Inman Diaries is a weekly feature tracking the day-to-day activities of America’s leading real estate agents in their own words. This week, Ruth Kennedy Sudduth of Landvest Boston rises early on the farm and ends her day at an alumni meeting at Harvard Business School.
6:30 a.m. I live on an old farm, so the day begins with throwing hay to the horses and feeding the dogs and barn cat. The farm got me into real estate – I was a money manager and a LandVest client. LandVest helped me buy and conserve the land around my farm to protect it from being developed into subdivisions. I thought the work was so important, and the real estate business so ripe for a level of sophisticated advice that is standard stuff in the investment world that I changed careers. That was 20 years ago.
8:30 a.m. Monday Meeting – LandVest is a private partnership, not designated agency, so we meet as a firm every Monday morning to share insights, solve client problems, all with complete confidentiality. Today’s conversation ranged from dealing with knob and tube wiring to brainstorming for buyers who were looking for a specific type of waterfront property, with our teams from Maine to the Cape to the Adirondacks sharing ideas on what might be a good fit out of our inventory and what might be brought to the market privately for them. We also talked deal flow and interest in second homes in the Post-9/11 and Corona virus environments. With a highly experienced group, there was a lot to draw on.
10:30 a.m. Organized a call with attorneys and advisors on behalf of a client looking to donate a major property to a charitable organization. LandVest has appraisers and land planners on staff, so we can handle answering complex questions for land that might have potential beyond just its current use.
11 a.m. Showing at Stillmeadow Farm, a conserved farm in Carlisle, a Boston suburb. LandVest has worked for more than two decades with the owners to help come up with a conservation and limited development plan for the farm, keeping the historic 18th century landscape intact while retaining significant value for the family on over 100 acres. It had rained and frozen overnight so everything was sparkling.
3 p.m. Catching up on emails from the front seat of the car pulled over at the side of the road.
7 p.m. Board meeting for Bare Hill Rowing, one of many community-based program supporting rowing for kids in the Greater Boston area. I was an elite rower and still love to row with other alums at the Head of the Charles every year, and am grateful to be able to give back.
8 a.m. Desk day – preparing proposals.
10 a.m. Working with our Boston marketing team on social media campaigns for listings.
2 p.m. Loading new listings and making sure they show up on REALM, our latest tool for broadening outreach for our properties. REALM uses big data and AI to match properties with the client lists of top brokers around the world, so it’s important to make sure they are up and ready to be matched!
4 p.m. Working with my marketing coordinator, who is a genius, on a Christie’s newsletter to clients with properties and content from the LandVest blog.
7:30 a.m. All day alumni conference at Harvard Business School on Investing and Climate Change: not surprisingly a top flight gathering, ranging from the head of the Japanese government pension fund who has made Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) issues integral to their investing to reflect their very long time horizon, to former Wellington Management colleagues talking about how they are integrating climate into their decision making.
It is clear from the audience that business is keen to address the risks and opportunities that a changing climate presents. For LandVest, this is important as we advise clients about their real estate, and our consulting practice is an industry-leading platform to help our clients and their advisor make informed decisions.
11 a.m. Off to Boston for a series of meetings with fiduciaries and advisors, who are an important source of mutual referrals. Our Boston headquarters are in the heart of the financial district, sharing the building with Boston Private Bank. My favorite coffee spots are Blue Bottle, which has killer homemade ganache hot cocoa made with oat milk in the Bank of New England building at the back of this photo – known locally as the “pregnant building” because it has a bulge in the middle. In nice weather, I love Sip Café, in the pavilion in the middle of Leventhal Park shown here.
12 p.m. Lunch sponsored by a multi-family office in Boston, seated with the next door neighbors to an historic home that I sold several months ago on behalf of Groton School and Lawrence Academy. The neighbors were delighted that the new owners are doing a great job on the renovations (check out @lisa hicksinteriors’ Instagram stories and interview “Old House, New Life” with Lisa).
