Holly Rilinger, an internationally known health and fitness coach who once starred in the Bravo reality show, Work Out New York, has planted roots in East Hampton — but it was not an easy task in this market.
Rilinger, a master Nike trainer and former professional basketball player, and her partner, Jennifer Ford, purchased a home on Kings Point Road in Springs for $1.35 million — $55,000 over ask as the home had been listed at $1.295 million with Casey Bistrian and Jamesine Staubitser of Compass in October. Like many homes in this price point nowadays, there was a bidding war, with multiple offers.
“We both agreed we didn’t know what we would do if we didn’t get it,” Rilinger said.
Bistrian said they are seeing bidding wars when properties are priced right. “I think it’s a combination of lack of inventory and high demand. There is still a ton of buyers floating around with minimal options available,” Bistrian said this week.
Scott Bradley of Saunders & Associates, who, with his wife Gina Bradley, represented the buyers, said the bidding wars will continue given the unprecedented demand and limited supply. “Over the past 12 months we’ve seen trades out number new listings. A consequence of 2020‘s strong sales activity, ongoing pandemic concerns and new buyers living in these properties rental property inventory will also be impacted,” he said.
Rilinger and Ford who recently recovered from COVID-19 and documented their journey online to help raise awareness about the severity of the pandemic, got the keys to their new 2,800-square-foot home at the end of December. Located on a half-acre lot in Clearwater Private Beach & Marina Association. The four-bedroom, three-bath home, which features a lovely covered porch under a turret, was described in the listing as a turn-key home with an open living space, including a living area with a wood-burning fireplace.
The second level has an oversized master bedroom with walk-in closets and tranquil-looking master bathroom with radiant heated floors, blue stone accent wall and large skylight, which was featured in Behind The Hedges in November.
Timing is everything. Though Ford had been combing real estate websites and magazines “fantasy searching,” half in earnest, she says, the couple, who share a home in Tribeca and have rented for the past few summers on the South Fork, had only spent a few long weekends seriously looking for a home here.
After three years of collecting momentos, art, and other items from their travels for their future “beach house,” she told Ford, “No more! We just had too many things – it was time for a home.” Both women usually travel extensively, but life has slowed down during the COVID-19 pandemic and they felt it was the perfect time to buy.
“We knew it wasn’t an ideal time to buy in this hot market. We figured we could look at homes in our price range and if we came away empty-handed, so be it. We could always rent again,” Rilinger said.
They were driving back from lunch with Gina Bradley, Ford’s best friend and the founder of Paddle Diva, the well-known stand-up paddle boarding program, when her husband called and said they had to take a look at 35 Kings Point Road.
Ford had reservations about being “all the way in Clearwater,” but Rilinger insisted. “We were at the end of all our prospects and I thought, ‘Why not?’ Within five minutes of being at the open house, Jen and I were bursting with excitement and knew it was our home.”
Ford agreed, “I hadn’t even made it upstairs before I took Holly’s arm and said, ‘This is it. This is our home.’ I say that finding a home is like falling in love… you just know instantly!”
Clearwater Beach, with its community only beach access and boat slips and its sense of community, is a popular community right now. According to Hamptons Market Data, 28 listings have sold in the neighborhood from from September 1 to January 22, and 14 are currently in contract — all below $3 million.
Given the feverish pace buyers are snatching up homes in the price point, getting the house wasn’t certain. “I’ve never had an open house so crowded,” Gina Bradley recalled. “While they did pay a teeny bit more,” she said, “It’s one of those rare circumstances that it was better value.”
Ford liked that there is plenty of room for her teenaged kids, a finished basement for a media room, a fenced backyard for their puppies — which they got during quarantine — and an open plan for entertaining. “Lots of decking and a pool added to the package, as does the super clean garage where Holly and I can live-stream and record our fitness and yoga classes,” she said.
It is indeed one Rilinger’s favorite parts of their new home — oh, besides those heated floors in the master bathroom, which she said they didn’t even realize it had until after the closing. She is turning the oversized garage into her own studio where she can stream live content onto her LIFTED platform, a workout program and complete approach to wellness that is said to tackle mindset, movement, meditation, nutrition, rest and recovery. She is looking forward to the summer when she can also train clients one on one and host classes.
“As real estate agents, it’s really exciting for me to watch people buy homes in the Hamptons and get into our community with the same amount of passion as I have,” Gina Bradley said.
The couple rented in the Springs last summer near Maidstone Park and they love the “homey, down to earth and easy-going” feel of the area. “We love the farm stands, The Art Barn coffee shop, Maidstone Market, the Springs Tavern and of course being near water. It’s very important that we can walk to water,” Rilinger said.
Ford spent childhood summers in her family’s home on the Great Peconic Bay. “Our home was filled with friends and family and it felt like heaven, falling asleep to the sounds of the tiny waves on the beach, in and out of the bay all day, going clamming, riding bikes,” she said.
“This may sound fluffy, but I am a believer in perfect timing and knowing that dreams come true, all the time,” Ford says. “We had no intention of buying in Clearwater Beach, we had no intention of even seeing this house, we had no intention of celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends around our fireplace . . . It was written in the sunsets of summers past! So my advice is this: don’t settle! Wait until you walk in the door and fall in love!”