Deeds & Don’ts get
by Aime Dunstan
THE INSIDE SCOOP By Scoop Drummond “Price upon request”: It’s a quandary to many brokers whether to summon those three words, when being direct might ultimately be the better path. When a property is egregiously priced, especially in this challenged market, brokers take the discreet route by not publishing the asking amount, thereby invoking this catchall phrase. The theory is that these three little words will draw potential buyers in, when in reality the reaction to such an ad is often three very different little words: Just Right | A 30-something Manhattan couple purchased this 2,000-square-foot traditional in the village of Sag Harbor for $1.1 million with the help of Town & Country Real Estate’s Susan McGraw Keber. Built in 1900 and fully renovated, it soon became their full-time residence.
“another overpriced house.” ■ In the old days of carriage trade real estate, the term was used to denote a certain cachet, and exclusivity to what were essentially “important” properties in high-WASP enclaves where the mention of money was in poor taste. These days such enclaves hardly exist, yet the lingo survives in still-
Looking for a nice little shack in the Hamptons—nothing spectacular, you say? Just a little two-bedroom cottage? How about a humble fixer-upper, perhaps, for weekends, holidays, barbecues? Maybe a little garden with room for a vegetable patch? Get in line. Homes under 2,500 square feet—and therefore under $1.5 million, generally speaking—are few and far between on the East End. Susan McGraw Keber, associate broker and senior vice president at Town & Country Real Estate in Southampton, worked with one 30-something career couple for nearly four years before finding the right small house for them.
hamptons cottages & gardens
trying times when a listing just clearly seems too expensive. ■ Recently, I saw an ad for two rentals in East Hampton placed side by side in one of the local papers. The properties were your average estate-area houses, and upon further investigation I discovered that their pricing wasn’t out of line. But there was the familiar phrase, looking like a smudge on the photo: price upon request. The dirty phrase lives on.
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AUSTIN PATTERSON DISSTON ARCHITECTS
Quogue, NY • (631) 653-1481 Southport, CT • (203) 255-4031 New Milford, CT • (860) 210-7852
“That meant quality of construction, charm and style, location for investment and possible rental or resale value, condition of property, room for a pool or one already in place, close to a village so they could stroll in and not have to drive—and above all, value,” she says. Keber’s clients finally purchased a three-bedroom, three-bath home with mature landscaping and a heated gunite pool for $1.1 million in March 2010. With an apartment in the city, they now claim the 2,036-square-foot cottage in Sag Harbor Village as their primary residence. “This was a phenomenal buy by all accounts, and the comparables prove this,” says Keber. “Small houses with this much charm and in this condition with a pool in the village of Sag Harbor are indeed very difficult to come by.” If you have vision, then luck might be on your side. Domestic diva Katie Brown, known for breathing new life into unlikely spaces, recently picked up a “dump” on Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett for $500,000 (see where Brown likes to chow down in “Style Setters,” pg. 84). Lori Barbaria of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate closed the deal: “It was basically abandoned and not taken care of, so the property looked scraggly,” Barbaria says. “But it has new bathrooms and fantastic bones, with a beamed ceiling and a fireplace in the main living room. It’s like a Tribeca loft. Katie’s basically going to do a gut-reno on it.” The sale of a small modern house on Shore Lane in Amagansett meant a brush
with fame for Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Martin Ligorner, who recalls a memorable moment after the $1.15 million sale to a German couple: “They presented us with a gift, which I gave to my wife and partner to open. It was a DVD of Death of a Salesman. We looked at each other with expressions of ‘Huh? Why this?’” Upon further inspection, they noticed their client had signed the cover. “He was the movie’s director, Volker Schlöndorff,” says Ligorner. “At the end of the DVD, there he was in background scenes with Dustin Hoffman and Arthur Miller. You just never know!” For those willing to up the ante a bit, you can get even more. One of Susan Breitenbach’s listings, a 2,500-square-foot cottage on Little Noyac Path in Water Mill with three bedrooms, four baths and a media room, is listed at $2.45 million. “A house that size on almost three acres is an anomaly,” says the Corcoran agent. “It’s totally renovated, beautifully done, sleek, modern and perfect, yet small.” FIRE UP YOUR SEARCH ENGINES The moral of the story is that there are great small houses to be found in the Hamptons—if you know where to look. “Sag Harbor boasts the historic small
“It’s like a Tribeca loft. Katie’s basically going to do a gut-reno on it.” —Lori Barbaria, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate
© Volker Schlöndorff
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Special properties need a special agent. Thinking of buying or selling, call Maria.
Small But Special | This 2,500-square-foot three-bedroom, four-bath Water Mill cottage has been completely renovated with hardwood floors and fine finishes. It’s offered by Susan Breitenbach and Matthew Breitenbach of the Corcoran Group for $2.45 million, 631-899-0303.
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fisherman village houses, North Sea has the campy cottages of the 1940s and the Springs of East Hampton offers cottages on or near Accabonac Harbor with bay views,” Keber says, adding that Gerard Drive and Louse Point feature lovely cottages, some in their original state and others newly built to conform to zoning restrictions that have resulted from wetland issues. “Peconic Bay used to offer vacation cottages, but they’ve been discovered. A lot have been renovated,
and prices have soared to reflect the water views and accessibility.” Southampton Shores is a private community with older homes, Keber adds, some larger than others and some renovated to perfection, while Noyac has a cluster of vacation homes with beach access in the vicinity of Cromer’s Market. “Adorable! Some are renovated and rebuilt, and others remain in their original condition,” she says. “A good area to buy for starters and have fun!”
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the allure of a country road Equal Housing Opportunity. The Corcoran Group is a licensed real estate broker. Owned and operated by NRT LLC.
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