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It Only Takes Knowledge And Hard Work To Succeed!

Originally Posted: May 09, 2011

John A. Viteritti

  |   6 Comments · Print Article

Diane Saatchi is an Associate Broker with Saunders & Associates. (Gary Nolan)

Southampton - Previous articles have attempted to address changes in the Hamptons real estate market.

For their perspectives, I recently interviewed Diane Saatchi, Associate Broker with Saunders & Associates based in Bridgehampton, and Terry Thompson, a real estate agent with Prudential Douglas Elliman in Southampton.

Diane has combined 25 years of real estate experience with her current firm, Saunders, as well as Corcoran and previously, as principal owner of Dayton-Halstead.

I asked Dianne for her insights into the current real estate market.

Terry Thompson is a real estate agent with Prudential Douglas Elliman in Southampton. (Courtesy Photo: Thompson).

"Since the decline of the past few years and until recently, the only reasons properties went on the market were because of the four D's - death, debt, divorce, and disease. That is now changing. I first started to see a turn around in the high end of the market, then the low end, and now I'm seeing it in the middle. I still get buyers who tell me they are looking for a really good deal. I ask them, do you have to like it too? Another is, I'm interested in distressed properties. What they really mean are distressed sellers?"

What percentage of your sales are "all cash," I asked. Diane responded with a quick reply, "All! People who need mortgages can't get them, and people who can don't need them. So all of my customers are cash buyers."

I asked Dianne if she is still seeing overpriced listings.

"Yes," she answered, "there are still some brokers who will accept them. I guess they use them to attract attention, but I would rather have a truly motivated seller who is realistic about pricing and a serious buyer who knows value."

Real estate agents in the Hamptons typically represent sellers rather than buyers, and Multiple Listing, with a few exceptions, doesn't exist. I asked Diane for her opinions on those subjects.

"I think buyer agency is a good idea, and I'm prepared to represent any buyer who wants it. I have all of the forms necessary to do it. As for Multiple Listing, (MLS), I have long been, (although unsuccessfully), an advocate for it. It's the way the real estate business is conducted everywhere else. It provides a structure and a set of rules that all brokers must abide by. I'm all for it."

Diane is assisted in her efforts by Anne Hyndman, as well as agents Sarah Minardi, Dick Baker, and Heather Saskas.

Prudential Douglas Elliman agent Terry Thompson has been active in real estate brokerage for just about two years. She scored the highest grade in my LIU real estate license class. Last year, Terry was honored as Prudential Douglas Elliman's "Rookie of the Year." She has been so successful, that, in addition to having someone who handles her personal website and another, her social media advertising, Terrry is hiring an administrative assistant.

How did she do it?

"When I first started, I decided to serve a market that wasn't being served - first time buyers. I connected with Christine Curiale, a mortgage broker with Wells Fargo. We went to hospitals, firehouses, anyplace where we thought there were potential first-time buyers. We educated them about the $8,000 first time buyer tax credit as well as the fact that first time buyers were exempt from having to pay the two percent "Peconic Tax." We showed renters how they could become buyers. We even helped them clean up their credit scores. I did "open houses" for other agent's listings in my office to build a customer base. I always believed that you could make lemons into lemon drop martinis."

I asked Terry how many of her sales were mortgage financed.

"Seventy percent are mortgage financed. The 30 percent that are 'all cash' have all been subject to appraisals."

What else do you think has contributed to your success within a relatively short period of time?

"Besides working 16-hour days? I have a group of professionals that I work with, as well as other agents both in my firm and other firms in the area. I will 'stage' the home in order to enhance its presentation. I work with Andy Pirer of DE Capital Mortgage on financing as well as Curiale at Wells Fargo. I also have a good working relationship with attorney Robin Long. We all work together to make good things happen for everybody. It is very satisfying. I love what I do and the people I do it with."

How would you feel about buyer agency and MLS, Terry?

"I would be more than happy to represent buyers, and I think MLS would be a good thing. I don't know why anyone wouldn't."

Editor's Note: John will be teaching a 22.5 hours Real Estate Continuing Education class at Long Island University in Riverhead on May 9, May 11, and May 15. For information and registration contact Rosemary Malone at 631-287-8334 or by email at rosemary.malone@liu.edu.

John is a St. John's University graduate, licensed Real Estate broker, lecturer, teaches real estate license classes at LIU, NYU, and Cook Maran Real Estate School, and is a well-respected consultant to the real estate industry. www.johnaviteritti.com

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Guest (George) from Southampton says::
Laurie, Laurie, Laurie -- If I were as gorgeous as you, I wouldn't need MLS.
May 15, 2011 3:50 pm

Guest (laurie) from north fork says::
Goerge, george, george...if I were a seller with a rep as lovely as either of the two women profiled, but got LESS for my property due to lack of exposure via an MLS/Realtor.com offering my house to all Long Island Realtors and their buyers (vs. exposure to a few companies in the Hamptons with the "other" listing system), cute haircut be damned- show me the money! :)
May 14, 2011 9:07 pm

Guest (George) from southampton says::
You say: It Only Takes Knowledge And Hard Work To Succeed! It also helps to be a gorgeous woman!!
May 14, 2011 9:57 am

Guest (laurie) from north fork says::
Terry, thank you for your response, and clearly the "competent real estate professional" suggestion in my comment was accurate.
May 10, 2011 2:17 pm

Terry Thom...

Terry Thompson says::
Hi Laurie I cannot speak for Diane, however I am a Prudential Agent in the Southampton office, and do use MLS regularly. My Clients love the fact that they have both the HREO and MLS venues to present their property to the masses. My customers all make use of "Listing Book" accounts, allowing them to keep track of their property searches, price changes and new listings all under one roof. I do notice MLS creeping into our area more and more over the past several months. I'd be happy to address questions from agents who haven't used the service. I think it's a benefit for all of us.
May 10, 2011 11:55 am

Guest (laurie) from north fork says::
With all due respect, what is stopping either of these competent real estate professionals (also independent contractors) from participating in MLSLI, or HANFRA's ready to go MLS system? Several Prudential Realtors are (and have been) fully participating east of the canal, and it would seem to benefit Saunders by adding all listed properties for sale on their site, so what's stopping either of them? Just curious.
May 10, 2011 8:37 am


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