Reading the real estate periodicals of late can convince anyone that the Hamptons home buying market is in a slump. However, as Indy follows many real estate brokers and salespeople on social media channels, one superstar keeps coming up as closing homes far more often than the rest.
Greg Schmidt of Corcoran’s East Hampton office’s social media marketing efforts not only promote his closed celebratory posts but his very active inventory of gorgeous homes active in the market. We wanted to know more about why he’s succeeding where so many are struggling. The best part? Schmidt is concretely optimistic that the coming months will be full of opportunity for all.
While the industry has slowed, you are closing on homes. What’s your secret?
Teamwork, persistence, creative marketing, and working closely with the entire Hamptons brokerage community. My business partner, Jackie Dunphy, and I have a great team, “Team Greg and Jackie.” Deals have recently become more complicated, so it’s important to stay on top of the details throughout the entire process, especially between the accepted offer and the closing. Of course, in this market, you really have to have honest discussions with sellers about pricing, otherwise nothing gets done.
How many years of experience do you have in selling homes on the East End? How did you get started in the industry?
I’ve been selling real estate here for 10 years now. However, for 15 years prior to that, I bought, renovated, and sold a few homes here in the Hamptons. During those years, I had a lot of friends who came to me and asked for my advice in their own Hamptons home search. I enjoyed it so much that it became a natural next step for me to get into the business. I’m extremely grateful to my friends, our clients and customers, and all the agents we have the privilege of working with.
Are you a local yourself? What’s your background?
My parents first came out to Sag Harbor and rented a house when I was seven years old. We were living in the city at the time, so it was quite exciting for me. I have so many memories of that time and my first visit. Flying kites, the Sag Harbor 5 & 10, playing in the woods and by the creek, (getting poison ivy!), swimming at the beach, sitting by the fire, and maybe not the best thing, but my dad let me drive the car! I actually still have a couple of arrowheads I found that summer.
Are there any homes that you’ve sold of which you’re particularly proud?
I had a stunning $3 million modern home in Northwest Woods that I sold several years ago. I was so excited about the listing and I couldn’t wait to tell the whole world. However, the sellers asked me not to market their property publicly in any way, no exposure, nothing on the internet, no advertising, no open houses, no sale sign, no advertising, no promotion, no social media, no press of any kind. I was finally able to talk them into allowing me to do some broker open houses.
So, I did the one thing they allowed me to do, and I was able to sell it by actively and constantly communicating with our brokerage community.
Is there a favorite building in the Hamptons that you absolutely love?
I have a favorite home in every neighborhood out here. More than anything else, I love authenticity and quality, whether it’s an 1810 farmhouse, a striking modern, or a bright and airy beach house.
Speaking of authenticity, I love the structures at the East Hampton Town Hall. It is a real Hamptons story as to how these 18th and 19th-Century timber structures were preserved and donated to the town, and then arranged and utilized by our local government. The Hedges House, Hand House, Baker Barn, Bridgehampton Barn, and Parsons Barn are standing proudly and help continue the story of our local history. And I believe that they’ve made all of this to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
What is some advice you would give sellers?
Although numbers were down in the third quarter, we are currently seeing an increased amount of activity. Buyers are out here looking, and more importantly, they are finally pulling the trigger. I think much of the dust has settled on the new tax concerns. People have decided it’s not a deal-breaker for them, and they have accepted it as the new norm. Interest rates are low, the weather this past season was glorious for the most part, and so many visitors want to be integral, regular participants in the Hamptons life. As we’ve all heard, many people are saying that now is the time to buy.
Homes have to be priced at market value in order to have good, solid activity. Now is not the time to be unreasonable. Buyers in today’s world have all the numbers and information at their fingertips on the internet. They are only looking at homes that they see as good values, that are well-priced. Although they may start off with a low offer, they often come up quickly. Price your home to sell, and it will. Other than that, work with a good team and listen to their advice when it comes to staging, pricing, marketing, and getting it all across the finish line to “Sold and Closed.”
