3 HINTS TO RENT YOUR HOUSE THIS SUMMER AND BAD WEATHER, NO PROBLEM – LET’S GOLF!

Every now and then this blog is inspired by the muses.  But first I need to clarify, I’m   talking about that Olivia Newton-John kind of muse, not by the classic Greek muses.     So what was my latest inspiration?  Was it to quit my job and open an elaborately decorated roller-disco?  No, it was to help you my friends!  Help you turn your house into an actual Xanadu that people will want to rent this summer!

1-  Make sure the house is uncluttered and neutralized.    By neutralized I mean take all of those quirky little decorative choices you’ve made and turn them into a Pottery Barn dream!   Floral patterns are a no.   Besides, Laura Ashley has been dead since 1985.  It’s time to move on.   Think basic, basic, basic; monochromatic bed spreads, curtains and

Floral
Yeah, nothing says summer rental like flowers!

carpeting.      Also, put away all of those family photos that litter your foyer, bedroom and den.    Yes, you can tell potential renters you’re going to put them away but it’s better to make it look like an easy task rather than relocating the National Portrait Gallery.     Speaking of art, that thing on the refrigerator isn’t that good and your kid is no Renoir.   Give it to Grandma.  Besides, she loves that ####, go ahead and make her day.

2 – Now that your house doesn’t look like the before from an episode of “Horders,”  call a photographer and have the home professionally shot.    You get what you pay for and it’s worth it.    You’ll get better money if the house shines and it won’t shine if you take photos from your iphone or Polaroid Swinger.      Talk to your real estate agent and ask for suggestions.  I’m sure they’ll be able to provide you with a few names.

3- Speaking of real estate agents… make sure they know you’re on the market for rent.   That means get it into the local database and unless you’re living in the Taj Mahal it’s a good idea to make sure you keep it as an “open listing.”    No agent is going to retire from the 10% you pay on the rental lease so at least make it an enticing proposition.     More and more agents are putting listings into the system as “exclusive rentals” and that’s a mistake.    You’ve just drastically reduced your potential showings.  But if the idea of meeting agents or giving out keys makes you nervous, hire an agent and have them list your property at compelling split with the other agents.   That means, you’re listing agent takes 20% and the agent who brings the tenant get’s 80% of the 10%.    Think about it this way, agents are not doing this as a hobby, they want to make money.   Make it worth it!

So once you get your house ready for rental, I’m sure a few of you out there would like nothing more than to relax with a nice round of golf.   But if the idea of flying to Florida seems too daunting a task (I’m assuming you don’t want to golf with snow on the ground), you may want to just take your clubs and head to Toilsome Rd. in East Hampton for a visit with PGA Pro Eric Schultzel.   His training facility there is completely indoors and weather is no problem.     Click the video below to get a little preview.

Visiting Eric’s Golf Simulator Studio from Patrick Mclaughlin on Vimeo.

You can also click here to visit Eric’s site or give him a call at 631-527-5959

 

 

 

 

BUSTING A SUMMER RENTAL MYTH… AND DOPPIO IS DONE-I-OH! AGAIN.

Doppio in Sag Harbor…. brown paper seems to be it’s color!

Good Morning all.. or is it afternoon?  Either way, HC as some people like to call this blog has been off the grid for the past few months.  It’s been a period of reflection and real estate and a media blackout.  I’ve ignored TV, radio and the internet for weeks now.  So before I read the papers about the Jeb versus Hillary show… I mean nobody was going to vote for “him,” I did some recon in and around the Hamptons to get the latest in our neck of the woods.

So word about town in Sag Harbor is that DOPPIO is definitely DONE-I-OH.   As if the incident of last summer’s sudden shuttering wasn’t a big enough omen for you, the Italian bistro has packed it’s bags and headed off for greener and perhaps less discerning pastures.    But while this is a surprise for virtually nobody, the big buzz is about what’s going in there!  So, what will it be?   Apparently, it’s going to be brown paper on the windows for the next few months.  Unconfirmed word about town is that the state of the space is in a bit on the worn side and a renovation is afoot.  If I have wrong information here, let me know and I’ll fix it!  I still miss the old “Paradise” in Sag Harbor.  Please can somebody talk to somebody and bring it back?    It had good service, good food and a great atmosphere, something far too many restaurateurs in the Hamptons have a hard time understanding.

