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Bulk Of The Business Is Low To Mid Range...Agents Need To Be Self Starters

Originally Posted: November 09, 2009

Nicole B. Brewer

  |   6 Comments · Print Article

Nestled on a wooded two acre lot between estates and breathtaking farm field views. Pass long country driveways to your new home. Located in the prestigious Water Mill North area, minutes from either Sag Harbor Village to the north and Ocean Beaches to the south. This home is being built by Curto Homes, LLC whose craftmenship, attention to detail, and elegant style has made Jack Curto one of the best known home builders in the Hamptons. Photos courtesy of broker.

East Hampton - Judi Desiderio, Chief Executive Officer at Town & Country Real Estate with offices in the Hamptons and on the North Fork, has been in the real estate business for over three decades. Desiderio believes that, "Agents who are truly dedicated to this business will enjoy a healthy 2010 but those who are 'doing it part-time' or 'on the side' will find it impossible to earn a good living."

Some people feel that the Golden Age of real estate in the Hamptons has come and gone. How do you feel?

Judi Desiderio: I've seen the best and the worst of times - and everything in between! This is the in between and probably will be for some time.

Judi Desiderio, President of Town & Country Real Estate.

Looking at the profile of the local industry as a whole, what changes would you predict for the future?

JD: Less is more! While there will always be a market for '"The Exceptional Properties" the bulk of the business will be in the low to mid range - in each hamlet that dollar sum varies - you can view media home sales prices for 11 different Hampton markets in the quarterly home sales reports Town & Country publishes. Go to www.1TownAndCountry.com click on 'reports.'

Which traits do you look for when you interview a potential sales associate?

JD: (1) Work Ethic, (2) Communication Skills, (3) Professional Presentation, (4) A Desire To Succeed, (5) Share Of Influence - but the common denominator is an entrepreneurial spirit - a self starter!

How do you feel about the fact there is no MLS (multiple listing service) in the Hamptons market?

JD: MLS has its good points and its bad - just as the open market we function in today. My greatest issue with MLS is the way it homogenizes the business. The customers and clients in the Hamptons are not of the mind that bigger is better or that more matters most. Because it doesn't! It is the quality not the quantity. Furthermore, the markets are so specialized that most agents in, say, Montauk, won't take customers to Southampton and vice versa. Yet, with MLS, I found agents take customers from Nassau County and further into our market with zero knowledge of rental values, land values, recent sales, appreciation rates, etc. thus really not serving the seller, the client, or the buyer for that matter. We don't believe in lock boxes.

What price trends do you see for 2010?

JD: I really don't see much upward movement, but fortunately the correction has been realized.

What is your prediction for the 2010 rental season?

JD: Better, thank goodness. Last year there was a real feeling of fear - fear for the stock market, fear for job security, fear for the future of the U.S. economy, not to mention the war and losses. As of the second half of 2009, there's real stabilization on so many fronts that while people are still keeping a careful watch on things, it's not with fear in their hearts.

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 Nicole B. Brewer at nicole@hamptons.com.

Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer

Guest (Guest) from Callicoon, NY says::
Strikingly provincial perspective. In your response to "How Do You Feel About the MLS?" question, there's so reference to what the seller might actually want, just an assumption that an MLS wouldn't serve them. It would be interesting to put two market models to sellers --- one non-MLS and one MLS, with much wider exposure for their property on Realtor.com and IDX sites. The "bespoke" method of selling is also out of touch with the iPhone generation, who want all the information in place and want it now. And yes, they want the property addresses, want to see a Bing aerial and want to do a drive by — and then maybe they'll call you to see the property.
Aug 26, 2010 10:26 am

Guest (Linda) from Bicoastal Broker (NYC, SF) says::
Not having lockboxes on properties is unprofessional and wastes EVERYBODY'S time. You want to expose your property to as many qualified people as possible in order to reduce selling time and get the best dollar for your seller. Statistics show that interest for a property drops off after 2 to 3 weeks. That's probably the time it takes to coordinate a listing in Manhattan or Long Island. Scary. It's 2010, agents! Get with it!
May 8, 2010 2:18 pm

Guest (Artius) from Cutchogue says::
The biggest fear of allowing a listing system operated by a REALTOR organization on the South Fork, is that it would force a higher ethical standard on East End agents. Why serve a client/customer's best interest, if you can make tons of money operating without rules, regulations and the ability to see relevant data? The Hamptons and North Fork REALTORS® Association has one ready to "roll out" but the major players would rather spend more money to keep the status quo. Why?
Dec 19, 2009 5:43 pm

Guest (Townsend Country) from Sag Harbor says::
Very intersting interview. What it it about these silly Hamptons agents that makes them believe their own BS? After reading JD's list of qualifications for employ all I can say is it's a good thing she's the boss because she wouldn't meet her own hiring criteria.
Dec 8, 2009 10:06 am

Guest (J. Philip Faranda) from New York says::
The answer to the MLS question was an eye opener. Homogenized? More matters most? Are we talking about yogurt or real estate? Brokers who put a property on the MLS are serving the best interest of the client they work for, because it maximizes the exposure of the property. Brokers who do not put a property on the MLS are working for THEMSELVES, not for the best interests of their clients. Moreover, it forces the buyer to work through the listing agency without a buyer representative who would otherwise alert the client to the property through the MLS. These "pocket listings" are an anathema everywhere except Manhattan and the Hamptons. God forbid some dreg from Nassau would buy on "your" market! Does this broker have any idea how utterly parochial she sounds? The lack of an MLS keeps the playing field from being level, keeps consumers in the dark, and maintains status quo market share for the big fish who would not otherwise dominate with information more available. Until the MLS is instituted in the Hamptons equitably and transparently, it will be the Wild West.
Dec 5, 2009 5:37 pm

Guest (Tom D) from Westhampton says::
I have found agents in the Hamptons market who don't know the same things you complain about the agents from Nassau not knowing. Comps, forget about it! A few months ago I was told by 2 agents "we don't need comps, we have cash buyers". Yeah, right. And the properties still sit unsold. As for lockboxes - with buyers wanting to see more properties before making a decision, lockboxes make a lot of sense. Why waste the time of 2 agents? In other states where I have lived, I can easily see 10 homes in a few hours becasue they have lockboxes. In the Hamptons, that will take a few days due to all of the agents involved. Step up to the 20th century like most of the rest of the country, especially when you have the bulk of your buyers in the "low to mid range". And yes, I know its the 21st century - that's how far behind the rest of the world the Hamptons realtors are!
Dec 5, 2009 2:18 pm


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