With the Hamptons real estate market in a rut, luxury home sellers naturally gravitate to the titans of Hamptons real estate to sell their compounds. A litany of names comes to mind that confirms the industry to be male-dominated, save one that leaves the boys club in the dust: Susan Breitenbach. Literally Corcoran’s top producer, she has amassed more than $4.5 billion in real estate transactions.
She was named numerous times as the number one Hamptons agent by the Wall Street Journal. And that’s not the best part. It also recognized her as the only agent on the East End on its nationwide top five. That alone is a testament to Breitenbach’s superiority and her name is something she will fight for.
“I have many high-end clients, from celebrities to the heads of industry, because I live and breathe real estate,” Breitenbach explained. “My reputation speaks for itself and I make myself available 24/7. Clients want someone experienced and knowledgeable. I talk straight-up with them and am always honest. Our relationship and my reputation mean more to me than any commission. I really love what I do.”
Last spring, Breitenbach closed on Christie Brinkley’s 4.5-acre waterfront home in Sag Harbor. She also sold Richard Gere’s waterfront compound to Matt Lauer. Other well-known clients include Jeff Blau, Lloyd Blankfein, Billy Joel, and Russell Simmons to name a few.
Because of her youthful joie de vivre, 35 years of luxury real estate leadership should mean that she started out straight out of college, but it was six years on Wall Street and marrying her luxury builder husband, Stephen Breitenbach, that led her to the mansion-dotted beaches of the East End.
“I was always interested in real estate. When my husband mentioned moving to the Hamptons, it seemed like a good opportunity and right progression,” Breitenbach said. “I tried commuting briefly but that didn’t last long! I did my first oceanfront sale the first year, and when the owner said he would pay my full commission and if I got him a certain price, he would send me and my family to the Caribbean on vacation. Of course, I thought he was kidding. But I sold it and he did! The rest is history.”
Her business sprouted under Allan Schneider Associates, the legendary brokerage that was bought out by Corcoran in 2006. It is with Corcoran that her work and name blossomed. “I run my business like a boutique firm within a large company which offers the best of both worlds to my customers,” she elaborated. “I have my own team of people that make it all work seamlessly. For example, I have brokers, assistants, social media experts, a public relations team, my own website, but the drone, our networking and support, company website, and referrals that comes from Corcoran offer my clients the full spectrum of services to get their homes sold.”
Advice for home sellers, home buyers, and Hamptons real estate enthusiasts
When Breitenbach is asked about the biggest mistake home sellers make it’s that they chase the market and overprice their property. For example, a 15-acre compound in Water Mill was listed in 2008 for $100 million. It sold in March of 2018 for $49 million to two separate buyers. It sat for a decade. Homes in the luxury real estate market priced incorrectly will see markdowns in the double-digit-millions in order to sell.
Her ideas about home trends exemplifies how sellers are upgrading their homes and adding value while design/build construction companies are adding these features to custom builds for the fast sell. Breitenbach explained that buyers are especially keen on integrated interior/outdoor living spaces with loggias, which is a room with open sides, especially with one side open to the garden. She adds, “Outdoor TVs are big, fire pits, loggias with screens that can automatically come down and pergolas with built-in shades and heaters!”
When it comes to up-and-coming neighborhoods, Breitenbach says there are many and each offers different things. “Waterfront on the bay, I think, was underrated and now people are really understanding and getting it!”
What the Hamptons means to Breitenbach
“I have had a summer house here my whole life. It has been a wonderful place to raise my family. Actually, all of my children, except one, have moved back after living in the city for quite a while!”
She travels extensively but declares the beaches on the East End the most beautiful. In fact, Coopers Beach in Southampton is again on the list of the “Top 10” beaches in the country by coastal expert Stephen Leatherman. He is known as “Dr. Beach,” and in 2019, no other New York beaches made the list. Leatherman, who has compiled the list for 29 years had ranked Coopers Beach number one in 2010.
In addition to beaching it, Breitenbach explained that it’s the vast variety of activities that appeal to the wide swath of year-round and summer denizens. “I love the Hamptons because it has literally everything – there is something for everyone. You can go to all of the events or just spend quiet time with friends and family in one of the most beautiful places. There’s golf, horseback riding, boating, yoga and spin, apple picking, nature walks, or visit a great restaurant or vineyard.”
Breitenbach is an inspiration for women who work and play hard in the quest to having it all. With a large family, she has managed to balance work and family life which she admits is hard but worth it. For fun, she plays tennis and has two boats that she keeps in Sag Harbor. She wishes there were more hours in the day, because she loves to play golf but has trouble finding the time. One can even catch her biking around town on beautiful summer days.
But her conversation always goes back to family. “The most important thing to me is spending time with my husband, children, and grandchildren, which I adore, my close friends and my two dogs, too! We love to have barbecues and boat together,” Breitenbach said.
“We sometimes end up talking a little business since my husband, Steve, is in construction along with Stephen Jr. They naturally develop a lot for my clients. My son-in-law, Cutter, is a broker who works with me. My son, Matt, is also a broker at Compass while my daughter, Samantha, is in graphic design with a degree in interior architecture. My other son, Michael, is a senior vice president at Bank Of America and also deals with a lot of my clients! I do have three lovely daughters-in-law as well as another daughter who balance out the rest. They are also very interesting and successful but just not in real estate!”
To reach Breitenbach or inquire about her properties, call 631-875-6000 or visit www.susanbreitenbach.com.
209 Hedges Lane, Sagaponack, New York | $18,995,000
First Offering! One of the most spectacular estates in all of the Hamptons. On 4.4 acres with views over 12 Acres of reserve to ocean, midway between Hedges and Daniels on a quiet private drive, with extensive landscaping including specimen trees, huge lawn, sunken tennis court, amazing gardens, oversized pool, jacuzzi and two large outbuildings (pool house and yoga studio) – not to be missed! Totally pristine, like brand new and spacious 13,000 sq ft. of entertaining space including double height paneled entry foyer, large open chefs kitchen, oversized butlers pantry with large wine cellar, great room, living room, 9 bedrooms, 11.5 baths, and everything imaginable. The large paneled library, gym on main level with French doors out, tremendous double master bedrooms, screened patio with fireplace, 3-level elevator, and stunning lower level with large theatre, sitting room, game room – all of the bells and whistles! This home is unlike any other and could not be reproduced. Masterfully constructed and a must see. Just reduced and will not last.
To reach Breitenbach for a private showing or to learn more about this property call 631-875-6000 or visit www.susanbreitenbach.com.