Meantime, why is it so tough to find a summer rental this season?  Well it’s not as the NY Times would have you believe.     The mad rush that they report every year (“act now if you want your summer Hamptons get away) as having taking place is more myth than reality.    The truth is with all of the new regulations that include rental permits, registries and blood oaths more than a few home owners have decided NOT to rent rather than deal with all of the drama.    Now, I’m sure some agents and brokers are going to say, “not at all.”   But I’m speaking from my experiences in the past few weeks.    I’ve called numerous landlords about renting only to have them inform me the house is no longer available.     I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing but I can tell you, if you’re debating on renting your home this coming season… make sure to get the permit and protect yourself before getting into the pool… it’s smaller this year than it’s been in a long time!

YOU CANOLI IMAGINE THE CHANGE IN WAINSCOTT…. TAKE A PEEK! PLUS A TALE SO STUPID IT HAS TO BE TRUE!

Makeover Mangia!

If you’ve been through Wainscott lately,  you’ve probably noticed there’s a whole lot of something going on at the former location of Georgica and Saracen restaurants.   The location is now the home of Osteria Salina and the inside has been given face lift that would make Cher green with envy!  Its been a much needed change for the 130 year old building that was more recently the home of ruckus night clubs catering to the hard partying “bottle and banquette” crowd.    Instead neighbors now have a traditional Sicilian restaurant in one of the most charming locations around.   In fact, if you ask me it looks like they spent a pretty penne to make it look good!  Sorry for the pun.

The Georgica Room with a view!

The restaurant which was formally located on School Street in Bridgehampton has now been expanded by purveyor Tim Gaglio and his wife Cinzia (the chef) into a larger 225 seat venue overlooking Georgica Pond.   The menu will remain the same and feature old favorites like Charred Octopus, Polpette (amazing italian meatballs), Mezzi Rigitoni alla Siciliana, fresh seafood specials but with the addition of pizzas cooked in the brick oven that was a staple back when the restaurant was “Sapore di Mare.”     If you don’t remember back that far then you certainly don’t know the reason Route 27 is so close to the site!?  Well I’ll tell you, it’s owed to two feuding brothers, one who designed highways for the state and the other who owned a house in Wainscott!

Classic design meets chic renovation!

Well enough about the location, the food which comes with a Sicilian pedigree (Cinzia comes from a long line of Italian restauranteurs) that goes all the way back to Sorra Italy has been earning raves from local celebs like Billy Joel, Alan Alda and Howard Stern to name a few.   In fact, I bet next door neighbor Ron Perlman will soon swing by for some Bucatini con Sarde … the smells will get ’em and I heard he loves to walk everywhere!   There’s no doubt it will be attracting the same crowd plus a few new ones with the expanded dining room.   Osteria Salina will open it’s doors quietly this Thursday (5/21) night at 5pm and be open for business year round.   It’s a great addition to the area and if you have any doubt they’re aiming for a different crowd than the last establishment, stop by on Sunday’s from 1 to 9pm when they’ll be serving traditional Sophia Loren sized “family style” dinners.    If you want a reservation and my guess is your going to need them… check out the restaurant on OPENTABLE.COM

As any real estate on the east end will tell you, dealing with Summer rentals is never easy.    This Friday will no doubt too be another hair raising experience for agents all over as tenants start to move into their seasonal rentals.  Yes, I’ll soon be getting calls about defective toasters, noisy neighbors and even the occasional call asking for an address (write it down before you go out drinking).

Well it’s a few years later and now enough time has passed to tell a tale I from a few years ago when one tenant called me complaining about the wireless Internet.   I explained I wasn’t an expert but I would swing by and take a look.    Apparently the code for the wifi wasn’t working and I thought I’d give it a shot.  When I arrived I input the code and bing!  It worked!   What was the problem?   Well, when I gave them the code in the e mail I wrote “the password is case sensitive xyz.”  Yes, you got it… they wrote “CASE SENSITIVE” when inputting the code.  By the way, English was their first language and it was a $200k+ seasonal rental!    Only in the Hamptons!

