- Saunders & Associates Vice President Meg Salem
took time from her busy schedule to answer our Broker's Outlook:
How long have you been in real estate and how did you enter the field?
: I started in real estate in late 2005. At the time I was a partner in a consulting group which I had joined after a 13-year career in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble. I had been spending as much time as possible out East since first visiting in the mid-1990s and had always dreamt of moving out here. During my career with P&G, I had renovated and built a few homes. One day I came out to look for a project. The timing was right and it just hit me that real estate would be a great career to support my desire to move out here - I had the sales and marketing skills as well as the practical experience of buying/selling homes. Within a month I had gotten my license, moved out here and started with Allan Schneider. I've never looked back.
Where do you live and work?
Broker Meg Salem takes a fresh approach to real estate on the East End. (Meg Salem)
: I live in the Village of East Hampton and my office is in Bridgehampton. I like the central location and balance of keeping in touch with both communities.
In real estate, what is your specialty?
: I think my past professional experience combined with Saunders resources have allowed me to bring a fresh and unique approach to marketing my listings and myself. That said, I love finding a home for somebody. I've always been a "nester" and love seeing somebody settle in.
If "location" is the first rule in real estate, what is the second?
: I think the product you're selling is also critical. I've seen buyers travel to areas they initially wouldn't consider for the right home. I've also seen record sales on a street because of a spectacular design.
What is your forecast for the fall/winter real estate season in the Hamptons and North Fork?
: The market is BUSY! Both for rentals and sales, which is unusual. There's usually somewhat of an inverse relationship between the two. I'm looking forward to a healthy summer.
What is a sure sign of a "Hamptons" or "North Fork" home?
: Cedar shingles - what else? Also outdoor living spaces continue to evolve - whether it's a water view, a pristine pool, garden, BBQ terrace, or porch with a wicker rocking chair.
What are the emerging trends in architecture?
Private dock at Water Mill property. (Courtesy Photo: Saunders & Associates)
: It's nice to see developers taking some of the traditional elements to create unique homes. I'm seeing a lot of "modern barns" which are bringing a fresh approach to traditional homes, using new materials and without being too polarizing to endure over time. I'm also seeing a lot of "green" elements in construction as well as a consciousness around energy efficiency.
Do you feel that the 'Golden Age' of East End real estate is over?
: If there's anything I have faith in, it's the appeal of the East End. I fell in love the first time I came here and I see it over and over with my clients, friends and family. With the incredible financial fluctuations we've seen, investors have realized the value of tangible assets like a Hamptons home. You can live in it or rent it, you know its value will never entirely disappear.
State of the art Chef's kitchen at property in Water Mill. (Courtesy Photo: Saunders & Associates)
: I'm not seeing too many buyers who are stretching themselves financially to purchase a home. They still want the feeling of a vacation home but are willing to compromise on some of the features and are truly enjoying their investments. I also see buyers being a little more particular. They are much more educated than 10 or even five years ago. The internet has a wealth of data and buyers are using it to their advantage before making a purchase.
When it comes to unique features and amenities, home in the Hamptons and on the North Fork have it all. What feature has surprised you the most?
: Most recently, I've seen several builders and buyers using pre-fab homes and the end product that is being created is incredibly impressive. These are multi-million dollar homes, including homes south of the highway. They're taking the "shell" of a pre-fab home and adding the style and quality of extremely high-end finishings.
Which towns/villages are the most sought-after right now?
One view for second level at Water Mill property. (Courtesy Photo: Saunders & Associates)
: Of course, Montauk continues to grow at an amazing pace. Seeing the transition is almost scary. I'm hoping it doesn't change too much, too quickly. We're also seeing waterfront and village properties holding their value in all towns.
What is an easy way to increase the value of a property?
: Neutralize it. I tell sellers and landlords to think of a hotel or resort. When people pull up to your property, they want to see a well manicured, welcoming environment. It's the same thing for the interior of a home. People want to be able to visualize themselves in the space and how they would live there. An unmade bed, dishes in the sink or too many personal items interfere with that. A small investment can go a long way in creating better returns both for rent and for sale.
What's the most extreme thing you've done to make a sale?
: Within reason, I'm happy to do whatever it takes!
How important is 'staging' for a sale/rental?
Luxury bath at property in Water Mill. (Courtesy Photo: Saunders & Associates)
: If a house needs it, it can be a critical investment in maximizing the price you get for a sale or rent.
What are the pros and cons to MLS on the East End?
: I think the East End is a unique market and that's a consideration with MLS. It certainly is a good tool for the distribution of information. If it benefits our customers and clients, we should use it.
Tell us about one of your favorite listings on the market right now.
: All of my listings are special and unique in their own way. However, the "Mecox Masterpiece" in Water Mill is quite exciting as it has been designed with a traditional approach on the outside and a modern edge on the inside with three levels of finished space. The main level welcomes you with a dramatic entry and open flow while the blue waters of Mecox Bay pop through the over-sized windows. Sited at the end of a quiet street on a shy acre with a private dock and two car garage there is not a detail or amenity is lacking in this bay-side beauty.
For more on this property click here: www.hamptonsrealestate.com/hamptons-ny/expansion.php?innum=39493.
Meg Salem can be contated at 631-458-4931, 917-545-3893, email at MSalem@Saunders.com
, or click below. Saunders & Associates is located at 2287 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, New York 11932.