MY HOLIDAY GIFT TO YOU! PLUS HARVEY AND THE HAMPTONS!

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This is what a plane looks like.  flyfrontier.com

I know the weather outside is getting more and more frightful.   In fact, the thought of shoveling driveways, cold wet feet and darkness at 3:30pm has you completely depressed and overwhelmed.    I know!  I know… I feel you!   But before you call the doctor to “up” your daily dosage of “vitamin Z” (zoloft), read this blog.     It will bring you comfort and joy.   DISCLAIMER: please don’t go off your meds folks, while I’m a joy for my family and at least 2 of my friends, my suggestions here are not meant to be any sort of medical diagnosis so put down the phone.   Jacoby & Myers have more important lawsuits pending.

Ok, so what’s my advice to put sunshine back in your life?    Go visit flyfrontier.com and book yourself a flight to the sunshine state for as little as $35 dollars!   Yes, you heard that right.    For about the same cost as taking the jitney to midtown, you can instead haul you butts to Islip Airport (the easiest airport on the planet) hop on a plane and be in West Palm Beach, Miami or Ft. Myers in about 3 hours.    So, the ride is about the same amount of time as a jitney as well.    I will tell you the flights are no frills and you must pay for any additional baggage (checked, carry-on and emotional).    In fact, while I was writing this I just got a quote for a flight from Islip to West Palm in January

for $108 round trip!  Now, that doesn’t include taxes or my baggage from growing up as the youngest of 6 in suburban New Jersey.       From what I gathered, these rates will likely go up in the not too distant future but in the meantime stop complaining about the weather!

If you’re not lucky enough to have the time or ability to hop on a flight to Florida and are instead heading to the Hamptons, you’re not alone.     I call it the “Hurricane Harvey.” Because, for the first time ever, I had multiple rental inquiries for the week between Christmas and New Years!    I’m not sure why Mr. Weinstein’s exploits have convinced peopl

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This is what a food truck looks like!

e to “staycation” this holiday season but it’s kind of weird considering we also had a hurricane of the same name wipe out more than a few resorts in the Caribbean.      Word to the wise here, if you’re planning on being out here the week between the holidays and want to go out to eat, MAKE RESERVATIONS!   It’s going to be crowded.     It’s traditionally a busy week but a few of my restaurant buddies have said reservations are up over last year.

 

Speaking of eating out.   I mean really eating out.  Like outside …. in the cold…

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This is what a taco looks like!

OUTSIDE.    You might have noticed a food truck recently on the grounds of the Milk Pail in Water Mill.    For those of you not brave enough to stop, I’ve done some snooping for you and discovered it’s a taco truck.   It’s called AJI Authentic Mexican Food.   Ok, they have more than tacos and the food is pretty good.   The hours seem to have a lot to do with if the weather is good and traffic wasn’t too heavy.    So if you’re driving east, see the truck and have a hankering for a good taco, burrito or nachos stop by.     It’s not the best you’ll ever have but it won’t disappoint and it’s kinda fun!

 

 

 

 

Are Short Term Rentals Harming The Hamptons… and I FINALLY got to Topping Rose!!

So the Hamptons are more crowded this year than last.  But yet, everyone from shop keepers and especially real estate agents (talking rentals) are saying that business is off.   One thing I always do when I take my stroll around town trying to look better dressed than the next guy, I always ask shop owners “how was your season?”   The response I keep hearing “not great.”    But it’s so crowded, which leaves me wondering what gives!?     Well some folks are blaming the increasing popularity of those short term rental websites for the problem.       For example, you can rent a house in Southampton from a website called Marquis for a nightly rate of $1,100 a night even though this is in violation of town code which requires a minimum of 14 days.     So, according to some there lies the problem.    You have a house which advertises an occupancy of 12 people each essentially paying $100 per person, they’re not the types who are going to be spending money about town in the shops and restaurants.     By the way, I like that the Hamptons are becoming more accessible to folks who wouldn’t normally be able to visit but by allowing overcrowding in houses it’s more like a spring break location than quiet escape from city living.    What do you think?

Finally,  I got the chance to visit the new Topping Rose by Jean Georges last night and I can say is it was worth the wait.  Although the reservation lines need some fixing… about 45 minutes of holds, hang ups and transfers… the total experience was great.   The menu is unpretentious with everything from an amazing mini pizza to a terrific kale salad and a really solid cheese burger.    Service was solid and entrees arrived within a half hour of ordering.  I had the penne with meatballs and thought they were over the top awesome.   My dinner guests ordered the burger and the salmon, each earning a thumbs up from each.   I also recommend the heirloom tomato salad which right now is on the tail of being in season so go try it now.    This is a huge step up from last year’s outing by Tom Colicchio.

RENTING IN THE HAMPTONS THIS SUMMER? READ THIS FIRST….

