Weekend Wrap-up; Renting Sight Unseen… Winter of Our Discontent Continues!

So, it was another snowy weekend here on the East End.    The snow, the ice, the frigid cold and the general lousy weather continues here in the Hamptons.     While internet activity for rentals and sales still remains strong and steady,  the number of people willing to trek through snow and frigid temps is dwindling.    This in turn has led to a number of rentals actually being rented sight unseen.

Rapid Rescue… lifesavers!  Yep, that’s my car!

One broker I spoke with “E” said it, “makes me very nervous.”    Renting from a picture which could have very well been photo-shopped is a bad idea.    Another agent “G” indicated that they’re seeing tenants from previous seasons going back to the house they rented last year so they don’t have to come back out and look again.    Speaking to my cadre (aren’t you impressed with my vocabulary?) of experienced brokers and agents, the weather continues to put somewhat of a damper on the Hamptons market.   That being said, once the snow melts they’re expecting an explosion of activity….  because phones are ringing and e-emails are being traded back and forth.  So the grade for this weekend was a C+. I really have to go to Florida soon! 

An offer at Guild Hall you can’t refuse!

If you want an example of how difficult it is to get around the Hamptons, look no further than yours truly.     I made the mistake of taking my “4 Wheel” car out last night to pick up some food.    But alas, after one gunning of the accelerator and a slippy driveway I ended up in a snow bank on my own driveway.   I mean with all of the ice, if you don’t see sharp you’ll be flat (read that again).   Anyway, thanks to RAPID RECOVERY and $135,  I finally got my car out this morning.    By the way, I also want to thank my lovely neighbor for trying to pretend he didn’t see.    I wasn’t going to ask for your help anyway!    So for the next few days, keep Rapid Recovery on speed dial, they were great and there in about an hour…(631) 728-7752.

Meanwhile, this week there’s an offer at Guild Hall you can’t refuse.  The East Hampton film society will be presenting a special screening this Thursday night at 7 p.m. of the 1972 classic, “The Godfather.”  Personally I liked the “Godfather II” better but still this flick glues me to the screen every time I catch it on TV.   Tickets are $8.00 for non members.  If you want more information  click here for the website and you can also buy tickets.  So, take it to the mattresses and go get a ticket…. otherwise you may find a horse in your bed!

It’s D-Day #1 in the Hamptons… What it Really Costs to Operate on the East End!

Just in case you didn’t know, today is D-Day in the Hamptons for real estate agents (the second D-day is the first Friday in August).   It’s the day when most of the seasonal rentals move into their houses.    While many tenants get confused and call it “check in,” I’m here to remind them that renting a house is not like checking into a hotel and your real estate agent isn’t a concierge.   But while I’ll no doubt get a few calls this weekend complaining about broken toasters, lousy towels and confusing pool heaters… and yes I will try to answer them…  there is something I won’t have to deal with this season.   It’s the sticker shock from what it costs to operate a Hamptons home!    Why?  Because my mantra to every tenant is you’re essentially owning this house for the next few months and that means you’re going to have to pay for it!

So what does it cost to operate a home during the summer season on the east end?   I’m going bare bones here but let’s take a look:
They charge more to wear this!


1) Maid Service – most rental contracts require the tenant to hire a maid and clean the house once a week.   Some landlords insist you use their current housekeepers (aka spies) in order to keep the house in the same order as when the tenant walked in the door.  So let’s figure 8 hours once a week at an average rate for housekeepers of $20 per hour.  Add $160 to the weekly cost and we’re off and running up that tab!
2) Lawn Service – Unless you’re willing to pull that cord on your Briggs and Stratton you’ll have to fork over a few bucks to maintain that lush green Hamptons yard.   While some yards are bigger than others (not a Smith’s song), I’m going to put the weekly lawn maintenance at about $90 a week.   Some landlords will also require you foot the bill for the gardening but for the sake of erring on the side of caution, we’ll omit that pricey little point!
Hey, you like that guy from NCIS?

