Jack Pearson and Cee Scott Brown have been known as one of the most successful Hamptons real estate teams for almost 13 years. Collectively they have over 45 years of success in the luxury side of the industry. They surprised the sector when they moved from Corcoran to tech-savvy Compass last November.
They have produced over $1 billion in sales volume and have earned respected real estate awards, including multiple year Top Team stamps and have been members of the elite President’s Council for many years. The last few years have seen an accumulation of over half a billion in sales volume and more than 400 deals, and they continue to beat the industry average for days on the market to contract. Indy caught up with the duo to learn more about them and why they made the move, which was a real coup for Compass.
Are you both local to the region?
Cee Scott Brown: I moved out to Sag Harbor full time in 1994. I am originally from Washington state. My parents were cattle ranchers; I grew up on a ranch in Brownstown, WA.
Jack Pearson: I am from St. Louis, but have lived full time in the Hamptons for the last 23 years. Before that I lived in New York City for 10 years.
How did you come to be on the East End?
CSB: I moved to New York City in 1977 to accept an internship position at MoMA. I spent over 20 years in the arts in New York at MoMA, as director of Holly Solomon Gallery, then Viart Corporation, then director of Creative Time, working with Visual Aids, the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, and lastly running Art Matters Foundation and the Art Matters catalog.
When I left NYC, one of the partners of Allan Schneider Associates approached me to ask if I would be interested in becoming a broker with the preeminent real estate company in the Hamptons at that time. I went to Mexico for three months, came back, and jumped in, learning everything about real estate.
JP: I worked in the fashion industry for Neiman Marcus as a fashion merchandiser and vice president.
The Hamptons real estate community was surprised when you joined Compass after such a long and successful tenure at Corcoran.
CSB: Both Jack and I and our associate, Jeremy Dunham, could see that what Compass offers is the future of real estate. No more doing business the old school way. One of the biggest reasons was Compass’s tech tools built by a team of over 500 engineers. We were further compelled to make the move after several interviews with management, including Robert Reffkin.
Compass succeeds when its agents succeed, so there are many aspects of Compass that do just that, make sure agents are successful and grow their businesses.
JP: We wanted to be a part of an innovative company — a real estate tech company. We were blown away by the engineering team at Compass and all the tools they create for agents.
We are also excited to be with a new national company providing an amazing referral network.
Do you separate regions, is that why being a part of a team is successful for you?
CSB: Jack and I work out of two different offices. Jack is in Bridgehampton and Jeremy and I are in Sag Harbor. This affords us as a team the ears and eyes of agents both east and west.
Being located in two different towns also allows us to split up who’s the lead agent on each listing. Of course, we all work everywhere, but sometimes the geography breakdown makes a lot of sense.
JP: We have wide reach to all ends and sides of the Hamptons.
You’ve recently added Jeremy Dunham to the team.
CSB: Jeremy is a wonderful part of our team. We brought him on as we began exclusively marketing Watchcase Factory Sag Harbor, and his role has been constantly evolving. He is our team’s rental manager, which at this point in time is a considerable undertaking.
Jeremy lives in East Hampton, Jack lives in Bridgehampton, and I live in Sag Harbor, so we each have community ties Hamptons-wide.
JP: Jeremy was my tennis pro and wanted to enter real estate. We set him up and trained him as an office administrator to learn the systems and vocabulary of real estate, and then hired him as part of our team a year later. He has amazing sales and communication skills that make him a valuable addition to our team.
You have secured a combined $1 billion in sales volume since you began. What’s your secret?
CSB: Jack comes from the fashion industry and I come from the arts. Our portfolio of listings is in large part reflective of our aesthetic and design backgrounds. We are also both good listeners, which is key to being a successful broker. We also are very careful about what properties we elect to represent. We feel that it is important to be 300 percent behind any given home or property or seriously consider not taking it on. We love what we do, and we strive to do it well.
JP: Excellent customer service, intuition, communication, and teamwork.
How has the quarantine affected your business in other ways?
CSB: Our team has been working virtually and remotely — all the time together. We have weekly calls, and we are all included on emails and texts. I think that all walks of business are finding out that working from home is doable and can be productive and successful. That, along with an obvious trend for dense urban dwellers looking for more space and fewer people, will have a positive effect on places like wine country and the Hamptons.
We are experiencing August crowds in April/May, and not just rentals. People are seriously considering moving out of cities to be where they can enjoy their environment, spend more time with their families, take evening walks on the beach or hikes in the mountains, and still be working and making things happen.
JP: It has made us the broker shepherds; to make deals, we have to coach and massage all elements of the deal to have them go forward.
Have you seen a sharp rental uptick since the quarantine?
CSB: Most definitely.
JP: Spring is the new summer, and rentals are on fire.
How is marketing your clients and customers different at Compass as opposed to anywhere else?
CSB: The Compass tech platform enables brokers to operate more efficiently. The work of the engineers is uplifting and encouraging and, best of all, working!
JP: The virtual marketing tools that save time, artificial intelligence software, and graphics brand marketing like no other.
Any advice to buyers or renters?
CSB: Keep calm. Keep safe. Keep sane. We’re in this together and we will do what we can to be of assistance.
JP: Be prepared to pay full price for competition and a lack of product.
What would you tell a seller to do in order to sell their homes?
CSB: Let us make some aesthetic recommendations (too much/too little) and listen to our pricing recommendations, which are based on what an appraiser would use. If it doesn’t appraise, it won’t sell.
JP: It’s a great time to sell. We have done 11 transactions in the last nine weeks.
To reach Cee Scott Brown and Jack Pearson, email email@example.com or call 516-457-7111 or 516-383-2011.