Real Estate Roundtable: How To Secure an East End Rental in a Red-Hot Market


Summer 2021 is off to a busy start on the real estate market. We asked a handful of agents and brokers what the last-minute rental market has been like this year compared to years past, and what advice they could offer for securing a summer rental amid a red-hot market.

Alexis Meadows

Alexis Meadows, NOFO Real Estate 

“Compared to years past, the 2021 rental market shows no signs of slowing down. Rather, it’s showing increased demand, limited availability and renter craze. That being said, potential clientele has wised up by securing their summer oasis as early as possible, even so much as to renew their rental from the previous season, simply to guarantee their spot out here on the ever-popular North Fork. Prices have escalated greatly on the East End and continue to rise, enticing home owners to give up their space for a short while and list in this hot market. Beach locations or homes that offer a pool are prime, thus, competitive to secure, followed by locations that offer vineyard views, sunsets and picturesque vistas. The most important advice for potential renters is to work with an agent that has local expertise and is responsive, expedient and knowledgeable regarding the market’s fluidity. Considering a rental for a longer block of time has its leverage, as well as being negotiable on terms. Renters are advised to waste no time deliberating on an opportunity, as minutes can make or break that summer soirée.”

Lauren Spiegel

Lauren Spiegel, Douglas Elliman Real Estate 

“In my view, the rental market has stayed on trend with the sales market, showing limited inventory and high demand. Chic and beachy turnkey properties with a pool and near to the newly transformed Westhampton Beach Village are being scooped up with little to no room for negotiation. The Hamptons have always been a summer playground for those seeking sun, fun and relaxation, but with a year that no one could have predicted in the rearview, and 2021 beginning to look up, people are especially excited to enjoy all the Hamptons has to offer this season. Full season rentals were snapped up quickly and early, when the snow was still covering the ground, and many renters are planning to stay through Labor Day in hopes that properties will come on the market for sale. With restrictions lifting and businesses opening, we have never been busier. My advice in this fast-paced market, would be if you’re a landlord and want to secure a tenant quickly, price your home accurately and be a bit less aggressive now that the summer is upon us. As for the tenants, be open-minded and never be afraid to make an offer!”

Maz Crotty

Maz Crotty, Sotheby’s International Realty

“COVID drove a demand for real estate in the Hamptons that was unprecedented and that hasn’t dampened down. Last year, with COVID numbers increasing and people leaving New York City, securing a home for spring/summer periods created an unforeseen surge in demand with renters wanting to make very quick decisions about properties. Viewing was done by video walkthroughs. It was a whirlwind: Tenants were wiring rent and getting keys the same day. This year the demand is just as high. Inventory has been very low but there are now more properties flowing through as newly purchased homes have become available and as owners make plans to travel again. I have been very focused on providing my customers with exactly what they need knowing that 2020 created a move toward a more virtual encounter when searching for homes. My advice for renters is to work closely with one agent who understands the market and explain all of your needs in detail so they can really understand your requirements and they will closely monitor new listings and price changes. This way we can focus to ensure everyone gets the perfect Hamptons summer home.”


Jack Richardson

Jack Richardson, Nest Seekers International 

“This rental market has been very hot like I have never experienced thus far! I have done multiple rentals within the last couple weeks with people moving in within three days of signing the lease. In the past, last-minute rentals were much more likely as we frequently found ourselves with inventory. But in a year like no other for rentals and inventory at an all-time low, the challenge to find my clients quality rentals late in the game is taking much more in-depth searching than ever before. The challenge, however, has made the process more exciting for when I find a client a great fit. My advice to anyone interested in securing a rental in this scorching market is simply three things. 1. Be as open and transparent as you can with your agent as to what you are looking for in a rental. 2. Consider what aspects you are willing to be flexible with on your rental ahead of time. 3. Be quick and assertive in decision making when closing on your summer getaway!”


Cindy Scholz

Cindy Scholz, Compass 

“The seasonal rentals, Memorial Day through Labor Day, were scooped up this winter. Renters are keen on June and July leaving some great homes on the market for August. Our clients are holding out in hopes of traveling abroad in August, making them reluctant to commit. The headlines suggest Europe is open this summer to Americans, however, the guidelines for travel are still quite restrictive. August is typically the most sought-after month, but not this year. Find a pet sitter. Most homes do not want pets. It seems every renter has a dog, which makes it extremely difficult to land a rental.”


Judi Desiderio

Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

“2021 Hamptons summer rentals are at nearly total saturation. Furthermore, the terms of the leases are longer. Full season, extended season or, in the least, full months are the leases written. Remote work and schooling enabled many to enjoy the fresh air and beauty of the East End. The thought of uprooting and moving is not a desired action for most. My advice: Secure your rental ASAP! There remains a select group of available rentals that are just hitting the market now or mistakenly overlooked until now. But one thing is certain: There will be no availability this summer.”

Randi Ball

Randi Ball, Corcoran

“The 2021 rental market has been sporadic. We had a surge of rental leases signed really early in the fall due to the nervousness of not being able to secure a rental because of the COVID panic in 2020. This was group A. Group B only wanted July due to the uncertainty of when the kids were going back to school and this left a plethora of available rentals for August. Group C is now — the last-minute renters looking for two weeks here and there or August. Lucky for them there are landlords who did not rent and are being flexible. My advice for renters in a hot market is always be open to areas that may be out of your comfort zone. I will find you a rental but we need to work together and work quickly.”


Andrea L. Ackerman

Andrea L. Ackerman, Brown Harris Stevens 

“It has been a roller coaster ride in the rental market. Whereas last year it was a feeding frenzy with city dwellers panic renting, just to get a look at a green lawn, breathe fresh air and take a safe walk outside, to becoming one disappointment after another as their first second or third choice of house was gone before they could make an offer. This year it became a bit more civilized as many renters bought or remained in the houses they had chosen last year and were used to working from home, or, as restrictions were lifted, more comfortable thinking about traveling, camp for the kids and returning to their old work environment, the office. Nevertheless, the rental market remained competitive with what appeared to be a sluggish August. Suddenly, with Europe deciding to remain closed, there is a sudden uptick. Finally, the best advice I could offer any potential tenant is, if you find a house you like that is available, pull the trigger immediately, because, even though this is a calmer summer than last, inventory is scarce and the competition is fierce.”