Real Realty

Ed Bruehl, Saunders & Associates

Ed Bruehl. Courtesy of Saunders & Associates.

Ed Bruehl has 14 years of experience in luxury real estate, and his knowledge of the local market shines through in every transaction he touches, whether it be luxury homes, land acquisitions, or rental properties. Here, we get to know Ed, and find out how this California native made his way out East.

You specialize in East Hampton — what makes the town unique in the grand scheme of the real estate market out East?

Well, of course it all starts with the incredible East End geography — in my humble opinion, the Hamptons are all about the land and sea. I know people like to associate them with the rich and famous, mansions and over-the-top extravagance, but it isn’t about that at all, quite the contrary. It is a very beautiful, rather quiet mix of communities — where every hamlet has access to the bay, a beach, or an ocean beach within minutes. East Hampton is one of the two main towns: Southampton and East Hampton. East Hampton Town includes Wainscott to Sag Harbor to Montauk.

It has always been a more-populated town, but recently it has quite a thriving year-round community and a terrific village. Walking Main Street and Newtown Lane is always a good time as is enjoying the huge village park. I think it has been overlooked, with the massive growth recently in neighboring places like Sagaponack, Water Mill, and Bridgehampton, especially in the high-end “spec builder” market. That said, I think it is beginning to awaken and it is fun to watch. Springs is such a special place and has really exploded recently — I think it’s proof that East Hampton is becoming popular again.

In looking at the Hamptons market as a whole, do you feel investment properties are on the rise?

Yes, very much so. But, that said, not everything sells at top-dollar. A lot of sellers will ask how I would price their home. They are anchoring their hopeful price on a neighboring sale of a custom new construction, sold for a top-of-market price.

To really break down this thought, think of it like this — the land and the home both have separate values, and the house is where the pricing gets disputable. Because oftentimes the sellers adds value to their older house that the market may not agree with. On the flip side, a newly built home can get a very attractive premium if it is designed and built beautifully. So, using two extremes, the structure is either a teardown or it is the most gorgeous, intelligently finished, quality throughout, tastefully-built home you’ve ever seen. And the land has a value. Together they make up the market price.

You recently moved to Saunders & Associates. What prompted the move? 

There is really no comparison. Saunders is a cut above every firm out here, and considerably so.

The service team is over-the-top exceptional, the on-site marketing department, and the in-house attorney all working around the clock to solve problems instantly or print a brochure for a custom sign or take a last-minute drone shot for a new video on Instagram. I am super happy here and it shows in how I am able to serve my clients and customers.

Saunders is like working with a hot new start-up with an expansive mind-set and all we want to do is kick ass for our customers. Sorry if that comes off as unprofessional, but it really is the best way I can say it. And my fellow brokers all share this success mentality, as it is built into the culture. I mean think about this — our office meetings have between 50 and 75-plus brokers every week, all watching an oversized screen as we go through each hamlet’s market activities and updates.

I can’t say enough good things about working here, and if anyone reading this thinks we’d be a good fit, call or email me.

In your 14 years of experience, what are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you can share with readers? 

Choose your real estate broker/agent wisely and with serious consideration.

And please choose a pro who takes this profession seriously and works with one of the top-shelf firms. Whether you are a seller or a buyer you really need to make sure you are working with someone who knows the market and can fully navigate a transaction from beginning to end.

This is a very personal transaction, often the biggest of a lifetime. For my buyers I like to make sure we know every possible option in their chosen area. And for my sellers I love working together to choose the right photographs, ad copy, pricing, and the overall story. All together, this is what makes up what I am saying while selling and marketing their home.

Remember almost every deal these days comes through the internet — meaning you are only as good as your online presence.

That is all you’ve got to make a first impression. Unfortunately most sellers I meet or who have already worked with another agent want me to hurry up and get it up on the internet as soon as possible so they can see it and start hearing offers. My advice is to slow down! Let’s get the story correct. Take great photos. Capture a sunset or a sunrise or a drone shot. Fully understand the actual value and then price accordingly.

It is so much easier to list the home than to actually sell it. This market is so much more transparent then ever before, especially with Zillow/Realtor/MLS — all of which provide portals for the buyer and the seller — meaning they are regularly more informed then almost every broker out here, especially in their micro-neighborhood. And, I say, great! Let’s use every tool we’ve got, and they can lean on me to create the marketing materials, implement the strategy, host open houses, and more.

I really enjoy working closely with my buyers and my sellers and it regularly results in lifelong relationships long after the deal is done.

How did you get your start? 

Tim Davis from Corcoran asked me to work with a top-producing agent at Allan Schneider in Southampton. I’ll never forget my first year — we rented over 35 properties. Talk about learning the ropes quickly! We went on to became the top producers in the office the second year and I was hooked.

I love the land, selling it and learning about it and sharing it with other people. It is a service I really enjoy. And I love the buzz around each deal. Each one has uniqueness to it and I really like rolling along with the ebbs and flows. It isn’t easy, actually each one can be quite challenging because there is always a bump in the road, so I’ve learned to expect them as it helps makes things much smoother. I also think staying calm, organized, and productive makes all the difference in the world.

Who are some of your confidantes that you turn to for advice when you’re growing your portfolio? 

Andrew and Colleen Saunders — they don’t just run the most amazing brokerage in the Hamptons, but they know how to live, share graciously with others, and enjoy life to the fullest while simultaneously raising a family. Whether coaching on a negotiation nuance or processing a creative marketing solution, they are always there to help and co-create with me. It really means the world — I think it is a big part of my success in the business.

What is your advice to new salespeople?

Take it seriously. Do a little something every day. The best customers are people you already know and who trust you. Find a way to work for them. And when they give you a chance, really work for them! Open doors every day, say “hi” to people as a confident salesperson, and do all you can to genuinely help others. It is full-service business, once you learn that, the phone and inbox will light up.

Where can you be found having fun during the summer months? We know you love to surf! 

Date-night at the new Moby’s (the old East Hampton Point), paddle boarding deep into Alewive Brook, visiting my wife, Mariah, at her Playful Learning Studio at 26 Newtown, loading up on local produce from Balsam Farms and Amber Waves, lunch at Mary’s Marvelous or OrganiKrush, taking long sunset walks, surfing a jetty or a secret point break, golfing, at a bonfire on the beach, developing a property, selling a house, driving on the beach, picking up my daughters from East Hampton High School, or driving them to a friend’s house or the village.