The South Fork of the East End of Long Island is currently in a listing database crisis with no clear end in sight.

Much of the region has adopted the use of the Long Island Board of Realtors MLS listing database, after many years of using archaic, home-grown listing systems that acted as a barrier to entry for the brokerages listings in the area.  But the South Fork, otherwise known as the Hamptons, where most of the highest priced listings exist has not adopted wide use of that MLS system.

You see, not just any real estate agent can bring a buyer to a listing based on “the rules”. Brokers, and their agents, need to have what is called a “co-broke” or co-brokerage agreement with the listing broker in order to be able to have one of their agents “show”, or represent a listing to one of their customers or clients (that’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms)


So, to make a long story even longer…Zillow bought the local listing system HREO/RealNet used by most of the brokers here for nearly 20 years. RealNet charged very expensive entry fees to it’s system, which kept many of the small brokerages out. They also required brokerages to have a physical office on the East End in order to buy in to the system. And brokers that used RealNet only allowed other brokers that used RealNet to show their listings…protecting the Goose and keeping out all those “up-Island” brokers from selling their listings and making commissions.  It’s kind of like an exclusive club.

So, Zillow bought RealNet and after a year, closed it down replacing it with OutEast, which is basically a rebranded Zillow consumer facing website which has little to none of the technology needed to deal with the internal needs of the brokerages to manage their data (search, do cart selections for customers, create competitive market analysis of homes, etc) and the brokers that have not made the transition to LIBOR MLS are in a tizzy because they have lost “control” of their data and their listings. Needless to say, this is quite the topic of conversation among the agent community.

Thing is, a perfectly usable, local MLS system that was customizable and allowed the brokers to set up their own rules around membership, dues, sharing of listings, etc was presented to the brokerages nearly 10 years ago through HANFRA, the Hampton and North Fork Realtors Association, but just because it was called an “MLS” by name, they were untrusting and unable to agree to put it into use.  You see, MLS has been a dirty word here out of fear of losing control of the Golden Goose.

This is all part of the behind-the-scenes rule making that protects the brokerages and their agents…ie: fiduciary, representation, co-brokerage, client vs. customer, etc.  Yes, it’s complicated. But it shouldn’t be.

And here the brokers are…in crisis. With no clear end in sight…in a very soft market.


I thought that blogging was over and Facebook was here to stay.

Guess that’s a sign that my crystal ball never made it back from the repair shop after 2008. I crushed it…the crystal ball, that is.

Today, May 1, 2019 feels as crazy as ever. The bloom is off the rose of luxury real estate, at least for the moment. Buyers are spending lots of precious time looking over the hundreds of listings that have come on the market in recent months. And they are looking to spend about half of what they might have a few years ago.

Except for the “local” folks, many of whom have been completely priced out of the market and are moving to the Carolinas, Florida or New England.

Let’s catch up. I see you back here soon. Mike


How many Real Estate Agents have told you that “you better buy now because interest rates are going up!” over the last 3 or so years?  And where are interest rates today?

It’s not necessarily the fault of that particular agent, because the NAR has been crying Rising Interest Rates for years as well, obviously trying to scare/jostle/intimidate buyer into buying “now” (at that time).

Well, here we are, and interest rates are still finding historic lows, to the delight of many! trouble is, when in fact they do start to rise, no one will believe it…and many will be caught on the wrong side of the Interest Rate Timing, which will probably have a negative impact on sales….oh well.

Check out:

Mortgage Rates Lower Across the Board in U.S.


Those who have had the chance to visit the Hamptons and have either been an invited guest or toured some of the great homes here know, there are many amazing homes, built with unlimited budgets and very fine taste. Artists, financiers, writers, retailers, former politicians and those in the entertainment business see creating a great house in the Hamptons as a challenge. Of course, many of these homes are created with the intent of making millions of dollars when they are sold, something that, while not guaranteed, is not uncommon.

Here’s a few worth mentioning…

Former Goldman Sachs partner wants $43M for his Bridgehampton compound

A $140 Million ‘Briar Patch’ for Sale in the Hamptons

Sandy Gallin Already Flipping His Amagansett Six-Bedroom

AMAGANSETT is within East Hampton Township, on the East End on Long Island, New York

Preservation of valuable land (and the term “valuable” is subjective) usually brings competition and controversy along with it.  Municipalities today spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money to preserve open space for a myriad of reasons, from health or resource concerns to political reasons.