7 p.m. Sudbury Valley Trustees Board meeting: I have served for many years on the board of the regional land trust that helps conserve land throughout the watershed north and west of Boston. The board is a mix of people I know from work with LandVest and those with whom I have bonded over land conservation. The relationships are deepened and enriched by the common purpose.
11 a.m. Got a rush of showing requests for Long Hill Farm, a secluded 570+ acre property just outside of Woodstock, Vermont, on the way to Killington. In preparation for the showings, I look up the potential buyers on REALM, which has invaluable background information on high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals. Both parties check out on REALM. I also run the names by my colleagues, and they know them from both Boston and from prior searches in Vermont. One couple came off a mailer we did to suburban Boston, showing the power of the LandVest network. Sellers are much more comfortable when we can do a solid vetting on potential buyers.
2 p.m. Work with our marketing team to wrap up a market update for our blog and social media on the Woodstock market and review outreach for Myrtle Hill, a property that went under agreement quickly outside of Boston – a really cool combination of antique and MidMod.
6:30 a.m. Drive up to Peacham, Vermont in the Northeast Kingdom to visit Taylor Farm, a private listing. Taylor Farm feels like the perfect counterpoint to what ails the outside world. It’s like its own solar system, with worlds within worlds: a modern pavilion on the lake, a rustic chic main house, a crazy cool indoor pool with a waterfall, a hilltop cabin with views to forever, cobble floored horse barn, indoor riding arena, and multiple guest houses, tucked at the end of a private road secluded from everything.
12 p.m. We bring the whole team up to talk to the owners about the state of the market, and how we can work together to bring the right buyers to the property. I just want to curl up with a book in one of the guest rooms. Plenty of snow in the Northeast Kingdom and the views on the drive up and back make the trip:
2 p.m. Work with our marketing team to wrap up a market update for our blog and social media on the Woodstock market and review outreach for Myrtle Hill, a property that went under agreement quickly outside of Boston — a really cool combination of antique and MidMod.
6:30 a.m. Woke up this morning with snow falling, I divide my time between Boston and Woodstock, Vermont.
10 a.m. Woodstock is the classic beautiful Vermont town, and the view from the office window across the Town Green on a snowy day can’t be beat. Then you add my colleagues’ Jack Russell, BonBon… Some of the locals. Our office is in a beautiful old stone building right on the Green. It’s a great community, even as a part timer I still get greeted by name when I pick up takeout.
11 a.m. Showings at Long Hill Farm: the weather has cleared and it is a bluebell day. The views from Woodstock to Killington are clear and sharp and the birds are singing. We walk high up the mountain soaking up the sun and wishing we had skins and skis: the snow is just forgiving enough to be perfect spring conditions. The buyers’ four year old is tracking a bobcat, with fresh prints in the snow. That keeps her going just long enough to start heading back downhill along a logging road. Tired, her father puts her on his shoulders and she gets a little drowsy in the sun. The second showing is with enthusiastic skiers as well, so we hike back up the open fields to look over at Killington and take in the views. Longer days make for much more relaxed showings.
5 p.m. On the way back home, I stop at the Woodstock Farmer’s Market for a quick bite and some locally raised food for dinner and say hello to friends.
6 p.m. Most of the skiers have headed down earlier but I am in a line of Mass and Connecticut plates and rooftop boxes heading back down to the highway. A great end to a beautiful weekend!
Ruth Kennedy Sudduth is Vice Chair of LandVest’s Board of Directors and a Principal of this privately-held firm serving families and institutions with important real estate and timberland assets nationwide. She co-leads LandVest’s Fiduciary Real Estate Services team, focusing on advisors and private clients. Since joining LandVest in 1998 she has orchestrated record sales in eight states. Clients have included Harvard University, the Nature Conservancy, MIT, Bessemer Trust, Fiduciary Trust, and private individuals. She is widely respected for her skill in generating active competition and successful sales for unique and complex properties. Follow her on Instagram at @rkennedysudduth.
Inman Diaries is a weekly feature tracking the day-to-day activities of America’s leading real estate agents and brokers. To submit a diary, please send requests to Diary@Inman.com.