I have decided to leave Dan’s Papers and open a new business in the Hamptons. I think there are big bucks to be made. The new business will be called Record House Sale, LLC.
The business of RHS will be to make famous some moderately rich person who wants to set a record for having bought the most expensive home in the country. The most expensive residential property purchase in the country was once the Ron Baron purchase of the de Menil estate on Further Lane in East Hampton in 2007. It cost Baron, after a spirited bidding war with a competitor, $103 million. That record was broken in 2012, when a house in Silicon Valley sold for about $117.5 million. Then a house in Greenwich, Connecticut went for $120 million this past April.
Now the record is back in the Hamptons. A hedge fund operator named Barry Rosenstein reportedly bought the old Christopher H. Browne house, also on Further Lane in East Hampton, for $147 million. Barry Rosenstein is now famous.
Here is how RHS works. You come to us. Say you are just a mid-level shmoe with $100 million in net worth. You can afford a $20 million house, which is what most respectable houses in the Hamptons cost these days, but you certainly can’t afford to crack the record of $147 million.
You hire RHS. RHS has a stable filled with middlin’ sized houses worth $20 million, and that is what you will be winding up with. But RHS announces that what you will be paying is $155 million. Of course, the amount is soon to be publicly known in the real estate transfer tax stamp prices when the sale goes through, so here’s what we do to make that come in at $155 mil.
My staff will get the two of you together, buyer and seller, and we will draft up a sale for $155 million. You’ll pay the $155 million. But out in the backyard, the seller will give back to you $135 million. Voilà. The seller is clapped on the back for having made such an outrageous sale. And you come off as having the big bucks that will enable you to be the big elephant in the room for the rest of your life. Just say about the house “I just had to have it, whatever the price.”
Of course, this service is not cheap, and the reason is that in every town in the Hamptons there is in effect a 2 percent real estate transfer tax to be dealt with. On $155 million, this amount, which you will have to pay at the “closing,” will be $3.1 million. But you can do that. Also, there is our fee, which, for being the brilliant firm that we are, for having thought this up, will also be 2 percent. So that’s another $3.1 million. And then there are the closing costs, which, since everybody is working by the hour at closings, are quite modest; even though they think $500 an hour is pretty fancy money. So you’ll be paying $20 million plus $6.3 million for the service. And that’s it.
If you wanted to be this famous, anyway, it would cost you that much in public relations fees to get that much press. What do you think it costs the Kardashians? Plus, consider that, as a bonus, besides being the big elephant in the room, you get the house, which, I suspect, is a pretty nice house down at the ocean, anyway. But of course you could make it a teardown. Just smash that house down and build a bigger one on the site, more suitable for someone who just paid $150 mil for this property.
After this, I see the future of RHS as just going up and up and up. We’ll find someone at $160 million, then $170 million and, if challenged by, say, Silicon Valley, $200 million.
Welcome to the Hamptons.