After a few down years, the Hamptons real estate market is back and so is the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund, which collects a tax of nearly 2% on every transaction completed within the 5 East End Townships of Suffolk County.  That’s BIG BUSINESS today! And they are only one of the contributors to the Preservation alliance, made up of private funds, federal, state and county funds.

And while there truly ARE those who want to preserve for all the right reasons, like Bob DeLuca (see below) there are those who may want to “preserve” for themselves…judge for yourselves.

“It’s death by a thousand cuts,” said Bob Deluca, president of Group for the East End, an environmental group. Or rather, death by a thousand septic tanks, swimming pools and landscaping crews with all their effluent and runoff.

Read the following NYTimes piece:

We all want to contribute to a healthier environment and feel as though we are doing our part to conserve our resources, but how best to do that in the world we live in?

Retrofitting the millions of homes that were constructed in the days of 10mpg Lincoln Continentals will take generations and, some say as much as $1Trillion.  Remember the “Cash For Clunkers” program where we received tax money to get old fuel inefficient and carbon dioxide creating vehicles off the roads?  Something like that might be needed, but with the oil and gas industry having so much power in the world today, it might be a while…

Check out – WSJ – Dirt on Sustainable Luxury

There were the days when “Tumbleweed Tuesday” was coined, the day after Labor Day, when so many restaurants closed, shops shut down for the winter and locals took a deep breath and enjoyed their Indian Summer.  Sure, things do quiet down a bit now after Labor Day, but not nearly as much as they used to, with most restaurants remaining open year round, only a handful closing for a day a week or a couple of weeks in the deep winter.

Real estate sales were much more predictable in those days, too. The Spring selling season usually started with Presidents Day weekend, where folks from “the city” would trek out to see if they could either buy or rent their beach house and make their summer plans firm.  Most rentals ran Memorial Day to Labor Day then.

Today, the Hamptons are a 12 month bonanza of restaurants, museums, traffic and real estate and the real estate market is always “ON”, except when it’s not, which is unpredictable…Fall is robust!

We are seeing more “positive” real estate reports published these days. As a matter of fact, the most positive reports since the crash of 2008.

The last quarter of 2012 was a big quarter for property owners who were tax averse or had a great sum of wealth tied up in their property or both. The looming threat of the 2103 increase in capital gains, was too much to bear for some.  A number of sellers dropped their asking price by millions to avoid paying additional taxes (perhaps in the thousands) to the government. The reality is, many of those sellers were finally motivated to price their homes at market value after years of wishing, wanting, hoping for the price they would’ve, could’ve, should’ve taken in 2007.

Buyers have been waiting patiently on the sidelines for sellers to get real with offering prices. It seems that the threat of increased taxes, only trumped by death, was just the elixir that brought motivation home to roost for many. Quite clever, that Uncle Sam.


So, while Manhattan and The Hamptons are seeing record sales, many other parts of the nation are seeing increased sales as well. California, Arizona and Florida have seen increased values and numbers of sales, but coming back from a 50%, 60% or even 70% drop in value was inevitable. Even as my friend, Alison Rogers, writes in Time Business about Home Prices “Jumping”, it’s not happening in every market.

Jonathan Miller posts about the Pre-Covery (a term shouted out by my other friend Phil Faranda, one of the sharpest tools in the shed ). Read the Jonathan Miller post and the Robert Schiller NYTimes piece for more insight.

The way I see it, business has maintained a pretty healthy level of activity as we have arrived into 2013 and I believe it is going to be a good year for many in the market, but for different reasons. We are still left with three basic groups in today’s real estate economy; The Good or the “Haves”, The Bad or the “Holder-On-ers” and the Ugly – the “Have-Not’s”.



The Good (Haves) may have lost some of their net worth during the last 5 years, but still have plenty of assets at their disposal. They know that many property values are down to 2004/2005 levels and the cost of borrowing money at historic low levels. The Good know now is a good time to invest. While many sellers have been resilient, holding on to their 2007 asking prices, the Good have been even more resilient. They walk through homes, take notes, ask about length of time on the market and price history (or more often tell the agent about them based upon their online research). If the price is out of line, they don’t bother to make an offer, unless its a one-of-a-kind, gotta-have property that has particular appeal to them.  They don’t need a recovery.

