Gurney's Inn
September 19, 2007

Realty Takes

The Dollars Are Flowing, And Hard Work Pays Off

We love hearing from Cordes Public Relations and the information transmitted, but here we must thank the New York State Insurance Department for letting us know they are not, repeat, not the people to call regarding that new wind storm certification requirement mentioned in this column last week. Who to call? Yes, well, check with Pam Cordes, because we didn't get it straight.

Here's another take on the market from the broker/manager of one of the biggie outfits who prefers no attribution:

The market is steady. It's still (even more so) all about pricing. Right now, real buyers are the currency that will drive this market. In the past few months I've seen four large spec houses in the Northwest area, originally priced in the $3.4 million to $4 million range go to contract for between $2.8 million and $3.3 million. If you follow comparable sales over the past year you will not find much "correction" fodder here. What you will find is that they were simply overpriced.

That makes sense and it would appear the dollars are still flowing when brokers are able to convince impatient sellers about pricing their property relative to market conditions and comparable sales.

Here's a different kind of take from Prudential Douglas Elliman's Tom MacNiven, a veteran broker/manager of their East Hampton office, on agent Lori MacGarva, a broker who works in that Main Street office. (Sometimes good deeds don't go unpunished.)

"I sent you this [letter from a satisfied client] because, while not your 'typical' co-exclusive story it does point out that you are better off with one good agent than two or three poor ones."

Now there's a self-evident truth, but let's move on.

Writes Tom, "Lori shared a listing co-exclusive with an agent at Sotheby's. As it happened, she ended up working tirelessly for very little money to make a deal for her sellers. She did not bring the buyer. A third agency did. And the commission was spread pretty thin. Yet Lori (as she always does) went above and beyond to make sure a very difficult deal closed while her co-exclusive agent did nothing.

"Ms. MacGarva is the hardest working agent I've ever known. From accompanying customers to scatter dead spouses' ashes over the ocean to renovating bathrooms and re-doing landscaping to spiff up a house, to stories like this."

Prudential manager MacNiven enclosed a letter sent to Sothebys the co-exclusive firm by the seller after the home was sold. It praised Lori's considerable work in accomplishing the deal. In an exceptional move, the seller closed the letter with the following request: "Suffice it to say, I have never had someone work so diligently on my behalf and I am hoping, in the spirit of what feels appropriate, that Sotheby's might agree to give her a larger commission for all of her efforts. Please let me know if you agree and if so how we could move to make this happen. Maybe a 60/40 split to compensate her for all of her hard work and going above and beyond."

Yeah, right! Nevertheless a great idea from thoughtful people. But the story ends well. Those same sellers (and there are two) are each working exclusively with Lori MacGarva to buy a new house.

Here is a final take on getting an estimate for a "selling" price on a building lot. One broker told us around $900K, another over a million, and the last $685,000 if the seller was lucky.

East End real estate, a strange business, but sometimes a nice story comes along, after all.

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The New Listing of the Week is offered free to brokers on a rotating basis. Please submit a JPEG photo of the property along with a WORD document with the listing information to, attn: Rick. There is no charge for the placement.

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