David Zazula is a veteran surfer and agent for Halstead in the Hamptons.
You’re uniquely experienced in both renting and sales. do you have a preference?
I love doing rentals, but sales are where the rubber meets the road. Each rental situation offers an opportunity to build your client base, learn the inventory, and gain the trust of both a potential seller and buyer. I built my business on rentals.
Sales really test your mettle, your creativity, and your ability to roll up your sleeves and get it done — no matter the obstacle. Every time I’m involved in a sale, I don’t learn just one new thing, I learn a dozen. And I’ve been doing this since 2004.
You’ve also become knowledgeable about the regulations and red tape synonymous with the region. How long did it take to master this, and when has this wisdom come in handy?
The thing about rules and regulations is they keep changing. So, you’ve got to stay on top of it. The only way to learn is by doing. Get over to the building department and become a familiar face. Talk to attorneys, talk to your fellow brokers. Talk to people on the street. Become a detective.
Early in my career, I was fortunate enough to sell two contiguous oceanfront properties. This gave me the opportunity to go through the process. The experience was invaluable. As far as “mastering” goes, I’m not sure that ever really happens, but I would say it takes about five years to find your voice. Ten years in the business enables you to dispense sage advice. I’m approaching master status, having been at it for 15 years.
What advice do you have for a potential seller?
The first thing I would advise a potential seller is to list it with a reputable brokerage. Secondly, hire a local attorney. They’re most familiar with the local laws and codes. Communication is key, and if I can communicate with your attorney, we can circumvent a lot of potential problems.
You also need to prepare your property. De-cluttering is perhaps the most important aspect of preparing a home for the market. The buyer needs to envision themselves living there. I also place special importance on the entrance. It’s the first thing the buyer sees. Something as simple as flowers in an urn can make a huge impact.
I work closely with sellers to get a property ready, mindful of what is necessary and what is frivolous.
Are you attracted to a certain caliber of property? You’ve sold many waterfront homes.
I’m interested in any type of property that I have the possibility of selling. However, I’d be lying if I did not say the waterfront, especially oceanfront, really piques my interest. Besides the obvious increase in value, waterfront properties attract the most attention. It’s all about the water out here. Buying on the ocean, or any waterfront, is a front row seat to the greatest show on Earth.
I also love the older homes. The area was settled over 350 years ago, so we have a lot of them. One of my first exclusives was a 17th century home in the historic section of the Village of East Hampton. Lots of history, and one of four homes still standing that had exposed decorative wood support beams. Its most recent occupant at the time was Mario Puzo.
Any advice for young agents just starting out?
Become friends with other brokers, both in your office and at the other brokerages. They are your biggest source of information. Secondly, fact-check everything. Do your own research and make sure you have your facts straight. Don’t over promise.
When I first started out, I received three great pieces of advice. I was lucky enough to be in a small office with very successful brokers. I was told to listen. I did. The second bit of advice was a quote in an article I read by a mentor of mine. “A good broker is always prepared.”
Lastly, and this is a big one, a very experienced broker said to me, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It is my mantra to this day.
Do you partner with other agents to create a team or are you solo?
Being in a relatively small office, we’re all one big family, so I can enlist help as I need it. I rely heavily on my colleagues for support. Although often it seems I’m working solo, the reality is very much different. We have tremendous support at Halstead. This allows me to have laser beam focus on the client I’m working with.
What do you do for fun?
I was an avid surfer and windsurfer for many years. We have world-class conditions for both here on the East End. However, recently I became reacquainted with the game of tennis, which I grew up playing. I never thought anything would get me out of the water, but it seems tennis has reinstated its grip on my free time. Of course, going to the beach, dining out, and enjoying the live music in the summer. If I can partake in all of that, while still keeping up with my now 13 year old teenage son, then I’m a happy camper.
To view David’s listings or to contact him, click here to go to his Halstead page.