Gurney's Inn
December 06, 2006

Realty Takes

Before keeping last week's promise on market takes from industry pros, we congratulate Tom MacNiven, veteran broker (Cook, Cook/Pony Farm, Corcoran, then recently Prudential Douglas Elliman) who will now manage PDE's East Hampton Main Street office. Okay, here are the market takes. The good news is that those who only write about real estate are wrong! There are deals. The bad news? Agents are working harder to make them and pundits without facts also make it tougher. Yes, well, whoever said brokering real estate was supposed to be easy?

Advice category:

Donna Lanzetta, Principle Broker Lanzetta & Associates Realty, East Quogue

When the market is hot, I work night and day. When the market slows, it allows me an opportunity to prepare for the next hot period. Financially it is a bit of a roller coaster, but if one can ride it without throwing up, it is a fun time!

Gordon Hoppe, Former Senior Managing Director, The Corcoran Group

In a market where buyers may be tentative and with a good deal of inventory, being sure the property looks its best is key. We are coming off a strong summer with Corcoran Group reporting the best August on record. The key factor is price. Buyers have more tools to understand pricing. A property correctly priced moves swiftly. There are shoppers in the market. One of the challenges is battling the negative press and turning those shoppers into buyers and happy homeowners. Most of those negative reports are for first home markets and do not translate to resort/2nd home markets.

Barbara Weinman, Harold Shepard Real Estate [Big news coming shortly from that company – deal not yet closed – so we promised not to tell!]

Create business if you can. Look for an unusual listing; get an exclusive, have open houses. Stay in touch with customers, especially the summer renters. They are potential buyers. Re-rent early to previous summer tenants. In other words work! That's what real estate is about, it was too easy for too long. Now it's time to get back into a real job, this is a career and a business, sometimes it does not come easy!

Gioia DiPaolo, Senior Vice President,

The Corcoran Group

The negative press has affected my business. Some buyers believe what they read and think they are going to buy at ridiculously reduced prices. I've had low offers from this sort of buyer. None were successful in procuring a bargain. Transfer statistics show that to date 2006 number of transfers are fewer than in 2005, but that price per transaction is higher.

I've been involved in two bidding wars the past month. Properly priced good product is moving quickly. My activity is healthy. I'm gearing up for off the charts business after the 1st of the year. Buyers who might have held back will realize summer is coming and where else would they want to be?

On deals:

Lori Barbaria, Prudential Douglas Elliman

I put a very large deal into contract, can't disclose it till it closes; there is business, so much so that I'm in the market to purchase real estate, a great time to buy. There are deals to be had.

Judi Desiderio, Independent Broker/Owner, Town and Country Real Estate, East Hampton, Westhampton Beach, Mattituck

We have offers flying on everything. What's sticking for Town & Country Real Estate is anything from a Montauk condo (hi $300's) to commercial in EH (or any Hampton for that matter) – any price range – to Hampton Bays creek front (mid $800's) to East Moriches (mid $500's), North Fork (homes under $1M), land in Sagaponack (over $3M). All ranges are getting activity but deals for us sticking are between $1 million and $3 million.

Stuart Epstein, Principal Broker,

Devlin McNiff, Independent Brokerage in East Hampton

Our office has made deals in the Northwest with price points over $2 million and in Springs where homes sold for over $1 million. The one area that seems to be holding up better than anything else is the Village of East Hampton. There is no real inventory build-up in this area. Good properties that come on the market sell in 30 to 60 days and at very strong prices. Other deals being made in East Hampton usually involve sellers who are coming off their asking prices quite a bit in order to make it happen.

Lori MacGarva, Prudential Douglas Elliman,

East Hampton

I have one deal where the owner is ill and took a lower offer than expected. Everything else I am working on, the buyers are very cautious and low-balling. The sellers who do not have to sell are not lowering their prices. I have other listings that have had reductions of approximately 5% still no action, yet.

And one unnamed broker, says, "There is a lot of ugly stuff going on between realtors."

Hmmmm! (Just in: Five deals in contract this month, one office in East Hampton's Northwest was in the $2 to $5 million range. Yes, savvy buyers are making their move, after all.)

So, keep up, work hard, burn newspapers, make deals, watch your back. Those are the market takes from East End realtors who know East End real estate is a very strange business.

The author can be reached at Also, visit her website, gettingback inthe Realty Takes is also available at

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