Rich Dec’s love for the Hamptons has been life-long, although his career as a successful real estate pro didn’t come to light until he closed on his Montauk home in 2004. Here, we chat with the real estate whiz about some of his tricks of the trade, where he sees the market heading, and how to find his secret spots out east.
We hear you were born and raised out east. When did you first find your love for real estate?
I was born and raised in Southampton and graduated from Southampton High School. My interest in Hamptons’ real estate began in my early 20s —my father owned a few properties in the 1980s. I observed property values climb year after year in amazement.
That being said, when I bought my Montauk home in 2004, my passion for real estate blossomed, which lead me to a career as a real estate agent, then shortly thereafter, a real estate associate broker.
You have roots in the media world too. How did this shape your real estate career? Any tactics you learned along the way?
My 11 years in advertising and marketing from 1994 to 2005 definitely gave me the advantage of a unique marketing and branding lens, in turn, giving me a skill set to present myself in ways that most who enter the real estate industry do not have.
What prompted your move from media to real estate, and why did Corcoran feel like the right fit for you?
I was working in print media primarily and with the rapid industry change in the early to mid 2000s due to the ever-growing popularity of the internet, online advertising started to dominate the media landscape for many major brands in the automotive, fashion, pharmaceutical, and package goods categories.
I knew that I needed to either transition to online media or consider working for a more interactive media company. In the end, I decided to take this transition as an exit opportunity because my wife and I were expecting our first child in 2005 and had always dreamed of moving out of Brooklyn and back to the Hamptons.
I chose The Corcoran Group for a few reasons. One, it was one of the largest real estate companies established in the Hamptons, with a rapid growth trajectory. Also, the Corcoran brand was well known in the NYC area for many years and since we are primarily a second home market, buyers and sellers knew and trusted the brand. That would make my ability to market and sell homes easier than a smaller local real estate agency. Finally, two agent friends of mine were working for Corcoran and were so positive about the company and the support it provides agents.
How significant are new-build homes in your portfolio, and how did you grow that part of your business?
New home builds have been growing tremendously in the past five to 10 years, and I tend to be an agent who works with buyers more than the sellers when it comes to new construction. Over the years, I have represented a few new home builds, but my ability to find buyers through my network of friends and past buyers as well as resale clients has led me to become a successful buyers’ agent for new construction.
You also have a knack for remodeling. Does this come in handy when helping buyers envision their new homes?
Yes, I have remodeled and sold a few homes over the years, as well as manage the renovation of my Montauk home. This experience and knowledge allow me to share great ideas and the ability to express to my buyers what they can and can’t do, as well as give them projected renovation costs for a home they may have interest in.
As a lifelong local, are there any parts of the county near and dear to you that you have gotten work with? Recount some highlights for us.
I would say Southampton Village and Southampton in general because of my roots there, and selling in neighborhoods where I have fond memories of good friends who lived there. Amazing bayfront communities in Southampton offer buyers a tremendous amount of value that you can’t achieve in some other areas of the Hamptons.
The area of Clearwater Beach in East Hampton is a special place because of what that neighborhood has to offer. It has a private beach, for residents only, that many can access on foot. It also boasts boat slips for any boating enthusiast. This neighborhood still gives many residents, full time or part time, a sense of what the Hamptons was like many years ago. I think this area continues to be underrated and one that new buyers should consider when searching for a small beach home in the Hamptons.
We noticed you have several properties in Montauk. Has the region become a specialty?
Even though my main office is in Bridgehampton, I do work from our Montauk office frequently, allowing me to acquire new Montauk listings quite often. As a full-time resident of the Montauk community for almost 14 years, I have extensive knowledge of every neighborhood.
The fact that the Montauk market has never been hotter, and that any good inventory priced well will sell quickly, gives me the opportunity to really enjoy selling in this region. For quite some time, I have seen a pent-up demand for Montauk that I don’t see in many other areas of the Hamptons, except for maybe Sagaponack and Sag Harbor.
As an outdoorsman, what are your favorite (maybe secret) go-to spots?
I have many great spots and locations that I enjoy whether for surfing, mountain biking, hiking, or fishing in Montauk, as well as in other areas of the Hamptons. But like many other local residents out here who will not divulge their special, secret spots, I will not reveal mine.
However, my only exception is a buyer who wants to be a part of our great Hamptons’ community. If you are actively looking for a home to purchase in the Hamptons and want to know my secret spots, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or start off by following me on Instagram @HamptonsRich.