There’s no place more glamorous than the Hamptons as summer approaches. Whether your beach house daydreams are informed by the Real Housewives, the Kardashians, the Barefoot Contessa or a Nancy Meyers movie, you’ve experienced the beauty of a luxe Hamptons home.
If your mind is on this super-exclusive area, Susan Breitenbach is the real estate broker you’re looking for.
Ranked No. 1 by The Wall Street Journal, Breitenbach has been selling the Hamptons for almost 40 years and has experienced incredible changes in the area. Her latest project is partnering with Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group to market Barn & Vine, an exclusive luxury enclave of new homes in Bridgehampton.
Changing Hamptons lifestyles
The Hamptons has always been known for its celebrity clientele, and Breitenbach has worked with many celebrity clients over the years. The biggest change she has seen in the area is that it has become a year-round destination.
According to Breitenbach, “98 percent of Hamptons residents are multi-homeowners with weekend and summer homes. Now, however, it has become a year-round community. There are even people who have moved here and given up their city apartments — they can helicopter or drive into the city when they need to.”
The local school system is growing and developing as people move to the Hamptons to raise their children, according to Breitenbach. In addition, restaurants are now open year-round and even part-time residents come out more frequently, rather than just in the summer.
Rental rates are up even during Thanksgiving and the winter holiday seasons.
Barn & Vine Bridgehampton
Breitenbach’s work as a local expert for Barn & Vine has her working along with an on-site agent, Cutter Koster. Barn & Vine is unusual in that it is a ground-up community, something rarely seen in the Hamptons.
In addition, in a community where multi-million dollar houses are the norm, being able to get new construction for under $3 million in some cases is seen as a downright bargain.
The big game-changer, however, is the concierge service that is available in the community. While many clients are used to concierge services in an in-town high-rise or condo, it is unusual for a sprawling residential community.
Koster says that the concierge service works well for Barn & Vine in multiple ways.
“Because many of the residents use this as their second home, they have the comfort of knowing that there’s someone there to take care of the property, someone to check on the house when they’re absent,” Koster said.
In addition, Koster compares the services of a concierge to a traditional HOA. “No one is attracted to HOA dues, board members and restrictions. But HOA’s positive purpose — checking on the property, ensuring common areas are maintained — is really a concierge service.”
One of the big changes Koster has seen in Hamptons real estate is in a new emphasis on value. “There used to be more buyer loyalty to an area — Easthampton or Bridgehampton. Now clients say, ‘Here’s my budget; I want the best deal.’”
What works in the Hamptons will work in your market too
Breitenbach’s rules for marketing this exclusive area can work for agents and brokers in any market.
1. Be accessible
What does it take to be successful in The Hamptons?
“It’s nothing tricky. It’s a lot of hard work, being accessible. I live and breathe real estate every second. You have to have the knowledge, and you have to be there at any time, day and night. Otherwise, they move on,” she said.
2. Get to the win-win
“You have to have good people skills, be very determined and never give up. Be a solution-finder and make the deals happen. I see a lot of brokers with a good buyer and a good seller, and they can’t get the deal done,” she said
3. Market the property, not the buyer
It’s easy to be dazzled by big names, but in the end, it’s all about the property itself.
“I work with a lot of high-end clients — Richard Gere, Jeff Blau’s Oceanfront home. We just closed on the old Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy estate. I give the same attention to every property. I focus on the property itself more than the buyer. You never know who’s going to buy a property, so the more fully you market the property, it gets seen by the right buyer,” she said.