Log In   ·   Become A Member

"Bidding Wars" In The Hamptons: What Should Sellers And Buyers Know?

John A. Viteritti

"I always tell the buyer, don't think in terms of what others may be willing to offer for the property," said Robert Nelson. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

"Bidding wars" are quite common occurrences in the current Hamptons real estate market. I spoke to several real estate professionals to help better understand the process. To provide a legal context, I spoke with Christopher D. Kelley, Senior Partner with the prominent East End law firm, Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo.

"Before putting the property on the market, the seller would be wise to speak with their attorney to clarify not only the terms of the sale, but also the circumstances that would obligate the seller to pay a broker a commission. If not properly structured, a seller could find themselves obligated to pay more than one broker's commission," Mr. Kelley explained. "In a 'closed bid' process, all of the terms have to be made clear to prospective buyers. It may not be just about price, but whether it has to be an all-cash deal or the date by which the buyer must be prepared to take the title. It's also important to include an upset date by which buyers have to submit an offer, for example, 48 hours would be considered reasonable. Another important consideration is for the broker to accept back-up offers in the event that the buyer is not able to move forward. This could happen if the purchase is contingent upon financing. One way to avoid a seller from being obligated to pay a broker's commission is to make the commission due only if title passes."

I spoke with Judi A. Desiderio, Chief Executive Officer of Town & Country Real Estate, who has eight offices throughout the South and North Forks of Eastern Long Island. She elaborated upon the process. "Bidding wars can begin with offers that are received simultaneously. At Town & Country the office manager takes over negotiations when there are multiple bids," she noted. "It's their job to establish what the seller's wishes are and guide them through this difficult process. It's a delicate situation which could result in losing both buyers, if you are not careful. Everyone must be dealt with fairly and the broker must act with total transparency as well as empathy and compassion. Someone is going to lose. As the seller's representative we need to do everything we can to make sure it's not our client."

I asked Ed Reale, attorney and Associate Broker who leads Sotheby's International Realty's Southampton and Bridgehampton offices, how many of their deals were a result of competitive bidding? "I would say about 2 percent, maybe 1.25 percent make it to closing," he answered. "That's why we keep the door open to all bidders, just in case the deal doesn't close. In order to avoid that, we give the buyer a reasonable amount of time to do their due diligence and the bids are all closed bids. I make it a practice to invite all interested buyers and real estate agents involved in the transaction to the bid openings."

Ernie Cervi, East End Regional Senior Vice President and Licensed Real Estate Broker with Corcoran Group, explained the typical bidding war transaction. "The key is to price the property at or just below market value. That's the best way to generate multiple offers," Cervi shared. "The buying public knows value and if they see a good deal they show interest. Of course, the highest price doesn't necessarily represent the best deal for the seller. The contingencies are also important. Nine out of ten times it's the seller's attorney who will orchestrate the sealed bid process, but it could be the agent who listed the property for sale." I asked if they used a typical time frame for the bids to be submitted and what percentage of their transactions resulted from the bid process. "We usually allow the next business day for competitive bids. As far as the percentage of our transactions that are a result of the bid process, I would say about 1 percent to 9 percent of those are cash deals," he responded.

Finally, I spoke with Robert Nelson, Senior Managing Director with Brown Harris Stevens in the Hamptons. He covered advice to the buyer, handling bidders, and more. "I always tell the buyer, don't think in terms of what others may be willing to offer for the property. Approach it as if you were the only bidder. That way, regardless of the outcome, you will know that you did what was best for you. That's one way to avoid buyer's regret," said Nelson. "It's very important that we handle all bidders the same, we show no preference to our broker's over broker's from other agencies. All bidders are given a reasonable amount of time to submit an offer. The final choice is made by the seller." I also inquired about the percentage of their transactions that were a result of the competitive bid process. "I would estimate between 5 and 10 percent," said Nelson.

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

Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is the sky?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
Rosehip Partners Real Estate
Properties In The Hamptons

East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

CP Complete- Landscape Design & Construction
Paul Guillo And Chris Hall Two Of The Most Respected Names In The Community Together, they are partners in CP Complete. They bring their years of experience and integrity to creating and renovating luxury backyards.

Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 34 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant. Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.

Calissa is Mykonos in the Hamptons.
Our menu focuses on seafood and Greek dishes such as salt baked fish, seafood pasta and Mediterranean mezze. Our wine list has been awarded The Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator and boasts the largest selection of rosé in the Hamptons. The name Calissa is derived from the brightest constellation in the summer sky.Our sister restaurants in New York are Amali and Bar Marseille, opening 2020 in the Rockaways. Calissa offers private dining spaces for groups from 10 to 300 people. To plan your next wedding, corporate event or gathering, please email events@calissahamptons.com. 1020 MONTAUK HIGHWAY, WATER MILL

Suburban Propane in Bridgehampton, New York has been serving proudly supporting our community for 90 years.
Suburban Propane has been serving the energy needs for home owners and business in the Hampton’s for decades. We offer friendly service by local professionals you know and trust, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are among the leaders in the industry for safety.

WordHampton Public Relations
We build client revenues and reputations. Our reputation is built on delivering a strong media presence and, as a result, demand for our clients' offerings, resulting in a positive impact on sales. Successful campaigns start with understanding the goals of our clients and developing a customized strategy that will achieve those objectives.

SGF Acupuncture, PLLC. Is owned and operated By Sandra Geehreng Foster.
SGF Acupuncture, PLLC. Is owned and operated By Sandra Geehreng Foster. Her treatments are based on five element acupuncture. She also offers Far Infrared Sauna treatments. PEMF cellular excerise.

Spanish Maven was founded by Marisa Ramirez.
Spanish Maven was founded by Marisa Ramirez after she experienced learning English as a second language upon relocating to New York.

Big Brunch Box-delivered in The Hamptons
BIG BRUNCH BOX. Your favorite gourmet brunch foods for weekend eating with friends and family, ordered with ease and conveniently dropped at your doorstep in The Hamptons every Friday with fanatical attention to quality.

Long Island Cares, Inc.
While distributing nutritious food to our Nassau and Suffolk County neighbors is the heart of Long Island Cares, we’re more than just a food bank. We’re one of the region’s most comprehensive hunger assistance organizations, and there are many other ways we can help you and your loved ones.