- Nancy McGann
is a Senior Managing Partner at Town and Country Real Estate in Southampton Village
. She started her career with Allan M. Schneider in the Southampton office over 28 years ago. Having grown up in Southampton during the summer, since early childhood, she became a full-time resident in the village 30 years ago.
What is unique about the Hamptons market?
I think you can answer that question best by asking yourself first, what is unique about The Hamptons? For many people it is a relaxed lifestyle with fresh air, world renowned beaches, great light, a simplified culture with farms providing fresh vegetables, enjoyable restaurants and an all around pleasant lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of city living. For many a sanctuary. That being said is what makes our market sought after in good markets and in bad markets.
What do you see as the future of the market short term in the next six months to one year and long term over the next five years?
We have had an increase in sales at the end of this past summer. I think many people saw it as an opportunity and made their decision sooner rather than later. Prices had adjusted in favor of the buyer, interest rates were low and if they found the house that suited them, they were not ready to gamble on it being around several months from now. If Wall Street holds steady or continues to improve, I see more of that happening. I see us stabilizing over the next 12 months. The concern that I do have is inflation. Most economists predict it is inevitable and if that starts to happen it will increase interest rates. Before that all happens, now is really the best time to buy with rates and prices at an all time low.
What do you see as the future of real estate on the South Fork in five years?
I believe the South Fork will continue to be of interest to people for many years to come. We've preserved a lot of land and will continue to do so in order to keep that rural character that everyone has come to love. Between that and the beautiful, well kept beaches, and our charming villages with all of its historic flavor, good restaurants, shopping, boating and art galleries with artists capturing it all. This will continue to attract people from all over the world. Once people come here they always look to own.
What are buyers looking for in a house?
Nancy McGann, Senior Managing Partner, Town & Country Real Estate
This is always a personal choice. Some look for simplicity - meaning a smaller home that requires very little maintenance; some want a larger home for extended families, guests and allowing them to live a larger lifestyle. All and all we have homes to suit everyone's requirement. Some people will do work, some want turn-key. Over the last few years there seems to be a return to the light and bright homes with southern exposures and dark floors and light walls. All simply done with updated kitchens and bathrooms. Lifestyles have changed and people now have a living space connected to the kitchen so when they entertain people they can comfortably gravitate to the kitchen. This is certainly opposite from the early years here when staff and kitchens were not a place for guests.
What is the most common mistake made by sellers?
To assume that their house is worth more or less than it actually is. I've seen people sit on houses for years and I've seen people sell for less because they didn't know any better. A market analysis is a very important report and a seller should be very open to what the agent is telling them. Ask the agent how long they've been in the business. If they are a seasoned agent they will understand what your competition is currently and what activity is in the marketplace and why your neighbor got their selling price. It will be in that market analysis report and they will explain that to you. If a homeowner is fixed on a price in their heads, and the market won't support that price they need to decide if they should sell now or wait or adjust the price to compete in the current marketplace. I also worry about people who have owned their homes for a long time and think their profit is exorbitant and without an analysis they sell for far less than they should have. Their profit is passed on to someone else. I've seen it happen over and over again and I feel so bad for those sellers.
What is the most common mistake made by buyers?
Not being pre-approved and not doing their due diligence. All too often buyers do not know what is involved in buying a house. They should fully educate themselves with the process and they should work with their brokers to study the marketplace. I've seen buyers walk in, look at a house, and buy it on the spot. Some people know what they want, primarily because they have spent time looking. When a house comes along, that they like, they have instant confidence in their choice. I've seen other people hesitate, because they haven't done their due diligence and lose the most perfect house because they were not confident in that choice. Buying a house is a big decision and the educational process is an important one.
Has the market hit the bottom?
What one seller sells for may not be what another seller has to sell for. I think many people have already gotten some very good deals and I think there will be more to come. That is, I think people will continue to make offers on properties and only if the seller accepts that price will they get that property. When a home is selling for less than the land and construction costs put together a buyer is getting a great deal and they should know that. We are running out of land and that should allow buyers and sellers to feel confident in our future. I think the public will continue to navigate the marketplace for at least another six months to a year and if the economy continues to recover there will be less negotiability in the marketplace.
What advice would you give to a seller in this market who wants to list their property now?
Find a realtor that you are comfortable with. Have that agent prepare a market analysis and go over it with the agent. Once you know what your property is worth, weigh all of your options. If you need to sell, price it properly from the very beginning. Work closely with your agent and don't be afraid to express your feelings. I think every property owner had a false sense of value for many years. Everyone felt great thinking that their property was worth so much more than they paid for it. When the market started to change, many people put their homes on the market because they thought they might just be able to sell "now" in anticipation of further decline. If you love your home, are enjoying it, hang on to it for better times. If you need to sell, listen to the professionals, whether it is your real estate agent, your accountant or your attorney. They will help you get through this.
What area, neighborhoods or locations are most desirable right now?
I actually could not pinpoint that. We have had a very large increase of sales in the less than $1 million price range. Those houses are scattered throughout the villages and north of the villages. I think there has also been some movement in the higher range properties. Many of those homes are close to the beach or a body of water.
What are the best deals on the market and where are they?
All over. With the price adjustment that we have seen over the past year, I have to say, I never saw a feeding frenzy and although some publications and agencies led people to believe they would be able to buy properties at a fraction of their asking price, that didn't happen. There were price reductions and some people were pleased enough with those reductions to make a decision, but those sales were not at a fraction of the asking price. As you well know, supply and demand dictates markets. When we had a sellers market, we had an abundance of buyers and fewer sellers. Thus prices remained strong and we had very little, if any, room to negotiate. Now we have an abundance of sellers and very few buyers. Sellers either have to be realistic, or patient. If they are patient and really want to sell they need to understand what has sold and at what level. Otherwise they are fooling themselves. If they don't have to sell and just got nervous because they thought they were losing value, my advice to them is to enjoy their homes and be patient. The market will return.
Editor's Note: "Broker's Outlook" is a new column here at Hamptons.com where we invite all real estate agents from across the Hamptons and East End to be part of the story discussing their take on the Hamptons real estate market. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.