Real Estate Roundtable: Best Business Advice Given to Hamptons Brokers

Billions house
Location is everything, Photo: Oliver Peterson

Location, location, location? It ain’t over until the check clears? Be patient? Our panel of real estate experts talk about the best piece of real estate advice they’ve ever been given and why it remains valuable today.

As a real estate professional for 36 years, the best bit of advice I ever received was from my father who said, “It isn’t over, Judi, until your check clears, so never count on anything in advance. And it’s bad luck anyway to count money you don’t have.” He was a wise man! There are so many moving parts to every transaction, so you need to just keep moving forward and don’t get caught up in “shoulda, coulda, woulda.”Judi Desiderio, Town and Country Real Estate

Take the buyer to the part of the house that is most important to them first. If I have done the proper due diligence on the buyer(s), I will know, for example, if they love to cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Then I will show them the kitchen first. If outdoor entertaining is their thing, the pool area and patios are our first destination. It’s all about making a good first impression. If you get them smiling at the start, chances are they may forgive any idiosyncratic imperfections they may come across.—Bill Williams, Compass

As a newly licensed real estate salesperson, a seasoned, successful broker told me to go to open houses and learn the inventory. Learning the inventory when you are wet behind the ears gives you a certain level of confidence when speaking with a prospective buyer or renter (even though you may have no experience in real estate). The other valuable piece of advice I received from my real estate mentor very early on was to develop patience. When you think you have patience, practice developing more patience. Patience is a muscle that you have to hone as a real estate professional.—Mary Slattery, Corcoran Group

The best piece of real estate advice I received was early on in my career. It was that a deal is not a deal till it’s done. With over 20 years in the business, I find it still holds true today. Too many times, even with signed contracts, the deal falls apart. So as the saying goes, don’t count your chickens.—John Christopher, Sotheby’s International

I struggled the first year I was in real estate without any sales. One of the Allan Schneider partners told me “Don’t quit until you give yourself a chance to be successful.” Good thing I listened and didn’t quit. I sold my first house 15 months into my career and was off and running. Had I quit early, I have no clue where I would be today. It’s the same advice I give to new brokers asking for advice.Gary DePersia, Corcoran Group

The best advice is to buy the best location you can afford. If you buy a house and rent it out during all or parts of the year, use a little of the money to make improvements or upgrades. You will enjoy it more and so will your tenants and buyers if you go to sell it.—Martha Gundersen, Brown Harris Stevens

When I first started selling luxury real estate in the Hamptons, I would immediately try to explain to buyers what they could do to enhance the value or esthetics of a home. I would suggest that they could remove a wall or add a sliding glass door here or a window there. Eventually, I realized that my opinion of what someone could to do with a home should not be discussed unless they asked me for suggestions. Unsolicited ideas on changing a home can quickly deter a buyer. If a buyer asks for ideas, I am happy to share mine, but many buyers have very good ideas on their own and enjoying visualizing their dream home in their own ways.—Angela Boyer, Sotheby’s International

The best piece of advice I was given was to make sure you do your research and price a property correctly right from the start. Too many houses end up sitting on the market for too long because they were overpriced. Unfortunately, long days on the market only leads to frantic price reductions to eventually find a buyer. Getting the price correct from the start helps avoid all the headaches and worry that overpriced houses bring to a customer.—Douglas Sabo, Nest Seekers International

Everyone knows “location location location” are the most important words in real estate. Another word everyone has to know is “patience.” Real estate investing is a slow and steady. If you are the type that likes instant gratification, it’s not for you. If you are a buyer/investor with a long term horizon and purchase in a good location, you will find good things happen. In addition, never be overly leveraged. It takes patience out of the picture. That is the secret sauce that was told to me and I pass it on to you. Good luck.—Alan Schnurman, Saunders & Associates

As they always say, location location location! It’s best to have the smallest house in best area. Houses age just like people do, but you will always have the valuable land if you buy in a great location. In the Hamptons that means south of the highway in the villages—make your best deal to get in!—Carol Nobbs, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Two things sell real estate: price and location. And there is nothing anyone can do about the location.—Diane Saatchi, Saunders & Associates

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