Though Kathryn “Cottie” Maxwell-Pournaras has earned a reputation for successfully marketing grand homes and estates on Long Island, she is passionate and enthusiastic about selling homes in any price range. Cottie, as she is best known, loves what she does and wants success for her clients. She does the best for each and every home she sells, whether it is listed at $400,000 or $12 million.
This is evidenced by the fact that Maxwell does all her own showings for each property she takes on. “I don’t have a team – it’s me,” she says. “I show it.” For her, selling real estate is a very personal pursuit.
“I show each home myself because most of the time that is my client’s nest egg. I respect that and take great care in showing and marketing each property to the best of my abilities” says Maxwell, an associate real estate broker for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.
That can-do attitude has earned Cottie well-deserved distinctions in her industry, including her designation as one of RealTrends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals for 2023 and as a Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Gold Circle member — or top earner — for the past 15 years. With this consecutive recognition as a Gold Circle member year after year, she has been awarded as a Charter Member of Gold Circle of Excellence, reserved for a small percentage of the agency’s top real estate advisors.
“There are not too many of us,” says Cottie. “It is a real honor.”
A member of both the Long Island Board of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors, and a graduate of the Real Estate Institute, she continually takes classes to stay up-to-date on all aspects of the real estate industry.
“As a professional in the Real Estate industry, you have to constantly be wanting to lean and improve to be the best for your clients and customers,” she says. “It’s not only loving what you do, but wanting to be, and do, better.”
Back to her Roots
Based out of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s Locust Valley office, Maxwell grew up in a home on Duck Pond Road in that very same hamlet.
“I love older homes,” she says. “And my passion really comes from being raised in a beautiful Georgian Colonial built in 1914.”
Maxwell started her real estate career working in the Washington D.C./Virginia/Maryland metro area, working as part of a team there for 8 years.
“That was a very fast-moving business. A house could come on the market and be gone in a day,” she says.
In 2003, Maxwell moved back to Long Island and joined Daniel Gale Sotheby’s where she decided to work independently. She specializes in the north shore communities of Nassau County: Locust Valley, Lattingtown, Brookville, Old Brookville, Upper Brookville, Mill Neck, Matinecock, Glen Cove, Centre Island, Oyster Bay and Oyster Bay Cove.
“We are very lucky to live on the North Shore of Long Island, which, with the help of the North Shore Land Alliance, has been beautifully preserved,” she says.
For more than 20 years, the North Shore Land Alliance has been instrumental in protecting over 1,400 acres of conservation-worthy lands on Long Island, including the facilitation of 600 acres of local government acquisitions.
The stewardship of the Land Alliance focuses on improving habitats through planting trees, removing invasive species and replacing them with native plants. The Land Alliance is also dedicated to helping the community better understand the importance of protecting land and water resources and how this can mitigate and abate the harmful impacts of climate change. Known for both her hard work and her professional ethics, Maxwell recalls the time she sold an attorney’s Muttontown home and got two offers: one from her customer and another from an agent at a competing agency.
“I advised him to take the other offer as that is what was in his best interest” she says. At the end of the day, she will simply do what’s best for her clients.
“I’ve always had that attitude,” she says. “I want my clients and customers to be happy with the result and feel that they were treated fairly and ethically.
I take the same approach with my co-workers and treat everyone with the same respect and fairness.”
Coming back to New York, one of the reasons she chose Daniel Gale Sotheby’s was for its impressive support system.
“We have a very good team behind us. And a very good brand behind us. Daniel Gale Sotheby’s has a reputation for experience, expertise and success” she says.
Now, coming full circle, she has just listed a Georgian Colonial on Duck Pond Road across from her childhood home: asking price — $12.5 million.
Invitation to Lunch
When she returned to Long Island, Cottie immediately found a way to set herself apart from other real estate brokers by putting her cooking skills to use serving lunch at her broker/buyer open houses.
“I love to cook,” she says of her lunches featuring full, sit-down gourmet meals. “And I’m known for my chocolate chip cookies. For 45 years I’ve been baking the same cookies, by now known as “Cottie’s cookies.’”
Maxwell would entertain brokers, who’d relax, enjoy delicious, home-cooked food and talk – in the very house she was selling.
“I felt that the agents would get a good feel for the house by sitting in the living spaces and enjoying it,” she explains. “The agents weren’t just running through the rooms. They were really paying attention to the details of the home.”
Another advantage of hosting these lunches is that the brokers enjoyed the company of other brokers.
“The lunches I host give me a chance to get to know other brokers,” she says. “Now that I’m known for the lunches, sometimes I have 30 people at these open houses. I don’t mind if they just come for the food: It gets the people in the door, and it gets them to experience the house.”
Over the years, Maxwell has built up a reputation for her encyclopedic knowledge of housing inventory, formidable negotiation skills, tasteful interior design and staging sensibilities and overall attention to detail. Connections to adjacent services, including home inspectors, mortgage brokers, landscapers, antique dealers, and tag sale professionals, also contributed to her becoming a premier broker, now working almost exclusively on a referral basis.
Above all, she says, compassion is key to her approach.
“Not all sellers are in good positions when they sell and the same can be true for buyers. It is important for me to try to make these transactions as easy and smooth as possible,” Maxwell says, adding, “I’m proud of my ethics and I work hard for all of my clients.”
This article appeared as the cover story of the July 2023 issue of Behind The Hedges Powered By the Long Island Press. Read the full digital version of the magazine, click here. For more articles from our various magazines, click here.