and made an offer. As we walked from ocean to driveway bidding farewell and good wishes, we saw their car engulfed in flames due to a mechanical issue. My deal was off.”—Lynn November, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “I have been doing real estate in the Hamptons full-time for over 26 years and there have been so many interesting and surprising things that have happened, you can’t even make this stuff up! I am a workaholic and always wanted to be the best at what I do, but I am surprised to be ranked every year in the top few in the country, including second nationwide and the only Hamptons broker ranked multiple times in the Top 5 nationwide! Never could have dreamed that.”—Susan Breitenbach, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, The Corcoran Group “The tenant of a high-end rental in a newly renovated house in Georgica sent his chef to set up while he vacationed in Europe. I received a call from the chef that there was an emergency at the house. When I got there, he informed me that the sink in the center island was in the ‘wrong position’ and the island had to be turned around. I explained to him that it was a major job involving plumbing, electrical and tile work. He said to start the construction immediately, even though it was going to cost his boss six figures to accomplish. I was unable to reach the tenant for authorization and the chef continued to be insistent that the work begin at once. When I finally contacted the tenant, he was shocked at the conduct of his employee and terminated the chef that day. The family ended up living happily ever after there for the next two years—with the sink in the center island in the wrong position.”—Alan Schnurman, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Saunders & Associates “I’ve had a number of surprising things happen in my real estate career, but there is one that always comes to mind. I was the listing broker, and the Manhattan attorney who represented the estate of the seller came to the closing without checks. Therefore, he couldn’t write the commission check. He said he would mail me a check. Fortunately, the bank he used in the city had a branch office here in the Hamptons. At the recommendation of the buyer’s attorney, I accompanied him to the bank and received my commission check. The buyer’s attorney and I have since become good friends.”—John Christopher, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons, LLC “The most surprising thing that has happened to me as a realtor occurred when I was doing a final walkthrough of a home before the closing for the buyer. I was going through the house to see if everything was in order and came upon a Neiman Marcus shopping bag way back on a high shelf in a closet. I reached to pick it up, it was heavy and I thought, something valuable was left behind. To my amazement, it turned out to be the ashes of a deceased relative of the sellers! As shocking as this may be, it certainly drove home the need to be thorough when serving clients. Had I not done the walkthrough, the seller would not have known until they started unpacking and the buyers would have been burdened with the resolution. We were able to alert the sellers and deliver ‘grandma’s ashes’ to the family.”—Marie Beninati, Licensed Real Estate Broker, Beninati Associates “One of the things that makes this industry interesting is the fact that every deal is different and things are constantly changing. Therefore, it is always full of surprises. Somehow or another, almost every deal brings some sort of new or interesting experience. Some are wonderful surprises and others can be quite challenging. I have seen all the obvious ones like certificate of occupancy and permitting issues, buried oil tanks and inspection and title issues. I have had buyers want new foundation walls, and bulkheads rebuilt, pools installed, a garage moved and extensions built onto homes. I have seen sellers in lawsuits with one another that resemble a movie. I always say almost any issue can be resolved once you know it exists and everyone is sharing the common goal of resolving it. The key is to do as much research and fact-checking as possible from the start, so there are not surprises.”—Donielle Cardinale, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Daniel Gale, Sotheby’s International Realty “I can honestly say that every day in the real estate business has offered surprises in some shape or form, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. But one of the funniest/most surprising moments came early in my career. One day I was showing a house and opened a bedroom door where a couple was having sex. It must have looked like a fun house to live in because my customers ended up buying it.—Enzo Morabito Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Enzo Morabito Real Estate Team, Douglas Elliman Real Estate “There was a time I rented [to] my customer early, all cash, and signed leases before the New Year. And right afterward, the owner had an offer to sell his home and needed me to relocate the tenants, even though there was a binding lease. Trying to get compensation and appropriate housing, for them to agree to this, and having all parties agree quickly, including the new rental owner. I learned it’s never over until it’s over, and that experience and knowledge will always prevail in the negotiations.”—Marcy Braun, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Nest Seekers International “The most surprising moment in my real estate career to date came in the late fall of 2014, when a broker colleague and I put buyer and seller together to hammer out a deal on a gorgeous house listed over $12 million. Until we sat together in one room, we could not reach a deal. But face-to-face we were able to reach a meeting of the minds. It was very gratifying.”—Mary Slattery, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, The Corcoran Group “After 35 years as an agent, a broker and an owner—twice—there are not too many surprises. I’ve learned to remain fluid as our business ebbs and flows and our industry changes on a dime. My greatest surprise remains the same from the beginning of my career, and that is how so many highly intelligent people chose to move en masse. I remain amazed that most individuals are not contrarians. History has taught us that to buy when they’re selling and sell when they’re buying results in the most significant gains. I myself am a perpetual buyer of East End Dirt. I buy in both good and bad markets. I consider all markets opportunities and see potential every day. I recommend thinking outside the box!”—Judi Desiderio, CEO, Town & Country Real Estate  Read all the latest real estate news at hamptonsbehindthehedges.com
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