Yes, the summer season is approaching quicker than a new Kim Kardashian nude selfie.    But while I’m getting ready by practicing defensive driving techniques others are busy lining up their rentals for the Memorial Day to Labor Day pilgrimage to the east end.     Oh, yeah and I’m helping them rent those houses…. I’m the number one rental agent in the Hamptons*…. didn’t I tell you that?!   (*based upon stats that I won’t disclose and that are collected by me).     But before you can say grab the rose wine and beach blanket, there are a few things you might need to know.      Here once again with my perennial video about the obligations of renting a house in the Hamptons is my friend Rob Disario.

One thing Rob didn’t mention in the video is renters are also required to get their own insurance when residing in their temporary home.   Recently,  I had the chance to ask John Wallace of Amaden Gay Insurance about some of the more important points of why this is necessary…..

Protect yourself when the burglar comes to town!

1) Is it really necessary to get renter’s insurance?

I would always tell summer renters to get their own policy. The average cost is about $300-$500.00 /year. It would cover them for the personal contents and liability for at least $500,000 or more depending on the coverage they select. It would also cover them for loss of use and personal contents they brought to the home. This would cover them if for some reason due to a loss they could not stay in the home they rented they could rent another place and the insurance company would pay for it.  This cover them for most everything for a fraction of the rental cost. What is the big deal if they spend $30,000 for a rental or $30,400 to be totally protected? They can always cancel the policy afterward and get probably half their money back.
2)  What else can be covered with renter’s insurance?
All renters should check with their current homeowner or renters to see what they are covered for. They can also extend liability to the address they are renting for about $50-$100.00 and would be covered by their primary homeowner’s liability.   Some companies give you coverage up to 10% of your contents away from home but you have to check with your carrier. This is the minimum they should do and is subject to their primary homeowners deductible.
3)   Any advice for landlords?
Landlords who are renting their home should check with their carrier about renting as well. Most companies are ok with a one or 2 month rental but not much more than that. They will not cover multiple tenants with weekly rentals.  Also theft will not be covered if you rent your home in the summer. Most allow up to two different tenants maybe three but that is about it. Otherwise you are looking at a situation where you may void the contract.
If you have additional questions, you can try reaching John at Amaden Gay Agencies in East Hampton 631-324-0041 or go online www.amadengay.com

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SUMMER RENTERS… PLUS HOW TO PLAN FOR YOUR NEXT HAMPTONS BEACH PARTY!

Summer ’15… few takers?

As we come to the end of the summer of ’15, there seems to be a reoccurring topic of conversation among home owners, agents and pretty much everyone.    “Was it a good rental season?”   Well the answer in a nutshell is “no.”    In fact, I have had a number of homeowners ask me, why their home didn’t
rent.   If you’re one of the many who’ve uttered those words you’re not alone.   I’m not sure if it was because of all of those short term rental sites or more folks are buying and building.  I’ve heard both theories.  What I do know… in the opinion of this humble agent was it was not as active as years past.   But it wasn’t just me.  In fact, I meet monthly with a group of about 25 top agents from a cross section of all the real estate companies and regions.   At our last get together someone raised the question, “who thought this was a good rental season?” Unfortunately not one person raised their hand.   What I think this means is next year, look for an adjustment in some prices and landlords being a bit more accommodating in cutting a deal.   If you found otherwise, feel free to let me know.

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to hit the beach in the early evening with some friends and enjoy the sand, the fresh air and the surf… and I don’t mean on your smartphone.   You only have a few weeks left of Summer ’15 so here’s one way to make it special.     But before you lug your blankets, food and friends Wiborg or Fowler, make sure your know the rules.   Hello?!  Like you didn’t think there were rules…. it’s the Hamptons, there are rules for everything.

There better be a container under there!?

In case you haven’t been paying attention, new laws went into effect that require beach fires in East Hampton town be lit in a metal container, similar laws were already in effect for Southampton and East Hampton village.   In Southampton Village, you need a permit  to light a bonfire.   For the most part no permits are necessary on the other beaches but as I said, you need to clean up… keep it contained… and have some buckets of water handy.   You’re of course responsible for putting out the fire and cleaning up afterwards.   Also, don’t try to light that fire before 6pm, it’s a no-no.

As for a little Rose for that perfect summer beach dinner party, you’ll need a permit if you’re inviting over 50 people.    Also, open containers of alcohol are prohibited across the board but you can get a special permit for catered events and parties.   Pets are also allowed after 6pm at most beaches.   If you want more information for each local town… check out the links below and have fun.   But remember, not too much fun it’s the Hamptons.

EAST HAMPTON TOWN
EAST HAMPTON VILLAGE
SOUTHAMPTON TOWN
SOUTHAMPTON VILLAGE