The other sub-set of Haves are the young, responsible up-and-comers who were too busy either finishing school or getting their career started during the fat-and-happy days. They didn’t get caught up in the Irrational Exuberance.  They watched home prices escalate rapidly in the ’00’s thinking they may never be able to buy a home and are now delighted to buy their first home from a bank or a motivated seller at prices they saw 8 years ago.



The Bad  (Holder-On-Ers) are just holding on for dear life. They were either able to move laterally in their career or are still there, watching company blogs and listening for the next round of layoffs…kind of like my older buddies waited for their number to be called in the ’69-’72 draft.  Many of them resisted using their homes as an ATM during The Roaring ’00’s and are able to pay their bills and get by. Some were hoping for retirement or an easier pace of life by now, but the depletion of their investment accounts and loss of value in their homes has made that unattainable. Maybe they would like to move, but can’t afford to sell their house, buy a new one and the jobs that were once plentiful are now scarce.  Left wondering why the stock market is back up to 2007 highs and their investment accounts and property values are not, they feel stuck, waiting for something to get either better or worse. They are hoping for a recovery.



The Ugly (Have Nots) have lost the life they once new, only a few short years ago. They not only over refinanced on their home (or homes) at the peak of the market, but they lost their ability to pay for it when the job market crashed or their company went out of business. Some of them were making $200k a year as a sales rep for just showing up and now can’t get hired for $75k, even though they learned to tap dance to Yankee Doodle Dandy. Many of them saw their credit lines shut down, their credit card interest rates double or triple and they are drowning in a sea of lack. Not a fun place to be. Others are making decisions for them right now. Maybe they were granted a loan modification and since then, have failed to keep up with new payments. They’re either just waiting for the bank to take their home or it already has and now they are renting. Dazed and confused about how the last 4-5 years could have happened.  They are praying for a recovery (and filling out their Peace Corps application).

One thing is for sure: the economy is getting better –  incrementally – for SOME , but not for all.  Fortunately for us, the Hamptons has more of the Good…and Wall Street bonuses are unfolding….and spring rental and sales season is here…and the snow is melting…and life could be much worse.

Sag Harbor

The recent Superstorm Sandy caused much damage in it’s path; both physical and psychological.

We, on Eastern Long Island, while losing some homes in Wainscott and Quogue, along with some of our most beloved dunes in Sagaponack and Bridgehampton, were fortunate to not be in Sandy’s direct path.  Seeing the heart-wrenching interviews with families to the south and west of us who lost everything was sobering and made me embarrassed to have spent one minute belly-aching about the tree that fell on my car and broke off the passenger-side mirror and the few days that I spent without electricity.Image

( Mario Tama / Getty Images / October 30, 2012 )

The impact to New York City, which includes Manhattan, Brooklyn Queens and oft-forgotten Staten Island was too close to what those mega-disatster movies on NatGeo have been showing for the last several years…how did they know? Why didn’t we do anything to defend ourselves against this? Should we re-build?


( Andrew Burton / Getty Images / October 29, 2012 )


With schools, businesses, public transportation and electricity for hundreds of thousands shut down for a week, the economic impact is tremendous…and will be tallied for some time to come.

And if Sandy wasn’t enough, while recovery is underway, the current gas shortage in the Northeast and the approaching Nor’easter set to arrive this week are like a 1-2-3 punch.  No wonder so many are walking around like zombies and much non-essential business and travel are on hold.


(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Aside from making some tough choices about rebuilding for individuals, politicians in cities, states and the Fed will need to make tough choices about infrastructure spending (ala Holland) in the days ahead.  From what I hear, some Europeans are looking at what happened as unnecessary and a result of our short sighted political myopia that leaves us reacting to the disasters we know will happen, rather than planning to prevent them.

Building safety codes will be strengthened, making home and building construction more expensive and insurance companies will react to this event with no mercy, cancelling policies and raising premiums to pay for the outlay they will have from this storm and to mitigate future losses. Global warming advocates will say “I told you so” and will push their agenda to limit the burning of fossil fuels use of chemicals harmful to our environment even more vigorously.

