As the top producers for Douglas Elliman 16 out of the last 20 years, the Enzo Morabito Team prides itself on its perennially toprate performance and overall success.
“As far as volume goes, for the last 13 years, we’ve been number one in the Hamptons,” says Morabito, adding that in the Wall Street Journal’s annual rankings of nearly 2 million agents nationwide, the Enzo Morabito Team is always in the top hundreds.
The key to its success can be summed up in one word: teamwork, a concept Morabito started about 30 years ago — way before it was in vogue.
“Now, basically everybody in the real estate business is on a team,” says Morabito, who heads the team. “You really can’t do what you do in a competitive field such as ours mano a mano. That just doesn’t work.”
Looks Like Team Spirit
No matter how gifted any of the agents are, they simply can’t do it all.
“The skills that you need, starting from PR, marketing, taking care of clients, getting paperwork: everything that you need to do is impossible for one person to do,” Morabito says.
Quoting Gisele Bündchen, who after a loss by Tom Brady’s team, said, “’He can’t throw the ball and catch it, too,’” Morabito says, “No matter your abilities, it’s impossible to have all the talents that you really need to succeed.”
Crediting his own wife for the first team they started together, Morabito notes that she helped add structure to his business, focusing on the back office work.
“It was basically preparing me to go out there and do what I do best — and that’s what the team does now,” he says.
Currently, the Enzo Morabito Team consists of Cathy Morabito, Greg Geuer, Meghan Bozek, Christopher Furchert, Erica Smitheman, Sean Gray and Danielle Baker, who divide their time between Westhampton Beach and Sag Harbor offices.
When communication — an essential element
of teamwork — proved challenging during CO- VID-19, the team began a system they’ve kept in place, where everyone reads Morabito’s emails, so the entire team knows what’s going on and there’s no delay in answering anyone.
Another key to their success is longevity. The newest member of the team, Sean Gray, who specializes in social media, has been with the team for approximately four years; another member, Greg Geuer clocks in at approximately 20 years.
Morabito ensures loyalty by compensating everyone well: no matter the sale, monies are distributed throughout the team. This year, they transacted close to 50 deals; most years, they complete between 50 and 70.
“We constantly have money coming in that we can distribute out — and everybody gets paid,” he says.
Morabito only hires neophytes — people from other industries who can be molded.
“We’ve tried to get people who had experience: It doesn’t work, because they already have some bad habits,” he says. “And the last thing I want to work on is breaking people’s habits. So, everybody comes in and it’s almost like an apprenticeship.”
Marketing — and More Marketing
Every Monday morning, everyone comes together to work on marketing.
“The strength of my team is the marketing — the amount of advertising we do,” Morabito says.
Rather than advertise in the real estate section, where people are bombarded by a dizzying array of ads, the team opts for alternate positions where its ads stand out, such as a recurring Saturday ad in the New York Post, directly across from its highly visible “Page Six,” and on the inside cover of Dan’s Papers.
“I’m probably the biggest single real estate advertiser in the New York Post,” Morabito says.
Morabito also utilizes weekly full-page ads in the Southampton Press, the Southampton Press Western Edition, the East Hampton Press, the Sag Harbor Express, and the Long Island Jewish World Newspaper.
The team prominently advertises on radio and television too, amassing between $500,000 to $750,000 a year for its total advertising budget.
“On any given week, we can advertise about 30 listings,” he says. “So basically, every other day, I’m advertising your property.”
Knowing that many of their clients are wintering in other sections of the country, the Enzo Morabito Team advertises in regional publications during that season.
“So, they see that I’m working, even when they’re not here: It’s in front of them,” he explains.
Dissenting from other agents who believe that there’s less need for advertising since homes for sale can be readily found online, Morabito says,
“We do all of that, but we want to make sure that no matter where you are, and no matter what you’re looking at, it’s in front of you.”
Thanks to an abundance of advertising, on top of a stellar reputation, the Enzo Morabito Team continually gets listings, even now with the historically low inventory of homes for sale.
“They see that we’re spending money,” Morabito says. “This past week we got four different houses. If you look at other agents, most of them have one or none at all.”
Experts on the Waterfront
“We sell more waterfront than anyone on the whole East End/Hamptons — probably on Long Island,” says Morabito.
With so many waterfront deals, the team keeps land use experts, including consulting firms, surveyors and attorneys, on retainer to mark wetlands, produce elevation certificates, determine groundwater depth, and more, in a quick and efficient manner.
Working on waterfront is very tricky — there are many regulations that many homeowners living
on the water may have bypassed, not getting the proper permits necessary for additions and other work on their properties.
“We have to go in and solve those problems before we sell it,” Morabito explains.
Knowing exactly what is permissible along the water will help determine a more accurate valuation for the property.
“Getting answers is the whole key to being on the waterfront,” he says, adding that knowledge enables them to get the highest price and provide prospective buyers solid guidance of what they can do.
Integrity is Key
In addition to selling throughout the Hamptons, the Enzo Morabito Team covers the North Fork — an area Morabito scoped out for Douglas Elliman 30 years ago, when he assisted the photographer Annie Leibovitz in her home search there. The agents also handle between 30 and 40 rentals a season, mostly as a service to their clients.
Morabito prides himself in the team’s reputation for reliability: It’s known for paying bills on time to all tradesmen, resulting in incredible service that extends to his clients.
“This time of year, everyone wants to open pools, but they’re all booked,” he says. “I can always call somebody and get it done.”
Known for their total integrity, the team’s agents never do anything self-serving: Anything they do, they do for their clients, even if at times it means cutting their commissions.
“There’s no drama: We’re here to work,” says Morabito. “We take it seriously and we enjoy what we do.”
Serving as listing agents, the Enzo Morabito team has positioned itself to pick and choose its inventory, and form relationships with educated buyers.
“You can always say ‘no’ if it’s not a good fit,” says Morabito.
Great success does come with challenges, and when you’re number one, everybody’s gunning for you, notes Morabito.
“To stay number one, you really have to work.”
This article appeared on the cover of the June 9, 2023, edition of Behind The Hedges. To read the full digital edition, click here.