Before the heavy-hitting real estate firms flocked to the Hamptons to get a piece of the tony real estate pie, a family was selling real estate, using a wealth of local knowledge since 1962. Patriarch James McLauchlen left advertising in the big city to launch his namesake real estate company, James R. McLauchlen Real Estate, in Southampton. Today his son, James, and his children, Jim and Jennifer McLauchlen, run the company.
Which home are you most proud of selling in your portfolio?
Jim Sr.: I sold a spectacular shingle style home built in the 1890’s in the “Art Village” designed by Stanford White for William Merritt Chase, to house his visiting artists—a glorious home retaining its charm and elegance through the years.
Jim: The Long Island Auto Museum Property. It was 8.5 acres in size and had over 26,000 square feet of buildings on site. This deal took over a year from accepted offer to closing. It is always very satisfying to bring off a deal with so many moving parts.
Jennifer: That would have to be the sale of 120 Meadow Lane in Southampton for $26 million, back in 2009. The oceanfront property had just sold to a Wall Street tycoon, who a month later was arrested for a ponzi scheme—the government seized all of his property, and my customers were the successful buyers in what was a very unique and interesting sale.
There are lots of brokers—what sets you apart from the pack?
Jennifer: We are a family business, which prides itself on the personal service we provide to buyers and sellers. Technology has increased the speed of our business and our ability to move large quantities of information, however, this industry is about people and their homes. Taking the time with our clients to make sure they understand this process and helping them solve the issues that arise before closing makes it a better experience for buyers and sellers.
Jim: I think what sets me apart is that real estate is in our family bloodline. My grandfather, who had summered in Southampton since the 1940s, started our company in 1962. He sold many important properties, including the oceanfront Du Pont Estate on Meadow Lane in Southampton, what is now Calvin Klein’s property.
What’s the single best piece of advice you can give a buyer when listing their place, or seller before finalizing their home’s sale?
Jim: Be patient and be prepared for unanticipated issues to arise. Everything has a solution it is just a matter of finding it.
Jennifer: The best advice I would give to a seller who is listing their home for sale would be to list it at the right price, if you list too high, you are chasing the market. Pricing a property correctly is important!
Jim Sr.: Focus. We work to be immersed in the process of every property listing—very important.
Is there a current property that we need to know about? Tell us!
Jennifer: I have a fantastic oceanfront property available for rent for the U.S. Open in June, or for the first two weeks in July. Contact me for details!
When you’re not ruling the real estate market, where can we find you out East?
Jennifer: I love going to the beach…even in the wintertime. My parents took me camping at Shinnecock Park when I was two weeks old…and every summer following through my youth. So in a way, the beach was like a second home. It’s a place where no matter what’s happening, I can find peace.
Jim: On the water or on the beach usually with a fishing rod not too far away.
Jim Sr.: On the beach, surf fishing, or cruising Shinnecock Bay—searching for the elusive striped bass.
How has the industry changed since you’ve had your license in the Hamptons?
Jennifer: It’s changed so much. When I got my license, we were still keeping track of listings in big binders that would be organized by location or type of property, such as vacant land/residential/commercial/rental. The computer entered into our business and that made things easier. Now, with the technology changing so rapidly, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends in marketing and selling.
Jim Sr.: WOW!!! The entire business has changed especially since the introduction of computers, but the bottom line, it is still about people. It is a business of personal relationships.
What’s your favorite part of your day in relation to real estate?
Jim: I’m really lucky to be able to work with my family. We are all very close and support each other. It’s fun when we can joke and laugh at work, and just know that you are completely supported.
Jim Sr.: The drive about—taking a tour of various neighborhoods and market areas that I haven’t checked up on recently, observing changes, potential listings, and reviewing recent comparable sales data.