What about buyers?
Now is a great time to buy. Get out there and start looking at houses, so that you’re ready to pounce on the right one when it comes along. Although the market has been somewhat slow, there are those houses that will appeal to a number of people other than yourself, and they will get snapped up quickly, and a number of them have even had bidding wars in the past month. Work with an agent you trust and get on it now.
Do you have any favorite trends our readers should know about?
I love the current trend of people doing outside rooms now. You can sit outside by the pool, eat dinner, have a nice fire going, and watch the game or a movie on your outside TV, all while enjoying this fresh Hamptons air. I also love lush landscaping and gardens.
Inside, I’m still a fan of a modern open floor plan. I like lots of light and windows. I love homes that make you feel connected to the outdoors even when you’re inside.
Are there any up-and-coming neighborhoods we should know about?
I get excited about every neighborhood out here. I am often heard saying that ‘this is my favorite neighborhood,’ and then an hour later saying the same thing about another neighborhood. Every area has so much to offer, whether it’s proximity to our bays and harbors (think paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, canoeing, fishing, etc.), farm stands, history, great restaurants, ocean beaches, nature trails, biking, shopping, or just escaping for peace and quiet. This is the Hamptons, and I love every bit of it! I’m like a real estate evangelist for the Hamptons. Can I get an Amen?!
Why did you choose Corcoran as your brokerage?
I love the Corcoran office that I work out of because I feel like I’m surrounded by family. It has a great sense of community. I like Corcoran’s reputation and feel that our business philosophies are a match. I also love that we are continually at the top of industry lists for East End transactions, active websites with highest number of visits, luxury transactions, etc. We’ve just launched a new social media program that is absolutely brilliant.
We have an incredibly large and supportive network of agents in New York City, the Hamptons, and south Florida. These other locations help feed into our list of buyers and sellers. The brand is very strong and many buyers and sellers will only work with Corcoran.
What marketing channels are you using to market your exclusives and to attract sellers?
For marketing exclusives, we really do everything: print ads, Main Street office window ads, broker and public open houses, internet marketing, social media, etc. I’m a big believer in both internet and social media marketing and making sure that each of our listings has a fully tailored marketing approach. Each listing is different and requires a carefully assembled plan.
Also, more than likely, an agent other than someone from our team will probably bring the buyer, so we work very hard at making sure all agents in the community are well aware of our listings. For the right property, we also love to do events and have been known to host meetings for agents on occasion as well.
For attracting sellers, it’s almost like a door-to-door principle. Obviously, we don’t actually go door-to-door (can you imagine that?), but we do reach out continually on a very personal level and go out of our way to stay in touch with our Hamptons clients. That basically means that whenever we are not hammering it out at our desks or out in the field showing properties, we are out there at dinners, events, first birthday parties, 93rd birthday parties, cocktails, high tea, brunch, coffee, the opening of an envelope, or anything else that allows us to spend some real face-to-face time, getting to know and enjoy our clients.
How do you see the market playing out in 2020?
In a word: Opportunity. Next year is going to be a year full of opportunity for both sellers and buyers.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
More than anything, I love spending time with my partner Alex, relaxing, cooking, entertaining, visiting friends, and we both especially love to travel abroad. He speaks six languages fluently, so that helps a great deal. I walk between five and 10 miles a day. Obviously, it’s decent exercise, but it’s also a good time for me to connect to nature. And all of a sudden, when I’m most relaxed, some pressing challenge seems to work itself out.
I carry my phone with me because those are the times when I come up with a possible solution to a problem with a deal, or a new, creative way to present or market something. I also love walking because even if it’s a busy time workwise, I can keep doing emails and phone calls while I walk.
I love going into the city whenever I can for a change of scenery and often, when I’m there, I get to meet with clients or associates in a different setting.
You can follow Greg on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the handle @hamptonsgreg.
To reach Schmidt or inquire about his properties, call 917-848-4918 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.