As summer approaches quickly, affluent buyers are turning their gaze toward the Hamptons. It is a location so magical, it easily turns vacation renters to home owners. It is also a place, whose luxury real estate can nurture stellar careers, as long as they grow out of expertise, professionalism and commitment. Yet, making it as a realtor in the Hamptons is a tall order – one that THE AVIGDOR / PENKOVA TEAM at Douglas Elliman has excelled at.
Haute Residence talked with Avigdor to learn more about the team’s recipe for success and the current state of the market.
The team has a diverse makeup. Given that the Hamptons attract buyers from around the world, how have the team’s diverse backgrounds, expertise and perspectives led to success?
Between all the members of our team we speak eight languages. Certainly this helps us to cater to an international clientele in that people often feel more comfortable speaking in their native tongues. We are successful because we are good communicators despite what language we are speaking in. It is the research, facts, and truthful valuations that we can provide that added value to the process.
The whole team dedicates its time working with each client. What are the benefits of doing so compared to having different team members working with different clients?
It does take a village. We have members of the team who are experts in land use and zoning, while others have architecture backgrounds. Others are excellent negotiators. We allow each team member to interact with our clients and customers to bring their special knowledge to the table and get the job done.
What is the dynamic like in the office on a typical day?
Ha. Well, one thing is certain, we are all super busy. We hold brief team meetings at least twice or three times a week to communicate the essential things the team needs to be up to speed on. Different members are tasked with different responsibilities so in the end everyone does their job in the production line and we deliver “service” and next “sales” as an end product.
Raphael, you have been in the real estate industry for years now. How has the Hamptons evolved in the last decade or so as a luxury real estate market?
The Hamptons has always been a luxury real estate market. Changes I have seen over the years is that the buying power seems to be ever shifting to a younger and younger demographic. Or, is it simply that I’m getting older? Money flows to the Hamptons because the market realizes that not only can they see returns on their investment but that there is a tremendous quality of life improvement that comes with breathing the fresh air, walking on the beach, or watching the stars. It’s the perfect place for love, art, athletics, healthy living, and family.
Pricing homes is often a daunting – yet crucial – task and could be such especially in a high-profile market like the Hamptons. What is your approach to home pricing?
We are quite cold-blooded and mathematical about our valuations. Simply enough we compare like or similar properties in terms of size or year built with similar amenities such as tennis or pool house and look for what the last 10 “comps” traded for in the past year. We look for the average dollar per square foot for those comps and apply that metric to the square footage of the house we are appraising. We adjust our end figure for special circumstances such as fantastic landscaping, curb appeal, water views or the general “hopefully pristine” condition of the property.
How did the market fare in the last year? What are your expectations for this year?
We has a very strong year last year. Despite that, the market seems to have flattened out just a bit this year. But it might be too soon to tell as we are very active presently and the next two months could very well define the year. Everyone on the team is an optimist. All brokers have to be. I believe this will be an even stronger year than last.
What advice do you have for buyers looking to purchase or invest in a property in the Hamptons this year? What about sellers?
For buyers I always say, “Get your credit in order… and step up to the negotiating table as a “cash” buyer." This does not preclude your right to bring a bank to the closing table but sends the right signal to the seller that you are not looking for an “out.” Same goes for inspections. Go ahead do an inspection prior to signing the contract but don’t burden the deal with an inspection contingency.
For sellers, I have lots to share with them. For starters, never turn away a showing opportunity. Whether your kid is having a birthday party, or guests are over or not – just show the house! It only takes one buyer to get the job done and that one that you reject might be the one that was going to buy it.
My second piece of advice to a seller is simply, “Don’t get cocky.” It’s easy to reject an offer, but it might take you another six months to see another one. If you are prepared for that, ok no argument here, but if you are going to get anxious after two months on the market, don’t be so cavalier with the first offers that come in.
What are the team’s professional goals for 2018?
To conduct ourselves professionally at all times. To provide superior service at all times. To attend each and every customer and client with focus. And, of course, the most important goal – to sell a ton of houses!
The AVIGDOR / PENKOVA Team is the real estate team exclusively representing the Sagaponack, New York market as a part of the Haute Residence real estate network. View all of the team’s listings here.
Images courtesy of The AVIGDOR / PENKOVA Team