Hamptons Confidential: Bill Williams


Bill Williams has been a top agent in the Hamptons for many years; these days he works out of Compass’s Bridgehampton office. Before that, though, the Ohio native was a tennis pro. What led him to the Hamptons and real estate?

Where are you from originally?

Ohio. I’m from Niles, Ohio. I studied finance at Ohio State.

Where do you live now?

Wainscott. Off Wainscott Main Street, opposite the chapel.

How did you end up in the Hamptons?

I had moved to New York and I was teaching tennis at a place called Manhattan Plaza. I started coming out here to clients on the weekends because they had their own courts there. I just liked it, so I stayed.

So you were a finance major in college, but then taught tennis?

I played tennis all my life–I played in high school. I just played a lot. I just didn’t like the corporate world so I just picked up a racket. Quite literally from the time I graduated college, I taught tennis, for 20 years.

Tell us about being a pilot.

I started flying in Ohio. Part of the draw of the Hamptons was the airport. I eventually just lost interest in flying.

So what do you like to do in your spare time?

Fly fishing. I go to the ocean. I go for the bay. I like to go up to Northwest Harbor. I get on my standup paddleboard and go out and fly fish off my paddleboard.

If you weren’t an agent, what do you think you might be doing?

Probably a builder. I’ve built a couple houses out here, but what I really enjoy is the real estate part.

What are the best things about being an agent in the Hamptons?

The people. You meet all kinds, all sorts. From the richest people to people looking for their entry level house. I also enjoy the competition. I like to go up against people, competing for the same listings and the same markets.

What are some of the drawbacks?

You’re pretty much on call 24/7, especially in the summer and with rentals. You’re working a lot. You do get to make your own hours. I don’t want to make it sound like a hardship. In the summertime you have all these rentals, and people really shouldn’t call their agent, but they do.

What do you think of the market right now?

It’s very sluggish, with a lot of inventory. But I am looking forward to the fall, which is traditionally one of the best markets of the year. Prices are low; prices are depressed. Inventories are high. But I’m starting to see people call about properties and investment properties. I think we’re going to have a pretty good fall.

Images from Bill’s listing at 77 Cross Highway, East Hampton: