A classically contemporary Norman Jaffe-designed house on one of East Hampton Village’s most coveted streets is headed to auction.
The contemporary abode at 100 Further Lane, listed for $27.5 million, is among more than 20 properties that will be for sale through Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions next month.
“Our process is designed for unique assets that are difficult to value and therefore lend themselves to an auction,” says Paulina Kimbel, vice president of business development of Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions.
Jaffe, an architect noted for his contemporary, sculptural homes, designed more than 600 projects in his 35-year career, 50 of which were in the Hamptons, where he became known for his pioneering designs. He died in 1993.
When something is difficult to value, an auction is a good alternative, according to Kimbel. “It is especially true for this listing,” she says. “It’s not your cookie-cutter property.”
Iconic Norman Jaffe House
The 6,000-square-foot house was built in 1980 and is filled with many Jaffe signatures, including the warm, natural wood, high ceilings, and many windows that let in the sunlight. The open-concept living room with a natural stone fireplace flows into the dining rooms look out onto the lawns and the entertaining areas and flows into an eat-in chef’s kitchen.
The home has been updated over the years with interior design work done by an Arti Institute of Chicago graduate who has worked with several of the Bauhaus ex-pats.
There are four bedrooms, each in a separate wing with an en suite bathroom and a walk-in closet.
The three-acre grounds, across the street from the old Bouvier House, owned by the family of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s family, include a pool and a tennis court.
Though the property is listed at $27.5 million, it is anyone’s guess what it will actually yield come December 14. “The list price is really there to provide a guideline for them — the auction is a no-reserve auction. The property will sell to the highest bidder at auction,” Kimbel explains.
“It is really everybody’s guess,” she adds. “I have been with the company quite some time — coming up to nine years, — the number one thing I have learned is the property has to stand on its own merits.”
The value will depend on the ultimate user — whether it is someone who wants to embrace the Jaffe house or not.
The location will be a huge draw to buyers, especially since it offers three acres. “The question mark is really ultimately what the buyer wants to do with it,” she says. Do they want to update the house or completely start from scratch?
This is the benefit of why Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions as it focuses exclusively on luxury real estate auctions, as a way to offer an alternative solution to properties that are harder to market.
“It is the intangible we help assess,” and, she adds, “We provide a vehicle to find out what it is worth.”
Kimbel compares it to an art auction. A Picasso, for example, is valuable but no one knows what the market prices are currently.
For the first 14 years of the business, the company was privately held, until last year when Sotheby’s Auction House and Anywhere Holdings, which owns Sotheby’s International Realty and the Corcoran Group, came together and formed a joint venture to hold a majority stake in the company. The firm works with all agencies.
The firm has sold properties between $2 million and $140 million, the latter of which set a record for auctions when it sold in 2022. The Bel Air home, called “The One,” has 21 bedrooms, 49 bathrooms, five swimming pools and a 30-car garage.
In most cases, sellers have already tested the traditional market. However, the East Hampton property was not listed when it was put on the auction block. Records show the house had been owned by Joel M. Stern, an authority on financial economics, who was the chairman and chief executive officer of Stern Value Management and the creator and developer of economic value added. He died in 2019.
“It had been on the market for two years for a short period of time. When the sellers came to us, they were really at this point motivated and market-driven. Then they chose their listing agent,” Kimbel explains.
Rebekah Baker of Sotheby’s International Realty’s East Hampton brokerage is the listing agent.
“We always work with the agent community and with our 15 years of doing business, never bypassed the agent,” Kimbel says.
There is a 2% co-broker commission available to anyone who brings the buyer, Kimbel adds.
Bidding will take place between December 6 and December 14, launching online via the firm’s digital marketplace, casothebys.com, which allows pre-qualified buyers to bid remotely from anywhere in the world.
The auction will close live on the Sotheby’s Auction House stage, only the second time that Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions is holding a live auction at the Sotheby’s Auction House (the first was in September). The upcoming sale includes more than 20 properties with a wide geographic range from Europe to California, South Carolina to Indonesia.
“We will have a live auctioneer at Sotheby’s call the auction, as you imagine any other live auction, and bidders are either able to bid in person,” she says, adding that most still choose to be on the phone or online.
The online auction allows for a transparent competitive environment, allowing bidders to bid against each other, though they won’t know who they are bidding against.
“People nowadays really love their anonymity and really love to bid from anywhere,” Kimbel says.
Interested buyers have to register on the site and provide proof of liquid funds, which will determine their maximum bid. A $100,000 deposit is also required — it is fully refundable to everyone who does not win. These measures ensure that only serious potential buyers take part in the auction. The deadline to register is December 5.
Kimbel says there is a special starting bid incentive. Anyone who comes forward with a written and binding starting bid will get a 6% credit on that starting bid amount to reduce the final commission amount should they win.
In an auction, it’s always the buyer’s premium, which is 12% of the property sold. “The greater the starting bid, the greater they are saving,” Kimbel says.
The seller is responsible for paying the agent commissions.
While these auctions work within the same framework of a traditional sale, there are a few differences. The “diligence stage” occurs before the auction, not after. Buyers have the next six weeks to do their homework and come up with a number that makes sense to them, Kimbel says.
Property disclosures, a little report, a survey and a home inspection are all available. Interested buyers can commission their own home inspections, at their own cost.
Over the next six weeks, the firm will gain a better understanding of what the property should fetch, according to Kimbel.
Meanwhile, there is an open invitation to preview the property every day between 1 and 4 p.m. so that interested parties can build their own value opinion, Kimbel says. A project manager is on site daily.