Realty Takes

By: Lona Rubenstein
Published: 3/5/2008Source: The Independent

Do you remember when I wrote about Melanie Ross's spec house on Peach Tree Lane in East Hampton's Northwest area? Melanie showed me her partner Mike DeSario's spec house next door as well. Both were built by Steve Schwartz, and what a marvelous builder he is. The homes were so remarkable not only the design, but the construction as well.


Values on both properties were also exceptional, the highest South of the Highway standard with north of the highway prices. (North of the Highway, in the mid three million dollar range?) Modeling in bas relief that looked like the Parthenon; laundry rooms on two levels; Vermont stone walls around the periphery, enough bathrooms for a high school and of course a top-of-the-line kitchen. I have seen many homes in my day, but these were like a resort unto themselves.


At the time Melanie said the properties were listed with all brokers. And on these pages we urged, "So brokers out there, if your customers in that range want value, these just completed properties should be on your show list."


In any case, despite their completion during the slow down, and besides a supposed glut in that price range in the Northwest both homes sold - $2.85 and $3 million. Buyers were brought by The Corcoran Group's Fabio Velez and Michael Schultz. They have more land in that neighborhood, and I understand they are planning to build more. It just shows to go you, outstanding product, exceptional value, priced well - is going to move as long as buyers are interested in coming out east.


It was just a year ago, on these pages that we quoted Prudential Douglas Elliman's Paul Brennan saying, "Bridgehampton has had a surge with Vince Horcasitas out front. The former head tennis pro at East Hampton Indoor Tennis turned real estate broker is on fire." Yes, well that was some surge! Vincent was the number one selling broker for all of Prudential on Long Island in 2007.


He called recently to tell us he just closed on an ocean front property and has six more closings scheduled to date. Congratulations Vincent.


And let's not forget the longstanding number one sales agent (and how-to author of Abracadabra) on Long Island, Prudential's Lori Barbaria, also out of their Bridgehampton office. In 2007, Ms. Barbaria was runner-up. (For the record, in 2006, she was first and Vincent was second.) I'll take either one of those, please.


Talking with broker/owner Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate founder (now with seven offices on the North and South Fork), we came up with apprentice opportunities for local high school students. Of course they can't get their license yet - too young - but if they are interested in that kind of career there are helpful things they can do and opportunities for them to learn from being in a real estate office.


Actually the idea wasn't as formal as I am describing. A grandson at East Hampton High School thought he might be interested in selling real estate out here and we ran into Judi at the bank, asked if he could help out at the office and learn and she said, "That would be fine."


He hasn't taken advantage of that yet, but with Judi's willingness I think the idea is great for the industry as a service and as a pool for future agents. Use and train local products, give back to the community, and at the same time our young people growing up here have a chance at making the kind of living they have to in order to stay in their home town.


And, in closing, I got a note from John Golden whose real estate career started with Lona Rubenstein Inc., then off to Alan Schneider, then to Sotheby's, then the hiatus to Maine, and now back here again in East Hampton with Prudential Long Island Real Estate. We had mentioned his huge Montauk deal (some $20 odd million) and more still going on in this column. Thanking "Realty Takes" for the items, John wrote as to my advertising copy at Lona Rubenstein Inc. (I had forgotten this one along with a lot of other things.)


Wrote John, "I think your best line from the annals of real estate one-liners, Lona, was ' . . . pool front.' I think you dreamed that up when there was nothing else to say."


Yes, well, I have told you repeatedly that East End real estate is a very strange business.