As real estate developers continually quest for the “new”—new markets, new clients, new areas to build upon, new amenities with which to fill their new constructions—Jim Rooney, principal of FLEX Development and Broker at KP Property Group, sees opportunity in both the new and the renewable for what he believes to be a growing, yet underserved, customer base in the Hamptons—those who are “looking for either new construction or completely remodeled turnkey homes, and are unable to find real value in the $1 million to $2 million range,” he says. These buyers may vary in age and personal goals—they can be young and upwardly mobile, or looking for a place in the East End to spend their retirement or semi-retirement years—but their desires are the same.
Currently developing communities in both East Hampton and Amagansett with that buyer base in mind, Rooney’s Sayville-based company keeps a dual focus on both newly constructed homes and renovated classics to widen the range of available properties for Hamptons buyers. “Quality custom-built and luxuriously appointed residential construction and impeccably renovated existing homes” are the hallmarks for Rooney as KP Property Group looks to increase its East End footprint.
KP Property Group was originally conceived as simply “a means to access information regarding properties for sale,” says Rooney, and for more than 20 years the group bought and sold investment properties. Along the way, it retained multi-family, commercial and small apartment buildings, which the company still manages today. Throughout the past two decades, Rooney’s primary dealing has been in the mortgage business, with a strong concentration on private-money construction loans. The group’s target area for lending, he says, was always the Hamptons, which enabled them to meet and work closely with the East End’s local builders. Eventually the group began forging partnerships with these builders and going into numerous joint ventures.
“We felt the need to form our own company to handle new construction builds and home remodels, primarily in the township of East Hampton,” Rooney explains, and FLEX Development was formed. FLEX has become more of the group’s primary focus as the mortgage market continues to consolidate, “leaving the small banker and broker behind in a sea of governmental red tape and misguided regulations.”
The group’s designs are generally traditional when it comes to new constructions, though the interior finishes contain a touch of modern flair. As for homes that are already standing and are ready for an upgrade, there can be some unique issues, not the least of which is potential homeowners being able to envision and engage in a large-scale renovation done right. “While it’s extremely common to see tear-downs and new builds in so many areas of the East End, there are more than enough homes worth remodeling. Unfortunately, we feel many of the second-home-market buyers are so busy that they don’t have the time or patience to see a large renovation through its many challenges.”
Another area presenting challenges, Rooney notes, is the evolving mortgage market. “The mortgage market is vastly different than it was several years ago. Banks are much more restricted in their lending parameters, making it tough for any common-sense underwriting to take place. It is nearly impossible for builders to go to a conventional bank and ask for funding for spec construction, even in a market as solid as the Hamptons—so builders are forced to fund themselves, or use private moneylenders.
“If there’s one bright side to the lending market,” he continues, “it’s for the qualified end user that can obtain interest rates that are still extremely low, making an investment in Hamptons real estate a great long-term decision.”
For more information about KP Property Group Inc. and FLEX Development, call 631-563-0500 and visit facebook.com/kppropertygroupinc.