IF YOU WANT TO RENT YOUR HOUSE IN THE HAMPTONS….. A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW FIRST!

One of the great things about owning a home in the Hamptons is your ability to rent it out.    Yes, for some it’s a cash cow and can help off set most of your yearly expenses in just 3 short months.    But you better know what you’re doing.   If you rent to the wrong tenant or your house isn’t ready, you could end up making less than money than a romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl and Nicholas Cage.

So what do you need to know and how do you get the most money possible for your rental?  Well luckily Hamptons Chatter is here to tell you.

Price it Right – This is my rule of thumb…  if you just bought your house and it’s decorated and well maintained, you can expect about 4-5% the cost of the property for the Memorial Day to Labor Day period.   50% of that should be counted for the August rental.   For example, your Restoration Hardware decorated home you just bought for $1,000,000 should rent MD-LD for $50k or $25K for August.   This is not a hard and fast rule.  If your house is a few years old, ask an agent what they think would be a good rental price. It’s also not a science so adjusting the price as you get close to the season may be needed.

List your property properly –  First off, keep it as an open listing.  Unless you’re renting your home for $250k or more, most companies won’t even take an exclusive rental and that’s not a bad thing.   Agents are no different than anyone else and they’re looking to earn a living.   So if it’s between a $100k rental that’s an exclusive rental where the agent will have to give a chunk to the listing agent or an open listing where they get the lions share, which one do you think they’re going to show?   Most rental listings in the Hamptons are open listings, so keep yourself competitive.   But also know, unless you tell your agent to share the listing you’ll need to make sure every company has your home and at the right (same) price!

Busy, busy, busy!!  www.uglyhousephotos.com

Get the house ready to go – If agents are starting to show your house,  it should look like your tenants are moving in tomorrow.     Reduce the clutter around the house, make sure all of your photos and personal Nick-knacks are stored away and please, please, please keep it neat and clean.    Also, less is more…. if the house is overloaded with furniture that’s not a plus for most tenants, it will only make the property feel crowded and full.
your house if there are dirty dishes are in the sink and pet hair on all of the sofas (nobody wants to live in someone else’s dirt).   “Clean” is also a key word when it comes to decor.   Busy patterns or tons of floral bed spreads, pillow cushions or curtains will overwhelm some potential tenants.   While you’re taste may be good, it might not be for everyone.   That’s why   Do not show Baskin and Robbins has 31 flavors but you don’t need that many colors!

Make it and easy show – While I don’t suggest leaving a key under the mat (that’s a really bad idea for a number of reasons).   You have to make sure agents have easy access to your property.   Customers run late… HELLO, IF THINK YOU’RE IN THE HAMPTONS AND YOU DIDNT HIT TRAFFIC YOU’RE ONLY IN SHIRLEY…. and sometimes agents run late too so if it becomes to difficult to coordinate they’ll move on.  The best way to control access and make sure you get shown is to drop a key off with your local broker.  They’ll keep the key locked up and log who borrows and uses the key.   You could also buy a lock box or better yet buy a digital remote system where you can grant access to your home via your cell phone.  My personal favorite is the KEVO system, which you can buy easily enough on Amazon.

Get professional photos – If you want a good laugh, go through one of those “home for rent -by owner” sites.  Would you rent some of these homes?   I didn’t think so.  Bad photos are a home owners biggest enemy.   My advice is hire a professional photographer (call any agency they’ll recommend who to call) and then share these photos to all the agencies.   You have to spend money to make money and this particular expense is a no brainer to me.

Finally a few last points about “Hamptons Summer Renting” – if you use an agent to rent your house you’ll need to pay the commission and in most cases it’s 10% of the term of the lease.     It might seem like a lot but most agents screen their customers or get them via referral.  You’ll be less likely to get a bad egg tenant.     Also, most leases require that tenants will maintain the property while in residency, so make sure they use the folks who know the house… your housekeeper, your lawn guy, your pool person, etc.

Also, if you live in Southampton Town make sure to get a rental permit.  It’s not easy to do but it will protect you in the long run if you have problems with the tenant.

Now remember, I couldn’t cover everything in this brief posting but I hope its a helpful start.   I also know not everyone will agree with my advice so feel free to post what you think.