What will be interesting will be to see the shift in the real estate market. After 9/11/01, there was a large migration to the suburbs from Manhattan.  Shaken and terrorized, thousands moved to what they considered to be less vulnerable areas. What are considered safer areas after Sandy?  Higher ground? Interior homes? Newer construction? Will generators become as common place as the flat-screen TV?

Time will tell, but the draw of the sea is powerful and our memories are short. For every homeowner that leaves their waterfront home, there are several willing to take their place, which is why oceanfront, bay front and harbor front homes sell at such a premium. Let’s all agree to take steps to make them safer and to use good judgement during serious storms. They’re not worth losing our lives for.


Michael Daly photo

Thanks to Editor Steven Nicastro at The Levittown Patch, we have the Long Island beach Guide, which we have excerpted the Hamptons Section.

And while, it is typically difficult for “out of area” folks to do our local delicacies justice, Steven has done a pretty good job describing our beaches.  Just the same, it is a fairly comprehensive list, so check it out:


While the western Long Island beaches are great, world-class, even, the beaches on the South Fork stretching from West Hampton Dunes to Montauk are a rare breed, marked by rolling waves and soft sand set in front of some of the most dramatic real estate in the United States. Since the region has dozens of beaches, each unique, please click through to each expanded directory listing for more details. Fees and permits vary depending what village and town or village manages the beach. In many cases, parking permits are only available to locals, but taxi options and walk-ons give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the beaches.

Westhampton – Hampton Bays

Beaches in this stretch are part of the Westhampton Island, a barrier island like Fire Island to the West. In this case, Dune Road runs the length of it, from the quiet of West Hampton Dunes, the party-heavy Westhampton Beach and ending at Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays at the gateway to the Hamptons.

Quogue Village Beach – One of the quietest beaches on Dune Road west of the Shinnecock Canal, Quogue Village beach is low-key, with a playground and a concession stand to go with the perfect sand.

Cupsogue Beach – This Suffolk County park is a local paradise, with long sandy beaches, a cabana, hiking trails, four-wheel access, free Wi-Fi and the chance to spot local seals sunning on sandbars.

Lashley Beach – Managed by the Village of Westhampton, Lashley is offers a local hideaway and surfing spot that far less rowdy than the shores at the Dune Deck Beach Resort nearby.

Ponquogue Beach – This beach, run by the Town of Southampton, is another local gem, stretching to the end of the barrier island. Beach, surf, concessions and showers are available, but the family atmosphere is what attracts most. It’s a gorgeous spot.

Tiana Beach – Another county-run beach, but this ones has a few different faces. By day it’s lazy and family oriented, but with the nearby clubs Tiana can become a lot more spirited as the day rolls on.

Meschutt Beach County Park – Being on the interior of the Shinnecock Bay brings still water to this county beach. Camping, boating and bathing are great here, and so is the seafood served at the Meschutt Beach Hut.


Southampton’s beaches are pristine, with heavyweights Cooper’s and Sagg Main Beach often scoring top ranks in national polls. Permits and fees can depend on which municipality is running the beach and a few offer daily passes, often only on weekdays. Either way, the scenery is like no other, with perfect dunes and picturesque estates stretching for miles.

Shinnecock East County Park – The only Suffolk county beach in Southampton, Shinnecock East is actually the westernmost beach on The Hamptons coast. A major fishing spot, Shinnecock highlights its undeveloped scenery. Southampton

Southampton Town

Sagg Main Beach – This might be perfect Hamptons beach setting, with few features to get in the way of the scenery. Perhaps that’s why droves of seasonal visitors tend to choose this beach. Every other Monday evening during the summer, Sagg Main Beach is the site of a large drum circle, with other spectacles like the occasional visit from fire dancers. No weekend passes for non-residents.

Mecox Beach – This Bridgehampton beach offers endless sand, and limited amenities. The setting is enough. Offers weekend non-resident passes.

Flying Point Beach – If you aren’t local, be sure to make arrangements to get to this Water Mill Beach since no daily passes are available. Incredibly scenic, with the dramatic Channel Pond behind the beach and the Water Mill beach Club nearby. No weekend non-resident passes.

Long Beach Park (Foster Memorial Town Beach) – Located in the hamlet of Noyac, Long Beach Park brings the expected calm of a bay beach, with still waters that are great for boating and fishing. On a narrow strip of land popular with sunbathers, it is a safe and scenic route for cyclists. Offers non-resident passes.

