Real Realty: From Couture To Sales Contracts

Monica Reiner of Douglas Elliman

Monica Reiner. Independent/Courtesy Douglas Elliman

How does a Dior executive take the leap from French couture to high-end real estate? We asked Monica Reiner, a virtual walking resource of all things Hamptons, how and why she pivoted from Seventh Avenue to the East End.

You’ve had over 20 years of Hamptons real estate sales experience. Are you local?

I moved to Sag Harbor in 2000 with my family, including my two children, Jillian and Bradley. The slower-paced small town lifestyle, especially the ability to live on the water and go boating whenever the urge struck, drew us out here full time.

I’ve been in real estate for almost 30 years, and I started it full time in the Hamptons about 15 years ago. It was a real badge of honor when a friend introduced me the first time as a local. Not to mention his name, but I’ll give you a hint; he was the dockmaster at the then-named Cove East Marina and still is to this day.

How did you get started and why?

My first career was in the fashion business, working for Christian Dior. At that time, I lived on the North Shore and was commuting to Manhattan every day, which became a bit of a slog. My family, which is in the commercial real estate business on Long Island, suggested I get my license. And I’m so glad I did.

Do you specialize in certain regions of the East End?

I primarily work east of the Canal, as I’m most familiar with this part of the East End. Working in the Douglas Elliman Bridgehampton office has afforded me the opportunity to really comprehend the different areas of the Hamptons, and not just about real estate but about all the different nuances to our many communities, villages, and hamlets.

Are there any homes that you’ve sold that you’re particularly proud of?

I recently worked with some clients in East Hampton who wanted to downsize but who were apprehensive about finding a new home, as they truly cherished the one they had. But then, after listening to their wants and needs, I was able to help them find a modern home on the water in Sag Harbor and they fell in love.

Is there a building or piece of architecture in the Hamptons that you absolutely love?

I love the mix of historic homes interspersed with modern homes in pockets all over the Hamptons. We’ve got so much to offer here, architecturally and culturally, it’s easy to fall in love with more than one place.

What is some advice you would give sellers?

Marketing a home is about so much more than putting up a sign and putting photos up on a website. It’s about finding a realtor who knows what they are doing and can guide you expertly through the process, which is much more involved than people often think.

What about buyers?

Get yourself pre-approved for a mortgage as soon as you start thinking about looking. Don’t obsess with trying to figure out when the best time to buy is. Because the best time to buy is when you find the perfect house, you can afford it, and you are not just ready but expertly prepared.

Have you noticed any trends our readers should know about?

The most attractive homes that sell the quickest are those that are priced right and ready to transact.

What’s your elevator pitch when bidding on a multi-million-dollar property?

I have a proven recognized record by Douglas Elliman for negotiating the best outcome. Especially since time is money, I have a proven track record for getting a house into contract and closed in the least amount of time possible. My personal goal is to meet and then exceed. I am known for getting things done efficiently and for getting them done the right way.

Are there any up-and-coming neighborhoods we should know about?

They are getting tougher to find, but the hot spots are under a million in Noyac, Hampton Bays, and Springs. As for the higher end of the market, non-ocean waterfronts continue to be of particular interest to many buyers.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I love boating, the beach, and trying new food experiences. I’m also a devotee of the gym and a supporter of the Southampton Animal Shelter.

Anything you’d like to add?

Believe it or not, even 30 years later, I wake up every single day thinking about real estate. It’s my passion.

To learn more about Reiner or her properties, call 631-903-3920 or email