The whip-smart Philip O’Connell has all corners of the real estate industry down pat, and it’s all thanks to his insight into every layer of the buying and selling process. As the managing director of Halstead, O’Connell oversees two bustling hubs of Hamptons real estate full of coveted properties. Here, we get to know O’Connell, who counts himself a seasoned lawyer, real estate titan, and a skilled sailor to boot!
You’re a Hamptons native. Does your knowledge of the area set you apart from the competition?
Absolutely. Having extensive knowledge of the area is a strong advantage. Whether discussing a property with agents, buyers, or sellers, I typically have in-depth knowledge of the property’s transactional history as well as an understanding of its zoning, development potential, and any environmental concerns.
You’re an attorney too. How do your roles intersect?
The roles are deeply intertwined consistently throughout the day. As the managing director of Halstead, my legal background is a major benefit to my agents. Legal questions always come up. It is convenient to have an attorney as part of the team at Halstead. The dual roles become evident when a challenging situation arises which we are able to resolve in a manner favorable to the client.
You also split your time between East Hampton & Southampton. Is that a challenge?
Both locations have phenomenal agents and support staff, so splitting the time between the Halstead offices is not a challenge. I am always available to have a conversation, provide guidance, and offer input as needed. Supporting my agents and building the business on the East End are my focuses. My agents know this; we are all on the same team.
How do the changing seasons affect your operations?
When I first started in the brokerage business, there was more seasonality associated with listing and selling properties. The area has become more of a year-round community in the last 10 years.
Although the late winter and early spring continue to be a strong time of year, with purchasers who want to be in by summer, the sales are more consistent throughout the year. Now we are seeing waves of six to eight weeks of very strong sales occurring, which are not tied to seasonality.
You recently made the transition to Halstead. What were some of the deciding factors?
The reputation of the firm. The fact that Halstead is the largest privately held firm in New York. Being privately held allows Halstead to be very nimble and move ahead of the market.
Halstead provides tremendous support to our agents, enabling them to focus on their clients’ needs. The factor that contributed most to the decision was Halstead’s clients’ glowing reviews of their individual experiences with the firm.
You’re a big supporter of elevating agents to their next level of success. How do you contribute to that process?
It starts with an assessment of the agent’s current position, then mutually determining the agent’s goals. The next step is to customize an achievable plan with executable points. Although arduous, the process is rewarding.
I find gratification in assisting agents to reach the next level in their careers, whether it is moving a new agent to become a consistent, successful performer, or boosting a very strong agent to an outstanding agent.
In addition, Halstead offers substantial training opportunities. One of the greatest methods to accelerate the agent’s success is sharing situational, legal, and zoning knowledge, in conjunction with logic behind why a particular path is utilized in a particular situation. The agent is then able to leverage that information in future situations.
When you’re not managing these thriving brokerages, where can we find you out East?
Sailing on Gardiners Bay, enjoying the beautiful beaches on the East End, and surfing secluded spots, from Sagaponack to points east.