3) Phone, Internet and cable – I know a large number of my customers, clients and friends choose that “Triple Play” thing from Cablevision.   For the basic package you’re looking about $80.00 a month.  While it’s not the costliest expense for the summer, if you add those extra movie channels or rent an occasional “pay-per-view”  event or flick it adds up!

4) Pool Service – Sure you can throw some chemicals in the skimmer basket and call it a day but $150.00 per week.   Now, I know you’re saying “HOW MUCH?” but remember this is the Hamptons!  You want you’re pool to sparkle… sparkle… sparkle!!! Once again if you’re a renter this is usually required in the lease and you’ll be responsible to pay for the service plus supplies (chemicals).

5) The Electric, The Heat and the Rest – Now while this depends a lot on the weather let’s put this in a logical way.  If it’s hot outside, you’re not going to heat the pool and you’re going to pump the air-conditioning.   If it’s cooler outside, you’re gong to open the windows and crank the heat on the pool.   Either way you’re going to want to spend the money (unless of course you’re my father who would never turn on the air conditioning unless it was 95 degrees) Now I might be a little high here but I don’t think I’m totally out of the park.   I’m going to put this somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 a month and that’s based on a 3500 s/f house.

Benjamins are required!!!

Ok, so let’s tally this puppy up….. click click click click click click…. change the calculator battery… clack clack clack clack!   Our grand total to own or rent a house out east is about and I say ABOUT… no haters here….  about $2500.00 per month or about $620 a week more or less.     So there you have it and I didn’t even include the $100/person pizza dinner at Serafina (which I have a new respect for… went last night and it was really good).    This isn’t the Jersey Shore folks!

Speaking of which, the New York Daily News quoted me today and I want to clarify.  I love the Jersey Shore and I’ve been many times.   I grew up going to places like Margate, Long Port and Long Beach Island.  So when I say people don’t want the Hamptons to become the Jersey Shore, I’m talking more about the show then the actual area!      Now, will someone tell my friends from home to stop giving me grief over this!  REMINDER:  I just wrote about how to get rid of house guests (scroll down)!

Your Real Estate Agent Isn’t as Important as You Thought! Plus, a FRESH success in Bridgehampton.


My friend, agent and former co-manager Tom MacNiven likes to quote George McGovern who  proclaimed: “the longer the title the less important the job. ”   Somehow, I always knew they were both right.
Well, now  when it comes to the real estate sharks swimming the waters of the Hamptons, (and the entire state) the State of New York agrees! At the end of this month licensed New York State agents
will no longer be able to display those cheesy fabricated self-anointed monikers that do nothing but take up space on business cards and email signatures.   So, sadly I have now abdicated my crown and will no longer be known as Patrick Mclaughlin, Senior Czar of Hamptons House Hunting and Associate Broker.  Soon, there will be no more Semi-Senior Co-Directors of Whichamacallit or Executive Vice Presidents of the Supply Closets.    I’m happy with this, as long as nobody can one up me!!
Now, there are only two designations are acceptable:  LSA: Licensed Sales Associate and LBA: Licensed Broker Associate.   The latter requires a little more experience and sales transactions but it is NOT an MBA or even a certificate from University of Pheonix.   If you ain’t one, you gotta be the other.   I’ve also just been informed that at the end of this month I must “surrender” my old, titled business cards.    So, if I can’t have a title can I have a raise?

Well the big review is in and Fresh in Bridgehampton must be breathing a big sigh of relief or at least doing a small dance of celebration.  Scoring a “VERY GOOD” review, Fresh has managed what very


few have managed to do;  create a restaurant with good food and good service that won’t break the bank.   I think it’s everything the former home of “Southfork Kitchen,” would have loved to accomplish.   It’s just a shame that the old owner was too busy blogging instead of watching the restaurant.  Blogging is such a waste!!

In fact, The New York Times said, “Fresh is an exciting restaurant with innovative portion options and creative, good-for-you food that is also delicious.”   So good for them and when they’re done if they could give some cooking lessons to the folks at a few restaurants out here, the world would be a better place!