Southampton Village

Coopers Beach – Selected by “Dr. Beach” in 2010 as America’s best beach and, more recently, by National Geographic Traveler as the No. 2 family beach, Coopers is definitely a local champion. The only village beach with lifeguards, Cooper’s also gives visitors the option to rent chairs and umbrellas and has a complete concession stand to keep visitors well fed and hydrated. Grassy dunes, soft sand, and stately mansions dot the horizon at Coopers. And if the parking fee is too steep, the bike ride from Southampton Village isn’t so bad. The newly launched SpotRide will take you there for free.

The rest of Southampton Village beaches each offer their own slice of the coast, and in many cases give locals and returning seasonal guests serene getaways from the often crowded “scenes” at some of the more notable beaches in Southampton. Summer-long permits are required at Fowler Beach,Cryder BeachRoad G BeachHalsey Neck BeachWyandanch BeachGin BeachLittle Plains Beach and Old Town Beach while no permit is required at Road D Beach.

Sag Harbor Village

Havens Beach – For fans of North Fork Beaches, Sag Harbor’s Havens Beach is your typical scenic Peconic Bay treasure, with views of sailboats on the smooth bay waters and Shelter Island’s coast in the distance. Typical Sag Harbor resident only pass required on weekends in season.

East Hampton – Montauk

The riches of Hamptons beaches continues into East Hampton, where the sands, waves and the mansions tend to swell as you move East. But cross into Montauk and the surf clubs and swank scenes start to change until you at last hit Camp Hero with its miles of wilderness, bluffs and the Montauk Lighthouse at The End. For East Hampton and Montauk beaches, fees and accessibility depend on who runs them, but services such as Hamptons Free Ride can help visitors without permits get on the beaches.

Camp Hero State Park – The end of Long Island, Camp Hero is a wilderness like no other, with interior trails frequented by hikers, bikers and horseback riders, a museum, the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse and steep, dramatic bluffs that fall into the rough Atlantic Ocean. State park fees apply on the weekends, but the park is open for free during the week. A very popular spot for surf casting, too.

East Hampton Village

Main Beach – Easily the most visited beach in East Hampton, Main Beach offers a full pavilion with food and drinks, piping plover nests and grassy dunes along a stretch of beach that yearly attracts droves for its perfect vantage point to watch the Labor Day fireworks. It can definitely get crowded, though.  Village Parking passes required between Memorial Day and Labor Day…** Parking tickets will be given out for no pass!

Georgica Beach – Normally a peaceful beach for visitors who want less hub-bub, devastating erosion from Hurricane Irene has left this beach closed while officials work to replenish the sand and fix the damage. Village Parking Permit required.

Wiborg Beach – Located right near the Maidstone Club, the tucked-away and very scenic Wiborg has long been a favorite of surfers. However, there are no bathrooms or lifeguards here, though approvals for lifeguards are in the works. Village 
Parking Permit required.

Egypt Beach – On the other side of the Maidstone Club, Egypt is a bit more rugged than its neighbor Wiborg, but locals know it as one of the best places to catch the sunset. No lifeguards, though.

Two Mile Hollow Beach – A large parking lot with a daily rate makes this beautiful beach another often visited attraction. Not much by way of amenities, but very relaxing.

East Hampton Town

Indian Wells Beach – While the sand and surf are big draws here, as well as the family friendly atmosphere and volleyball courts, the row of food trucks that park there give this beach a unique draw. Surfers love it, too.

Ditch Plains – Another beach loved by locals and visitors alike, Ditch Plains is a huge favorite of surfers. Only two miles from the heart of Montauk, the beach also has beautiful cliffs that stand out in a region where sand dunes are more common to find on the beach.

Like Ditch Plains and Indian Wells, lifeguards can also be found at ocean beaches such as Atlantic Beach in Amagansett, Kirk Park Beach in Montauk and Edison Beach in Montauk while unprotected and still incredibly scenic beaches include Little Albert’s Landing in Amagansett Lazy Point in Amagansett, South Lake in Montauk, Beach Lane in Wainscott and Townline Road Beachin Wainscott. Kirk Park offers a daily rate on weekdays.

The town also has a few bay beaches that offer calmer waters for young swimmers and spectacular boating and fishing. Those are Albert’s Landing in Amagansett, Gin Beach in Montauk andMaidstone Park in Springs.

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