Ann Ciardullo, Associate Broker at Sotheby's International Realty in East Hampton, started as a real estate broker in 1979 in the Northern Westchester areas of Armonk, Bedford, and Chappaqua. Relocating to the Hamptons in 1994, she is now one of the top brokers on the South Fork. Ann lives in East Hampton and knows the East End market intimately, with a keen eye for matching buyers with the perfect property. Among her many charitable causes and commitment to community, she is a board member of the Ellen Hermanson Foundation in support of the Ellen Hermanson Breast Cancer Center at Southampton Hospital. Hamptons.com asked Ann to share her insight of the Hamptons real estate market with our readers.
If "location" is the first rule in real estate, what is the second?
AC: The second rule in real estate is to price your property correctly, as close to what you expect it to trade for. Buyers set the value and sellers set the price, but the market creates the range.
What is an easy way to increase the value of a property?
AC: Curb appeal! First and foremost remove all clutter in the house and on the property. The rooms must be as neutral as possible so a potential buyer can picture themselves living in the house. If possible paint the interior a very neutral color. The property should look manicured and cared for as most buyers decide whether they like the house when they exit their car, walk up the front steps and open the front door.
Which towns or villages are the most sought-after right now?
Ann Ciardullo of Sotheby's International Realty of the Hamptons. (Courtesy photo)
AC: Any property that is within walking distance to a village is #1 on most searches and on or near the water. East Hampton Village is hot, as is Sag Harbor and Amagansett , the new hot is Montauk!
What are the emerging trends in Hamptons architecture?
AC: It seems many of my customers and clients are now drawn to very modern homes, lots of glass, clean lines, and really fabulous outdoor living spaces.
How have buyers and sellers changed over the past two years?
AC: Both buyers and sellers are much more educated and realize that they must learn the market so they can make an educated purchase. However, I find here in the Hamptons many purchases are decided primarily on the 'joy factor."
What is so special about the Hamptons real estate market?
AC: That's a great question because when I first moved to the Hamptons from Westchester I was shocked when my customer's main questions were questions like, "Where's the beach and what's the best restaurant?" It seemed I'd take a customer out just a few times to show them the properties within their price range and they would decide. When I was a broker in Westchester I'd take customers out for years sometimes and they wanted to know everything about every town and village, schools, taxes, and so on. It seems the Hamptons real estate market is more impulse buying.
The Hamptons market has the high-end luxury section with homes well over $7 million and the flip side with homes under $500,000, plus all of the great homes in between. Where are the buyers right now?
AC: I'm seeing buyers right in the middle of that market, $2.0-$4.0 million.
When it comes to unique features and amenities, homes in the Hamptons and on the North Fork have it all. What are some of your favorite amenities that really stand out?
AC: It seems my customers really enjoy great outdoor living space, luxurious pools, cabana houses and wine cellars.
What is your forecast for the fall/winter real estate season in the Hamptons and the North Fork?
The incredible sunset view from the Grace Estate listing of Ann Ciardullo. (Courtesy photo)
AC: My sense of the market for the next few months is very positive. Recently we've seen many more transactions closing because sellers are more realistic when pricing their property and buyers are much more educated because of the information they find on the internet, some of which is accurate and some very inaccurate. I also feel buyers have more confidence in the real estate market and do not want to miss the opportunity to jump in before they can't afford to.
What sets you apart from other agents in the Hamptons?
AC: What sets me apart from other agents in the Hamptons is that I love my work and I have fun. I work 24/7 and meet the most wonderful and interesting people, many of whom have become some of my closest friends.
Tell us about one of your favorite listings on the market right now.
AC: A beautiful 6,000 square foot waterfront estate situated on 1.6 acres located in the Grace Estate with 200 feet of beautiful bay beach. This property has amazing views of Sag Harbor, Barcelona Neck and North Haven with stunning year round sunsets. The house was custom built and designed by a noted architect. This is a very gracious four bedroom home with a two bedroom guest cottage. The property is listed at $6.6 million.
The Grace Estate listing's spacious living room with coffered ceilings, fireplace and French doors leading to lavender bluestone patios and water views. (Courtesy photo)